Songs inspired by the Hip: Step to the mic and sing

Songs are the stories that keep us together as we grow up.

One of the highest honours a musician can bestow upon someone is to include their name in a song. It’s a show of love, affection and appreciation. Sure, maybe it was for a flash-in-the-pan girlfriend or to make a lyric work, but when done with devotion, skill and care, it can make good songs even better and long-lasting.

With a career spanning 30 years, the Tragically Hip’s influence can’t be overstated. These five artists felt indebted to the Hip or wanted to pay their respects in such a real way, they marked their commitment with songs.

k-os, Crabbuckit

It’s a fast, groovy, sneeze-and-you’ll-miss-it name drop but it’s a fun, cross-genre one that’s worth cranking up. It’s simple but doesn’t need to be more: “Tragically Hip, Ahead by a Century.”


The Glorious Sons, Gordie

A track from Kingston’s  own Glorious Sons became a major moment when the band played in Toronto two nights after Gord Downie’s death. As you can see, the audience silences the song for a full minute or two with their applause and shouts, a therapeutic moment in week when many of us were really hurting. Sometimes only the right song can make things better, even if it’s just for a moment.


The Trews, … And We Are The Trews

It’s hard to find a Canadian band not mentioned in this song, off their 2012 release and fifth album …Thank You and I’m Sorry. It seems nearly every Canadian band’s name is mentioned in this track, from Tim Chaisson and Daniel Wesley to Eric Lapointe et Rock Voisine and Jean Leloup, along with “every guy in every band who’s named Gordie.” Considering there are not one but TWO Gordies in the Hip, that’s gotta be a nod.
Arkells, Relentless

Now wait a minute… this song doesn’t say anything about the Hip, the casual listener might say. In a massive article in Toronto’s Globe and Mail in late August, the band admitted that some of the lyrics were inspired by Gord Downie. On some fateful day, the Hip’s Paul Langlois said that Gord was “relentless — like a dog on a bone,” and a song was born.


Our Lady Peace, Ballad of a Poet (for Gord Downie)

The songs on OLP’s latest album, Somethingness, were already in the works when Downie passed away. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, singer Raine Maida said it was inspired by a trip to Toronto for the Toronto Music Awards. “It was crappy,” he said. “It was terrible — until the Hip came out. And I kind of heard their name. I didn’t know any of their music. So this song, Ballad of a Poet, is just a recollection of that night. Seeing this guy who really made that distinction between entertainer and artist. Gord was the consummate artist and just transcended everything in that room that night like, ‘That is what I want to do.'”
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