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The Top 100 Canadian Albums

This is the kind of book a guy like me can’t not sign out of the library. Being the High Fidelity geek that you know me to be, I make these kinds of lists in my head all the time anyway, so I like to see what the other music geeks are up to these days.

I’m a big fan of Canadian music. Huge. Always have been. Oh, it’s not out of any real sense of patriotism, or a dislike of music from other places (to the contrary, I love music in general). I just know, deep in the cockles of my heart, that we have so many great bands right here at home, so why not listen in. Indeed!

What amazes me is that this is the first time anybody ever bothered to do a book like this… at least, so this book claims. I can’t tell you otherwise. And they’re right when they mention that, in America for example, the myth-building around their most popular artists has led to an avalanche of such things as this. Well, kudos to you, Bob Mersereau, for finally getting a Canuck version of something like this out there at last.

There are few real surprises in this list. All the biggies get their places. Of course, my personal picks for the Top 100 Canadian Albums would look very different from this book’s list, in a lot of ways. Oh, I could elaborate, even post my choices, but then you’d disagree with my list before you even got to see his list. Besides, I’d step on the toes of the countless people who never read this blog, and so I’ll spare the feelings those people didn’t even know they didn’t have, whilst simultaneously saving myself all of the non-backlash from all of our non-readers. I just figure every person would make a different list anyway, if they give topics like this any thought at all, and so be it. I’ll spare all none of you my own wankery… this time.

I will cave in, though, and tell you my two biggest beefs with this book’s list, and these are:

1) Yes, we admit it already! Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Band, Gordon Lightfoot and the Guess Who/BTO are important to Canadian music. We know this because you keep repeating it! But from looking at this list, Mersereau may just as well have made it the Top However Many Places It Took and shamelessly listed every album by these artists, thus getting it all out there once and for all. I mean, this short list of artists alone accounts for just over a quarter of the list (26/100)! So many great bands and albums got left out because the author couldn’t see past the icons this country clings to like drowning shipwreck survivors. Ahem.

2) Placing Eric’s Trip’s Love Tara at a measly #39 is a great big steaming load of horse puckey. To each their own, fair enough, but c’mon! That record’s a classic! Hm. Then again, it got mentioned, at least, and in this list of the mighty few that has gotta count for something.

See what I mean? It’s all subjective. And not to knock Neil, Joni, Gord, Burton and Randy, or anyone in the Band either. Nope, no way. I like all of them too (to varying degrees). It’s just that we, as Canadians, seem to have this desperate hero-worship thing going on with the three or four ‘truly famous’ artists/bands. By this I mean huge in America too, because we still can’t let that, as a measure of success, die the death it deserves, as well as been around so long by now that they’re entrenched in our minds and we can’t think without them. It takes way too long for other great bands to get out from under those massive, bloated shadows, if they ever manage it at all. That really sucks for the awesome artists who have to stay home from being included on lists like this, especially when they deserve it. I would have included you, Hawksley!

I would have made another rule in the deliberations of this list, and that would be limiting each selected artist to one album each. Imagine how different it would have been then!

Well, whatever the case (of you), I realized that of the albums on this particular list, I own 66% of them, so I guess I’m at least more than half as bad as the author is, for all my bitching about it. I’m such a good little music fan/Canuck, eh?

So, should you read the book if I’m posting the list below? Absolutely. If you care at all about the making of any of these records, or what the artists have to say about the times in which they were written, then yes! Mersereau uses new interviews, where possible, which is very cool. And there’s tons of lists within the main list, too, such as Gord Lewis’ Top 10 Canadian Punk Albums, Terry O’Reilly’s Top Ten Funniest and Coolest Canadian Album Titles, and countless others.

So yah, you should read it. And then go make your own friggin’ list.

 

Bob Mersereau’s The Top 100 Canadian Albums*

1. Harvest, Neil Young (1972)
2. Blue, Joni Mitchell (1970)
3. After the Gold Rush, Neil Young (1970)
4. Music From Big Pink, The Band (1968)
5. Fully Completely, The Tragically Hip (1992 )
6. Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette (1995)
7. The Band, The Band (1969)
8. Funeral, Arcade Fire (2004)
9. Moving Pictures, Rush (1981)
10. American Woman, The Guess Who (1970)
11. Songs of Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen (1967)
12. Reckless, Bryan Adams (1984)
13. Five Days in July, Blue Rodeo (1993)
14. Twice Removed, Sloan (1994)
15. Up to Here, The Tragically Hip (1989)
16. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Neil Young with Crazy Horse (1969)
17. 2112, Rush (1976)
18. Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell (1974)
19. Whale Music, Rheostatics (1992)
20. Acadie, Daniel Lanois (1989)
21. Day for Night, The Tragically Hip (1994)
22. Rust Never Sleeps, Neil Young & Crazy Horse (1979)
23. Gord’s Gold, Gordon Lightfoot (1975)
24. You Were Here, Sarah Harmer (2000)
25. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan (1993)
26. Road Apples, The Tragically Hip (1991)
27. Gordon, Barenaked Ladies (1992)
28. You Forgot it in People, Broken Social Scene (2002)
29. I’m Your Man, Leonard Cohen (1988)
30. Tonight’s the Night, Neil Young (1975)
31. Decade, Neil Young (1977)
32. Miss America, Mary Margaret O’Hara (1988)
33. Surfacing, Sarah McLachlan (1997)
34. One Chord to Another, Sloan (1996)
35. Songs of Love and Hate, Leonard Cohen (1971)
36. Cyborgs Revisted, Simply Saucer (1989)
37. Ingenue, k.d. lang (1992)
38. Melville, Rheostatics (1991)
39. Love Tara, Eric’s Trip (1993)
40. On the Beach, Neil Young (1974)
41. Not Fragile, Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974)
42. The Best of the Guess Who, The Guess Who (1971)
43. Let it Die, Feist (2004)
44. The Last Waltz, The Band (1978)
45. Night Train, The Oscar Petersen Trio (1963)
46. Down at the Khyber, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (2001)
47. Harvest Moon, Neil Young (1992)
48. Cuts Like a Knife, Bryan Adams (1983)
49. L’heptade, Harmonium (1976)
50. Teenage Head, Teenage Head (1979)
51. High Class in Borrowed Shoes, Max Webster (1977)
52. Hejira, Joni Mitchell (1976)
53. The Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould (1955 and 1982)
54. Forgarty’s Cove, Stan Rogers (1977)
55. Wheatfield Soul, The Guess Who (1968)
56. Si on avait besoin d’une cinquieme saison, Harmonium (1974)
57. Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaw, Bruce Cockburn (1979)
58. Frantic City, Teenage Head (1980)
59. Hymns of the 49th Parallel, k.d. lang (2004)
60. Hot Shots, Trooper (1979)
61. Robbie Robertson, Robbie Robertson (1987)
62. The Trinity Session, Cowboy Junkies (1988)
63. Ron Sexsmith, Ron Sexsmith (1995)
64. Nothingface, Voivod (1989)
65. Come on Over, Shania Twain (1997)
66. Everything I Long For, Hayden (1995)
67. Outskirts, Blue Rodeo (1987)
68. Joyful Rebellion, k-os (2004)
69. Sit Down Young Stranger/If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot (1970)
70. Love Junk, The Pursuit of Happiness (1988)
71. Jaune, Jean-Pierre Ferland (1970)
72. Somewhere Outside, The Ugly Ducklings (1966)
73. Electric Jewels, April Wine (1973)
74. Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot (1973)
75. Left and Leaving, The Weakerthans (2000)
76. Clumsy, Our Lady Peace (1997)
77. Harmonium, Harmonium (1974)
78. Share the Land, the Guess Who (1970)
79. Greatest Hits!, Ian & Sylvia (1970)
80. Steppenwolf, Steppenwolf (1968)
81. Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell (1970)
82. Bud the Spud and Other Favourites, Stompin’ Tom Connors (1969)
83. Shine a Light, Constantines (2003)
84. Shakespeare My Butt, The Lowest of the Low (1991)
85. Clayton Park, Thrush Hermit (1998)
86. Smeared, Sloan (1992)
87. Living Under June, Jann Arden (1994)
88. The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell (1975)
89. Bad Manors, Crowbar (1971)
90. Official Music, King Biscuit Boy With Crowbar (1970)
91. Lightfoot!, Gordon Lightfoot (1966)
92. Mad Mad World, Tom Cochrane (1991)
93. Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright (1998)
94. Face to the Gale, Ron Hynes (1997)

95. Hobo’s Taunt, Willie P. Bennett (1977)

96. Cowboyography, Ian Tyson (1986)
97. Favourite Colours, The Sadies (2004)
98. The Way I Feel, Gordon Lightfoot (1967)
99. A Farewell to Kings, Rush (1977)
100. We Were Born In A Flame, Sam Roberts (2003)

*I shamelessly copy/pasted the text of this list from Canada.com’s page, so my many thanks go to whomever typed the list up so I wouldn’t have to. By the way, they missed #95 in the list when they were posting it, and thus left off Sam Roberts at the end. I’ve corrected it for you here on our KMA page, Sam. You’re welcome.

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