Top 100 Canadian Songs: The Definitive List

canadaIt's been quite the journey. We kicked off our quest to assemble the greatest Canadian songs in the history of the world back on May 15 and here we are, a month and a half later.

It's unlikely everyone will agree with all 100 choices, many great songs were left on the cutting room floor. This wasn't easy, but I tried to remain objective and take all suggestions to heart. As always, I'd love to read your comments, so don't be shy. Without further ado, here are the top 100 Canadian songs listed in order.

And happy Canada Day, eh?

  1. The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking
  2. Neil Young - Helpless
  3. The Band - The Weight
  4. Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
  5. Gordon Lightfoot - Canadian Railroad Trilogy
  6. Stan Rogers - Northwest Passage
  7. Sloan - Underwhelmed
  8. The Guess Who - American Woman
  9. Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
  10. Neil Young - Heart of Gold
  11. Blue Rodeo - Try
  12. Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
  13. The Tragically Hip - Courage
  14. Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson
  15. Cowboy Junkies - Misguided Angel
  16. Arcade Fire - Wake Up
  17. Gordon Lightfoot - Early Morning Rain
  18. Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World
  19. Rush - The Spirit of Radio
  20. The Guess Who - Share the Land
  21. Blue Rodeo - Lost Together
  22. Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights
  23. Our Lady Peace - Naveed
  24. Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
  25. Blue Rodeo - Diamond Mine
  26. Bruce Cockburn - Lovers in a Dangerous Time
  27. Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
  28. Five Man Electical Band - Signs
  29. Bachman Turner Overdrive - Takin' Care Of Business
  30. Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown
  31. The Guess Who - These Eyes
  32. Blood, Sweat and Tears - Spinning Wheel
  33. Hayden - Bad As They Seem
  34. Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl
  35. Ian and Sylvia - Four Strong Winds
  36. Joni Mitchell - Woodstock
  37. Rush - Closer to the Heart
  38. Joni Mitchell - Both Sides, Now
  39. Our Lady Peace - 4am
  40. Maestro Fresh-Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide
  41. k.d. lang - Constant Craving
  42. The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon
  43. Neil Young - Old Man
  44. Dream Warriors - My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style
  45. Sarah Harmer - Silver Road
  46. Jeff Healey - Angel Eyes
  47. The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
  48. I Mother Earth - So Gently We Go
  49. Our Lady Peace - Clumsy
  50. Joni Mitchell - The Circle Game
  51. The Pursuit of Happiness - I'm An Adult Now
  52. The Lowest of the Low - Henry Needs A New Pair of Shoes
  53. Ashley MacIsaac - Sleepy Maggie
  54. Robbie Robertson - Somewhere Down the Crazy River
  55. Tom Cochrane - Big League
  56. Rush - Tom Sawyer
  57. Moist - Push
  58. Billy Talent - Nothing To Lose
  59. Rusty - Wake Me
  60. The Northern Pikes - Teenland
  61. Sarah Harmer - Basement Apartment
  62. Sarah McLachlan - Hold On
  63. The Tragically Hip - Wheat Kings
  64. Sloan - Coax Me
  65. Spirit of the West - Home For A Rest
  66. Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild
  67. Crash Test Dummies - Superman's Song
  68. Stars - Ageless Beauty
  69. The Tragically Hip - Ahead By A Century
  70. The Demics - New York City
  71. Barenaked Ladies - If I Had $1,000,000
  72. 54-40 - I Go Blind
  73. Bryan Adams - Summer of '69
  74. The New Pornographers - Use It
  75. The Watchmen - All Uncovered
  76. Treble Charger - Red
  77. Sam Roberts - Brother Down
  78. Randy Bachman - Prairie Town
  79. Sarah McLachlan - Angel
  80. Tom Cochrane - Boy Inside The Man
  81. Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
  82. Skydiggers - I Will Give You Everything
  83. Men Without Hats - Safety Dance
  84. Rough Trade - High School Confidential
  85. Hot Hot Heat - Bandages
  86. Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night
  87. Loverboy - Working For The Weekend
  88. Metric - Combat Baby
  89. Rusty - Misogyny
  90. k-os - Heaven Only Knows
  91. Tokyo Police Club - Nature Of The Experiment
  92. Stars - Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
  93. Rheostatics - Record Body Count
  94. Odds - Heterosexual Man
  95. The Gandharvas - The First Day of Spring
  96. The Diodes - Tired of Waking Up Tired
  97. Feist - Mushaboom
  98. Gowan - A Criminal Mind
  99. Grapes Of Wrath - All The Things I Wasn't
  100. Max Webster - A Million Vacations

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Comments (45)

Mike (Buffalo Boy)

Ocean Pearl belongs in there.

Rush should be in top 10 I would say that besides Neil Young Rush is Canada's top band of all time. They have longevity and consistency behind them. Not to mention they are still playing at a very high level and putting on incredible shows.

July 1, 2007 / 09:44

Roshan

HAPPY CANADA DAY TO YOU

July 1, 2007 / 12:07

Toronto Mike

Rush is pretty well represented with three tracks, and they made the top 20.

54-40 were consistently good, with One Gun and Shelagh and all that, but I don't feel they needed more than one song on the top 100.

Of course, music is so bloody subjective, this is more an exercise in futility than anything.

July 1, 2007 / 13:02

Bruce Hale

I can't believe that the list did not include anything from:
Toronto, Chilliwack, Coney Hatch, Aldo Nova,Triumph, Spoons, Lee Aaron, April Wine. Unbelievable !

August 13, 2007 / 02:54

Brent

Yeah, I know I am a year late, but what about the Cooper Brothers (Canada's answer to the Eagles)...oh yeah and Harlequin.

September 25, 2008 / 01:29

Anonymous

I can't believe that they left out such others like Triumph, Headpins,Streetheart,Toronto,Prism and all the others that helped defined Canadian Rock!!What a shame.

December 21, 2008 / 00:07

James Edgar

The Tragically Hip - Courage the only hip song I don't like. Not sure why but I don't. There's dozens of stronger hip songs IMHO.

"Of course, music is so bloody subjective, this is more an exercise in futility than anything" that i can aggree with! :)

January 2, 2009 / 12:04

The_Voice

Weighty Ghost (in honor of recent posts)

January 29, 2009 / 11:38

Anonymous

Cortez the Killer

February 4, 2009 / 10:55

Anonymous

what not celine dion !

June 9, 2009 / 10:38

Anonymous

How the F..HELL did you make this list?!

July 9, 2009 / 04:57

Aaron

This list is simply hopeless! Teenland is in and Both Sides Now isn't good enough?????

July 31, 2009 / 05:34

John Begley

Interesting, but I couldn't even take seriously a top 10 list without After the Goldrush (Neil Young) never mind top 100!

August 20, 2009 / 20:11

John Bon

Rush should definetely be higher.... hot hot heat, shouldn't even be aloud to read this list let alone deserve a space on it. Triumph? Should definetely be there. 54/40 sucks in my opinion. Alot of good tracks covered but it's just way to bias towards folk and that kinda stuff... very easy to tell what style you like.

October 14, 2009 / 22:37

Anonymous

Rush is one of my favorite bands... I've got a tattoo for them... but can't you please stop thinkin' that Spirit of the Radio is their best song?! They've done so much better songs!!

April 8, 2010 / 15:57

Jeremy

What, no Triumph, seem to remember they were the biggest band around for a short while, and what about Nickelback ? Are they not one of the best selling rock bands around ??

June 4, 2010 / 18:01

Jeremy

What, no Triumph, seem to remember they were the biggest band around for a short while, and what about Nickelback ? Are they not one of the best selling rock bands around ??

June 4, 2010 / 18:02

jason | getyouroj.com

You'd have to modify this to include Classified - "O Canada"

& Tegan & Sara need to muscle their way into the top 100 too

and

"Annie Is A Speed Freak"

too under-rated

- IMHO

Anyhoo, no list this year?

July 1, 2010 / 16:20

reid

I agree with the posts about Rush. Not having them in the top 5 is criminal, and I'm not really much of a rush fan. Rush and the hip are Canada.

July 24, 2010 / 22:06

gingernut

Where is Music Box Dancer? No I'm not being ironic.

August 11, 2010 / 02:30

Jon

Nice to see "So gently we go" up there

August 31, 2010 / 09:43

John

I certainly don't like the list, but c'est la vie.
GOTTA agree with Bruce- no Chilliwack is a joke. Amongst others of their tunes, nothing upsets my neibours more than when Fly At Night hits the speakers on my sound system.
At least The Band got one measly nod, + one for Robbie Robertson, or I'd be climbing thru my moniter. No Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald? And while Magic Carpet Ride was o.k., it doesn't hold a candle to The Pusherman...
And on and on and on.... Nobody's taste is as good as their own. But thanks for the list- fun to dig out old memories.

October 3, 2010 / 14:17

Dave Grayson

Nice List.. but I think American Woman should be higher on the list due to its commentary about American influences on Canadian culture and it's promotion of Canadian independance. I also think These Eyes should be higher based on the groundbreaking role it had in the establishment of Canadian Rock Music on the international scene. Rock On Guess Who!

October 7, 2010 / 16:45

Lindsey

Awesome list, the Hip, BNL, Sam Roberts, KD Lang and Neil Young are some of my favourites. The only song missing in my opinion is On Fire For You Baby by April Wine.

October 13, 2010 / 21:33

shawn

No Kim Mitchell, Max Webster or Big Sugar?

October 15, 2010 / 22:31

SenorDan

Roch Voisine- Helene

Brutus- Ooh Mama Mama

Ugly Ducklings- Gaslight

Queen City Kids- Dance

Walter Zwol- Insane

Great Big Sea- Ordinary Day

Chilliwack- Raino

Haywire- Bad Bad Boy

Robert Charlebois-Je T'aime Comme en Fou

The Trews-Not Ready to Go

October 19, 2010 / 23:26

SenorDan

Roch Voisine- Helene

Brutus- Ooh Mama Mama

Ugly Ducklings- Gaslight

Queen City Kids- Dance

Walter Zwol- Insane

Great Big Sea- Ordinary Day

Chilliwack- Raino

Haywire- Bad Bad Boy

Robert Charlebois-Je T'aime Comme en Fou

The Trews-Not Ready to Go

October 19, 2010 / 23:26

Jeremiah

While I understand how subjective making a "best of" list can be, there is one obvious omission to me: Black Velvet from Alannah Myles. So much better and bigger than many of the songs on the list.

October 30, 2010 / 08:23

Ron

Mike your list is a joke, you have Maestro fresh Wes and no Tea Party? LMAO list is a joke at best

November 10, 2010 / 05:14

Karim

Ha! Loverboy! You must be kidding. Loverboy? And their lamest one too, "Everybody's working for the weekend." I bet you were just a little down that you were working over Canada Day weekend that you included it. Nice for a joke TorontoMike, but get serious! Yah, and "A Million Vacations," is the only max Webster song, heck goes along with your Loverboy theme; you were working on Canada Day Weekend and you were dying for a vacation. How Cliche! Something tells me you just assembled the list based on your mood.

November 11, 2010 / 09:59

Howard

This list is bull. How can you have a top 100 list and have no Anne Murray on it.
I'd also put Canadian Railroad trilogy at the top of the list. If any song is seminal canadian, that one is it.

May 23, 2011 / 16:28

Don

I thinks it a pretty good list. Would agree that Canadian Railroad Trilogy deserves a nod for Gord and how about We're Here For A Good Time by Trooper. Overall a good effort.

May 28, 2011 / 00:43

Anonymous

No Avril, Bryan (Adams), Shania or Celine? Those are people they know worldwide!

June 13, 2011 / 11:55

Rob

Cm'on - the ultimate has to be Jerry Doucette with Mama Let Him Play.

Maybe that's a westcoast hit?

February 14, 2012 / 23:09

some guy

hey

June 7, 2012 / 12:49

BC King

TROOPER!!!

September 5, 2012 / 05:59

BC King

Harlequin!!!!
Platinum Blonde!!! Doesn't Really Matter!

September 5, 2012 / 06:03

BC King

Burton Cummings
B.T.O

This list is sort of brutal to be honest, but good effort

September 5, 2012 / 06:04

Anonymous

Why Cèlinne Dion's "My heart will go on" or "think twice" are not in the list?

January 22, 2013 / 10:11

Darrin

I think one underrated song that should have been on this list is "I will take care of you" by amy sky, it's undoubtedly one of the best Canadian songs of all time, and should be no less than the top 10.

May 5, 2013 / 02:52

Jo Master

Euuuuuuuhhh....Where is Harmonium ? Céline Dion ? Robert Charlebois ? Shittie list...

August 4, 2013 / 17:47

Toronto My Way

Agree with all those who find Lee Aaron, April Wine and Triumph's absence crazy.

We're talking about "songs" and Lee Aaron's Metal Queen was significant to its genre in many ways. April Wine should have several tunes on this list including Just Between You and Me, I Like to Rock, Say Hello to name but a few. And Triumph? Hello? Magic Power, Rocky Mountain Way, Lay It On the Line.

Yes, music is subjective. And perhaps given to generational biases. But there's plenty of consensus bands like the above are glaringly absent whereas, somehow, Men Without Hats made the list...??!! (not to mention a whole bunch of bands I've never heard of).

I am impressed, however, that Rough Trade's High School Confidential made it, rightly so.

November 7, 2013 / 13:56

Ofuzz

Sorry but no Canadiana list is complete without "Raise A Little Hell" by Trooper

January 1, 2014 / 02:37

Dave

I am very surprised Big Sugar didn't even get a mention. Any song from their catalog would do... especially Ride Like Hell and to be honest I like Jeff Healey's version of The Weight better than The Band's.

January 28, 2014 / 01:30

Chris

Blood Sweat Tears = American.......

good try with the list.... it's fun!

May 19, 2014 / 18:06

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