High School, My School


A couple of years ago, I got an e-mail from a guy named Bob Mersereau soliciting a list of my favorite Canadian albums for a book he was putting together. I'm pretty much the last person you'd want such a list from--I'm a song guy with a long-stand- ing antipathy towards my home country's pop music--but I submitted one anyway, the book came out, and Bob was nice enough to list me as one of the many voters. (I re- call that I went with five or six Neil Young LPs and an Andy Kim compilation.) He's doing a follow-up volume on Canadian singles, and while the antipathy remains, it was a lot easier for me to come up with something this time. I sent him two lists: my Top 10, and a chronological Top 25. 1. "Cinnamon Girl," Neil Young (1969) 2. "How'd We Ever Get This Way," Andy Kim (1968) 3. "Get Down To," Mainline (1971) 4. "Rain Dance," Guess Who (1971) 5. "Beautiful Second Hand Man," Ginette Reno (1970) 6. "Talk It Over in the Morning," Anne Murray (1971) 7. "Africa," Thundermug (1972) 8. "Big-Town Boy," Shirley Matthews & the Big Town Girls (1964) 9. "Even Grable," Treble Charger (1996) 10. "Get Up, Get Out and Move On," Fludd (1972) ----------------------------------------------------------------- "The Stroll," Diamonds (1957) "Big-Town Boy," Shirley Matthews & the Big Town Girls (1964) "1-2-5," Haunted (1966) "She Ain't No Use to Me," Ugly Ducklings (1966) "How'd We Ever Get This Way," Andy Kim (1968) "Cinnamon Girl," Neil Young (1969) "If You Could Read My Mind," Gordon Lightfoot (1970) "Beautiful Second Hand Man," Ginette Reno (1970) "Talk It Over in the Morning," Anne Murray (1971) "Rain Dance," Guess Who (1971) "Get Down To," Mainline (1971) "Carey," Joni Mitchell (1971) "Some Sing, Some Dance," Pagliaro (1971) "Africa," Thundermug (1972) "Get Up, Get Out and Move On," Fludd (1972) "Sweet Thing," Goddo (1978) "Don't You Lie," Viletones (1978) "Tired of Waking Up Tired," Diodes (1978) "Ain't Got No Sense," Teenage Head (1979) "Apologies," Pointed Sticks (1980) "Nothing on TV," Dundrells (1986) "Out of My Head," Junkhouse (1993) "Even Grable," Treble Charger (1996) "Attack of the 50-Ft. Teletubbies," D.J. Shoe (1996) "Fireworks," Tragically Hip (1998) Same old story--wildly disproportionate emphasis on the early '70s, a decent sampling of punk, and virtually nothing from the past two decades. Kon Kan's "I Beg Your Pardon" and the New Pornographers' "Mass Romantic" came close; Broken Social Scene, the Arcade Fire, Buck 65, and some other things that have attracted significant critical attention beyond our borders did not. And I have to issue my standard Tragically Hip disclaimer: I recoil from just about everything they did on their first few records. The rule was to stick to actual singles, and on my Top 10, I did. I cheated twice on the expanded list: I don't believe either "Ain't Got No Sense" or "Sweet Thing" were ever released as singles, although the latter essentially functions as one on hard-rock stations. Just to be completley inconsistent, I ruled out Leonard Cohen's "Winter Lady" (which might have made the Top 10) and Bruce Cock- burn's title song for Goin' Down the Road on the basis of the singles-only rule. As I've indicated elsewhere, the Cockburn song doesn't exist on vinyl of any kind, only in the film. I'll provide a download link for "Attack of the 50-Ft. Teletubbies," thus spar- ing you the whole eBay/Sotheby's route. (Earth-shattering update: Broken Social Scene's "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl" would now make the list. Not the Top 10, but pencil it in where the Pointed Sticks used to be.) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the economy plummets, the world consoles itself by making lists of favorite Cana- dian singles. Here are a couple more from Scott Woods and Tim Powis, friends from Nerve days, that are also earmarked for Bob Mersereau's upcoming book. Scott: 1. "Some Sing, Some Dance," Pagliaro (1972) 2. "Africa," Thundermug (1972) 3. "Raised on Robbery," Joni Mitchell (1974) 4. "If You're Looking," Tranquility Base (1970) 5. "Rain Dance," Guess Who (1971) 6. "Even Grable," Treble Charger (1996) 7. "Heartbeat (It's a Lovebeat)," DeFranco Family (1973) 8. "Savin' Myself," Eria Fachin (1988) 9. "Little Darlin'," Diamonds (1957) 10. "I Beg Your Pardon," Kon Kan (1988) Tim: 1. "(Isnít Love Unkind) In My Life," A Foot in Coldwater (1972) 2. "Intervention," Arcade Fire (2007) 3. "Unless You Care," Terry Black (1964) 4. "Albert Flasher," Guess Who (1971) 5. "She Ainít No Use to Me," Ugly Ducklings (1966) 6. "Picture My Face," Teenage Head (1978) 7. "New York City," Demics (1979) 8. "You Turn Me On I'm a Radio," Joni Mitchell (1972) 9. "Loviní You Ainít Easy," Pagliaro (1971) 10. "Wicked and Weird," Buck 65 (2003) 11. "Charlena," Richie Knight and the Mid-Knights (1963) 12. "Shoot 'Em Up Baby," Andy Kim (1968) 13. "Feel It," It's All Meat (1969) 14. "Africa," Thundermug (1972) 15. "You Ainít Seen Nothing Yet," Bachman Turner Overdrive (1974) 16. "The Way I Walk," Jack Scott (1959) 17. "Big-Town Boy," Shirley Matthews & the Big Town Girls (1964) 18. "Donít Walk Away Eileen," Sam Roberts (2002) 19. "Broken Hearted Me," Anne Murray (1979) 20. "Oh What a Feeling," Crowbar (1971) Based on us three, Thundermug's got this thing wrapped up. I imagine the Guess Who, Joni Mitchell, and Pagliaro will spread their votes around much as they have on our lists. (The Demics and the DeFranco Family will not.) Scott has duplicated what I now think is an error on my own list: I checked around, and Treble Charger's "Even Grable" appears never to have been released as a single. I'm pretty sure I've never heard It's All Meat from Tim's list (ditto the Arcade Fire track, but that has to do with my liking their first LP so little); I have heard Tranquility Base and Eria Fachin from Scott's, but I have no memory of how either one goes at the moment. M.I.A.: Mitsou, Candi & the Backbeat, Zappacosta, the Tiger, Moxy Fruvus, Gowan, the Hats (even though they technically were without them), and Wild T & the Spirit. Not fair, but there just wasn't enough space.

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