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The Tragically Hip

While hugely popular in their native Canada, the Tragically Hip found the global charts continually resistant to their blues-influenced pop fare. Formed in 1984 in Kingston, Ontario, the band comprised childhood friends Gordon Downie (vocals), Bobby Baker (guitar), Paul Langlois (guitar), Gord Sinclair (bass), and Johnny Fay (drums). The bandmembers took their name from a Michael Nesmith video entitled Elephant Parts, and focused on making a name for themselves on the local scene during the mid-'80s. While performing Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern, MCA Records president Bruce Dickinson was impressed by the Hip's infectious live presence and offered them a deal. A self-titled eponymous EP appeared in 1987, but it took the band two years to get critical attention. Their proper studio debut effort, 1989's Up to Here, boasted the swagger of "Blow at High Dough" and Downie's powerful songcraft was blossoming.

College charts were instantly attracted and fellow Canadians were appreciative of the Tragically Hip's insatiable appeal. Road Apples, issued in 1991, was moderately successful; however, the band's third album, Fully Completely (1993), allowed for international crossover. Singles such as "Courage" and "Wheat Kings" became mainstays in pockets of Michigan and New York; the Hip were slowly being noticed and American fans began cherishing them as much as their Canadian loyalists. They continued to rise steadily with 1995's somber storm, Day for Night, and their star power was burgeoning. Sold-out tours across Canada and Midwest America, and a spot on Saturday Night Live, catapulted the vibrancy of "Grace, Too" onto modern rock charts. The Tragically Hip were becoming an anthemic band among the split indie and rock crowds, practically on the verge of being an arena attraction.

Trouble at the Henhouse, their first album for Atlantic, was blistering with a passion similar to Day for Night's, but was released too soon after that previous effort. It wasn't radio-friendly enough for America, either, but the bandmembers weren't concerned. The Hip trudged on, selling out countless dates in North America. Downie, who was also a poetic madman, composed a frenzied stage presence and the band's tight rhythms were infectious. The mix of roots rock and light country tinges was something tangible during the mid-'90s grunge reign. While touring in support of Trouble at the Henhouse, the Hip recorded their first-ever live album, Live Between Us (1997). This particular album captured an astonishing night at Detroit's Cobo Arena in 1996, and was uncut and unfearing. The band was at the top of its game, never selling out to corporate ideals. They were a stadium sensation without ever having a major hit in America. The rest of the '90s was a time of rest, but also a period when the band returned to the basics of true rock & roll grit.

Phantom Power (1998), their sixth studio album and eighth overall, marked their most cohesive work to date. It was also their debut for Sire Records. The album was recorded in the band's hometown of Kingston and the songs themselves were cathartic and seductive. "Fireworks" and "Poets" were again mainstays on college radio. A showcase at Woodstock 1999 proved glorious for Canadians the next summer. Music @ Work followed in summer 2000, with subsequent U.S. tours with Guster. The next year, Gordon Downie put his pen to paper for a book of poetry and a solo album entitled Coke Machine Glow. Downie returned to the studio in 2001 to join his bandmates for another Hip record. Producer Hugh Padgham (Split Enz, XTC, Phil Collins) was also on board to tweak the Tragically Hip's ninth record, In Violet Light, issued in June 2002.

In Between Evolution, the band's most introspective work yet, followed in summer 2004. The following year saw the release of Hipeponymous, a limited-edition box set that included the two-disc greatest-hits compilation Yer Favorites and the live DVD That Night in Toronto: Pierre & Francois Lamoureux, as well as a bonus DVD of all of the group's videos. Fellow Canadian and famed producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe) signed on for the Hip's 11th studio LP, World Container. Intimate club shows in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Montreal were also scheduled in celebration of its release in fall 2006. We Are the Same arrived in 2009. After a nearly three-year break, the Tragically Hip re-emerged with Now for Plan A in the fall of 2012. Tours of Canada and the U.S. consumed much of 2013, and the band began recording in 2014. Another busy year of touring followed in 2015. Gord Downie announced on May 24, 2016 that he had terminal brain cancer. This announcement cast a shadow over the single "In a World Possessed by the Human Mind" that previewed the Hip's 13th studio album, Man Machine Poem; the record was released in June of 2016, and the band supported the album with a full tour. ~ MacKenzie Wilson
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Now For Plan A

1. At Transformation

2. Man Machine Poem

3. The Lookahead

4. We Want To Be It

5. Streets Ahead

6. Now For Plan A

7. The Modern Spirit

8. About This Map

9. Take Forever

10. Done And Done

11. Goodnight Attawapiskat

x

Track List: Yer Favourites

Disc 1

1. No Threat

2. Grace, Too

3. My Music At Work

4. 38 Years Old

5. Gift Shop

6. Ahead By A Century

7. Vaccination Scar

8. Three Pistols

9. So Hard Done By

10. Fiddler's Green

11. Looking For A Place To Happen

12. Cordelia

13. 'It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken'

14. Blow At High Dough

15. Wheat Kings

16. Fifty-Mission Cap

17. New Orleans Is Sinking

18. Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin' Man

Disc 2

1. Fully Completely

2. Twist My Arm

3. Courage (For Hugh McLennan)

4. Lake Fever

5. Poets

6. Fireworks

7. Boots Or Hearts

8. Bobcaygeon

9. Nautical Disaster

10. Highway Girl

11. Gus: The Polar Bear From Central Park

12. Scared

13. Something On

14. At The Hundredth Meridian

15. Long Time Running

16. The Darkest One

17. Locked In The Trunk Of A Car

18. Little Bones

19. The New Maybe

Disc 3
Disc 4
x

Track List: In Between Evolution

1. Heaven Is A Better Place Today

2. Summer's Killing Us

3. Gus The Polar Bear From Central Park

4. Vaccination Scar

5. It Can't Be Nashville Every Night

6. New Orleans Is Beat

7. You're Everywhere

8. Makeshift As We Are

9. Mean Streak

10. The Heart Of The Melt

11. One Night In Copenhagen

12. Are We Family

13. Goodnight Josephine

x

Track List: In Violet Light

1. Are You Ready

2. Use It Up

3. The Darkest One

4. It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken

5. Silver Jet

6. Throwing Off Glass

7. All Tore Up

8. Leave

9. A Beautiful Thing

10. The Dire Wolf

11. The Dark Canuck

x

Track List: Music At Work

1. My Music At Work

2. Tiger The Lion

3. Lake Fever

4. Putting Down

5. Stay

6. The B**tard

7. The Completists

8. Freak Turbulence

9. Sharks

10. Toronto #4

11. Wild Mountain Honey

12. Train Overnight

13. The Bear

14. As I Wind Down The Pines

x

Track List: Phantom Power

1. Poets

2. Something On

3. Save The Planet

4. Bobcaygeon

5. Thompson Girl

6. Membership

7. Fireworks

8. Vapour Trails

9. The Rules

10. Chagrin Falls

11. Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin' Man

12. Emperor Penguin

x

Track List: Trouble At The Henhouse

1. Gift Shop

2. Springtime In Vienna

3. Ahead By A Century

4. Don't Wake Daddy

5. Flamenco

6. 700 Ft. Ceiling

7. Butts Wigglin

8. Apartment Song

9. Coconut Cream

10. Let's Stay Engaged

11. Sherpa

12. Put It Off

x

Track List: Day For Night

1. Grace, Too

2. Daredevil

3. Greasy Jungle

4. Yawning Or Snarling

5. Fire In The Hole

6. So Hard Done By

7. Nautical Disaster

8. Thugs

9. Inevitability Of Death

10. Scared

11. An Inch An Hour

12. Emergency

13. Titanic Terrarium

14. Impossibilium

x

Track List: Fully Completely

1. Courage (For Hugh MacLennan)

2. Looking For A Place To Happen

3. At The Hundredth Meridian

4. Pigeon Camera

5. Lionized

6. Locked In The Trunk Of A Car

7. We'll Go Too

8. Fully Completely

9. Fifty-Mission Cap

10. Wheat Kings

11. The Wherewithal

12. Eldorado

x

Track List: Road Apples

1. Little Bones

2. Twist My Arm

3. Cordelia

4. The Luxury

5. Born In The Water

6. Long Time Running

7. Bring It All Back

8. Three Pistols

9. Fight

10. On The Verge

11. Fiddler's Green

12. The Last Of The Unplucked Gems

x

Track List: Up To Here

1. Blow At High Dough

2. I'll Believe In You (Or I'll Be Leaving You Tonight)

3. New Orleans Is Sinking

4. 38 Years Old

5. She Didn't Know

6. Boots Or Hearts

7. Everytime You Go

8. When The Weight Comes Down

9. Trickle Down

10. Another Midnight

11. Opiated

x

Track List: The Tragically Hip

1. Small Town Bringdown

2. Last American Exit

3. Killing Time

4. Evelyn

5. Cemetary Sideroad

6. I'm A Werewolf, Baby

7. Highway Girl

8. All Canadian Surf Club

x

Track List: Live Between Us

1. Grace, Too (Live)

2. Fully Completely (Live)

3. Springtime In Vienna (Live)

4. Twist My Arm (Live)

5. Gift Shop (Live)

6. Ahead By A Century (Live)

7. The Luxury (Live)

8. Courage (Live)

9. New Orleans Is Sinking (Live)

10. Don't Wake Daddy (Live)

11. Scared (Live)

12. Blow At High Dough (Live)

13. Nautical Disaster (Live)

14. The Wherewithal (Live)

x

Track List: Man Machine Poem

1. Man

2. In A World Possessed By The Human Mind

3. What Blue

4. In Sarnia

5. Here, In The Dark

6. Great Soul

7. Tired As F**k

8. Hot Mic

9. Ocean Next

10. Machine

x

Track List: The Look Ahead (Single)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
captain135
Best band on the planet! Can't understand why they get no play in the states. Your biggest fan in Erie, PA. Rock on Gord!
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Love this band!!! Will miss Gord Downie's distinctive voice...
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dholland99
God Speed Gord!
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Saw the Hamilton show and have never experienced a show quite like it!
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Just went to the show in Toronto on Friday the 12th. EXCELLENT!!!
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jbrooks3901
Flying from AZ to Winnipeg tomorrow to catch the 8/5/16 show. Courage (For Gordie)
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jenferrell3
Just went up from AZ to Victoria to see the first show of their most likely final tour. It was amazing. That's all.
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jdill8473
Saddened by the new of terminal cancer to one of the most amazing performers I have ever had the privilege of watching. Gordie you are in my families and friends prayers and your song and dance will forever live in my heart.
May you be blessed on your journey.
Report as inappropriate
When will good ever sing his sons live like he does on the album seen them 30X starting to drive me nuts that he can't keep a rhythm but still love them
Report as inappropriate
Saw these guys in Northern Virginia, around the time that "Violet" was breaking. My bandmate turned me onto them, and I was majorly impressed, mostly by Gordon, and their drummer, who played excellently, but looked uptight behind the kit to me, IMHO. The show was marvelous, the crowd awesome, and I knew then I would never forget it, or their music. I had heard of the band years earlier, but never would have caught their greatness in-person had it not been for my buddy Joe, who took me for my bir
Report as inappropriate
I have loved these guys since the summer of '91!!
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wferneza
one of the best bands I have ever seen live, unbelievable ! ! ! ! ! !
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pgeorge221
Crossed the border into Canada and saw them in Victoria a couple months ago. Awesome live show!
Report as inappropriate
Was introduced to The Hip last year by my work counterpart from Buffalo. (I'm from Cleveland.) I caught the sold out show at CLE's HOB with a group of a dozen or so of his Buffalo friends in Jan 2015. Amazing live show! The bouncer said NY and Canadian ID's outnumbered the Ohio ones 50:1. Hockey sweaters all over E. 4th steet for hours before and after the show. Scalpers on the street were asking $200+ for $40 face value SRO tickets.
Report as inappropriate
I felt like i was in an isolated little group of fans in Chicagoland in the early 90's. They are too cool for the mainstream and I kind of like that. Saw them in Toronto and in Chicago in January this year at House of Blues; Im sad to report that it seemed they wrere losing steam vs. the other shows ive seen over the years; we all cant be 30 forever, ya know........ . . . . . . l o v e the hip. Great music.
Report as inappropriate
My Canadian boyfriend introduced me to The Hip 3 yrs ago....have been a fan since then. Amazes me how back in the day we didn't know about them in Mississippi. Would have been great to sit around those bonfires and listen to their music. Just thankful my boyfriend introduced me to them right away......
Report as inappropriate
Pure passion in writing and harmony. The tight knit musicians enjoy their own magical ability and expression. Seeing them live in dc where they tore it up!
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We were Sherpa high...
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The ultimate band for one line classics from Gord's writing...ta k e any song and find the hidden gems!
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Loved this tune when it came out and still listen often.
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I don't think any of the similar artists are all that similar to the hip. They are truly unique. Lost count after 50 + shows. I wish they still toured the way they did in the 90's and early 21st century.
Report as inappropriate
The Hip rules! Seen them 20+ times since 1990 starting in Buffalo, NY. The best is when Dan Akroyd introduced them in LA HOB & then played harmonica on 'Locked in a Truck of a Car' in Vegas HOB a few years back. One word: KillerWhaleT a n k . . . that's my story and I'm stickin to it!
Report as inappropriate
Phantom Power changed my life.
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tucsonrjs
Saw the Hip years ago in a little bar near the U of A in Tucson...ama z i n g . Locked in the Trunk of a Car' remains one of my most memorable concert memories!
Report as inappropriate
whazup_canuc k s
Being Canadian, I didn't really start listening to the Hip until about eight years ago. As a kid I was more into Crash Test Dummies and Our Lady Peace, now I am addicted to the Hip. Saw them in San Fran, Redding, WA, Toronto, ON, and London, UK. Really wish I could have been at the show in Red Rocks, CO where they opened for Dave Matthews!!!!
Report as inappropriate
Sooooooo Good!!!
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Love these guys... Too cool for American consumption!
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My favorite band being from Toronto Cananda
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Love this band. Super cool.
I've seen them twice, once for the Fully Completely tour and the other for Trouble In The Hen House but have been listening to them since Up To Here. I've said many times in a just world, they would be at least as big as Pearl Jam and I'm from Seattle and love Pearl Jam.
I highly recommend seeing them live if you ever get the chance.
You will not be disappointed .
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/
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love me some HIP
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I love Canada!
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fireshanti
hip hip hip hip !!!!!!
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They tragically suck
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saw them at Fidler's Green awesome
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Best Band Ever!!!
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Hip always rocks in Buffalo. Imitators abound in da buff
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fireshanti
Having grown up in Buffalo NY i was able to see and hear a lot of hip in the 90's. Sadly it has been waaaaay to long since ive seen them live.
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If you dig The Hip, check us out at http://tragi c a l l y h i p t o u r . b l o g s p o t . c o m ... Lots of good Hip talk and stuff like that...
Report as inappropriate
HIP! HIP! HIP! HIP!....I need to see the Hip again soon. It's been far too long.
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cheshirecatb a n
Then he (also not made up) bought a home years later with the money he made from his new invention Pro-Tools recording system. True stories.
Report as inappropriate
cheshirecatb a n
My uncle (I know it sounds made up) helped invent a machine in the late 80's that- get this- allowed you to choose singles available in catalogue and make a custom cassette for yourself right on the spot at the participatin g music store (sound familiar today?!). He sent us the catalogue to send away for our family of 4 to each get a tape. Blow at High Dough was one of my picks from a new band called... well you know.
Report as inappropriate
how bout a trip to the states gordie!!!!!!
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Loyal hip fan since 1991. My wife finally caught the bug on their last tour when I flew her to Baltimore to finally experience what I was always talking about. She has since threatened to leave me for Gord Downie.
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was introduced to the HIP in 90's by boyfriend... . l o v e him for that :)
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tiffanyayn8
Love, Love, Love!!!!!
Report as inappropriate
Seen many, many shows before family and job made it tough to stay in the trenches. This band one of Rock's best kept secret. Shhhh. Don't Wake Daddy.
Report as inappropriate
got my tix to see TTH in oro ontario and niagara on the lake 6/3012 & 7/1/12!!!! I'm from near canada so i grew up on gord and the boys!
Report as inappropriate
Day for Night - So Hard Done By = My Fav
Report as inappropriate
tpietrow
I was never a huge fan of the Hip until I saw them live in Chicago. Wow. Now I'm hooked like a druggie on their music.
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