The Tragically Hip: Wikis


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The Tragically Hip

Left to right: Gordon Downie, Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker performing in Aspen, Colorado, 2007
Background information
Origin Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Genres Rock, hard rock, alternative rock
Years active 1983–present
Labels Universal Music Canada
Sire Records
MCA Records
Atlantic Records
Zoe Records
Gordon Downie
Rob Baker
Gord Sinclair
Johnny Fay
Paul Langlois
Former members
Davis Manning

The Tragically Hip is a Canadian rock band from Kingston, Ontario, consisting of Gordon Downie (lead vocals and guitar), Paul Langlois (guitar), Rob Baker (guitar), Gord Sinclair (bass) and Johnny Fay (drums).

The band is popular and influential in Canada. Their 2000 album Music at Work won Best Rock Album at the 2001 Juno Awards, as did their 1998 album Phantom Power at the 1999 Junos.

In 2005 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. They also hold the record for most number one albums on the Canadian Albums Chart with a total of eight reaching the pole position.



The Tragically Hip—often referred to simply as The Hip—formed in 1983. They took their name from a skit in the Michael Nesmith movie "Elephant Parts" [1]

In 1987, the band signed a long-term record deal with MCA.[2] Later that year they released the self-titled EP The Tragically Hip, but the band did not achieve success until the release of 1989's Up to Here. In 1993, they created the Another Roadside Attraction festival, which tours Canada to promote Canadian bands.

Known for their energetic live performances, the band is noted for their improvisational renditions of songs. Lead singer Downie often strays from the song lyrics to rant to the audience or wander off into fictitious monologues and conversations. Some of these become lyrics for future songs. The most famous live monologue is the "killerwhaletank" version of "New Orleans Is Sinking",[3] recorded at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, California, May 3, 1991. During the song, Downie tells the story of how he worked as a diver in a killer whale tank only to have his arm ripped off. This version was released on CD in 1996 as the B-side to "Grace, Too". Other notable monologues include the "Police Frogman" version of "New Orleans Is Sinking" (Downie rescues a family trapped in their car at the bottom of a frozen lake), the "Greek Porter" version of "Highway Girl" (in which Downie has an affair with a female porter on a luxury cruise ship while on an ocean crossing), the "Double Suicide" version of "Highway Girl"[4] (in which Downie "accidentally" shoots his girlfriend) and the "Japanese Exchange Student" version of "At the Hundredth Meridian" (the day before Halloween, Downie accidentally shoots a Japanese student trick or treating). During a cover of the Them hit "Gloria", Downie talks about tying his friend to the railroad tracks and being unable to free him in time to avoid the approaching train.

The band has had three of their songs—"New Orleans Is Sinking", "Courage" and "Poets"—chart on Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and one ("Courage") on the Modern Rock Tracks chart [5]. Their most-seen appearance in the United States was on March 25, 1995, when they appeared on Saturday Night Live (performing "Grace, Too" and "Nautical Disaster") with fellow Canadian and friend Dan Aykroyd guest starring, and with John Goodman hosting. In 1999, The Hip were also one of the featured bands at Woodstock '99 held in Rome, New York. When touring in Canada they play to sold-out arenas; when touring in the United States they play smaller venues and clubs, or festivals where they are not the headliner. Performances abroad are usually attended by Canadian expatriates. The band permit audience recordings of their performances and an active taping and trading community exists.

The Tragically Hip's live album, Live Between Us, was recorded at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan in 1996 in support of the album Trouble at the Henhouse. Tracks from the album include a version of "New Orleans Is Sinking" and a heavily improvised "Grace, Too", in which Downie alternates between muttering asides ("I was born in a little town / I was on my way down") and spitting four-letter lyrics with apparent disgust. In 1998, the band released their seventh full-length album, Phantom Power, which contains such fan-favourite songs as "Poets", "Bobcaygeon", "Fireworks" and "Escape Is at Hand for the Travelin' Man".

In 1996, they contributed the song "Butts Wigglin" to the soundtrack of the Kids in The Hall movie Brain Candy. The song originally appeared on Trouble at the Henhouse.

In 2000, the band released their Juno award-winning rock album Music @ Work. The album was seen as a novel departure from previous works, and featured back-up vocals from Julie Doiron on a number of tracks, including the tenth track "Toronto #4". Though the album was leaked via the popular music sharing site Napster, the album performed successfully in Canada, reaching #2. On tour in 2000, the band was accompanied by Kate Fenner and Chris Brown on keyboards.

October 10, 2002, The Tragically Hip performed two songs, "It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken", and "Poets", as part of a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II.

The 2002 concert tour in support of their album In Violet Light was sold-out in stadiums across Canada and many parts of the United States.

In 2003, The Tragically Hip performed a cover of "Black Day in July", a song about the 1967 12th Street Riot in Detroit, on Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot.

The Hip have a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame. On April 3, 2005 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 2005 Juno Awards, and performed "Fully Completely" and "Grace, Too". They also performed a three-song set at the Live 8 concert in Barrie, Ontario with Dan Aykroyd joining them as a guest harmonica player.

Three full-length live shows recorded in 2004 in support of their album In Between Evolution were released as downloads for purchase at, as part of The Hip Live Series. They were recorded at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, the John Labatt Centre in London, and the Civic Centre in Ottawa.

In October 2005, several radio stations temporarily stopped playing The Hip's song "New Orleans Is Sinking", out of sensitivity to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which had devastated the city in early September of that year.[6][7][8][9]

On November 1, 2005, the Hip released a double CD, double DVD box set, Hipeponymous, including all of their singles and music videos to date, a backstage documentary called "Macroscopic", an animated Hip-scored short film entitled "The Right Whale", two brand new songs ("No Threat" and "The New Maybe"), a full-length concert from November 2004 That Night in Toronto, and a 2-CD greatest hits collection Yer Favourites (selected on-line by 150,000 fans). On November 8, 2005, Yer Favourites and That Night In Toronto were released individually.

In mid-2006 The Hip completed a tour, in addition to recording a studio album produced by Bob Rock. The album, entitled World Container, was released in Canada on October 17, 2006 and in the US on March 6, 2007. The album's third track, "In View", was released as both a radio single and as a music video, and reached the #1 spot on the Canadian rock music charts. The track "The Lonely End of the Rink" (the second Canadian single) was featured prominently on Hockey Night in Canada the week of the album's release. In support of the album, the band played concert dates in major Canadian cities, then as an opening act for The Who on several US dates. A tour of Eastern Canada, Europe, and select cities in the United States occurred late in the year. World Container sold over 200,000 copies in a relatively short amount of time.

On February 23, 2008, The Tragically Hip returned to their hometown of Kingston, Ontario, where they were the first live act to perform at the new K-Rock Centre.

The Hip recorded more than fifteen songs at The Bath House Recording Studio in Bath, Ontario, for their 2009 album We Are the Same. The album was produced by Bob Rock and was released in North America on April 7, 2009. The first single, "Love Is a First", debuted on radio and iTunes on February 27.[10].

To promote We Are the Same and the newly improved Bath House Studio—where much of the new album was recorded—the band invited The Hour's George Stroumboulopoulos for a live interview, where the band played seven new songs as well as unique versions of five favourites. The interview and performance were broadcast live in more than eighty theatres across Canada. Fans could pick up a copy of We Are the Same for only one dollar more than the price of admission.

The 2009 We Are the Same North American and European tour includes Jim Bryson on keyboards, allowing the band a utility man to provide help on new songs containing keys on the new album, such as "Morning Moon", "Honey Please", and for sound-effects on longterm favorites "Tiger the Lion" and "Throwing Off Glass", for example.




Honours and awards

Canada's Walk of Fame

The Tragically Hip's star on Canada's Walk of Fame
  • 2002: Inducted in Toronto, Ontario[11]

Canadian Music Hall of Fame

  • 2005: Inducted at the Juno Awards in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Royal Conservatory of Music

  • 2006: Presented with an Honourary Fellowship May 24 at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto, Ontario

Governor General's Performing Arts Awards

  • 2008: Presented the National Arts Centre Award

Juno Awards

  • 1990: Most Promising Group of the Year
  • 1991: Canadian Entertainer of the Year
  • 1993: Canadian Entertainer of the Year
  • 1995: Entertainer of the Year
  • 1995: Group of the Year
  • 1997: Group of the Year
  • 1997: Album of the Year (Trouble at the Henhouse),
  • 1997: North Star Rock Album of the Year (Trouble at the Henhouse)
  • 1999: Best Rock Album (Phantom Power)
  • 1999: Best Album Design (Phantom Power)
  • 2000: Best Single ("Bobcaygeon")
  • 2001: Best Rock Album (Music at Work)
  • 2006: CD/DVD Artwork Design of the Year (Hipeponymous)
  • 2006: Music DVD of the Year (Hipeponymous)


Studio albums

See also


External links

Preceded by
Bryan Adams
Grey Cup Halftime Show
Succeeded by
The Black Eyed Peas

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