iHeartRadio 150: Songs 50 to 26
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 75 to 51
Click here for Songs 100 to 76
Click here for Songs 125 to 101
Click here for Songs 150 to 126
50. Steppenwolf - “Born to be Wild”
That guitar riff! Those lyrics that scream freedom! Everyone knows Steppenwolf’s 1968 hit, which was written by Dennis McCrohan (aka Mars Bonfire) of Oshawa, Ont. and put the Toronto band on the map thanks to its use in the movie Easy Rider.
49. Kardinal Offishall ft. Akon - “Dangerous”
Toronto’s Kardinal Offishall got some help from Akon for “Dangerous,” which was featured on his 2008 album Not 4 Sale. The track was a huge hit and earned a Juno Award for Single of the Year.
48. Drake ft. Rihanna - “Take Care”
The title track from Drake’s 2011 album features vocals from Rihanna.
47. Billy Talent - “Try Honesty”
Hailing from the Toronto area, Billy Talent debuted in 2003 with this single from their self-titled album.
46. Daniel Bélanger - “Sèche tes pleurs”
This song appears on Montreal singer Daniel Bélanger’s 1992 debut album Les Insomniaques s’amusent.
45. Snow - “Informer”
Toronto’s Snow (born Darrin O’Brien) scored a hit in 1993 with “Informer,” which spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song won a Juno for Best Reggae Recording.
44. Alannah Myles - “Black Velvet”
Written by Canadians David Tyson and Christopher Ward (one of the original VJs on MuchMusic), “Black Velvet” was a worldwide hit for Toronto’s Alannah Myles. It also earned the singer a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female and a Juno for Single of the Year.
Alannah Myles told iHeartRadio:
“The success of ‘Black Velvet’ has great meaning for me. Thanks to the loyal support of my Canadian fans – in particular Canadian radio – the song became a celebrated international success. 27 years after the release of my Grammy Award-winning single, I'm humbly grateful for the unity it has created and for the continuing support it receives.”
43. Sarah McLachlan - “I Will Remember You”
Sarah McLachlan and Dave Merenda wrote lyrics for Séamus Egan’s instrumental “Weep Not for the Memories” to create “I Will Remember You” in 1995. Not only was the song a hit, it earned McLachlan a Grammy.
42. Our Lady Peace - “Superman’s Dead”
Toronto’s Our Lady Peace released “Superman’s Dead” in 1996 as the lead single from their sophomore album Clumsy.
41. Alessia Cara - “Here”
This was the first single from Ontario’s Alessia Cara, and is included on her 2015 debut, Know-It-All. The song, which samples Isaac Hayes’ 1971 track "Ike's Rap II,” went three-time platinum south of the border.
40. The Tragically Hip - “Bobcaygeon”
“Bobcaygeon” appears on The Tragically Hip’s sixth album, 1999’s Phantom Power. Frontman Gord Downie has said the song is a love story about two cops — one who lives in the city and one who lives in the country.
39. Bryan Adams - “Summer of 69”
Ontario-born Bryan Adams has explained that this song, co-written by Jim Valance, from his 1984 album Reckless is about nostalgia — and sex. After all, Adams was only 9 years old in the summer of ’69.
38. A Tribe Called Red - “R.E.D.”
This track from Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red features contributions from Yasiin Bey, Narcy and Black Bear. It’s from the group’s 2016 album We Are the Halluci Nation.
37. Kevin Parent - “Seigneur”
Québécois singer Kevin Parent had a hit with “Seigneur” (“Lord”) from his 1995 album Pigeon d’argile.
36. Sam Roberts - “Brother Down”
Montreal’s Sam Roberts put “Brother Down” on his 2002 EP, The Inhuman Condition, and updated it for his debut album We Were Born in a Flame.
35. Justin Bieber - “Sorry”
“Is it too late to say sorry?” Fans forgave the troubled pop star in 2015 by making this track from his album Purpose a worldwide smash. The Ontario singer co-wrote the song with Julia Michaels, Skrillex and two others. The video, in which Bieber doesn’t even appear, has been viewed a mind-blowing 2.6 billion times.
34. Alanis Morissette - “You Oughta Know”
Ottawa’s Alanis Morissette left her dance-pop days firmly behind her to breakout globally with this powerful single from her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill. Co-written with Glen Ballard, the song is about real-life experiences with one of Morissette's ex-boyfriends — although she’s never said who.
33. Kardinal Offishall - “BaKardi Slang”
Before Drake ever mentioned “The 6” in reference to his hometown Toronto, rapper Kardinal Offishall was talking about the “T-dot”. This song from his second album, released in 2000, was Kardi’s first hit.
32. The Tragically Hip - “Grace, Too”
Released in 1994, this song comes from The Hip’s fourth album Day for Night. It earned them a spot as musical guests on Saturday Night Live in 1995.
31. Shawn Mendes - “Treat You Better”
Co-written by Shawn Mendes, this 2016 song was the Ontario native’s second Top 10 Billboard single. The video, which has had a staggering 1.1 billion views, depicts an abusive relationship.
30. Deadmau5 ft. Chris James - “The Veldt”
Rolling Stone ranked this song 48th on its list of the 50 best songs of 2012. The Toronto-based DJ-producer Deadmau5 (born Joel Zimmerman) enlisted Chris James to provide vocals. It was inspired by a 1950 Ray Bradbury short story.
29. Les Cowboys Fringants - “Les étoiles filantes”
This Quebec folk rock group served up this song on their sixth album, 2004’s La Grand-Messe.
28. Feist - “1234”
This 2007 song from Nova Scotia-born Feist (co-written with Australian singer Sally Seltmann) got a huge boost when it was used in a commercial for Apple’s iPod nano. The track was nominated for two Grammys and earned the Single of the Year award at the Junos.
27. Rush - “Tom Sawyer”
“Tom Sawyer” comes from the Toronto rock band’s 1981 album Moving Pictures. In 2010, it was one of five Rush songs to be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Neil Peart has said the song originated with Pye Dubois, who wrote the lyrics for another Canadian group, Max Webster.
26. Shania Twain - “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”
Ontario’s Shania Twain co-wrote this catchy song with her then-husband Robert “Mutt” Lange for her 1997 album Come On Over. The superstar has said she was inspired by seeing drag performers at the same resort north of Toronto where she started out singing.