10 Canadian Bands

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Concert Atmosphere

Concert Atmosphere

Welcome to my new series, the “Canadian List of Ten”! Ten weeks, ten posts, ten lists and one hundred new Canadian things for you, from food to language, from city to weather.

Today, we will start with music, something I really enjoy (and you may have noticed it given the number of concerts we went to!). Yes, singer Céline Dion is not the only Canadian in the industry. Sure, some Canadian-born artists moved to the U.S.A and became famous there. But Canada still have some great artists and bands.

Of course, this list is somehow biased: I’m more into rock music and I’m sure I’m forgetting many greats bands and artists — this is just a sample of what Canadians bring to music! The list doesn’t follow any particular order.

  1. Bryan Adams: Bryan Adams was born in Kingston, Ontario and he is one of the most famous Canadian rock-singer. He is most famous for his singles “Summer of 69”, “When You’re Gone”, “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”. I bought the On A Day Like Today Album in 2000 in China and brought it back with me in France. My friends and I loved the cheesy love songs lyrics back then and we even saw him live!
  2. Neil Young: he was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His style is between folk-esque accoustic rock and hard rock. His most famous songs include “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)”, “Sugar Mountain”, “Southern Man” and “The Needle and the Damage Done”.
  3. Crash Test Dummies: The Crash Test Dummies are a Canadian folk rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are best known for their song “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” and the hilarious “Superman’s Song”, the complaint of the superhero.
  4. The Guess Who: this is another 1970s rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. While you may have never heard of them, I’m sure you are familiar with the song “American Woman”, which was covered later by Lenny Kravitz.
  5. Alanis Morissette: Alanis is from Ottawa, Ontario and is a pop rock singer and songwriter. She became famous with her album “Jagged Little Pill internationally” in 1995, with singles like “Hand in My Pocket”, “Ironic” and “You Learn”.
  6. Rush: Rush is a heavy metal band from Toronto, Ontario. They made a come back in the mid 1990s and “One Little Victory” was the hit single.
  7. The Barenaked Ladies: this is an alternative rock band from Toronto, Ontario. One of their famous song is the funny “If I Had $1000000” hit.
  8. Nickelback: I’m going be honest, I don’t know why I’m listing this band that I can’t stand. Oh yeah, right, so that I can say bad things about it…! Nickelback is a band from Alberta and probably one of the the most commercially successful Canadian groups recently. To me, each song of this band sounds the same, and apparently I’m not the only one since the Rolling Stone magazine stated that the album was “is so depressing, you’re almost glad Kurt’s [Cobain, Nirvana’s lead singer who killed himself in 1994] not around to hear it“.
  9. Billy Talent: this is a punk rock band from Mississauga, Ontario. The band was formed in the 1990s but gained mainstream success only fairly recently. The band is famous for its songs “Fallen Leaves” and “Rusted from the Rain”.
  10. The Tragically Hip: the Hips are probably the most popular Canadian band in Canada and their concerts are invariably sold out. The band from Kingston is great live and lead singer Gordon Downie is famous for his rants and monologues in between songs. They usually sing about life in Canada and general Canadiana, such as in “Blow at High Dough”, “Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)”, “Fifty Mission Cap” and “The Lonely End of the Rink”.

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. The only band on your list I’ve not heard of is Billy Talent. I do really like The Hip, who don’t seem to have crossed the border at all. I also like Chantal Kreviazuk and The Cowboy Junkies.
    .-= Kirsten´s last blog ..Flying High =-.

  2. You hate Nickelback too? Good! I hate them too, for the same reason you mentioned: that they seem to not have originality. They use the same chord progressions for most of their songs. This is illustrated by this Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs4tNeGyTyI

    But, to add to your list of great Canadian bands, there’s Three Days Grace (whose songs can really work up my head if I let it); Theory of a Deadman; Our Lady Peace (one of my most favorite bands back in high school and college); and Default.
    .-= Linguist-in-Waiting´s last blog ..Lepidoptera =-.

  3. May I add Simple Plan and Sum 41? I know they’re not popular anymore but they’re still Canadian :p I haven’t listened to good music for a while…I don’t even know what’s popular in North America anymore.

  4. Great of you to put up a list like that as some might mix and think they are from the US.

    I miss one though; Leonard Cohen – a legend (was 75 some weeks ago) and very popular in Norway. He had an affair with a Norwegian woman long time ago. You might remember the song “So Long, Marianne” 🙂
    .-= RennyBA’s Terella´s last blog ..Oktoberfest party in Oslo Norway =-.

  5. @Seb – I think I saw Arcade Fire live as the opening band for U2 in 2005, actually.

    @Kirsten – Billy Talent is quite popular right now, I think the band is touring too.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I think I saw Our Lady Peace as an opening band too, just can’t remember at which concert. And Nickelback… yeah, I don’t get it.

    @Bluefish – I didn’t even know Sum 41 were Canadians! And I forgot Simple Plan – although I like some of their songs, they are played quite a lot on radio. They are from Montreal, aren’t they?

    @RennyBA’s Terella – How could I forget Leonard Cohen? Damn! I would have put him on the list. I love his music, especially “Waiting For The Miracle”.

  6. Billy Talent is huge among my son and his friends, like Sum41 was before. Simple Plan is still one of their preferred bands as well…

    I like most of the bands and singers you’ve mentioned, but I particularly enjoy listening to The Tragically Hip and the great melodies that the Barenaked Ladies create.
    .-= Gabriel´s last blog ..Workplace Pranks – #01 =-.

  7. Olivier Bouffard on

    Ah! Les maudits français et le peu de respect qu’ils ont envers leur propre langue!

    Je ne parle pas ici de l’éternel débat entre Parisiens et Montréalais à savoir si on “parke” dans le stationnement, ou si l’on stationne dans le “parking”…

    Quoi? Un “top ten” canadien, et que des anglais en vue… Il est temps de vous faire la leçon!

    1. Jean Leloup, d’abord mort, puis réincarné en Jean Leclerc… jusqu’à la résurrection de Jean Leloup (en passant par ses alter ego: John the Wolf et Massoud Al’Rachid… qui a fait le tour du monde en complet, noir destin que le sien!)

    2. Bran Van 3000; parce que si vous insistez pour avoir de l’anglais, choisissez-en au moins des pas ringards de Montréal! (ici on dit kétaines…) P.S. Arcade Fire peut aussi faire l’affaire; ou The Tea Party, au choix. On ira même jusqu’à tolérer les torontois de Sum 41, parce que le chanteur connait “Paris” comme le fond de sa poche…

    3. Les Colocs; dehors, bientôt novembre…

    4. Les Cow-Boys Fringants; pour leur musique, pas leur politique de cégépiens

    5. Mara Tremblay; nasillarde à en pleurer

    6. Caracol; ben quoi, avec votre compatriote Doriane Fabreg elle a bien fait un tube chez vous quand y’avait un “Doba” devant son nom?

    7. Les Trois Accords; avouons-le, vous les hexagonaux vous êtes un peu coincés. Ça va vous faire du bien…

    8. Les Vulgaires Machins; parce que vous avez les Wampas et qu’on n’est pas en reste

    9. Damien Robitaille; même si comme tout franco-ontarois qui se respecte il ne chante qu’en franglais, on l’aime bien quand même

    10. Coeur de Pirate; bof, mais en cherchant bien sur internet, on trouve des photos d’elle beaucoup plus nues que la plupart des autres chanteuse qui bâtissent leur carrière sur ça. Version 18 ans et moins: Mitsou.

    • J’allais faire une liste avec les francophones 😉

      Je dois cependant avouer mes limites: de la liste, je n’en connais que… trois, donc deux vus en concert (accidentellement, mind you, en premières parties). Ça va télécharger sec acheter de la musique légalement dans les magasins de disque ce soir…

  8. Hi!
    I just wrote a similar post, funny me in Norway and you in Canada. Just found your post and had to comment. Oh by the way I used to live in Manitoba to! Lynn Lake and Leaf Rapids. Many of my old friends live in Winnipeg now. Have a nice day! 🙂


    PS: My list of bands includes three of your choices
    .-= jarle royset´s last blog ..Ten Canadian bands I like! =-.

  9. I am so surprised… I thought The Stampeders would definitely be on the list..they were awesome..and they recorded 10 albums beginning in the 70’s and reunited in the 90’s to go back on tour in Canada

    • I’m sorry. I have never heard of them! Keep in mind I’m still fairly new in canada – may be because of that.

      No list is ever final anyway! 🙂

  10. My husband and I love a band out of Vancouver called EAST VAN EYE. Great stories set in Vancouver’s east side. We are going to go see them when we visit BC next year.

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