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It’s Grey Cup Day. Let’s revisit a halftime musical mystery: Who were The Parablegics?

Over the year, the Grey Cup Halftime Show has featured some solid entertainment: Tom Cochrane, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Sam Roberts, The Guess Who, The Tragically Hip, Black Eyed Peas, Lenny Kraviz, Blue Rodeo, Nickelback, and Imagine Dragons have all had the gig over the years.

Ever hear of the Parablegics? Me, neither. But someone thought enough of them to book the band for the halftime show for the Grey Cup in Vancouver in 1999.

The Parablegics performed with a bunch of cheerleaders. And no one seems to know a thing about them. This greatly annoys Braydon Stachel, a CFL fan from Kingston who has been trying to get to the bottom of this mystery.

From the CBC:

“Stachel says his quest started last year when a user on the CFL reddit page asked to crack the mystery of the 1999 halftime show. 

“‘That started off the chain and nobody was able to solve it,’ Stachel said. 

“Stachel, who has experience working in the music industry, made efforts of his own. 

“He searched databases of performance rights organizations such as BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) and found no record of them “

Anyone have any idea? (Thanks to Alyson for the tip!)

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.

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3 thoughts on “It’s Grey Cup Day. Let’s revisit a halftime musical mystery: Who were The Parablegics?

  • My $0.02 guess: “Parablegics” appears to be a portmanteau of “parable” and “paraplegics” so it may not have been a musical act at all, but a performance of wheelchair football players or other wheelchair athletes, possibly with a recorded musical accompaniment, which explains why the cheerleaders were also involved.

    I’ll do some digging… I love a good mystery. :^)

    Reply
  • The entire 1999 Grey Cup is actually on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziBM73t5kto
    Starting about 1:21:40 it can be heard there is only the booming ambience of drumming and non-musical accompaniment, with no discernible melody, throughout the halftime show. It isn’t even televised (just commentary overtop) so doesn’t appear to be something the CBC considered broadcast-worthy as a musical performance would be (halftime shows had not been monetized in the CFL yet, apparently.)

    My wife’s supervisor lives near Hamilton and is a lifelong TiCats fan so was able to provide a definitive answer. He wasn’t at the game (as it was in BC) but watched it and remembered there was no bandm just drumming and cheerleaders. He reached out to a friend in BC and found what appears to be the answer. Please see: https://www.sd43.bc.ca/school/gleneagle/StaffInfo/departments/english/edge/Documents/1999-2000/1999-11-25_Festival-continues-with-3-plays-tonight.pdf

    This is the school newspaper of Gleneagle Secondary in Coquitlam… of all the coincidentally appropriate titles, it’s “the edge”!

    Scroll down to page 4 and find:

    “Evil Angels perform at the halftime show of the Grey cup finals”

    “… the team had been invited to compete with schools all over Vancouver to preform[sic] in this Sunday’s Grey Cup between Calgary and Hamilton.
    Winning team will perform in the half time show with more than ten CFL cheerleading teams.”

    So it would appear that this cheerleading performance, not a band, was the halftime show and “Parablegics” appears to be just an error. Case closed as far as I am concerned. :^)

    Reply
  • The box j boys I was there

    Reply

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