My Top Ten Canadian Popular Music Artists/Bands:

  1. Bruce Cockburn: He is a rare combination: profound poet, guitar instrumentalist, creative songwriter, world traveler, with both spiritual depth and political sensitivity, spanning musical genres: folk, country, jazz, rock, pop, blues… and all the while a polite and self-deprecating Canadian with French lyrics included on every album.
  2. Blue Rodeo: Again, spanning musical genres similar to Cockburn. The song-writing and harmonizing duo of Cuddy & Keelor is our version of Lennon & McCartney and they’ve stayed together like Canadians do!
  3. Gordon Lightfoot: A folk troubadour who stayed in Canada with a string of gentle but catchy songs with lots of uniquely Canadian themes, e.g. The Wreck of the Edmund Fizgerald. He is an inspiring Canadian even in his 70’s.
  4. Neil Young: He could rock with the best in the free world and could also make your heart cry with his ballads. He has lived mostly in the USA but he remains true to his roots with albums like “Prairie Wind.”
  5. Leonard Cohen: Too many cover versions of Hallelujah aside, his profoundly spiritual and romantic lyrics and unique gravelly voice make him a true Canadian icon.
  6. Joni Mitchell: Rolling Stone called her “one of the greatest song-writers ever” and I would not argue.
  7. The Guess Who: The original Canadian rock’n roll band from Winnipeg with the dynamic duo of Cummings & Bachman. They did not stay together long enough but the list of classic hits is impressive including the anti-American anthem with one of the best guitar intros!
  8. Bachman Turner Overdrive: Straight ahead rock’n roll; they knew how to take care of business—speaking of great guitar intros!
  9. Jann Arden: The ultimate Canadian crooner: sensitive, real, self-deprecating, and fun.
  10. Stompin’ Tom Connors: I had to include a country singer and his down-home Canadian themes from across the country make him a must on this list.
  11. Honourable mentions that almost made it and/or would probably make other people’s lists: Great Big Sea, Anne Murray, The Tragically Hip, Sarah McLachlan, Paul Brandt, Rush, The Rankin Family, KD Lang, April Wine, Diana Krall, Tom Cochrane, Ian & Sylvia Tyson, Great Lake Swimmers…Who did I miss? There are so many!

 

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