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10 Great Songs for Canada 150, eh!

Here we are Canada! As of July 1, 2017, we will have officially stood on guard for thee for 150 years! That’s no small feat. Like all countries, we have had our ups and downs; our moments of pride, our moments of sadness; our moments of greatness, our moments of what could’ve been.

But, unlike a big chunk of the world, we’ve had a longstanding tradition of birthing super-talented musicians who have provided us Canadian’s with a mighty national soundtrack. On the world’s music stage, few can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those in the Great White North!

With the enormous Canada 150 celebration happening this coming weekend all across the country, we thought it would be fun to reminisce about 10 of Canada’s most classic tunes!

“Heart of Gold” – Neil Young  

There have always been many sides to the music of Neil Young, but few songs of his can connect easier with the masses than “Heart of Gold.” We’ve all longed to be loved and to find that heart of gold in someone else. Here, Young beautifully expresses that for everyone.

“Hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen

Haunting, dark, poetic, emotionally anthemic and universally loved, many have tried to replicate Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” but no one has ever delivered the words better than the man who penned them.

“American Woman” – The Guess Who

Okay, the song title may be very American, but this is as quintessentially Canadian of a rock track as you’ll ever find. Before rock n’ roll was truly a huge entity north of the border, Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman and The Guess Who were creating future classics like this one.

“Summer of ‘69” – Bryan Adams

There is just something magnetic about this song that keeps you connected to it for years, or even decades. Looking back at a love story through the lens of nostalgic romanticism and with the power of shining guitar work, this song is a true Canadian giant.

“New Orleans is Sinking” – The Tragically Hip

When The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2016, he didn’t stay home and let the illness dictate his life. Instead, he took his band on an inspirational tour that reminded Canadians just how ingrained The Tragically Hip is in the fabric of this country. There are many perfect Canada Day weekend songs this band has given us, but you can never go wrong by sticking to its biggest hit of all.

“Big Yellow Taxi” – Joni Mitchell

When it comes to one of the many Canadians who blazed the trail for female musicians, Joni Mitchell sits right there in the front row. During an era in which the boys ruled the school, Mitchell’s once-in-a-lifetime voice and indelible lyrical prowess endeared her to music fans everywhere.

“Life is a Highway” – Tom Cochrane 

If you’re a fan of this song, you know it’s always best to listen to while on the move. Whether it’s in the car, or dancing in the backyard with family and friends, Tom Cochrane’s ode to life on the road is a definite pleaser.

“The Hockey Song” – Stompin’ Tom Connors 

Apart from music, one of the other things Canadians do better than most is play hockey. Yes, we have a national anthem that’s beautiful and stands the test of time. But, for hockey fans in this land, few tunes exemplify Canadian pride better than “The Hockey Song.”

“Snowbird” – Anne Murray

Speaking of female musicians blazing trails in Canada and abroad, how could we not salute Anne Murray and the ear candy that is her voice? As personable as she is musically gifted, Murray is one of the earliest examples of how Canadians can shine beyond their borders.

“The Weight” – The Band

It’s been argued that The Band is one of the greatest, well, bands, to strap on or sit behind their instruments and let it fly. They rock, they channel the blues and go about as far south as a northern entity could go. With “The Weight,” The Band has given rock n’ roll history a sprawling, folksy anthem that feels like a warm blanket.

Speaking of beautiful Canadian music, we encourage you to tune in Friday, June 30 at 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT for a special encore presentation of “The Making of Yiddish O Canada.” Stay tuned at 11pm ET/8pm PT for a Canada 150 edition of “theZoomer”!

Here’s a preview of “The Making of Yiddish O Canada”:

-Adam Grant