Most Popular Canadian Songs of the New Millennium

Hit Singles collage

The CBC recently unveiled a list of the Top 100 most played songs on Canadian radio from January 1, 2001 to the present. The broadcaster did not provide statistics on the tally of radio spins for each and state whether or not the numbers were weighted according to station audience numbers. Cutting further confidence in the list’s accuracy is that the CBC stated it obtained the numbers from Nielsen SoundScan as opposed to Nielsen BDS. Furthermore, one may wonder why #1 smash hits like “Wavin’ Flag” did not make it or why Avril Lavigne’s #1 mega hit “Girlfriend” is not listed while second single from the same album “When You’re Gone” did.

All things considered, however, a list like this still works if seen more loosely as a review of some of the biggest Canadian hits of the millennium. Perhaps of greater value is that the list reminds us of some of the hits prior to the debut of the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 in mid-2007 when the Canadian Singles chart, based on scanty sales of CD singles, made little sense. It may thrill those who have forgotten about acts like Wave, Shaye, Default, and Mobile.

The CBC points out that Drake scored only one and there is quite a lack of rap representation. This confirms our belief that rap music in general, including stars like Drake, is much more popular south of the border than in Canada and Britain. It is that country’s brainchild after all. Justin Bieber did not make the Top 100. It is possible that he has had so many hits (47 made the Billboard Hot 100) that they had higher turnover rates on radio. One song from the 80s made the list and five from the 90s. Shania, Nelly, and Avril combined have 15 of the 100 songs. Hedley and Nickelback have seven songs each. The latter has nine if you include the two from frontman Chad Kroeger. A rock band has the #3 and #2 songs, and it isn’t Nickelback or Hedley. The #1 song does not come as a surprise as it was the #1 most purchased song of its year worldwide.

Use this list to review some of the finest, catchiest, most delicious songs created over the past 14 years by our super talented Canadian artists.

100. California, Wave, 2001
99. Out of My Head, Mobile, 2006
98. Happy Baby, Shaye, 2003
97. When You’re Gone, Avril Lavigne, 2007
96. All I Can Do, Chantal Kreviazuk, 2006
95. Up We Go, Lights, 2014
94. Never Too Late, Hedley, 2008
93. Hideaway, Kiesza, 2014
92. Crabbuckit, K-os, 2004
91. Life of the Party, Shawn Mendes, 2014

90. Like Magic, JRDN, 2011
89. Hurt Me Tomorrow, K’Naan, 2012
88. We Are Stars, Virginia to Vegas, 2014
87. Let’s Play, Kristina Maria, 2011
86. 123, Craig Smart, 2011
85. Everybody Wants to Be Like You, Snow, 2000
84. Give It to Me Right, Melanie Fiona, 2009
83. Everything, Michael Bublé, 2007
82. Rockstar, Nickelback, 2005
81. Keep Holding On, Avril Lavigne, 2006

80. Turn Off the Light, Nelly Furtado, 2000
79. A New Day Has Come, Céline Dion, 2002
78. 1234, Feist, 2007
77. Crazy All My Life, Daniel Powter, 2012
76. So Complicated, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, 2001
75. That Doesn’t Impress Me Much, Shania Twain, 1998
74. Love Song, Sky, 1999
73. Kiss Goodnight, Tyler Shaw, 2012
72. Pieces, Sum 41, 2005
71. Electric, Shawn Desman, 2010

70. Party For Two, Shania Twain, 2004
69. Good Time, Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City, 2012
68. Hero, Chad Kroeger, 2002
67. She’s So High, Tal Bachman, 1999
66. If Today Was Your Last Day, Nickelback, 2008
65. Far Away, Nickelback, 2006
64. Heaven in Our Headlights, Hedley, 2014
63. Man! I Feel Like a Woman, Shania Twain, 1999
62. Inner Ninja, Classified, 2012
61. For the Nights I Can’t Remember, Hedley, 2007

60. Forever and For Always, Shania Twain, 2003
59. Jet Lag, Simple Plan, 2011
58. Drive My Soul, Lights, 2008
57. Seven Day Fool, Jully Black, 2007
56. Powerless, Nelly Furtado, 2003
55. Night Like This, Shawn Desman, 2010
54. All Good Things, Nelly Furtado, 2006
53. Gotta Be Somebody, Nickelback, 2008
52. Summer of ’69, Bryan Adams, 1985
51. Never Too Late, Three Days Grace, 2007

50. Santa Monica, Theory of a Deadman, 2005
49. I’m Gonna Getcha Good, Shania Twain, 2002
48. Brand New Chick, Anjulie, 2011
47. Jealous, Chromeo, 2014
46. Life is a Highway, Tom Cochrane, 1991
45. Breathing Underwater, Metric, 2012
44. Perfect, Hedley, 2009
43. Anything, Hedley, 2013
42. Up, Shania Twain, 2002
41. Someday, Nickelback, 2003

40. Innocent, Our Lady Peace, 2002
39. Money Honey, State of Shock, 2007
38. Somewhere Out There, Our Lady Peace, 2002
37. Why Don’t You and I, featuring Chad Kroeger, 2002
36. Home, Michael Bublé, 2005
35. Photograph, Nickelback, 2005
34. Crazy for You, Hedley, 2013
33. Ghost, Fefe Dobson, 2010
32. Stuttering, Fefe Dobson, 2010
31. Haven’t Met You Yet, Michael Bublé, 2009

30. Summer Paradise, Simple Plan, 2012
29. Goodbye, Glenn Morrison, 2013
28. Don’t Call Me Baby, Kreesha Turner, 2008
27. Alone Again, Alyssa Reid, 2010
26. I’m With You, Avril Lavigne, 2002
25. Dangerous, Kardinal Offishall, 2008
24. Brother Down, Sam Roberts, 2002
23. What I Wouldn’t Do, Serena Ryder, 2012
22. Closer, Tegan and Sara, 2012
21. Red Hands, Walk Off the Earth, 2012

20. Wasting My Time, Default, 2001
19. Africa, Karl Wolf, 2008
18. Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke, 2013
17. I’m Like a Bird, Nelly Furtado, 2000
16. Rude, Magic, 2013
15. Stereo Love, Mia Martina, 2009
14. Beautiful U R, Deborah Cox, 2008
13. Hold On, We’re Going Home, Drake, 2013
12. Kiss You Inside Out, Hedley, 2012
11. Stompa, Serena Ryder, 2012

10. Say It Right, Nelly Furtado, 2006
9. When the Night Feels My Song, Bedouin Soundclash, 2004
8. Bad Day, Daniel Powter, 2005
7. Complicated, Avril Lavigne, 2002
6. How You Remind Me, Nickelback, 2001
5. This Is What It Feels Like, featuring Trevor Guthrie, 2013
4. Hello, Dragonette and Martin Solveig, 2010
3. Paralyzer, Finger Eleven, 2007
2. One Thing, Finger Eleven, 2003
1. Call Me Maybe, Carly Rae Jepsen, 2012

To Sir With Love from Nikki and Dan

Those who grew up in the 1960s will remember “To Sir with Love”, the second biggest song of 1967 (behind “The Letter” by The Box Tops). “To Sir With Love” was performed by British singer Lulu for the movie of the same name starring American actor Sidney Poitier. The song was co-written by Canada’s own Mark London and is being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. For this year’s induction process, the CSHF has teamed up with the CBC/Radio Canada to have modern recording artists perform covers of the songs to help introduce these classics to a modern audience. “To Sir With Love” is covered by Montreal jazz-pop sensation Nikki Yanofsky and Justin Bieber’s guitarist Dan Kanter from Ottawa (who is also a judge on The Next Star).

What the Stars Have Been Up To, Jan 2015

The holiday season behind us and a new year unfolding, here’s what the stars have been up to as of late.

Avril Lavigne reindeer copy

Avril Lavigne may be our reigning dear, but she also likes to strike a pose. Given that she really is as beautiful as her music, any pose will do for us.

Victoria Duffield skating copy

Victoria Duffield not only gives us some of the best dance moves, she can skate too! Perhaps Kurt Browning will join her one day.

Eva Avila in Hong Kong copy

Eva Avila really was meant to fly; during the holidays, she flew all the way to gorgeous Hong Kong! We wonder if she’ll release a Canto-pop single in the future.

Wanting Qu Kauai, Hawaii copy

Perhaps tired of the cold growing up in Harbin, China as well as living in Canada, Wanting Qu decided she needed some nice warm weather and swung down to Kauai, Hawaii.

MacKenzie Porter and Kira Isabella copy

Kira Isabella was feeling rather chilly, so she decided to begin chillin’ with MacKenzie Porter.

The Weeknd Sam Taylor-Johnson copy

Chillin’ with British director Sam Taylor-Johnson? The Weeknd earned it. HIs Fifty Shades of Grey single is out now. The movie must be a hit given the packed theat…oh dear.

Lights chapel

What looks like a chamber from a video game is real. But it looks so much better when graced by the presence of the goddess of LIGHTS.

MAGIC and Taylor copy

Finally, it appears some Canadian gents are putting on the magic charms to woo Taylor Swift, or perhaps it was the other way around. Some might call it “Rude”, but you can always “Shake It Off”, eh.

Saint Patrick’s Day – Bonny Portmore

saint patrick's dayToday is Saint Patrick’s Day. Patty was not from Ireland but from Wales, and his real name was Maewyn. He was kidnapped by Irish marauders when he was 16 and spent the next six years in servitude as a shepherd in Ireland when he experienced a religious awakening and proceeded to study in a monastery. Afterwards, he took it upon himself to teach Christianity through the land often using the shamrock to explain the trinity. He died on March 17 in the year 461, and the day was declared a religious festival, Saint Patrick’s Day. Two hundred years later, Ireland, as a whole, adopted Christianity.

the visitPatrick certainly had the luck of the Irish — as a young man he escaped the captors who enslaved him, and several times later in life he escaped arrest by the druids who didn’t appreciate his missionary activities. Speaking of druids, one of the most famous traditional Irish songs is “Bonny Portmore” which laments the demise of Ireland’s oak forests, especially The Great Oak of Portmore, which was uprooted in a windstorm in 1760, and the lumber was subsequently used to make boats. Canadian Celtic superstar Loreena McKennitt recorded her version of the song for her 1991 quadruple platinum album The Visit. We have embedded a video of the song below with scenes of Ireland to mark the occasion. Loreena McKennitt has sold 14 million records worldwide.

Blast From The Past: Squeeze some Lime into that dance mix, eh

lime - babe we're gonna love toniteMontréal spousal duo Denis and Denyse LePage under the name Lime let loose an EDM delight back in 1982 called “Babe We’re Gonna Love Tonite”. While it did not chart nationally, it was somewhat of a dance floor staple in their hometown and is growing more popular with age. Synth enthusiasts will drool over the fact that these guys managed to get their hands on a Polymoog, a collectors’ item today. Check out as well Denyse’s savoury singing style. This tune is filled with enough cheeky 80s camp to make RV owners flee back to the city.

Blast from the Past: “Breaking Up” by Images in Vogue Live on The Vancouver Show

Ah, the early 80s when large glasses were in fashion and only sailors had tattoos.  Images in Vogue were one of the more successful new wave / syth acts of the time and helped pave the way for modern electronic rock masters like LIGHTS, Metric, and Grimes.  Skinny Puppy became a daker offshoot of the band a few years later.  Here is Images in Vogue led by Dale Martindale performing “Breaking Up” live on The Vancouver Show.  They are introduced by locally famous entertainment host Wayne Cox.  Incidentally, my brother appeared as a guest on one of the game shows Cox hosted 🙂  The sound quality is not the best, but I think the vintage footage adequately captures the spirit of the day.  Enjoy.

Blast from the Past: Bruno Pelletier, “Le temps des cathedrales”

In celebration of Bruno Pelletier’s 11th studio album, we present the following blast from the past.  “Notre-Dame de Paris” was a Canadian-made musical based on the famous novel by Victor Hugo.  The music was composed by Italian songwriter Richard Cocciante with lyrics by Canada’s Luc Plamondon.  The production debuted in Paris in 1998 with an international cast.  The show made its way around the world — Spain, China, Italy, Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Russia, the US, Haiti, Korea, and Belgium.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this magnificent Canadian production had the most successful first year of any musical in world history.  The soundtrack achieved quintuple-platinum certification at home.  One of the stars in both the French and British cast was Canadian singer Bruno Pelletier who played the character of Gringoire.  “Le temps des cathédrales” was the opening song of the show and Bruno Pelletier nailed it, he simply nailed it.  Enjoy.

Blast From the Past: 1999’s “Before You” by CK

When Prince sang “We’re going to party like it’s 1999” and the year finally rolled around, there was perhaps more talk of Y2K than partying, that overlooked computer glitch that was “a train wreck waiting to happen on the way to nowhere…”

1999 began with the launch of the Euro, was rocked by conflict in Kosovo, and ended with the United States handing over complete administration of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian government.

Here at home, we saw the birth of a new territory called Nunavut and the death of beloved country star Hank Snow. Eaton’s went bankrupt, Air Canada took over Canadian Airlines, and Gretzky retired from playing hockey.

At the cinema, our Mike Myers had the third most popular movie of the year (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) behind #1 Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and #2 Toy Story 2. The most recognized Canuck film was Sunshine starring Ralph Fiennes.

And yes, the year was filled with tension about the so-called Y2K virus. When the year ended, nothing happened.

The most popular albums in Canada through the year were #1 Millennium by The Backstreet Boys, #2 Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, and #3 Come on Over by Shania Twain. The biggest song of the year was Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” followed by Sugar Ray’s “Every Morning”, and The Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way”. The most successful Canadian tune was Sky’s “Love Song”, the 6th most popular song of the year.

At the JUNOs, the award for BEST POP/ADULT ALBUM went to a record that was 52nd of the year (released in October) and was certified double-platinum. Its author won the JUNO for BEST FEMALE ARTIST.  The album was the sophomore work of a piano prodigy singer-songwriter from Winnipeg who, in addition to becoming one of the country’s most beloved artists, has written / co-written songs for Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Hilary Duff, Carrie Underwood, and Avril Lavigne among others.

Colour, Moving, and Still is perhaps our favourite Canadian album of all-time. From start to finish, the music is refreshingly inspired, complex, literary, reflective, yearning, beautiful, and earnest. Though the album opener, “Blue”, is perhaps our favourite track, it was the playful “Before You” that became its biggest hit. It scaled up the RPM charts peaking at #2 and finished in the Year-End Top 100 at #71.

Our blast from the past is 1999’s, “Before You” by Chantal Kreviazuk. Enjoy.

Blast from the Past: “Spaceship Superstar” by Vancouver’s Prism

“With all the work that they’ve accomplished over their past several days in space, the space shuttle Discovery crew members have just a few more tasks left to complete before they say goodbye to their International Space Station colleagues. The crews’ last day together started at 2:23 a.m., with the wakeup song, ‘Spaceship Superstar’ by Prism. It was chosen for all Discovery crew members by the team of flight controllers who have been supporting them overnight throughout the mission.”

 — NASA, 6 March 2011

Undoubtedly one of the greatest Canadian classic rock tunes of all-time.  It was released in 1977.

Blast from the Past – 1st Canadian Country Hit

With the CCMA awards coming up, and brand new Canadian talent on the rise like CRMA winner Kira Isabella and Dallas Smith, I couldn’t help think about the legend who started it all, the grandfather of Canadian country, Wilf Carter.  RCA in Montreal recorded Canada’s very first hit country record way back in 1932, Wilf Carter’s “My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby” / “The Capture of Albert Johnson”.  Enjoy a real Canadian classic.

Toronto’s MADRID Is Out to Sea

Every so often, we highlight a Canadian artist we feel is deserving of more attention than they are receiving.  Adam Perry, Duncan Christie, and Eric Lightfoot were off to a good start in 2003.  Naming themselves MADRID, they released their debut album Warm Waters which drew immediate attention from the other side of the Atlantic.  Their music was featured on the BBC World News hailing their work as “the indie record Boards of Canada never made”.  (Boards of Canada are a band from Scotland).

Their sound has been described as a blend of electronic, psychedelic, and shoestep.  To us they sound like a mixture of Tones on Tail / Love & Rockets and Slowdive (that’s meant to be a big compliment).  They were admired so much by the likes of internationally acclaimed electronic musician Ulrich Schnauss that he remixed one of their songs featured in their followup 2007 EP First Message.  Last year, Madrid came out with LP Original Message which the CBC says “combines club-worthy dance tracks and late-night slow jams that raise both the hands and the heart. … The result is not only inspired, but stunning. Their unforgettable electronic sound continually proves that MADRID are clearly ahead of their time. “

As always, we like to let the music speak for itself.  Below is the gorgeous “Out to Sea” from their latest album.

MADRID on   Facebook   iTunes

Blast from the Past: Lorne Greene’s “Ringo”

Over the past few years, recording engineers have unholstered their trigger fingers in the trend of speeding up recordings to make male singers sound female without their having to fill us with their falsettos.  They have not offered an explanation for doing this.  Why not simply have female singers voice the songs?  Lorne Greene (1915-1987) was a man who sang like a man, though, in this particular hit (his biggest), he does not sing but … raps I suppose?

Lorne Greene was born in Ottawa and attended the prestigious Queen’s University in Kingston initially pursuing a career in chemical engineering.  While there, he dabbled in acting and became involved with the campus radio station.  He realized that this was more of a calling for him than mastering the periodic table of elements.  He landed a job as a radio broadcaster with the CBC and moved up in the ranks very quickly becoming known as “The Voice of Canada”.  During World War II, however, constant disturbing news reports turned the tide for him into the “Voice of Doom”.

Greene decided to branch out and began narrating films for the National Film Board.  This led to small parts in Hollywood films and television series.  He was given a major role in the hit TV series “Bonanza” which ran from 1959 to 1973.  During this period, he recorded several country albums and scored a few hit singles.  His biggest hit, a chart-topper, was the spoken word piece “Ringo” in 1964.

Blast From the Past: Doucette

JUNO award winning (Jerry) Doucette was an exceptionally talented guitarist and singer-songwriter originally from Montreal, eventually settling in Vancouver where he launched his solo career.  He is one of those great ones who enjoyed hits on the radio but many seem to have forgotten.  Doucette scored hits like “Mama Let Him Play“, “Nobody, and “All I Wanna Do”.  One of his albums was certified platinum.  He was quite versatile in that he made some rockin’ numbers as well as soft rock / adult contemporary tunes but in either case his music was always melodic with rich harmonies.  The Canadian Music Blog wishes to make mention of him lest his fabulous contributions to Canadian music get lost in the cobwebs of crusty memory.  Music videos were not so abundant in the 1970s, so here is a fan assembled video for his hit “All I Wanna Do”:

Blast from the Past: “Whatever It Takes” by Ron Sexsmith

St. Catharine’s Ron Sexsmith has been nominated for a JUNO 13 times and won twice.  One of the wins was the prestigious Songwriter of the Year award in 2005.  Of the 3 songs for which he received the award, one of them was “Whatever It Takes”, perhaps his most successful song to date.  Michael Buble covered the song in more of a Latin style.  Nothing tops the original in our humble opinion, however.  This is music for the heart.  Its beauty is absolutely priceless.  Wish there were a higher resolution video but we’ll have to make do with this.


Blast from the Past: Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession” on Piano

In the 1970s, Walter Murphy recorded a modern rock ‘n roll version of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.  Though it may not have been the first, it was at the time the most popular instance of converting acoustic or orchestral music into modern rock.  Through the years, other artists have done the same with classical compositions.  Acoustic country and folk music has also been converted into electric / electronic rock.

In the late 1980s, the opposite became trendy: performing popular rock tunes “unplugged”.  Surprise, surprise: good compositions sound good on squeaky acoustic guitars, plunky pianos, and other ancient unplugged instruments.  (The only acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century was the steel drum).

If music is like language, then converting it from one genre to another is like translating something from one language into another.  It is expressed with different sounds but has the same meaning.  Sarah McLachlan will be performing her hits with symphony orchestras around northern America beginning in June.

In 1993, Sarah released her quintuple platinum album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.  One of the more popular tracks was the new wave tune “Possession“.  The song opened the album and an acoustic piano version was also included as a “hidden track” at the end of the album.

As part of CBC’s Toque Sessions, Sarah performs the song live on piano.  “Possession” is such inspired composition that you know it’ll sound good whether it’s done with an orchestra, a banjoist from the U.S. deep south, an electronic wizard from Iceland, or a Jamaican reggae artist.

It’s Friday, and we’ve all had a challenging week at work or school.  Grab a coffee or tea, sit back, relax, and enjoy Sarah McLachlan (and don’t forget to don a toque, eh):