Time

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Pre-50s

1870: Emma Albani becomes Canada’s first singing superstar.
1879: The most popular traditional Canadian song of all-time is published—”Alouette!” The composer remains a mystery.
1922: Ragtime piano prodigy “Mr. Fingers” (William Eckstein) composes “Lest You Forget”.
1924: Canada’s first composer to sell phonograph records emerges when Guy Lombardo forms The Royal Canadians.
1929: Canada’s first singer-songwriter debuts—La Bolduc or Mary Rose-Anna Travers.
1932: Wilf Carter debuts, the grandfather of Canadian country.
1945: Canada’s first star of jazz appears—Oscar Peterson.
1947: Classical pianist Glenn Gould debuts.
1948: Vancouver nurse (Carmen) Elizabeth Clarke writes “There’s a Bluebird on Your Windowsill”.

1950s

1951: Félix Leclerc becomes Canada’s first international folk star.
1952: The Four Lads become Canada’s first successful R&B group.
1953: Gisele McKenzie’s “Seven Lonely Days” becomes a Top 10 hit in Britain.
1954: The Crew Cuts top the charts with their rendition of “Sh-Boom”.
1957: Paul Anka becomes Canada’s first teen idol and rock and roll superstar. His “Diana” becomes one of the best-selling singles of all-time worldwide.

1960s

1960: The Beau-Marks release the first rock recording made entirely in Canada: “Clap Your Hands”.
1960: Percy Faith has the #1 single of the year: “Theme from a Summer Place”.
1963: Ian & Sylvia record one of the biggest folk songs of all-time, “Four Strong Winds”.
1964: Walt Grealis begins publishing RPM magazine containing weekly charts of the most popular music across Canada.
1964: Gilles Vigneault’s “Mon Pays” makes him a legend.
1968: John Kay’s Steppenwolf coins the term “heavy metal” in their chart-topper “Born to Be Wild”.
1968: Montreal’s psychedelic rock show, L’Osstidcho, stirs things up in French Canada.
1969: Andy Kim co-writes The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar”, the biggest song of the year.
1969: The Guess Who launches the Canadian invasion in the U.S. beginning with “These Eyes”.

1970s

1970: The CRTC introduces new broadcast legislation designed to compel radio to promote Canadian music.
1970: The Gold Leaf Awards, shortly renamed to the Juno Awards, begins to honour the best in Canadian music annually.
1970: Anne Murray becomes an international sensation with “Snowbird”.
1972: Neil Young is the first Canadian to top the British Album Chart with Harvest.
1972: Diane Dufresne becomes the first Canadian female rocker.
1973: Michel Pagliaro’s “J’entends Frapper” is named the best-selling single to date in Quebec.
1974: Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun” is the #1 song of the year and sells 11 million copies worldwide.
1975: Canada introduces gold, platinum, and diamond sales certifications.
1978: Andre Gagnon’s Neiges released in 1975 becomes the first Canadian album to achieve multiplatinum certification.
1979: In response to the Juno Awards’ lack of attention to Francophone artists, Québec launches the Félix Awards.

1980s

1981: Diane Tell’s “Si j’étais un homme” win’s the Félix for Song of the Year.
1982: Bob and Doug McKenzie release their album The Great White North.
1985: A supergroup of Canadian stars, Northern Lights, record a charity single for African famine-relief: “Tears Are Not Enough”.
1985: Corey Hart’s “Never Surrender” is the #1 song of the year.
1985: Bryan Adams’ Reckless becomes the first album by a Canadian artist to sell a million copies in Canada (diamond).
1988: British Columbia’s Sally Yeh becomes a superstar in Greater China.
1989: Mitsou’s Franco song “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy” receives radio airplay in English Canada.
1989: Roch Vosine becomes the first Canadian to score a diamond album in France.
1989: Kon Kan’s “I Beg Your Pardon” becomes the decade’s highest-charting Canadian song in the U.K. (#5).

1990s

1990: Alannah Myles becomes the first female Canadian artist to score a diamond album in Canada.
1990: Céline Dion attains international superstardom with the release of her English crossover album, Unison.
1991: Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” is the biggest song of the year all over the world.
1992: Marie Carmen’s cover of “L’aigle noir” is the biggest Franco hit of the year.
1993: The world’s all-time best-selling female jazz artist debuts, Diana Krall.
1994: Six tracks off Éric Lapointe’s debut album make the Top 20 singles chart in Québec.
1995: Susan Aglukark becomes Canada’s first major Inuk recording artist.
1995: Kevin Parent’s Francophone debut album sells 360,000 copies.
1996: The year sees seven #1 singles from Canadian artists, a record.
1996: Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill becomes the first Canadian album to sell 2 million copies in Canada (double-diamond certification).
1997: Shania Twain releases the best-selling country album of all-time worldwide, Come on Over.
1997: Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery” is the biggest song of the year.
1998: Les Colocs score the year’s biggest Franco hit, “Tassez-vous de d’la”.
1998: “My Heart Will Go On” is a huge hit for Celine Dion, the theme song for Canadian director James Cameron`s Titanic which becomes the highest grossing movie of all-time.

2000s

2000: Isabelle Boulay and Garou score diamond albums in France.
2000: RPM magazine folds.
2002: Nickelback has the biggest song of the year, “How You Remind Me”.
2003: Canadian Idol begins its six-year run.
2004: Raghav scores three Top 10 hits in the U.K.
2004: Star Academie contestant Marie Elanie Thibert releases the single “Toi L’inoubliable” which is certified 6x Platinum.
2005: Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” is the #1 song of the year.
2007: Nelly Furtado becomes the only Canadian artist through the decade to win a BRIT award.
2007: The Best Damn Thing is Avril Lavigne‘s third album to go diamond in Japan.
2008: Elise Estrada becomes the first Canadian singer of east-Asian descent to score a radio hit across Canada.
2009: Justin Bieber becomes an international teen sensation.

2010s

2010: Many Canadian recording artists perform during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
2010: A supergroup of Canadian singers, as Young Artists for Haiti, record a reworking of K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” for earthquake relief.
2011: Michael Buble releases Christmas which is eventually certified diamond.
2012: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is the best-selling single of the year worldwide and the best-selling domestic Canadian single in history.

2013: Robin Thicke becomes the first Canadian citizen to top the year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100.
2014: “Rude” by MAGIC! and “Hideaway” by Kiesza are the first instances in history of debut singles from Canadians topping the UK Singles chart. MAGIC! becomes the first Canadian band in history to top that chart.
2015: Rocker Jean Leloup makes a big comeback and wins 5 Félix awards and a JUNO with platinum album À Paradis City.
2016:  Five songs involving Canadian artists top the weekly Billboard Canadian Hot 100.