There are actually quite a number of Order of Canada recipients that are musicians. More musicians will appear in later installments.
Saskatoon native Joni Mitchell graced our radios in the decades since the sixties with her folk/pop singing that had been the influence of a great many musicians worldwide. Some of her album covers were self-drawn, and one was a self-portrait. She was made a companion of the Order of Canada in 2004.
Going back a generation in music history, Ottawa-born Paul Anka is only two years older than Joni, but had his first hit song at age 15 when Diana went to the top of the Billboard charts in 1957, and was a hit on both sides of the Canada-US border. He continued to produce hit singles well into the 1980s. Greatest hits compilations have been showing up as recently as 2013
I have some things to say in response to Mark Rayner’s article, as personal reflections. BTW, Rayner did the usual good write-up job with these kinds of articles. But you know, I can’t read these kinds of “What is a Canadian” article without making a lot of mental responses. Here are my responses to a selection of his articles.
International Stars. The Canadian vocalists who obtained international fame which Rayner focuses on are the later stars of the past 20 or so years. One exception is his mention of Joni Mitchell. Contrasting the music of Joni Mitchell or The Band with anything in the past 20 years is interesting. For one thing, raw talent is passed up for what becomes instead a compromise between good looks and talent. Today’s talent are more the product of focus groups than anything. In the past 2 or 3 decades, I doubt that anything will have the same staying power as a song like “Big Yellow Taxi” or “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. The only really compelling conclusion is that our music has become more American. I only thank God he didn’t mention Justin Bieber.
Hockey. My connection with hockey is that my dad drove the Zamboni in Maple Leaf Gardens back in the late 60s/early 70s when rooting for the Leafs actually meant something. Strangely, I was never that much into hockey, and only vaguely know the rules. I also find it obscene that, as of late, the season now goes into mid-June. I don’t know what impression that gives the rest of the world, but trust us you guys, we do have other things to do with our spare time aside from watching or playing hockey. Frankly, since the Leafs are probably now one of the worst teams in the NHL, and have been for decades, I wouldn’t mind if the team got sold to, say, a franchise in Florida or something. Hey, it isn’t that far to go if you want to see them that bad … want to see them lose that bad.