National Treasure #166: Gord Downie & The Tragically Hip

Not a fan. I want to get that out of the way at the start. I can’t speak from the heart on this one.

I’m not not-a-fan, either. I wouldn’t recognize a Hip song if one fell on me. At 65, I’m too old to have grown up with the Hip’s music, and I’m too country/folk to have searched out their music as an adult.

But it’s completely clear that Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip are Canadian national treasures: for their music, for their place in Canada’s music scene, and for Gord’s activism.

Here’s The National’s summary.

Here’s part of Maclean’s tribute to Downie:

Gordon Edgar Downie was one of the most riveting and mystifying performers in rock’n’roll history. Anyone who managed to catch him fronting the Tragically Hip in 1985, playing covers at a roadhouse in Renfrew, Ont., could tell you that. As could anyone who watched him command 40,000 people at any given outdoor appearance during the 1990s, singing songs that were summer soundtracks for an entire generation. Video clips don’t do justice to the energy in the room generated by a performer who communicated more with a flick of the finger than anyone else’s high kicks. That’s what even newcomers discovered during the CBC broadcast of the Tragically Hip’s final show on Aug. 20, 2016, six months after Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. It was a Terry Fox story with a twist: a story where the protagonist completes his goal before the disease gets the better of him.

Here are the Hip’s top 10 songs, according to watchMojo (I think).

Here’s a concert from the Hip’s final tour, after Gord’s diagnosis with terminal brain cancer.


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