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Gord Downie, Frontman for the Tragically Hip, in His Final Act


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Even in the U.S. this real life tragedy affecting the Tragically Hip is making news Gord Downie, Frontman for the Tragically Hip, in His Final Act. While I have never seen them perform I have a good portion of their music.Along with Canadian artists Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and Blue Rodeo, they take up a good portion of my iPhone.

Since its first studio album in 1989, the Hip, as the band is widely known, has risen from a riff-driven bar band to one whose dense lyrics, touching on hockey players and heroes of the Canadian wilderness, now invite close reading — “a proletarian group with an intellectual sensibility,” as the Canadian cultural essayist and novelist Stephen Marche wrote in The New Yorker. “Small-town hockey fans howl their biggest anthems in parking lots after games; assistant professors of Canadian literature listen to their later work while jogging.”

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“We’re a country that hasn’t really embraced its history just yet,” said the musician Kevin Drew, of Broken Social Scene. “We’re still trying to figure out what makes us Canadian, and we have one of the loudest neighbors in the world, so this band helped a country, and Gord helped people lyrically, slowly start to try to define themselves.”


I will miss them. Sometimes, the Billy Joel lyric and song title "Only the Good Die Young" applies.

JBG

Edited by jbg
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I've never seen them live either, I just don't need to be preached politics at a rock concert (I won't see U2 either), but I do love The Hip. Americans just never "got" them - their loss, I suppose.

It's already a sad day, but when the inevitable happens, it'll be a national loss.

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I've never seen them live either, I just don't need to be preached politics at a rock concert (I won't see U2 either), but I do love The Hip. Americans just never "got" them - their loss, I suppose.

It's already a sad day, but when the inevitable happens, it'll be a national loss.

I'm an American and I "get them." I wanted to play "New Orleans is Sinking" 11 years ago, almost to this date on the radio and wasn't allowed to. A lady named Katrina objected.

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I've never seen them live either, I just don't need to be preached politics at a rock concert

Pretty big misunderstanding of the history of rock then. Its very existence is a political statement. Edited by cybercoma
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Pretty big misunderstanding of the history of rock then. Its very existence is a political statement.

Yes, I know! Everybody with an IQ over 56 knows that. However, I'd prefer to not have a concert stop for 20 minutes to listen to some performer rant/preach about the cause d'jour. The politics is in the music - just leave it at that.

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Yes, I know! Everybody with an IQ over 56 knows that. However, I'd prefer to not have a concert stop for 20 minutes to listen to some performer rant/preach about the cause d'jour. The politics is in the music - just leave it at that.

So you don't think you would have enjoyed Woodstock?

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Have no idea who they are. Probably my misfortune. I do find the idea of a "death" tour to be very interesting, bizarre and ghoulish.

"See this guy who is dying right before your eyes". If this was not the case then this tour would be buried in the entertainment section where it belongs in the media. I am sorry to say that I find nothing brave or exceptional for a person to choose to live out his remaining days on stage instead of being with his family and making peace with his lord and his enemies.

It looks to me like someone making money out of a macabre and ghoulish series of events.

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Have no idea who they are. Probably my misfortune. I do find the idea of a "death" tour to be very interesting, bizarre and ghoulish.

"See this guy who is dying right before your eyes". If this was not the case then this tour would be buried in the entertainment section where it belongs in the media. I am sorry to say that I find nothing brave or exceptional for a person to choose to live out his remaining days on stage instead of being with his family and making peace with his lord and his enemies.

It looks to me like someone making money out of a macabre and ghoulish series of events.

This is how Gordie and the rest of the band chose to live out his remaining days. Now that the tour is over he can be with his family. But as a performer, you want to get that last gig in before you die. You never want to die before you do you decide to do a final show.

Making money is part of what you get when you go on the road to perform. however, they raised about 300K for cancer research, so good on them.

I am no Hip fan, but if this is the way they want to go out, then they are doing it on a high note. I'd rather they go out this way compared to how Prince and others have gone out (overdose) . And I am happy I got to see Prince perform before he died. This is a tour Hip fans will remember, and they would prefer to remember Gordie this way instead of decrepit and bed-ridden.

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Have no idea who they are. Probably my misfortune. I do find the idea of a "death" tour to be very interesting, bizarre and ghoulish.

"See this guy who is dying right before your eyes". If this was not the case then this tour would be buried in the entertainment section where it belongs in the media. I am sorry to say that I find nothing brave or exceptional for a person to choose to live out his remaining days on stage instead of being with his family and making peace with his lord and his enemies.

It looks to me like someone making money out of a macabre and ghoulish series of events.

I think this is the kind of comment that can only be made by someone that, as you mentioned, did not know anything about Gord or the Tragically Hip.

Personally, I find it courageous for someone to use a few of their last grains left in the hour glass to do what they are most passionate about, despite the pain of the disease/treatments, and at the same time raise funds for glioblastoma research. This was such a big story because for the last 20+ years they have been Canada's band, proudly writing and singing about Canadiana, despite the fact that those stories don't sell around the world. It was enough for them that Canadians appreciate songs about Tom Thompson, Bill Barilko, David Milgaard, Milhaven prison, a cholera outbreak around Lake Ontario, the 72 summit series, Bobby Orr, Bobcaygeon, Algonquin Park, the Prairies, the North, etc.

Kudos Gord and thank you. You will be missed.

Edited by Guest
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I'm an American and I "get them." I wanted to play "New Orleans is Sinking" 11 years ago, almost to this date on the radio and wasn't allowed to. A lady named Katrina objected.

You're a NYT, leftist, "American" - wannabe foreigner.

====

Justin Trudeau went to Brebeuf; at 17 in 1988, despite the PMO current PR people's claims to the contrary, Justin Trudeau probably knew about as much about the Tragically Hip as I did. (Nothing.)

Edited by August1991
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====

Justin Trudeau went to Brebeuf; at 17 in 1988, despite the PMO current PR people's claims to the contrary, Justin Trudeau probably knew about as much about the Tragically Hip as I did. (Nothing.)

I don't get this comment.

Between getting his BA in Literature from McGill and attending engineering at Ecole Polytechnic in Montreal in 2002 he spent time at UBC earning a BA in education in 1998.

He has also lived in Vancouver as a teacher.

During his time here if he ever turned on the local radio such as CFOX there is no doubt he would have heard the Hip ad nauseum (imo) as they were heard everywhere during the mid '90's.

Plenty of time to take a liking to them.

Or a dislike in my case (just got sick of them from the over exposure).

Oh, and there was this technology at the time called "vinyl" and "cassette" and "compact disc" that would allow a person to listen to music at home (and at work) anywhere in the world at ones own convenience.

Not as nice as today where one can just press Spotify on your phone and bring up a 21 hour playlist but such were the times in the "good old days."

So, yeah, I don't know if Trudeau genuinely likes the Hip or not. But certainly is plausible given they are very popular with his/our demographic.

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You're a NYT, leftist, "American" - wannabe foreigner.

====

Justin Trudeau went to Brebeuf; at 17 in 1988, despite the PMO current PR people's claims to the contrary, Justin Trudeau probably knew about as much about the Tragically Hip as I did. (Nothing.)

I'm going to agree with msj on this one. There is virtually nobody in my generation (I'm the same age as Trudeau) who doesn't know the Tragically Hip.

They were ubiquitous in the 90's and I can say this as someone who lived in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal during that decade. They were definitely a national phenomenon.

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You're a NYT, leftist, "American" - wannabe foreigner.

Agreed, but that's the interesting and most authentic part of the story...never heard of this band before the death tour either. This band remained "Canadian" by never making it "big" outside of the Canadian consciousness. Sure, there were international tour dates and even one SNL appearance (the place where several Canadians have gone to prove their pop culture legitimacy).

No, this band never made the leap to light speed, and that's probably a good thing:

....The singular importance of the Hip is that they resonate with my friends who teach post-colonial studies as deeply as they touch the right-wing hosers I still hang out with from high school, who drunkenly belt the anthems out in the parking lot after hockey games. Gord sews together the same disparate audiences that are drawn to songwriters like Matt Berninger. The audiences that worship Springsteen. Imagine, though, if Springsteen never broke outside the Mid-Atlantic, and imagine if the Mid-Atlantic had roughly 60 percent as many people and 20 times the geographical area. And imagine if, year after year, Springsteen drilled ever deeper into that terrain.

...A national identity is necessarily complex.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/music_box/2016/08/gord_downie_the_dying_singer_of_the_tragically_hip_was_a_canadian_s_canadian.html

Yes, the definitional comparison to an American (Bruce Springsteen) is so....Canadian, but we know what he is trying to say.

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Have no idea who they are. Probably my misfortune. I do find the idea of a "death" tour to be very interesting, bizarre and ghoulish.

"See this guy who is dying right before your eyes". If this was not the case then this tour would be buried in the entertainment section where it belongs in the media. I am sorry to say that I find nothing brave or exceptional for a person to choose to live out his remaining days on stage instead of being with his family and making peace with his lord and his enemies.

It looks to me like someone making money out of a macabre and ghoulish series of events.

I'm pretty sure his family travelled with him on all or part of his tour. And maybe he has no enemies and he has no belief in a lord.

To spend his last months doing what he enjoys with his band mates and family is a great thing and I'm glad his health was good enough to let us enjoy his live music one last time

Your post sounds highly judgemental.

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You're a NYT, leftist, "American" - wannabe foreigner.

  1. What is "NYT"?
  2. Leftist is correct
  3. "Wannabie" foreigner? I live 40 kms from New York City, where they actually played and I had a scheduling conflict that night.
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I'm going to agree with msj on this one. There is virtually nobody in my generation (I'm the same age as Trudeau) who doesn't know the Tragically Hip.

They were ubiquitous in the 90's and I can say this as someone who lived in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal during that decade. They were definitely a national phenomenon.

Both Trudeau Snr and Trudeau Jnr went to Brebeuf.

Trust me. If Trudeau Jnr claims to know about this English-Canadian musical group, his claim is a fraud.

Like a claim to sell wheat.

Edited by August1991
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Well, I'm going to trust the words of a politician over the speculations of an anonymous forum member: http://www.cbcmusic.ca/posts/12563/justine-trudeau-on-the-tragically-hip-kingston

Couple funny things: Trudeau talks about seeing them in high school and on campus. He mentions about how he thought they were going to break through in the US but he is happy that they didn't so they are all ours.

Enter BC_2004......

Also, his favourite album is the 1989's Up to Here.

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Both Trudeau Snr and Trudeau Jnr went to Brebeuf.

Trust me. If Trudeau Jnr claims to know about this English-Canadian musical group, his claim is a fraud.

Like a claim to sell wheat.

He went to McGill (English University) then UBC.... both in the 90's when every house party and radio station played them non-stop.

You just haven't heard of them for the same reason I don't know who half the 'it' pop stars are these days. It's a generational thing. I don't try and pretend it's because of geography.

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You just haven't heard of them for the same reason I don't know who half the 'it' pop stars are these days. It's a generational thing. I don't try and pretend it's because of geography.

Or pretend that it's a French/English thing or a Catholic thing.

That is so last century (or at least 1970's).

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