Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What's the quintessential Canadian song?

I was thinking about this when I was in Cuba in April, and want to hear what my fellow Bloglodytes think.

What got me thinking about it was the day tour to Havana (I was staying in Varadero), and the tour guide on the bus teaching us all to sing "Guantanamera".

I brought a journal with me to Cuba, and wrote in it quite a bit. I would write in it on the plane, on the bus, on the beach, on my patio, or in my room, jotting down my impressions of the place, and whatever would come to mind. That night in Havana, between dinner and going to the show at The Tropicana, I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel where we had dinner, listening to a string quartet. That's when I wrote about trying to find the quintessential Canadian song.

My nomination: BTO's "Takin' Care of Business". Sure, my buddies Mike and Greg used to sing it into empty beer bottles in the wee small hours of the morning back in the mid- to late-1970s, or on the hockey bus, so it brings back a lot of good memories (Greg was killed in a car accident 25 years ago last Tuesday -- perhaps another topic for another post on another day). But it still rocks to this day, and deals with the Canadian work ethic ("Get up every morning to the alarm clock's warning..." -- okay, so maybe we could leave out the bit about workin' at nothin' all day).

Anyway, argue for or against my choice, or suggest one of your own.


JB said...

Sorry, Bob - I've been busy and didn't get here for a couple of days...but I would probably vote for The Hockey Song by Stompin' Tom Connors. I do like your BTO choice, though. My old band (and three million other Canadian bands, no doubt) played that one back in the day. On the subject of Mr. Bachman, one of the great Canadian songs that came out of The Guess Who was the Cummings / Bachman creation, Share The Land...a GREAT Canadian song, but not enough people would know the words to make it the quintessential Canadian song.

N@ Lauzon said...

Funny you should bring this up. A friend of mine at work was telling me a story yesterday about when his inlaws took a trip to Germany.

They were in a little town - eating at a small, local restaurant that just so happened to have a live band. The band was going around the room asking where the diners were from. When my friend's inlaws said, "Canada", the band lit up and said "We know a Canadian song!" And launched into..


Kneesox said...

Hey Bob,

Kneesox here from N@tland. I have been living outside of Canada for almost 5 years now. We have many friends now from all over the world. No one has heard of the Hip, Blue Rodeo or Great Big Sea. If they know BTO or The Guess Who, they probably don't know they're Canadian. However, undoubtledly if asked to name a Canadian singer they will always say Bryan Adams. Love it or hate it, it seems everyone knows "Summer of '69" is Canadian.

dee said...

As you might know,CBC Radio One in March 2005 had listeners vote on their top Canadian songs, creating a list of the top 50 choices. After reading your blog, I am a new reader by the way, popped over from Thinin' About the Tinks, I went looking for the list and found it at Wikipedia under 50 Tracks:The Canadian Version.
I had forgotten about my search for the Quintessential Canadian Song, during those weeks, and how I looked forward to the playing of the final list.
One of my favorites, Gordan Lightfoot, was well represented, but as for the best quintessential song I am still undecided.
Perhaps Four Strong Winds fits today and maybe Sundown by old Gordie tommorow.....and I hope for all of us that, If I Had a Million Dollars, BNL's, would come true.
Thankyou for reminding me, I will continue to ponder...... my song.

dee said...

Oh sorry, I am so tangential !
Quintessential song............since you do not specify a style, like rock for example.....I am going to throw Anne Murray's Snow Bird into the pot as # 1 Quintessential Song. Anne Murray was the first Canadian female singer to win a gold record ( with Snow Bird ) paving the way for other Canadian females to follow. This song is recognized as Canadian since Anne has been a strong representative for Canada.
Lightfoot as well, a strong representative for Canada has several songs that are distinguished as truely Canadian, Trilogy for example. I have no statistics to prove it, but I personally believe Snow Bird reached a broader group crossing ages and genres.
So there you go !
Hope that sounds OK
I know I am among some very fine writters who visit this blog...so please excuse spelling and punctuation.