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Great Canadian Tune Falls Short of Expectations

May 8th, 2009     by Mir Verburg     Comments

So the Luminato festival and The Heartbroken are trying to break the world record for largest guitar jam. To do this they are running a Top 10 Canadian Tunes contest where visitors can vote for 10 famous Canadian songs on a short list. The tunes will be ranked according to the votes and then played by anyone with a guitar and the ability to learn a song at a massive public jam this summer.

Great concept! But, check out the list of songs that have been pre-selected as the ‘best 10’:

  • 1234, Feist
  • Basement Apartment, Sarah Harmer
  • Boy Inside the Man, Tom Cochrane
  • Courage, The Tragically Hip
  • Cuts Like a Knife, Bryan Adams
  • Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen
  • Hasn’t Hit Me Yet, Blue Rodeo
  • Helpless, Neil Young
  • Taking Care of Business, BTO
  • The Weight, The Band

Yeah, I think I had this compilation from K-Tel.

The commenters at the Luminato site are similarly dejected about the choice of songs. This rock god slanted selection is not so indicative of the Canadian music people really love. It’s more like Canadian music that gets chosen for beer commercials.

There is a hat-tip to female songwriters in the form of Sarah Harmer and Feist, which is a good thing. But where the frack is Joni Mitchell? She’s releasing an autobiography this month, her face is all over the subway/metro, you’d think “A Case Of You” would have popped into someone’s head, or at least “Blue”? Not to mention K.D Lang. “Constant Craving” is so good the Rolling Stones tried to copy it. I mean there are even girl rock gods, Alanis Morissette - “You Oughtta Know.” Everyone knows that song.

Also, why do contest organizers say “Canadian” when what they mean is “English-Canadian?” I am not against a list of top 10 English-Canadian songs, but make that part of the rules of engagement, otherwise you have to include musicians like Jean LeLoup Kevin Parent, Daniel Boucher, and my personal favorite right now Marie-Pierre Arthur.

Okay fine, that last one I realize won’t make anyone’s guitar jam list because it’s too obscure, I just wanted to plug her songwriting because it is breathtakingly awesome. All the other artists mentioned here though are well-established and have written much-loved, oft-repeated Canadian songs.

Try again Luminato and ditch the BTO - that song sounds like a jingle by now.

Tags: playlist

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