There are hundreds of songs about Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and London. You can probably name songs that namecheck places like Paris and Tokyo. Think hard enough and you’ll quote lyrics that involve Kansas City, Galveston and Phoenix.
Whilst sitting in a bar during Canadian Music Week, someone at the table started a game with a simple premise: How many songs can you name that namecheck Canadian towns and cities?
1. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, “Helpless”
Okay, so the “town in north Ontario” isn’t identified in the lyrics but when pushed in an interview years later, Neil seemed to admit that he was thinking largely of Omemee, which is just west of Peterborough. Not exactly “north Ontario,” but we’ll take it.
2. Stompin’ Tom Connors, “Sudbury Saturday Night“
The only song in the history of the universe that rhymes “bingo” with “stinko.”
3. Tragically Hip, “Bobcaygeon”
Two points for the Hip for mentioning both Bobcaygeon and Toronto in this song.
4. Weakerthans, “One Great City”
Their ode to their hometown of Winnipeg.
5. Guess Who, “Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon”
Not only is Saskatoon mentioned, but so is Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Red Deer, Terrace and Medicine Hat.
6. Violent Femmes, “Vancouver”
Not exactly a hit, but it qualifies for our list.
7. Bon Iver, “Calgary”
Hey! it’s on a Grammy-award winning album! And the video’s been viewed 2.7 million times on YouTube!
8. The Rural Aberta Advantage, Hometowns
Not only does this album contain a song called “Edmonton,” but it also has songs featuring Lethbridge and Frank, Alberta.
9. The Wedding Present, “Montreal”
There are dozens and dozens of songs about Montreal, I had plenty to choose from.
10. Flin Flon, A-OK
And now, the grand finale. Flin Flon (also a town in Northern Manitoba) is Mark Robinson, the owner of the Washington DC-Based Teen Beat Records and a member of cult indie act Air Miami. The A-OK album features nothing but the names of small towns across Canada: Kamloops, Red Deer, Ukraina (a small town in Manitoba), Buffalo Narrows (Saskatchewan), Yellowknife. Moose Jaw, Odessa (Saskatchewan), Medicine Hat, Whitehorse and Colgate (Saskatchewan).
Got any others for this list?