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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 1983 in Kingston, Ontario, the band included 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 band wasn'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 rhythm was 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 were 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 '99 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.~ MacKenzie Wilson
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: The Look Ahead (Single)

Comments

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pgeorge221
Crossed the border into Canada and saw them in Victoria a couple months ago. Awesome live show!
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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.
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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.
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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......
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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!!!!
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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...
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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.
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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.
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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!!!!!
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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.
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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!
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Day for Night - So Hard Done By = My Fav
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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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lo_tech_is_n o _ t e c h
Love them live, but tbh their studio work jumped the shark after Phantom Power. Road Apples is timeless and bootlegs keep the Hip fresh... they're always better live.
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My favorite all time band. Their lyrics are sublime and arrangments complex. The music will infect you but seeing them live will keep you hooked. Downie is a true showman. Bobcaygeon is currently my favorite but that can change month to month. Locked in the Trunk of a Car is another staple.
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falch6
A must see live!! The HIP bring it every time!! They are grrrrrreat live!!
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This band should have made it bigger beyond Canada and it's border cities. I'm lucky that I'm from Buffalo and have seen them play play numerous times. I like a lot of their songs but love the song Nautical Disaster.
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The music is great and the name of the band is great.
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HIP HIP HIP HIP HIP HIP HIP HIP HIP HIP
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I've been listening to the Hip for over 20 years and I think they are the greatest band on the face of the earth. Heard New Orleans is sinking in the 80's after I got married. Fortunately I kept my passion for The Hip even as my marriage fell apart. I've seen 5 shows, own all the cds, and will see The Hip if, and when, I'm with-in 100 miles of any show; even if it means I've got to rent a car or take a bus. They could save all that trouble if they'd just come back to Spokane some time soon. TTH
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dalek21
My Dad showed me this artist and it is my number one favourite performing artist.
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I think there stuff after day for night is pretty great too....
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The best band on life IMO
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RUSH
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gshowman
Weird review. These guys are one of the biggest Canadian bands of the last twenty years. The posters for "Trouble at the Henhouse" covered the sides of entire buildings, if I remember correctly.

Everything up to Day for Night is great. Everything thereafter (that I've heard -- admit I've missed a few) is pretty bad. How could they not list "Up To Here" as an album here? (I mean in the graphic portion)
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