iHeartRadio 150: Songs 125 to 101
In its first 150 years, Canada has created a massive — and impressive — collection of music that is distinctly its own.
From coast to coast to coast, indigenous stories set to music and traditional maritime shanties resonate as much as contemporary rock ballads and pop anthems.
From Paul Anka to Zappacosta, Canada has given the world artists as diverse as the country itself. Many have conquered the globe, others have found that success at home is enough.
It is impossible to come up with a list of only 150 memorable Canadian songs. For each one you can name, there are 10 others just as worthy.
In celebration of Canada’s 150th, iHeartRadio asked its hosts and station music directors across the nation — as well as fans — to name their top songs by Canadian artists.
The result is a genre-blurring collection of tracks. Not all of the songs on the list were written by Canadians, and not all will be familiar to everyone — but each of them has earned a place in our hearts.
Like Drake, we started from the bottom.
Click here for Songs 150 to 126
Stay tuned as we reveal the complete list, 25 songs at a time, leading up to Canada Day.
125. July Talk - “Push + Pull”
This track, from the Toronto band’s 2016 album Touch, is pop… but not quite. The band once said of the song: “There was something intriguing about a verse that lies in a sort of ecstasy disco dream contrasting with such a big, heavy chorus that jolts you awake like a face-first plunge into ice-cold water.”
124. The Stills - “Still In Love Song”
“Still In Love Song” is featured on 2003’s Logic Will Break Your Heart, the debut album from the Montreal indie rockers who went on to win a pair of Juno Awards and open for Paul McCartney. The group called it quits in 2011 — but we’re still in love.
123. Hot Hot Heat - “Middle of Nowhere”
Victoria spawned Hot Hot Heat, which included this song on their sophomore album Elevator. Thanks to its use on some TV shows, the track managed to chart in the U.S. and UK.
122. Ariane Moffatt - “Point de mire”
Quebec singer-songwriter Ariane Moffatt became a focal point for many with this song, which is featured on her 2002 debut album Aquanaute. The album won three of the province’s Félix Awards.
121. Alessia Cara - “Scars to Your Beautiful”
Brampton, Ont.’s most famous export (sorry, Russell Peters) co-wrote “Scars to Your Beautiful” for her 2015 debut Know-It-All. Cara has said the song – which became her second Top 10 single in the U.S. – is about body image. She has said it’s “basically about embracing yourself and finally coming to that conclusion where you feel love and you can love yourself.”
120. Crystal Shawanda - “You Can Let Go”
Crystal Shawanda, an Ojibwe singer from the Wikwemikong reserve on Lake Huron, recorded “You Can Let Go” for her 2008 album Dawn of a New Day. Written by Cory Batten, Kent Blazy and Rory Lee Feek, the song was the fastest-rising debut Canadian country single ever and earned a nomination at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
Crystal Shawanda told iHeartRadio:
"When I was a little girl I watched my mom sing along with Loretta Lynn, and I could see it gave her comfort. Witnessing that made me want to be able to do the same for others. ‘You Can Let Go’ allowed me to connect that way with my fans on a personal level, because it gave so many of them closure, and peace. For me it made my dreams come true. There's really good medicine in this song.”
119. Daniel Powter - “Bad Day”
The B.C. native broke through in a big, big way with “Bad Day,” the first single from his self-titled major label debut. Recorded in 2002, the song was ubiquitous in 2005 and topped the charts all over the world. “It's a song about trying to make people feel better,” Powter once explained. “I’m making fun of you, but at the same time making fun of myself.”
118. Emerson Drive - “Moments”
Hailing from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Emerson Drive gave us “Moments” on the band’s 2006 album Countrified. The most-played country song on Canadian radio in 2007, it also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in the U.S. The song is about a guy who changes his mind about ending his life after encountering a homeless man on the bridge.
117. Broken Social Scene - “7/4 Shoreline”
Toronto’s famous music collective recorded “7/4 Shoreline” for their 2005 self-titled album. Written by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, it is one of BSS’s catchiest tracks.
116. Belly - “Might Not”
Ottawa-raised Belly (aka Ahmad Balshe) got some help from The Weeknd on “Might Not,” from his 2015 mix tape Up For Days.
115. Shad - “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home”
Raised in London, Ont., Shad (born Shadrach Kabango) recorded this song for 2007’s The Old Prince, which earned both a Juno Award and Polaris Music Prize nomination. In the video for the track, Shad has some fun with the theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
114. Gowan - “(You’re A) Strange Animal”
Toronto’s Lawrence Gowan — currently lead singer of Styx — put out some pretty theatrical songs in the ‘80s, including this one, the title track from his 1985 breakthrough album. You’ve gotta love a song that starts with cowbell and ends with “O Ominous Spiritus!”
113. Richard Séguin - “Journée d’Amérique”
Quebec’s Richard Séguin released this song in 1988, from the album of the same name — his fourth solo collection.
112. Tal Bachman - “She’s So High”
Born in Winnipeg but based in Victoria, Tal Bachman is the son of Canadian rock icon Randy Bachman — but he made a name for himself with this song from his 1999 self-titled debut album. A massive hit on both sides of the border, the track was inspired by a high school experience.
Tal Bachman told iHeartRadio:
“I wrote ‘She's So High’ in Fall of 1996, desperate for success as a musician. A few weeks later, I played it on an acoustic guitar for an EMI Music Publishing executive I met in Los Angeles. Halfway through the chorus, he put his hand on my guitar and said, "it's a smash.” Two-and-a -half years later, I experienced the thrill of hearing it on radio stations all over the world – from England to Australia, Japan to South Africa, and of course, here at home in Canada. 1999 was a special year for me, and so now is 2017, Canada's 150th birthday.”
111. Tegan and Sara - “Closer”
Tegan Quin penned this hit single (with some help from her twin sister Sara and Greg Kurstin) for the Calgary duo’s seventh studio album, Heartthrob. She has said the song is supposed to be a sweet reminder of a simpler time in relationships.
110. Sarah McLachlan - “Angel”
It’s impossible to listen to this song without picturing sad-eyed puppies and lonely kittens. But, “Angel” is, in fact, about the death of musicians from heroin overdoses. Featured on her 1997 album Surfacing, the song has brought millions of people comfort in times of tragedy and loss.
109. Deborah Cox - “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here”
Written by singer Montell Jordan with Anthony “Shep” Crawford, 1998’s “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here” was the first single off Deborah Cox’s second studio album, One Wish. It was a huge hit for the Toronto singer, earned her a Soul Train Award, and spawned countless remixes.
108. 54-40 - “I Go Blind”
Vancouver rock band 54-40 had a stroke of success with “I Go Blind” in 1986. Featured on their self-titled sophomore album, the song was a big hit — and had a second life a decade later when Hootie & the Blowfish recorded it for the Friends soundtrack.
107. Matthew Good Band - “Hello Time Bomb”
“Hello Time Bomb” was recorded by the B.C. band for their third album, 1999’s Beautiful Midnight and became one of its most popular. Nominated for a Juno Award, it was written by Matthew Good and Dave Genn on a dust-covered classical guitar that had been sitting around for years.
106. Three Days Grace - “Animal I Have Become”
The biggest rock band to ever come out of Norwood, Ont. (go ahead, name another one), Three Days Grace recorded “Animal I Have Become” for their second album, One-X. The song was reportedly inspired by singer Adam Gontier’s stint in rehab to battle an addiction to painkillers.
105. Death From Above 1979 - “Romantic Rights”
“Romantic Rights” comes from the 2004’s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, the debut album from Toronto punk pair Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler. The song charted in the UK and got performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (with Bruce Sprinsteen’s drummer Max Weinberg sitting in).
104. Jully Black (feat. DeMarco) - “Sweat Of Your Brow”
Toronto R&B queen Jully Black had us all bopping along to “Sweat of Your Brow,” which features a rap by DeMarco, on her 2005 debut This Is Me. Wait for it…wait for it…there’s a sample of Real to Reel’s 1993 hit “I Like to Move It.”
103. Buffy Sainte-Marie - “Now That The Buffalo’s Gone”
First Nations singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote this protest song for her 1964 album It’s My Way! and recorded several updated versions over the years.
Buffy Sainte-Marie told iHeartRadio:
“When I wrote ‘Now That the Buffalo’s Gone,’ I thought that if audiences only knew about the systemic unfairness against indigenous people, they would help, and in many cases they did. The song is about the building of Kinzua Dam in northern New York, which unilaterally broke the oldest treaty in Congressional archives and flooded the Seneca reservation. The Senecas are part of the Iroquois Confederacy who are located in both Canada and the U.S., and the song was the first time most people had ever considered the rights and abuses of indigenous people.”
102. Vincent Vallières - “On Va S’Aimer Encore”
This Sherbrooke, Quebec native had released four albums before “On Va S’Aimer Encore” from his 2011 album Le Monde Tourne Fort. It was a hit in his native province. Vallières has said he wrote the song in about 90 minutes, alone in his basement, inspired by an old Hank Williams record. Here’s your chance to love the song again.
101. Michael Bublé — “Haven’t Met You Yet”
Burnaby, B.C. crooner Michael Bublé enlisted the help of Amy Foster (daughter of legendary Canadian composer-producer David Foster) and Alan Chang to write this catchy song about the dream of finding that special someone. “Haven’t Met You Yet,” from his 2009 album Crazy Love, earned a Juno for Single of the Year in 2010 and was nominated for a Grammy.