Al­most ev­ery Canadian’s list of Songs-of-the-Day is go­ing to in­clude a Trag­i­cal­ly Hip num­ber or two, and I’m no ex­cep­tion. They had a lot of great tunes and this one is right up there. Can’t write this with­out get­ting kind of damp, be­cause we lost Gord yes­ter­day it feels like. If you’re not Cana­di­an and have no idea who The Hip are or who Gord was, lis­ten to this any­how and if you like rock mu­sic you’ll prob­a­bly like it a lot.

Gord Downie and Rob Baker in 1989

Gord Down­ie and Rob Bak­er in 1989.

For non-Canadians here’s the tl;­dr: The Hip were a guitar-rock band with strong song­writ­ing, a charis­mat­ic singer in Gord Down­ie, and a fab­u­lous sound based on Downie’s voice cut­ting through Rob Baker’s wall of har­mo­nious electric-guitar thun­der. They al­ways sold lots of records in Cana­da but nev­er man­aged much in the US mar­ket. I saw them just on­ce, many years ago, and they were pret­ty mag­ic.

Gord Down­ie was di­ag­nosed with ter­mi­nal can­cer and they made a last tour in 2016, an al­most un­bear­ably emo­tion­al se­quence of shows; the last one was broad­cast live end-to-end on the CBC and ev­ery­one I know watched it. A lot of Kleenex was con­sumed.

At the Hun­dredth Merid­i­an is just an­oth­er gui­tar rock­er, with a great rhythm and a great sound, and an­oth­er ex­am­ple of the Hip’s amus­ing habit of hav­ing num­bers in their lyric­s.

If I die of van­i­ty, promise me, promise me,
They bury me some place I don't want to be,
You'll dig me up and trans­port me, un­cer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly,
Away from the swollen city-breeze, garbage bag trees,
Whis­pers of dis­ease and the acts of enor­mi­ty
And low­er me slow­ly, sad­ly and prop­er­ly
Get Ry Cood­er to sing my eu­lo­gy.

Gord didn’t die of van­i­ty, but I’m still a lit­tle pissed they didn’t get Ry to sing at his fu­ner­al.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Spo­ti­fy, iTunes, Ama­zon. Now, as for video, here’s the of­fi­cial one, not live but kind of fun; here they are in 2000 at the Fill­more, and of course the last per­for­mance. Ex­cuse me, have to blow my nose now.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Rob (Mar 25 2018, at 12:09)

As a Canadian, I always felt compelled to get all persnickety and point out that if you are on the Transcanada Highway, the 100th Meridian (the MINUS 100 Meridian actually-- the +100 meridian at the same latitude is somewhere in central Mongolia) is in fact very nearly exactly at the last Brandon turnoff, and if you are travelling West you've been on the Great Plains nearly 300 clicks already. It is a very extremely flat, boring, boring place with pretty much nothing to look at, that I have driven past WAY too many times. There is no marker.

On the Trans Canada, the dividing line between the Shield ("rocks & trees & trees & rocks" in the words of another Great Canadian Band) and the Prairie (wheat and canola and flax) is actually quite sharp and striking, it occurs a little East of the Ste Anne turnoff, about 50K East of Winnipeg, at about the -96.5 Meridian. But that wouldn't sound as cool of course.



From: Jeff Schiller (Mar 25 2018, at 21:10)

Funny - I was just watching that last concert recently and decided I need to have Up to Here and Road Apples in my CD collection (yea that's right). Thank you Amazon! They arrived Saturday :)


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