iHeartRadio 150: Songs 150 to 126
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’re starting from the bottom. Stay tuned as we reveal the complete list, 25 songs at a time, leading up to Canada Day.
150. The Strumbellas - “Spirits”
The Strumbellas put out an EP and two albums (and won a Juno) before 2016’s Hope put the Ontario group on the map. A lot of the attention was thanks to this song, which charted around the world and achieved Gold status in the U.S. and France.
149. Men Without Hats - “Safety Dance”
Sometimes interpreted as a safer sex anthem, this 1983 new wave hit is, according to singer-songwriter Ivan Doroschuk, atually meant to be anti-establishment – inspired by bouncers who stopped him from pogo-ing at a club.
148. Paul Anka - “Diana”
“Diana” was written by Ottawa native Paul Anka when he was still a teenager. Released in 1957, it topped the charts in Canada and was a hit around the world. Anka has said the song was inspired by a girl he barely knew, Diana Ayoub, who attended his church, St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox.
147. Dean Brody - “Brothers”
B.C.-born country singer Dean Brody wrote this song for his 2008 self-titled album. It charted on both sides of the Canadian border.
Dean Brody told iHeartRadio:
“When I wrote ‘Brothers’ it meant a lot to me but I had no idea it would resonate with so many others as well,” Brody told iHeartRadio. “I think it became a special song because it gave a glimpse into what families might go through when they have a loved one go off to fight for their country. It's a song about my heroes.”
146. MAGIC! - “Rude”
The first single from the debut album by Toronto’s MAGIC! was a smash following its release in the summer of 2014. Lead singer Nasri Atweh has said the reggae fusion song was inspired by an unhealthy relationship.
145. Martha and the Muffins - “Echo Beach”
This Toronto band, fronted by Martha Johnson, won a Juno Award for this 1980 single from their debut album. The song, written by Mark Gane, is about yearning to relive memorable times in one’s life.
144. Platinum Blonde - “Doesn’t Really Matter”
Featured on the well-coifed Toronto band’s first full-length album Standing in the Dark, “Doesn’t Really Matter” was a big hit in 1984 and put the group in heavy rotation on Much.
143. Karkwa - “Oublie Pas”
This 2008 track from the Montreal indie rock band’s album Le Volume du vent helped earn it a spot on the Polaris Music Prize Long List.
142. Crowbar - “Oh, What A Feeling”
Released in 1970 as part of the Hamilton, Ont. group’s second album Bad Manors, this song still has Canadians singing “Bop bada baa, Bop bada baa.” What a rushhh…
141. KAYTRANADA - “Glowed Up”
“Glowed Up” comes from the debut album from Montreal-based KAYTRANADA (aka Louis Kevin Celestin) and features Anderson .Paak. The song helped the album, 99.9%, win the 2016 Polaris Music Prize and a Juno as Electronic Album of the Year.
140. Jazz Cartier - “Tempted”
The first single from his debut album Fleurever put Jazz Cartier (aka Jaye Adams) on the musical map. At this year’s Juno Awards he beat out a fellow Toronto rapper named Drake.
139. Grimes - “Oblivion”
Vancouver-born artist Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes, started making music while attending university in Montreal. “Oblivion,” from her 2012 collection Visions, earned a spot on NME’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Grimes told Spin the song was inspired by a real-life sexual assault. “I had a really hard time engaging in any types of relationship with men,” she said, “because I was just so terrified of men for a while.”
138. Treble Charger - “Red”
A rock band from Sault Ste. Marie, Treble Charger put “Red” on its 1994 debut nc17, where it didn’t get much attention. It was re-recorded and released as a single from their 1997 album Maybe It’s Me — and took off. A poll in Chart magazine ranked “Red” eighth on a list of the greatest Canadian songs of all time.
137. Marianas Trench - “Beside You”
Vancouver’s Marianas Trench debuted “Beside You” on Masterpiece Theatre, their sophomore album in 2009. The video, shot in their hometown, was No. 1 on the Much countdown.
136. GOB - “I Hear You Calling”
This punk band from B.C. included “I Hear You Calling” on their third studio album, 2000’s The World According to Gob — and then recorded a new version for the U.S. edition of their next album, Foot in Mouth Disease.
135. Dream Warriors - “My Definition”
Dream Warriors (Toronto’s King Lou and Capital Q) tapped into Canadian pop culture by sampling Quincy Jones’ “Soul Bossa Nova,” which was used as the theme to the long-running homegrown game show Definition. “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style,” from the duo’s 1991 debut album And Now The Legacy Begins, won a Juno for Rap Recording of the Year.
134. Robert Charlebois - “Lindberg”
Legendary Montreal artist Robert Charlebois debuted “Lindberg” (which features Louise Forestier) on the 1968 album of the same name. Arguably, Quebec music has never been the same. The song won numerous awards and remains Charlebois’ most popular.
133. Metric - “Gimme Sympathy”
Toronto rock band Metric, fronted by Emily Haines, put “Gimme Sympathy” on their fourth album, 2009’s Fantasies. It laments the fact that no one is likely to match the iconic status of acts like The Rolling Stones or Beatles.
132. Caribou - “Can’t Do Without You”
Daniel Snaith of Ontario, who performs and records under the name Caribou, put “Can’t Do Without You” on his 2014 album Our Love, which earned a Grammy nomination. There was on accolade Snaith wasn’t pleased about, though. American conservative talk show Rush Limbaugh described the track as “my new favourite song of all time right now,” after hearing it on an episode of How to Get Away With Murder. Snaith tweeted: “F*** off.”
131. Hawksley Workman - “Jealous Of Your Cigarette”
Ontario singer-songwriter scored a hit in 2001 with this track from his album (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves. “I'm jealous of your cigarette and all the things you do with it,” he sings. “I'm jealous of your cigarette and the pleasure that you get from it.”
130. The Tea Party - “Temptation”
Ontario’s The Tea Party released “Temptation” on their fourth album, 1997’s Transmission, which was recorded near Montreal.
129. Serena Ryder - “Stompa”
Written by Serena Ryder and Jerrod Bettis, “Stompa” is a celebration of the power of music. Included on Ryder’s sixth studio album, 2012’s Harmony, it was a hit both at home and south of the border – and was translated into French.
128. Trooper - “Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time)”
Formed in Vancouver in the mid-70s, Trooper gave the country — and the world — anthems like “Raise A Little Hell” and “The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car.” This track, released on the band’s 1977 album Knock ‘Em Dead Kid (produced by Randy Bachman) features a sing-along chorus you can’t resist.
127. Radio Radio - “Jacuzzi”
The Nova Scotia hip-hop trio found success, especially in Quebec, with this single from their 2008 debut studio album Cliché Hot. What could be more Canadian than a rap in the Acadian French language Chiac?
126. Alexisonfire - “Accidents”
This track from the Ontario band’s 2004 album Watch Out! is seemingly about the not-so-healing aspects of hospitals and modern medicine (and, ironically, doesn’t include the title in its lyrics).