Best Canadian Musicians: 25 Icons From The Great White North
To celebrate Canada Day, we’ve assembled a list of the country’s greatest musicians that cross all genres, eras, and provinces.
For a relatively small country (roughly 36 million), Canada continues to punch above its weight when it comes to musical contribution. The sheer volume of notable acts that were left off the list is impressive enough. From bonafide legends (Neil Young and Joni Mitchell) to 80s hit machines (Bryan Adams and Corey Hart) to 00’s chart-toppers (The Weeknd and Grimes) Canada boasts some serious homegrown talent that they’re nice enough to share with the rest of the world. To celebrate Canada Day, we’ve assembled a list of the country’s greatest musicians that cross all genres, eras, and provinces (excluding the many talented French-Canadian artists and Glenn Gould, Lenny Breau, and Oscar Petersen (they’re above lists)).
While you’re reading our list of the best Canadian musicians, listen to our Canada Day playlist here.
25: Shawn Mendes
Like Justin Bieber, Mendes parlayed his internet stardom (Vine in his case) to full-fledged pop stardom. Over the course of three albums, Mendes set himself apart with his passionate vocals and acoustic guitar mastery, imbuing the sometimes-staid model of pop-rock with tension and longing. Along with a string of hit singles “Treat You Better,” “Mercy,” “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” and most recently “If I Can’t Have You,” Mendes is also very much an album artist, showing his full songwriting abilities on deep cuts like “Hold On” can attest.
While rappers like Dream Warriors and K-os were underground upstarts in the 90s to early 2000s, no Canadian artist was able to achieve mainstream popularity until former child-actor-turned-rapper, Drake, put Canada on the hip-hop map – becoming one of the biggest-selling and influential rap stars in the world. From co-founding Canadian record label OVO (October’s Very Own) Sound to coining the city’s unofficial nickname, “The 6,” Drake is Canada’s biggest hypeman. Not only did he use the CN Tower for his Views album art, he even has a tattoo of the iconic Toronto landmark on his arm and helped to introduce fellow Canadian, The Weeknd, to the rest of the world.
23: Rufus Wainwright
Technically one-half Canadian, Rufus Wainwright is the progeny of Kate McGarrigle (one-half of the signing folk sensation The McGarrigle Sisters) and 60s folk sensation Loudon Wainwright III, along with his sister Martha. The Montreal native got his start singing on the Montreal club circuit before establishing himself as one of the preeminent singer-songwriters of his generation, with the voice of an opera-cum-lounge singer. Even since relocating to the US, he’ll always be “Montreal’s Son.”
22: Broken Social Scene
We’re cheating a bit here, as this group contains many of the best Canadian musicians. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the hugely influential Canadian alt-rock collective, Broken Social Scene. Since forming in 1999 with core members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, the duo recruited the best of Toronto’s indie scene to perform on their ambient record and a burgeoning super-group was born that included drummer Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, violinist Jessica Moss, Bill Priddle, Evan Cranley and Amy Millan from The Stars, Jason Collette and most famously Metric’s Emily Haines and Leslie Feist. The super-group would serve as the springboard for many famous alumni who started their own bands. Drew would go on help start the Arts & Crafts label as a vehicle for Broken Social Scene releases and all of BBS’s affiliated acts – effectively shaping the sound of Toronto from 2003 ‘til today.
21: Diana Krall
Is Diana Krall the best Candian jazz musician? She certainly ranks up there in the jazz vocalist category. As one of the most acclaimed and successful jazz performers today, Diana Krall has made a career honoring the greats (Cole Porter, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole) while ever-expanding the definition of the American Songbook. With her dark, soulful voice and ambitious arrangements, Krall was hailed as a throwback to the golden era of jazz vocalists. But over the course of 14 studio albums, the British Columbia native threw some curveballs as well, pushing the boundaries and pop-jazz and creating new songbook standards.
20: Daniel Lanois
Hailed by Rolling Stone as “the most important record producer to emerge in the ’80s,” Lanois is one of the best Canadian producers/composers/musicians and has worked with the likes of Brian Eno (Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks), Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Emmyous Harris and is the man behind U2’s Joshua Tree and The Unforgettable Fire. In his famous studio in Hamilton, Ontario, he produced records for Canadian artists such as Martha and the Muffins and Ian and Sylvia. As a solo artist, the multi-instrumentalist and singer released a string of albums that featured his wonderfully atmospheric textures and poetic songwriting.
19: Gordon Lightfoot
Canada has a long tradition of singer-songwriters and that’s partly in thanks to its own “folksong laureate,” Gordon Lightfoot. Coming out of the Toronto 60s folk music scene, Lightfoot’s native country would become his lifelong muse, penning such classics as “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” and “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and yet universal enough to appeal worldwide, turning him into Canada’s most successful contemporary folk artist. A beloved cultural icon, he’s been the beneficiary of countless awards and honours including the Companion of the Order of Canada – Canada’s highest civilian honor.
18: Joel Plaskett
This multiple JUNO award-winning singer-songwriter is the clear heir apparent to The Tragically Hip, both in terms of writing energetic folk-rock with lyrical homage to Canada and for his relative obscurity outside of the country. Nonetheless, he’s one of the best Canadian musicians. Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Plaskett has a prolific output that spans more than two decades and includes countless studio releases both with his 90s hard-rock band Thrush Hermit, his solo recordings, and with his band, the Joel Plaskett Emergency.
17: Cowboy Junkies
When Cowboy Junkies first arrived on the Toronto music scene in the mid-80s, people struggled to classify their genre-fluid blend of country, blues, folk, indie rock, but following their 1986 breakthrough The Trinity Session, they helped to define the emerging Americana genre. They became college radio staples thanks to their cover of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” but are beloved as an enduring cult act for their moody, introspective songwriting.
1,2,3,4… name a better-known Canadian female singer who’s had one of the most unlikely success stories in popular music today? Before she was dominating the pop charts and performing on Sesame Street, the Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist, Leslie Feist, was performing with her then-roommate and electro-pop provocateur, Peaches. Shortly after, she joined Broken Social Scene and released her breakout record, The Reminder – becoming the critical darling of the NPR-loving crowd. Born in Calgary, Feist became a key player in Toronto’s music scene and continues to enchant fans and critics alike with her pretty (never precious) vocals couched in gritty rock.
15: Arcade Fire
Formed in 2001, when Win Butler, Josh Deu, and Régine Chassagne met while at university in Montreal, Arcade Fire went from being local favorites to the toast of the music press in the space of only three albums. Blending baroque pop with harder indie rock sounds, this group of some of the best Canadian musicians gained international fandom with new-classic hits, “No Cars Go” and “Wake Up” and now headline festivals around the world.
14: Blue Rodeo
Often compared to fellow Canadians, The Band, Blue Rodeo are a Canadian country-rock institution. Since forming in 1984, the Toronto-based quintet were a huge hit in Canada in the 90s thanks to their dynamic mix of American pop, country, and blues and two-part harmonies reminiscent of the Everly Brothers. With a solid roots-rock sound and two-part harmonies, their 1990 album, Casino, did achieve some stateside success due in part to their hit single, “Til I Am Myself Again.” Since then, they’ve become one of Canada’s renowned legacy acts that tour worldwide.
13: The Guess Who
Sometimes it takes an “American Woman” to break into the US charts, and that’s what the powerhouse group of Canadian musicians, The Guess Who, did in 1970, being the first Canadian group to have a US chart topper since 1954. Powered by the soulful vocals of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman’s driving guitar and sardonic songwriter, the Winnipeg-based band found international success throughout the 60s and 70s, until disbanding when Bachman left the group and went on to form the hugely successful, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, with their hit single “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
12: Al Tuck
With titles like “encyclopaedia of popular music” and a “roving troubadour,” this renowned folk singer is considered one of the best Canadian musicians. With a meticulous gift for lyricism and innovative folk style, Al Tuck came to prominence during the Halifax pop explosion of the mid-’90s. While originally from Prince Edward Island, Tuck is now considered one of Halifax’s own and is something of a musician’s musician, thanks to a stellar set of eight studio albums including his excellent early releases, Arhoolie and Brave Last Days.
11: kd Lang
A self-described “torch and twang singer,” k.d. lang was never going to be a traditional country star. With her androgynous looks and tear-in-the-throat vocals that could make a man cry, this Canadian singer-songwriter from Edmonton, Alberta was propelled to fame in the 90s with her breakout album, Ingénue. Since starting out in a Patsy Cline tribute band, Lang was a true country kid with hits like “Crying” and “I’m Down to My Last Cigarette” before finding crossover success with the pop single, “Constant Craving.” She also has collaborated with the likes of Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett and even Cline’s former producer, Owen Bradley on 1989’s Shadowland.
10: Ron Sexsmith
Wildly gifted songwriter who flies under the mainstream radar and is beloved by critics and musicians alike? Noticing a pattern here? Ron Sexsmith is one of the best Canadian singer-songwriters. With his distinctive and charming voice and wonderful melodic sense, he’s gained many famous admirers including Elvis Costello and Elton John. Sexsmith arrived in Toronto by way of St. Catherines and was praised for his songwriting since his self-titled, major-label debut in 1995. After crafting 14 albums worth of earnest, guitar pop, Sexsmith developed a cult following despite many of songs becoming mainstream hits for others such as Feist’s “Secret Heart” and Michael Buble’s “Whatever It Takes.”
9: Justin Bieber
It seems like Justin Bieber has been dominating pop culture discourse forever. Since skyrocketing to fame at the age of 13 after being discovered via YouTube, the Ontario native has seen it at all and has a robust catalogue to show for it. Bieber proved he’s equally adept at teen idol balladry (“U Smile,” “Baby” and “One Less Lonely Girl”) as he is at dancehall (“Confident”), EDM (“What Do You Mean?”), and even reggaeton (“Despacito”). His chameleon-like sense of adaptability allows him to jump on any song and make it hit. Plus he’s gifted us one of the most persistent earworms of all time: “Sorry.”
8: Bryan Adams
Everyone knows this crooner outside of Canada for his 80s hard-rocking hits “Summer of 69” and “Cuts Like a Knife” or his heartfelt love ballads that dominated the 90s, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – which still holds the record for longest unbroken run at No. on the UK singles chart – but this Canadian icon and prolific songwriter is so much more than the soundtrack to school dances. With an unmistakable raspy voice and gift for writing incredibly catchy songs, few things are more cherished by Canadians than maple syrup, hockey, and Bryan Adam’s “Run To You.”
7: The Tragically Hip
With a name like The Tragically Hip, the bluesy-Canadian rock outfit sealed their fate by being cool to Canadian audiences but never cracking the US and world markets. They’ve been called “Canada’s R.E.M” (only by Americans, we suspect) for their clever lyricism and their roots-rock meets alt-country sound. With a staggering amount of hit songs and albums under their belt, they are part of Canada’s cultural identity, so much so that when beloved frontmen Gord Downie performed his last concert with the band in 2016, 11.7 million Canadians tuned in to watch. One of the best Canadian bands ever.
6: Bruce Cockburn
As one of the most prolific recording artists to come out of Canada and the 60s wave of singer-songwriters, Bruce Cockburn was not just the voice of a generation, but has spent four decades making himself heard. From politics to human rights and spirituality, the legendary singer-songwriter from Ottawa has a catalogue that’s as diverse as it is brilliant. With countless Juno Awards to his name and a Canadian Music Hall of Famer, Cockburn continues to be an inspiration to Canadian musicians and beyond.
5: The Band
Sometimes it takes a bunch of the best Canadian musicians to write some of the most quintessential American songs in music history. While the band is 80 percent Canadian (with one Arkansan in drummer Levon Helm), they remain one of the most influential acts in 60s rock and their concert film, The Last Waltz, stands as one of the greatest moments in rock history. With their 1968 debut, Music From Big Pink, the Canadian troubadours (Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel) gave definition to the genre of “Americana” with their blues-meets-country-infused R&B. Even the most casual music fan knows the chorus to “The Weight” and their song, “The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down” is one of the best rock songs ever put to tape about the Civil War.
Take a crew of Yes-obsessed Canadians, apply an English prog sensibility and you have one of the most successful rock acts to break out of Canada – selling over million records sold worldwide. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson grew up near Toronto and came up in the local club circuit before going on to form the illustrious prog-rock trio known as Rush. While the band’s sound would evolve over the years since their 1974 debut, their expert musicianship, complexity of their compositions, and vivid lyricism would remain unparalleled. Clearly a group of the best Canadian musicians to ever do it.
3: Joni Mitchell
One of the best musicians ever, let alone Canadian. As one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and influential artists, Joni Mitchell is the very face of folk music and yet equally at ease in the worlds of rock, pop, jazz, and blues. A fixture of the 6os folk scenes in Greenwich Village and Laurel Canyon, Mitchell first got her start during university in Calgary before busking in the streets of Toronto. With “Woodstock” she created the anthem for an entire generation, even though it was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young that made it famous. Truly one of the most gifted songwriters in music, the enduring popularity of her albums Blue, Hejira, and Court and Spark, defy trends and convention and her music has been sampled from everyone from Janet Jackson to Prince.
2: Leonard Cohen
Authoring a song that would launch almost a 100 covers, “Hallelujah” is just a small sliver of Leonard Cohen’s immense contribution to music over the past five decades. The accomplished poet and novelist was the toast of the Montreal literary scene before he turned to music to become the foremost songwriter of his era. His meditations on love, faith, despair, and politics could be conveyed in even the simplest of terms. Songs like “Suzanne” and “Bird on the Wire” and “Sisters of Mercy” would cement his reputation as a in-demand folk songwriter, spawning hits for countless other artists, but no one could replace Cohen’s deep, resonant voice.
1: Neil Young
Lists are incredibly subjective but it’s impossible to deny the enormous impact Neil Young has made in the musical world for the past 50 years. From his time with Buffalo Springfield to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to his solo work with Crazy Horse, this singer-songwriter from Northern Ontario left his homeland long ago and yet never became an American citizen. With one of rock’s most productive and enduring solo careers, Young has created his own songbook of standards and continues to be a political force for action.
While this list could top 100-plus musicians, here are some other great Canadian artists who deserve at least honorable mentions below. Gino Vannelli, Martha & The Muffins, Buffy Sainte Marie, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Ian & Sylvia, Stan Rogers, Bare Naked Ladies, K-OS, The Weeknd, Metric, Sloan, Crash Test Dummies, Kim Mitchell / Max Webster, Tegan and Sara, Alanis Morrisette, Jeff Healy, The New Pornographers, The Constantines, The Rheostatics, Cory Hart, April Wine, Grimes, 54-40, Shania Twain, and Celine Dion. Think we missed one of the best Canadian musicians ever? Let us know in the comments below.
July 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm
What about Jane Sierra … ?
July 1, 2017 at 9:45 pm
Oscar Peterson, the rest are just makeweights
July 1, 2017 at 10:43 pm
How could you leave out Hank Snow and Ian Tyson?
July 1, 2017 at 11:58 pm
What about Bruce Cockburn? Great artist …
July 3, 2019 at 11:24 pm
He is on the list…
July 2, 2017 at 1:43 am
July 2, 2017 at 2:03 am
Bryan Adams ahead of The Band? Instant disqualification.
July 2, 2017 at 2:03 am
the best band n canada for the last several years has been the sadies.
July 2, 2017 at 2:05 am
You seriously left off Bruce Cockburn, Sarah McLachlan, The Cowboy Junkies & Diana Krall?
December 16, 2019 at 8:10 pm
Bruce Cockburn, The Cowboy Junkies and Diana Krall are on this list.
July 2, 2017 at 2:48 am
For me saga
July 2, 2017 at 5:50 am
What about Colin James??
July 2, 2017 at 6:40 am
Give me a fucking break! Drake shouldn’t even be on this list.
Where are The Spoons? Where’s Platinum Blonde? Where’s Rush?
July 8, 2018 at 9:36 am
Damn right about Rush, and Mahogany Rush, most of those on the list are just corporate whores.
July 11, 2018 at 4:53 pm
Bieber and Drake, Canada’s worst mistake
August 24, 2018 at 10:01 pm
Rush is #5. What I want to know is who puts K D Lang higher then Rush? I mean come on it is bad enough the Hip are 12th that is just the normal American terrible music bias, but K D Lang is 4th. Don’t get me wrong she is all right, maybe even good enough to be on a list, but 4th? I just can’t wrap my mind around it.
And Daniel Lanois I mean come on now you are just trolling, this is a list for musicians and no matter how important he was as a producer he was a decidedly average and completely unremarkable musician when compared to the competition.
December 18, 2018 at 5:55 am
Agree with this post! RUSH is # 1. Who puts Tragically Hip at 12? The person doing this was a moron.
Stevie Ray O
December 18, 2018 at 5:53 am
#FakeNews RUSH is Canada’s #1 band by a large margin. It’s not even close. Wheres April Wine? Triumph? Colin James?
February 16, 2020 at 6:56 pm
July 2, 2017 at 7:14 am
You forgot The Diodes.
July 2, 2017 at 8:12 am
How you could not include Jack Scott is beyond me
July 2, 2017 at 10:35 am
Sorry but you forgot Bruce Cockburn! Incredible …
July 2, 2017 at 12:13 pm
One hit wonder KD Lang above Rush give me a feckin brake …who thought this list up needs certified
July 2, 2017 at 4:42 pm
The Guess Who has to rank higher than #10 and Gordon Lightfoot higher than #16. It’s a well put together list but with a few omissions.
July 2, 2017 at 6:16 pm
Ummm…Isn’t Ann Murray from the great North?
July 2, 2017 at 6:32 pm
What about David Clayton-Thomas ?
July 2, 2018 at 9:26 pm
Off wallowing in his private Ego Lake, no doubt.
July 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm
And where is “Great Big Sea”? Oh, “that redneck Newfie band doesn’t Rock”!? Oh well, I’ll just take “Mari-Mac” on an “Excursion Around The Bay,” give her some “French Perfume,” drink some “Old Black Rum,” say hello to “Jack Hinks,” and go “Donkey Riding” with ” on “A Boat Like Gideon Brown.” 😉
February 16, 2020 at 6:59 pm
great big sea redneck,really…the only possible way for great big sea to be a redneck is without sunscreen in july
July 3, 2017 at 12:17 am
July 3, 2017 at 4:58 am
Basia Bulat, Sarah McLachlan, Jane Sibery, Jann Arden, Loreena Mc Kennitt,
July 3, 2017 at 6:38 pm
April Wine, Aldo Nova, BTO, Triumph
July 4, 2017 at 5:51 am
No Paul Anka?
December 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm
Paul Anka and Anne Murray….2 of the greatest CANADIAN singers
July 6, 2017 at 12:52 am
terrible list. top musicians? some of the don’t even play an instrument. this is a list of top pop stars. huge difference.
gord lightfoot isn’t a great musician he’s a great songwriter. april wine have had more hits than almost anyone here.
and how about quebec? harmonium, pagliaro, charlebois, claude leveillee, diane dusfresne, claude dubois, ville emard blues band etc.
bruce cockburn is a better guitar player than just about anybody here.
hello doug riley, moe koffman, don thompson, claude ranger. what a poorly comceived bit of fluff this feature is. for shame.
July 6, 2017 at 12:53 am
guess who should be top 5.
September 13, 2017 at 6:44 pm
September 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm
rush at number 5??????????????
September 17, 2017 at 1:42 am
The best canadian musician in my opinion is Shawn Mendes … ahahaha
Well, although the handsome guy has a promising future, my heart belong
indeed to Loreena McKennitt, the Lady of the New Age.
Greetings from Brasil.
November 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm
This list is bullshit. Where is Barenaked Ladies? And along with the other commentors I’m wondering where is Cockburn, Hank Snow, Rush, etc. And then there are musicians on this list that I’m sure are good but I’ve never heard of. Great attempt, but no.
February 14, 2018 at 7:51 am
This list is so incomplete and so pathetically inept in its order that I believe I’m going to pee-yook. Rush at #5??? The third top-selling band ever. Only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are ahead of them. Gordon Lightfoot at #16…just spit in his face. He’s been putting out music for over SIXTY years. What about Bob Ezrin? Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” would not exist without him. Neither would a few KISS albums, Alice Cooper tunes, Pat Benatar and several others. Gary and Dave…Ian Thomas is top 20. I don’t argue against Neil Young, kraft dinner(kd) Lang in #4? Rufus Wainwright? Ron Sexsmith does a lot, but has no business being on this list. Were you people smoking herb when you thought up this muddled mess? Horrible…absolutely horrible.
February 26, 2018 at 3:37 pm
SAGA of course, must be in the top 10! For me no. 1
March 6, 2018 at 5:58 am
This is a ‘Dumbo List’ One of the to top 5 musicians in the WORLD is missing.
June 28, 2018 at 3:47 am
How did Martha Wainwright contribute to Rufus Wainwright’s conception?
July 2, 2018 at 3:37 pm
What about Peaches?
July 8, 2018 at 9:34 am
Randy Bachman deserves his own recognition, he’s certainly more musically creative than most on your list.
And while I’m at it, what about Frank Marino?
Frank is one of the greatist rock guitarists of all time.
August 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm
Not a bad list but where is Steppenwolf and Weeknd? Drake should be much higher on this list. He will easily go down as the most popular and talented artist in Canadian history despite what the critics (tradiitonal people) here might say. He is one of the only Canadian artists who has literally changed the landscape and direction of pop music and hiphop music. No other artist on this list did that on a grand scale
November 18, 2018 at 2:42 pm
The Tea Party was at or near the top of Canadian rock with a huge international following for several years. Probably more musical talent than commercial success but man could those guys play!
June 30, 2019 at 2:25 am
They had a song besides Heaven Coming Down?
December 3, 2018 at 7:29 am
December 5, 2018 at 12:18 pm
Who the hell is Al Tuck? Also, you’re missing Stompin’ Tom.
May 13, 2019 at 1:46 pm
No Kathleen Edwards or Bros. Landreth??? Come on….
June 30, 2019 at 2:33 am
Matthew Good, Rita McNeil, the Rankin Family, Natalie McMaster, Ashley McIssac (He flashed America on live television), Jack White, and Alanis F***ing Morissette. The Trews wanted to be Canada’s Rolling Stones, but I think they may just be Canada’s other Nickelback. Oh, and DeadMau5.
July 5, 2019 at 9:37 pm
No Celine Dion? Pretty sure shes bigger than Feist?
July 8, 2019 at 3:30 am
Where is Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Tom Cochrane, Avril Lavigne, trooper?
July 19, 2019 at 3:14 am
This list is trash without Avril Lavigne in the top 10.
September 3, 2019 at 5:17 am
Thanks for suggesting that my least favourite Canadian artist Justin Bieber is not the number one best Canadian of all time. Although there are many people pointing out whom was missed on the list completely, or placed terribly incorrectly. I would suggest you add a few, or move some of these artists into higher rankings.
The Weekend, Michael Buble, Nickelback, Rolling Stones, Shania Twain, Carly Rae Jespen, Barenakedladies, Celine Dion, Bryn Adams Avril Lavigne, Lights, Paul Anka, and of course a bunch of other memorable artists.
September 27, 2019 at 5:18 pm
I’m a 60-year-old fart, but seriously, BTO not in the top 5? Really?
October 17, 2019 at 7:18 pm
Neil young and the BAND the rest well??
David A. Warr
November 11, 2019 at 1:12 pm
Not a very good list. Drake? Really? Does he do music?
November 14, 2019 at 8:58 pm
Saw nothing about Jan Arden.. one of the my favourite of all Canadian artists. I always make a point of playing “Waiting in Canada” whenever I’m approaching the border heading north.
December 16, 2019 at 8:17 pm
Where is Anne Murray? I know people like to dismiss her even though she has sold almost 60 million albums, has had 32 no 1 songs, and 30 others on the charts and innumerable awards. She has supported Canadian songwriters by recording many of their songs. Not to mention that she has or had one of the most distinct voices in music, which made her an original. I feel that it is really disrespectful to this artist to leave her out. So, a lot of you don’t think she is ‘cool’ enough to be mentioned, but who the hell cares about who is cool or not! Her achievements prove otherwise!
January 17, 2020 at 3:51 am
GINO VANNELLI, one of Canada’s greatest musical artists. Truly amazing talent. Also runs in the family. Brothers Joe Vannelli and Ross Vannelli, greatly talented.
February 16, 2020 at 7:14 pm
platinum blonde, images in vogue, trooper, bruce cockburn, honeymoon suite, the spoons, skinny puppy, rymes with orange, smoother, gowan,
a decisive and a thorough look into the canadian 198os pop/new wave/rock scene would be greatly appreciate
April 2, 2020 at 2:52 pm
Not only did Allanah Myles not make the top 5 of list, a travesty, she doesn’t make the list at all, and doesn’t even get honorable mention. April Wine not on the list?
Who put this together? You need to study up/
April 15, 2020 at 6:56 pm
woooahhh where the hell is GRIMES?
April 29, 2020 at 2:02 am
So, Anne Murray who has won more Juno awards than any other artist on this list doesn’t make it. HMMMM…..
What a joke.
May 26, 2020 at 3:31 am
Quite contrary to what the author thinks (because he obviously doesn’t know and didn’t do any research) the Guess Who did not disband when Randy Bachman left. They continued quite successfully with with new guitarists and a string of hits including ‘Road Food’, ‘Clap for the Wolfman’, ‘Orly’, ‘Roseanne’, ‘Heartbroken Bopper’, ‘Albert Flasher’, ‘Star Baby’, ‘Follow Your Daughter Home’, ‘Dancing Fool’… And while Bachman was responsible for some tunes, in general it was Bachman and Cummings who responsible for songwriting. ‘American Woman’, the best-known example, is Bachman’s riff and Cummings’ lyrics.
I won’t argue with the choices, as that is a subjective matter. That said, one could easily argue this list as not living up the the ’25 Icons’ proposition of the title. And because the Guess Who feature is so poor, I won’t read the rest.
August 28, 2020 at 7:37 am
Why is joel plaskett even on the list?
October 26, 2020 at 1:06 am
Shania Twain ?
January 10, 2021 at 11:25 pm
Triumph and April Wine?
February 27, 2021 at 10:10 pm
Stompin Tom Conners definitely is an icon of Canadian History. You are also missing Great Big Sea.
July 4, 2021 at 6:32 pm
‘Best’ vs. popular? If ‘Best’ is the qualification regardless of popularity, Lisa Dalbello/Dalbello is criminally underappreciated.
July 14, 2021 at 2:12 am
Stevie ray o, NY is Canada’s best artist, The Band is Canada’s band.
July 15, 2021 at 4:30 am
Five Man Electrical Band had some very big hits– Signs, Absolutely Right, I’m a Stranger Here, to name a few.
July 19, 2021 at 8:12 pm
Denny Doherty & Shania Twain . Both should be on the list. Even though Denny’s group the Mamas and the Papas was with three other members from the U.S. Denny’ had one of the best singing voices in the 60s. The group wouldn’t have been a success without Denny.
September 20, 2021 at 4:41 pm
Where are Anne Murray, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Michelle Wright, and Sarah McLaughlin? All worthy of the top 25.
October 24, 2021 at 1:34 am
Other than Celine, no Quebecois is a serious oversight.
November 30, 2021 at 10:56 am
Nobody ever mentioned Devin Townsend and Purity Ring here lol, what a couple of dumbsheeds, eh.
December 27, 2021 at 7:49 pm
Another Quebecer, Maynard Ferguson
February 12, 2022 at 3:32 pm
Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, Gil Evans, Percy Faith,Guy Lombardo,Paul Anka,Hank Snow, Lighthouse, Jane Siberry,Maynard Ferguson, Michel Pagliaro,Giles Villeneuve,Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Rankin Family,Good Brothers, Valdy, Beau Dommage, Harmonium, Octobre.
February 13, 2022 at 4:47 am
April 11, 2022 at 7:33 pm
Canada has been producing great artists for years, not just since the 70’s. You should add Guy Lombardo (he was making hot jazz in 1924) and Percy Faith (started as a band leader during the swing era. He did play violin and piano as a child, but stopped after his hands were badly burned.
April 15, 2022 at 12:00 am
we’re just pretending The Weeknd doesn’t exist? Alright bet.
July 1, 2022 at 8:04 pm
No Saga….way ahead of most other canadian bands in my humble opinion.
July 1, 2022 at 8:56 pm
Nickelback.They have sold over 50 million albums
July 2, 2022 at 12:43 am
How about The Odds – brilliant power pop!
July 5, 2022 at 9:55 am
Mystery ? Red Sand ?
July 8, 2022 at 8:54 am
Thanks for the list, it was educational. I an Australian and love much of Canadian music. One of my favorites is Basia Bulat, particularly her first three albums
August 11, 2022 at 6:13 am
This list is mis-named. It is more properly called, “Canadian performers I Personally Like” since some of them do not qualify as musicians. in my view.
There are several names which should be listed but aren’t:
1. Paul Anka
2. Anne Murray
3. David Clayton-Thomas
4. Oscar Peterson – in the opinion of some the greatest pianist in the history of jazz.
5. Maynard Ferguson – You haven’t lived if you don’t know how a whole generation of trumpet players feel about him.
6. Glenn Gould – arguably the most important single musician Canada has produced.
September 25, 2022 at 6:05 pm
The late Brian Browne terrific Pianist and composer.
October 24, 2022 at 9:45 pm
Can’t believe neither you, nor any others as far as I could tell, even mentioned Paul Anka. Just too young to know, I guess!
October 30, 2022 at 6:37 pm
This, as we say in my part of England, (Liverpool) Is just takin the piss! Rush at #5? And while you tried to make amends by adding April Wine as an afterthought, you basically blew it by not actually including them on the original list. Also got agree with Stevie Ray O and a couple of others, by asking what about Triumph and Aldo Nova? And, for the more contempoarary what About Joni Mitchell & Paul Anka Somebody in the office needs to do a bit more in depth reseratrch in future, before you come up with another lazy, “just look at a few Newspaper & Internet articles” chart
November 2, 2022 at 12:30 am
I would have included Jane Siberry, Klaatu (for their first two albums – the last three were awful) (although their best song A Routine Day was on their third), and Kate and Anna McGarrigle (Kate was the mom of Rufus Wainwright)
November 19, 2022 at 10:18 am
What about Anne Murray?
January 15, 2023 at 1:16 am
this list is pretty weak, missed a lot of iconic Canadian performers. What about Jeff Healey? Not only a performer but a scholar of the blues. What about folkies: Stan Rogers (you HAVE heard of him I hope)and yes stompin tom, and another maritime favourite Dutch Mason. And Oscar Peterson, the best Jazz Pianist of his day. Man, I could go on for an hour.
February 24, 2023 at 5:26 pm
Hey you hosers, what about Bob and Doug McKenzie! 🙂