Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and the band will perform their farewell tour this summer—starting from July 22. This is an end of an era in Canada. The band acquired a cult status in Canada during their eponymous period of two decades. Many of its music topped Canada music chart for long.
Though the band became immensely popular in Canada, but its popularity remained confined in home only. None of its albums even reached in the top 10 chart in the US. Barenaked Ladies singer-guitarist Ed Robertson says to a popular website, “The quality and the appreciation of this band is not unique to its Canadian-ness. It’s just happenstance that they’re not as big as the biggest bands in the world.”
So why it is that the band touched the collective psyche of Canadiness. What is about them that have given them a special place in the heart of the people. The people of Canada loved him so much so that entire country was wrapped in grief once the news of Downie’s terminal cancer broke out. Actor Jonathan Torrens tweeted, “Gord Is Canada.”
The reason is not just the way band performs, but a large part of it rooted in some other matter. CBC News writes, “But it’s not just that he writes about Canada. It’s how Downie writes about it, and how the band performs it. Their popularity is due in large part to history, intensity and ambiguity.”
Gord Downie took the essence of his songs from the Canadian history. Most of the Canadian students thought that these guys simply rock. Many other teens were hypnotized by the reference of places like “the Paris of the Prairies. He dedicated courage to Hugh MacLennan.
Jack and Jason Schneider explains: “In the early ’90s “the Tragically Hip’s music has tapped into a well of youthful Canadian energy. It has become an entity that embodies the long-held virtues of rock and roll, but more importantly, the indelible qualities that each person in attendance feels identify them as Canadian.”
Tragically hip has a strange mix of allegiance to history, ambiguity and unique sense of Canadianess which appeals to a normal Canadian.