Happy Canada Day: The Biggest & Best Canadian Music of All Time

by VVN Music

Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Canada and both the CBC and Nielsen have celebrated with lists of the biggest and best in Canadian music.

The CBC lists were assembled by asking musicians, writers, actors and artists from around the world to name their best in a variety of categories.

Neil Young's Harvest tops the list of the greatest Canadian albums with Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations in second and Joni Mitchell's Blue at third. Young managed three songs in the full 100, Harvest (1), After the Gold Rush (18) and Tonight's the Night (55).

The top twenty:
  1. Harvest - Neil Young
  2. The Goldberg Variations - Glenn Gould
  3. Blue - Joni Mitchell
  4. Funeral - Arcade Fire
  5. Night Train - Oscar Peterson
  6. The Band - The Band
  7. Twice Removed - Sloan
  8. Quatre saisons dans le desordre - Daniel Belanger
  9. Songs of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen
  10. Ingenue - k.d. lang
  11. Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
  12. Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette
  13. Fully Completely - The Tragically Hip
  14. Holst: The Planets - Orchestra Symphonique de Montreal and Charles Dutoit
  15. Five Days in July - Blue Rodeo
  16. Let It Die - Feist
  17. 2112 - Rush
  18. After the Gold Rush - Neil Young
  19. You Forgot It in People - Social Scene
  20. Fumbling Towards Ecstacy - Sarah McLachlan
You can scroll through the whole list at the CBC site

Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now was named the Best Canadian Song followed by Neil Young's Helpless and the Tragically Hip's Wheat Kings
  1. Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell
  2. Helpless - Neil Young
  3. Wheat Kings - Tragically Hip
  4. The Weight - The Band
  5. Wake Up - Arcade Fire
  6. American Woman - Guess Who
  7. Tom Sawyer - Rush
  8. Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
  9. Mushaboom - Feist
  10. Let the Backbone Slide - Maestro Fresh Wes
  11. Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
  12. Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams
  13. Four Strong Winds - Ian & Sylvia
  14. Universal Soldier - Buffy Sainte-Marie
  15. Lovers in a Dangerous Time - Bruce Cockburn
  16. Lost Together - Blue Rodeo
  17. Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
  18. Coax Me - Sloan
  19. Needle and the Damage Done - Neil Young
  20. Constant Craving - k.d. lang

Arcade Fire were chosen as the Best Canadian Band while k.d. lang was named the Best Canadian Singer.

  1. Arcade Fire
  2. The Band
  3. Rush
  4. Sloan
  5. The Tragically Hip
  6. Tegan and Sara
  7. Rascalz
  8. Harmonium
  9. A Tribe Called Red
  10. New Pornographers
Singers
  1. k.d. lang
  2. Maureen Forrester
  3. Burton Cummings
  4. Joni Mitchell
  5. Feist
  6. Celine Dion
  7. The Weeknd
  8. Sarah McLachlan
  9. Rufus Wainwright
  10. Anne Murray
The CBC also declared that "the greatest songwriters in the world are Canadian" which may or may not be true but they certainly made a case with their list:
  1. Joni Mitchell
  2. Leonard Cohen
  3. Neil Young
  4. Buffy Sainte-Marie
  5. Gordon Lightfoot
  6. Gord Downie
  7. Bruce Cockburn
  8. Randy Bachman & Burton Cummings
  9. Feist
  10. Drake

Nielsen released a more limited set of charts, naming Canada's biggest music and artists based on new method of data tracking started in 1996.

Amazingly, only one album in their top ten comes from an artist that hasn't been recording for twenty years or more with the list dominated by two women, Celine Dion with four of the top ten and Shania Twain with two:
  1. Come On Over - Shania Twain
  2. Let's Talk About Love - Celine Dion
  3. Up! - Shania Twain
  4. Surfacing - Sarah McLachlan
  5. Let Go - Avril Lavigne
  6. All the Way: A Decade of Song - Celine Dion
  7. Christmas - Michael Buble
  8. Clumsy - Our Lady Peace
  9. Falling Into You - Celine Dion
  10. These Are Special Times - Celine Dion
Billboard has a compilation of the Nielsen lists

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