Skip to main content

Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day!


Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day!


To celebrate these birthdays, I will be listing some of the well-known groups with both American and Canadian members.

The Band

As good a place to start as any, The Band is known for classics like "The Weight". Levon Helm, who played drums and sang lead on many songs, was the only American born member. The others were Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson. They produced many great songs such as "Up On Cripple Creek" and "Stage Fright". They also have a song about the Civil War that has gone under the radar of recent protests and bans, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".

As we know, the American rocker Ronnie Hawkins with his Hawks were the genesis of The Band. Post The Band, he hired Canadian Domenic Troiano, who played guitar with Ronnie as part of Robbie Lane & The Disciples. Troiano later worked with The Guess Who. Domenic wrote "We All Need Love" with lead vocals by Canadian Roy Kenner who, with Troiano, were in the Joe Walsh led band 'The James Gang' from 1971-73.

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire was founded while American Win Butler was attending McGill University in Montreal. With his younger brother, William Butler, the other core members are his wife, Régine Chassagne (a Montreal native) and Canadians Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara. This Indie band scored three #1 albums in Canada, two in the US and topped many charts around the world. They are consistently rated as one of the top Rock Bands by all major sources such as Rolling Stone Magazine, Billboard, and Q from the UK. Their song "Black Mirror" from the album Neon Bible is said to have inspired the TV series of the same name. David Bowie, a fan of Arcade Fire, worked on an EP with the band in 2005.

Steppenwolf

The bandleader John Kay (Joachim Fritz Krauledat) was born in Germany in 1944 during the Second World War. His father was killed before his birth and his mother fled with John to live in Canada and later Buffalo, NY. He formed Steppenwolf in Los Angeles after his Canadian-based group, The Sparrows, broke up in 1967. Steppenwolf included Canadians Goldy McJohn and Mars Bonfire (Jerry Edmonton), both from The Sparrows, as well as LA-based Michael Monarch and Rushton Moreve. They sold over 25 million records in their short career, producing classic songs such as "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Born to be Wild" in 1968 and "Rock Me" in 1969.

Blood Sweat and Tears

Initially, Blood Sweat and Tears (BS&T) was an all-American and almost all-New York City outfit, but after Al Kooper and a couple others left, they recruited Canadian David Clayton Thomas on a tip from Judy Collins. It turned out pretty well for the band as Thomas’ dynamic lead vocals propelled their next album to win a Grammy Award (beating out the Beatles Abbey Road). The three released singles from the album Blood Sweat and Tears all reached #2 on Billboard's Hot 100.  "Spinning Wheel" was written by Clayton Thomas and the other two were cover songs. "When I Die" was written and recorded by Laura Nyro and "You've Made Me So Very Happy" was written by Berry Gordy, Jr., Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway and Frank Wilson (first recorded by Brenda Holloway in 1967). While the next album, Blood Sweat and Tears 3, had some great songs, it did not match the success of their previous work and the band would undergo many departures and reunions over the years with none of the original members remaining. 

The Mamas and the Papas

This band is not characterized as an American/Canadian outfit but one of the four is indeed Canadian. Denny Doherty was from Halifax, Nova Scotia and had struck up a friendship with Cass Elliot. When they met John Phillips and his wife Michelle, the four formed one of the most successful Folk-Rock bands ever, selling over 40 million records.  Almost everyone knows many of their hit songs like "California Dreamin'", "Monday Monday" and their cover of The Shirelles hit song "Dedicated to the One I Love" .

 The Lovin' Spoonful 

The Spoonful were John Sebastian, Zal Yanovsky, Jan Carl and Steve Boone. This is another band who aren’t considered to be American/Canadian, but original member Zal Yanovsky (who had played in the Halifax III with the above mentioned Denny Doherty) was from Toronto. As lead guitarist, Yanovsky was a self-taught wizard. Sebastian said, "He could play like Elmore James, he could play like Floyd Cramer, he could play like Chuck Berry". Yanovsky was key in producing their unique sound that would influence the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys and - believe it or not - they were the initial pick of the producers from 'The Monkees'.  Their hits included "Do You Believe in Magic", "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" and "Summer in the City".

 Black Dub

This band includes Americans Daryl Johnson and Brian Blade, Belgian Trixie Whitley and Canadian Daniel Lanois. "Believe In You", like all their songs, was written by Lanois. While they did not reach major commercial success, Black Dub created high quality music. If you have not heard of Daniel Lanois, he is an amazing talent and an 11-time Grammy winner. He produced U2's The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby as well as works for Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, The Spoons and Neil Young among others.

 Neil Young

Young is, of course, not a band but being Canadian, he has made every group he has been in an international one. He was in Buffalo Springfield with Americans Stephen Stills and Richie Furay who had the hit song "For What It's Worth".  He teamed up with Stephen Stills in the band Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young which produced the songs "Teach Your Children" and "Ohio". Prior to this, he was in the Canadian-based group The Mynah Birds, which included American Funk pioneer Rick James. He also spent time in Crazy Horse with Americans Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina and later used them while recording several albums, including the now Bruce Springsteen E Street Band guitarist and keyboard player Nils Lofgren.

References

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it's not tracking in terms of anyone's identity.  Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well or post it to your timeline on FB. And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner.

Edited by Richelle Dafoe


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The 2021 Update of the Most Covered Pop Songs and Artists of All Time

The 2021 Update of the Most Covered Songs and Artists of All Time I have three categories in today’s blog: 1. The most covered songs written by a single artist, 2. The most cover versions combined and 3. The most covered Pop songs.  These numbers are for artists that write and record their own songs. For more on songwriters, read my series I Write the Songs . The statistics come courtesy of Secondhandsongs.com and are verified via strict protocols. This website posts 'covers' submitted from around the globe and in many different languages, edited by very knowledgeable experts in music recording. There are other resources as cited but other than the odd personal anecdote or opinion, I'm using information and knowledge, not to mention YouTube posts that already exist. In addition, the numbers change daily, I had originally written this blog in December 2019 so it’s been interesting to see the changes over two years. On the whole, the artists in each list mostly stayed th

One Hit Wonders (not!)

One Hit Wonders (not!) Yesterday (Sept. 26) was the 50th Anniversary of Abbey Road, the Beatles last recording session together and the second last album before Let it Be was issued May 8, 1970. And also Happy belated One Hit Wonder Day! (Sept. 25th) so I thought it would make a good blog topic. The simplest definition I found is from music journalist Wayne Jancik "an act that has won a position on a national, pop, Top 40 record chart just once." This from the 'The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders' (1998). So we aren't talking one #1 hit. It's not a term I like as it implies (and some truth to that) these artists have had just a brief moment in the spotlight, perhaps undeservedly so and then fallen off the music map. I know other and deeper definitions are a bit more broad and go beyond the absolute single hit idea. They also consider many artists that have still maintained a quality career and just not reproduced another 'top 40 hit' song an

Old Country New Country

Old Country/New Country What exactly I am about to attempt to demonstrate I confess I'm not 100% certain, but what I do know is that there has been a bit of a downward sliding scale regarding the enduring quality of mainstream Country Music songs. Apologies in advance for rambling and ranting at various points. This is not a history of Country Music but my opinion on the current state of things in general with the genre. It's murky waters that I'm swimming in here as there is an evolution involved in any music genre so direct comparisons are perhaps inappropriate. I am somewhat aware of the influence the so called Country Music "establishment" has had on this evolution. One need only look at examples like Taylor Swift, Shania Twain and Garth Brooks and others who were criticized and in some cases "shunned" for their unconventional approaches who are now celebrated as part of that same 'establishment'. So there is some hypocrisy at play

Sweet Soul Music

Sweet Soul Music Sam Cooke Arthur Conley co-wrote this song with Otis Redding and it's a tribute to some of the early greats of Soul Music . The song's melody (and words for that matter) borrowed heavily from the Sam Cooke song " Yeah Man " and a subsequent lawsuit brought by A.W. Alexander who managed Cooke's songs after his untimely death added his name to the song credits. The resulting song however was a huge hit for Conley and it reached #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 and R&B Chart in 1967 and #7 in the UK where Soul Music was gaining popularity particularly amongst a subset of British youth. The lyrics reference the co-writer Otis Redding, James Brown and songs by The Miracles, Lou Rawls, Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett, some of the key figures in early Soul Music. "Sweet Soul Music" covered 30 times, The Jam (1977). Soul music is a fusion of R&B, Gospel and Jazz. Known generally for it's more upbeat tempo it's fun to lis

Rock artists sing the Blues

Rock artists sing the Blues I have talked about this frequently throughout my posts but more particularly in the series on the Delta Blues and the History of R&R parts 1- 4 . Truth be told, most of the greatests 'Rock' artists owe much of their inspiration to the Blues. Rock bands and solo artists have cut many sides early and throughout their careers of blues songs. Thanks to artists like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley who were obviously very well known and successful, their covers of some of the great blues songs served as a conduit and exposed them to artists and listeners alike. Here are some 'Blues' that inspired Rock artists, a few of these songs are more well known than others. Confessin' the Blues by The Rolling Stones was recorded  June 11, 1964 and released on a 7" record of five songs on August 14. Written by Walter Brown (vocals) and Jay McShann (piano and bandleader) originally released in June of 1941. Covered about 35 times includin