An oral history of The Tragically Hip’s Saskadelphia album

[This was my column for GlobalNews.ca on Sunday. – AC]

After relentless touring behind their debut album, Up to Here, The Tragically Hip travelled to Kingsway Studios in New Orleans to record their second album armed with about a dozen solid songs. But once they arrived, The Hip couldn’t seem to stop writing new material. Before long they made more songs they could use for a second album.

Producer Don Smith’s style was to have the recorders rolling all the time just in case creative lightning struck. He insisted that the band record everything that they had, committing everything to reels and reels of two-inch analogue tape.

Once the sessions were complete, some tough choices had to made to narrow things down to 12 songs for an album that would eventually be called Road Apples. The album was a huge hit, reaching number one on the Canadian charts and eventually selling more than a million copies. Any decisions made about what songs to include on the album were obviously the right ones.

But what about those songs that didn’t make the cut? And what happened to the tapes from those sessions? Therein lies a fascinating story. I had a chance to talk to the four remaining members of the band and this is the oral history of the new Saskadelphia album. 

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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