The Tragically Hip & Canadian Stories

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Pamela Chan, Editorial

Sundown in the Paris of the prairies
Wheat kings have all their treasures buried
And all you hear are the rusty breezes
Pushing around the weather vane Jesus
(Wheat Kings by The Tragically Hip)

When I introduced my 6 year olds to the music of The Tragically Hip, it was the stories that was my focus in the telling of their story. I really wanted my children to appreciate their music but I knew that music is a personal taste.

My children have 2 Generation X parents – both of whom like a wide variety of music going back many decades.  One of my childrens’ favourite songs is “Disorder (Live in Birmingham) by Joy Division.  That’s how it rolls at our home. And I love that they love that song.

I’m a Queen’s alumna and while I don’t know The Tragically Hip band members personally, my following of the band goes back to their early years and has personal twists and turns. Just recently I found out that while at Queen’s, they lived in the same dorm that I lived in. I was pretty chuffed.

Proof of my full-on fan status 😉

I first came across their music when I was a member of a local television production crew in Kingston. I was at Queen’s at the time and had signed on to be part of a series of shows highlighting the work of local Kingston artists. A fellow crew mate was studying film at Queen’s and showed me a project he was working on – a video that was for a band called The Tragically Hip. The band has always been known for strong visuals in their videos, so it’s not surprising that the images I saw are fixed in my memory.

Later on I would see the band in small venues, concert halls and in a large outdoor setting. I’d spent all day outside at the day long concert.  It was just me and 30,000 other people I didn’t know. By the time the band took the stage – which was right in front of me – it was dark and we were ready for The Hip’s magic. They didn’t disappoint.

I really wanted my children to like their music but most importantly to be interested in the stories that their music tells and how they told them.

And they didn’t say “oh mummy, I don’t think so”. They got it. They listened. They had questions. They remembered the lyrics from day-to-day and can sing along with their favourite parts.

They were patient with me while I tried to not cry while trying to talk about the songs. “Wheat Kings” always makes me teary eyed and now there was Gord’s medical prognosis.

We talked about the stories behind the songs.

We talked about what it means to be unjustly accused.

And they like the guitar riffs….

This Canadian mum couldn’t be more pleased.


Looking for a place to happen: Canadian stories behind Tragically Hip’s lyrics

What’s your personal connection with the music of The Tragically Hip? You can comment about this posting on the Facebook page. Your contribution matters so don’t be shy!

Just give me the news
It can all be lies
Exciting over fair or the right thing at the right time
Everything is clear
Just how you described
A world possessed by the human mind

(A World Possessed by the Human Mind, by The Tragically Hip)/

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