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Behind the Music of the Pan Am Games

Here’s a little secret of the music you might end up hearing at the various Pan Am Games venues: I helped pick some of it.

Games organizers (who are headquartered in the Corus Quay building, a place where I spend a lot of time) came to me with a request: “Can you look at this list of Canadian songs and artists that we’re thinking of using during the games?” I did–and it was…lacking.  Then again, the person who put together the original list is based in the UK and didn’t have any data to go on besides what was selling on iTunes.

“Give me a couple of days,” I said. “We’ll sort this out.”

Using some proprietary help from BDS SoundScan, a list was created featuring the most popular Canadian songs played on the radio throughout the GTA and Quebec. Two separate lists were created: one for Toronto venues and the other for Hamilton. (Hammer people live in a distinct musical ecosystem. That had to be considered just as much as what Francophone music needed to be included.)

Everything was handed over to the Games people who then incorporated this material into their overall musical selections. That’s where we can pick things up with this story in the Toronto Star. (Please note that while I recommended that Shania Twain be included on the playlist, I had nothing to do with the frequency her music was played. Honest.)



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38523 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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