Canada Day

Today is Canada Day, so I’d like to wish all Canadian readers all the very best.

It seems I’ve been given the best excuse I’m ever going to get to discuss our favourite Canadians, from any field or time, knowing that there are musicians a-plenty held in high regard by you all; you’re here because you have pretty good taste in music, after all.

Have ten minutes out from your busy day to celebrate Montréal’s finest, Leonard Cohen, a favourite of many readers (not to mention David and Polly), as he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

I’d enjoy finding out which of Leonard’s songs you’re fond of, who attended his exceptional concerts last year and who has tickets to see him this year. If you don’t and could, I strongly recommend re-considering; he was absolutely wonderful in Cardiff.

The chatroom is open today from 16:00 (UK). Canadians get free imaginary drinks from the chatroom’s imagined bar right up until closing time. (‘Closing Time’, get it?) We’ll also be recalling the finest lines ever uttered by Saskatchewan native, Leslie Nielsen, in the Police Squad! series and, in particular, the Airplane! and Naked Gun films. (Well, I will, anyway.)

If you’d care to join me in silliness, either in the chatroom or here (Twitter would be good for this, too; I like Twitter), here’s one to set your mind on a run.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

33 thoughts on “Canada Day”

  1. We saw Leonard play Rexall Place in Edmonton when he came through; it was absolutely amazing. He made a giant arena feel just like his living room, and everyone was not only invited, but thanked for coming.

    The sound was great for such an audio-demolishing arena, and when he spoke to us between songs, every soul was silent and hanging off every word he said.

    Thanks, Leonard!

  2. I should also mention my favourite fellow Canadian musician/music magician (I hope this is the right place for it), Daniel Lanois.

    His heart and soul speak through his recordings, his guitars (with the help of his Orange Kay… god, that thing is like a sonic atom bomb) and especially through his pedal steel. Acadie, For the Beauty of Winona, Belladonna, Here is What is, the ‘Sling Blade’ soundtrack. Check them out!

  3. Leonard Cohen is a legend. Out of his impressive catalogue, “First We Take Manhattan” or “The Partisan” are particular favourites. Extremely looking forward to his show in Liverpool this month, especially after watching extracts from his “Live in London” on the iPlayer.

    Another Canadian musical legend who springs to mind is Neil Young, who I’ve only recently discovered myself (many thanks for the Buffalo Springfield theme a while back).

    God Bless Canada!

  4. AND NEIL YOUNG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

    I saw Leonard last year in Glasgow, and it was a fantastic show. Truly special.

    Don’t think I’ll manage to see him this year unfortunately, but I’d love to see him again. He’s a must see, anyone who has the opportunity to see him, DON’T MISS IT!!!!!

    Talking of Neil, FEd, did you manage to see him at all on his short visit to our shores?

    1. Sadly, Davie, I didn’t. I did enjoy what I saw of him from the Hyde Park and Glastonbury footage, though.

  5. Too many great songs to mention.

    However, off the top of my head:

    First We Take Manhattan
    Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye

  6. Canada’s Birthday indeed. Thank you very much for mentioning that fact here on the blog.

    Here’s a link to an amusing rant about Canada.

    Hope it’s OK to post this FEd.

    Cheers all,

  7. I so wanted to like Leonard Cohen after hearing different versions of his great songs Suzanne and Sisters of Mercy. Some friends were amazed I hadn’t heard him, but only his songs by other artists.

    So I went out and bought Songs of Leonard Cohen. I ran home to play it and, much to my disappointment, I couldn’t get through it. I tried again several times and would always get stuck somewhere in the middle. To me, his voice is leaden and his music thump, thumpish.

    I love other Canadian musicians, like Gordon Lightfoot, for instance. Will that do?

    By the way, even though I don’t care for his musicianship, I think Cohen is a great poet/songwriter. Stranger Music is a very good collection.

  8. The Rheostatics, my fave Canadian band.

    The Tragically Hip, 2nd fave Canadian band.

    Jeff Buckley, my fave Canadian musician. R.I.P.

    Thank you Canada for the amazing music.

    Everyone needs to hear Rheostatics!!!

    1. I’m with ya. Rheostatics are one of my favourites too!

      I’m also a Jeff Buckley fan, but he’s a yank for sure.

  9. Thanks for remembering us Canucks Fed. Today, I performed for my local Legion for 3 hours. On my own. They even asked me back! LOL.

    I played a bit of Floyd, WYWH and CN on acoustic only.

    True Story: One day in my youth, can’t remember. Standing outside of the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto after a work out, there appeared a familiar figure. He and I glanced at each other to acknowledge him. No words were spoken and he kindly responded. His name, Leonard Cohen. I’ll never forget that moment.

    First We Take Manhattan is my fave song by Leonard.

    Happy 4th of July to the U.S. on Saturday! 🙂

    1. Thanks for wishing my country a happy Independence Day!!! Although it makes me a bit embarrassed to be woefully ignorant of Canadian holidays and history etc. etc. etc.

  10. My favorite LC song would have to be “A Thousand Kisses Deep”.

    I’ve studied Cohen’s work thoroughly and conclude that the man is an utter genius.

    “It don’t matter how it all went wrong, that don’t change the way I feel. And I can’t believe that time is going to heal this wound I’m speaking of. There ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure for love.”

    “There you stand with the rose between your teeth. One more thin gypsy thief.”

    “When they said, repent, repent, I wonder what they meant?”

    “If you ever come by for Jane or for me, remember your enemy is sleeping now and his woman is free.”

    “Take this longing, the cruel things these hands have done.”

    “And the whole damn place goes crazy twice and it’s once for the devil and it’s once for Christ, but the boss don’t like these dizzy heights. We’re busted in the blinding lights of closing time…”

    “But it sounds like bubblegum.”

    “So long Marianne, it’s time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.”

    “The rain falls down on last year’s man. That’s a Jew’s harp on the table, that’s a crayon in his hand. And the corners of the blueprint have ruined since they rolled, far past the stems of thumbtacks that still throw shadows on the wood…”

    An utter Genius!

    1. “Take this waltz, take this waltz. It’s yours now, it’s all that there is.”

    2. “When they said, repent, repent, I wonder what they meant?”

      This is from my favourite Leonard Cohen song: The Future.

      I love the way he snarls as he sings some of the lines, such as “I’m the little Jew who wrote the Bible.”

      I saw Leonard in Manchester last year. He was awesome and made me cry several times.

  11. I had the pleasure of seeing Jeff Healey in a small club in Belfast, he was incredible. Great guitar player and a serious dry wit… sadly missed!

    Another unknown outside Canada is Kim Mitchell, played in a band called Max Webster. Check out his song “All We Are”. Great singer and player.


  12. I realized that Leonard Cohen and Neil Young, who I love so much, were Canadians, when we talked here about the best UK/US songs. I don’t know why, but I had always thought they were from US.

    Leonard Cohen will be in Italy, in Venice, on 3 August and I’m so sad I won’t be there. 🙁

    The ticket price is high enough and Venice is far from where I live, so I should take the train and find a place to sleep. Too expensive for me, this year, so I’ll have to renounce.

    There are lots of Leonard Cohen’s songs I love, but I think my absolutely favourite ones are The Partisan, Famous Blue Raincoat, Story of Isaac, Who By Fire and Seems So Long Ago, Nancy.

    Other Canadian musicians I like are Robbie Robertson and Loreena McKennith.

  13. Saw Leonard at Edinburgh Castle last year. Superb!

    Favourite songs – Queen Victoria, Chelsea Hotel and The Stranger Song.

  14. A very happy Canada Day to all Canadian friends!

    Wonderful place full of trees, silence, nature and snow.

    With love from Rome,

    1. It is a wonderful place. I’ve had many happy times there, in Toronto especially.

      Although a day late, Happy Canada Day to my friends in Canada. 8)

  15. Hey Fed,

    Thanks so much for the felicitations. We had loads of rain on the day, quite unlike UK weather at the moment.

    Cheers, Howard

  16. “Surely you jest.”
    “No, I’m not joking… and don’t call me Shirley!”

    Ahh Canada, sweet Canada. Its my home away from home.

    Favorite musicians from Canada:

    Neil Young
    Rik Emmett

    Favorite actors:

    William Shatner
    Leslie Nielsen

    Funny story: after a dreadful loss for the New York Yankees (at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays) my sister, bro in law and myself did some shopping on Queen Street in the heart of Toronto. Going into a bath bomb shop I found myself getting dizzy from all the heavy perfumes, so I decided to head outside for some fresh air. Just as I opened the door and stumbled outside, a baby stroller nearly hit my leg. Avoiding it, I looked up immediately to apologize to the driver of the cart. I was greeted with a softly spoken apology and realized I was face to face with Joni Mitchell, her daughter, and her grand daughter. I stood in disbelief for what seemed like eternity, managed a half arsed smile and said, “I’m very sorry, Ms Mitchell” and stepped aside, dazed.

    Talk about a brush with fame, eh? 😛


  17. I only recently (I know, it’s a shame) discovered Leonard Cohen and immediately fell in love with him and all his songs.

    My favourites are ‘The Guests’ and ‘The Partisan’ and I’m even starting to prefer his version of ‘Hallelujah’ to the one by Jeff Buckley. Yes.

    He will perform in France on 18 August at the Roman Amphitheatre of Vienne, exactly where David delighted us with his soooo magic concert on 31 July 2006.

    But, while I paid 88 euros to see David, should I buy Cohen tickets at 150 euros? No. Anyway, after seeing David there, not sure I could enjoy anyone else. 😉

    As for other Canadian artists, I like Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, Arcade Fire, Alanis Morissette… (no, not Céline Dion!)

    A special mention to the French/Canadian musical ‘Notre Dame De Paris’ (from Victor Hugo’s novel), music by Italian Richard Cocciante, lyrics by Canadian Luc Plamondon, and the beautiful voice of Canadian Daniel Lavoie.

    Here is the song ‘Belle’ (Esmeralda) sung by Garou (Quasimodo), Daniel Lavoie (the priest) and Patrick Fiori (Phoebus). I know it’s not ‘rock’ at all, but I love it.


    1. Better than the Jeff Buckley version, you say?

      It’s about time you changed your mind and saw the light. 😉

  18. I guess my favorite people to come out of Canada are The Guess Who, Mike Myers, and Jim Carry (I think Jim originally hails from Toronto) and oh yeah, Neil Young is pretty good too.

    Favorite thing to come out of Canada is Canadian whisky. The Canucks know what they are doing when they make whisky.

  19. Thank you for your nice thoughts!

    I love the songwriter and singer Sarah McLachlan and of course Leonard Cohen. I also love the jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall and Holly Cole, who has a trio and do jazz as well. I think she is from Toronto.

    And don’t worry, I won’t talk about Céline Dion, who is from Montréal… 😀

    1. Salut, Sylvie, comment ça va? Suis heureuse de te lire ici à nouveau. Bientôt les vacances? Bisous.

  20. Dear FEd,

    I believe Anne Murray is from Canada, and correct me if I’m wrong.

    She has an unbelievable rich voice. Do you remember her hit Snowbird? Beautiful song!

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