Ten Great Canadian Rock and Roll Bands

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Like most people, I grew up with rock and roll through out the years and kind of grew to enjoy a lot of it. I like some of the new rock but personally, I prefer the classic stuff myself. It is no surprise that through out the years Canada has produce some great rock bands and rock stars that are legendary and always will be. Here is my list of only 10 of some of these infamous rock stars that helped paved the way for other musicians. My list holds recent and classic rock stars and or bands with information on when they formed, and the number of records released as well as where the bands are today. So please feel free to have a look and enjoy!

The Guess Who

The Guess Who was a 5 man local rock band that got their start in Winnipeg, Manitoba in the early 1960‘s. The band originally started out with the name “Chad Allan and the Reflections” and after a few other name changes, finally became known as “The Guess Who” in 1965. Guess Who has had over 38 hit singles did seven live albums and 27 compilations through out the many years they been performing. Many of The Guess Who songs are known worldwide and always will be like “These Eyes” or “American Woman”. “The Who” is one of Canada’s oldest rock bands and even still does tours. Although some of the members have changed or died over the years the band was touring as recently as 2 years ago in 2006 last I heard.


Nickelback is a hard rock band that was formed somewhere around 1996 or 1998 in Hanna, Alberta. The band originally started as a cover band but grew tired of singing other bands songs. With this Nickelback was formed and although still not well known to the public that would all eventually change. In 2000, Nickelback’s song “Leader Man” grew in popularity over night and before the band knew it, they where touring and doing 200 shows. The song “How You Remind Me” has to be one of the bands most infamous songs to date and this song is the only other song next to The Guess Who’s song “American Woman” that’s been number 1 on the charts in Canada and the US at the same time in history. Nickelback’s last album out that I know of was released in 2005 and then the band decided to take a break for a while.


Rush is a five man Canadian rock band that was formed back in 1968 in Willowdale, Toronto. This band is one of Canada’s most infamous bands and why would not they? After all through out the career of Rush the band has manage to get 24 gold records, 14 platinum and 3 multi-platinum records. These statistics place the Rush 5th behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band. Rush is now down to only 3 bands members but this still hasn’t stopped the band from making their music. The three members, which are Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, are still releasing albums and even touring. Last tour I heard about was an intercontinental tour that was set to begin back in June 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. This band has won over 11 different miscellaneous awards, 9 Juno Awards and has sold over 40 million records world wide in their career making them one of Canada’s greatest and most successful rock bands in Canadian history.

Tragically Hip

The hip is another one of Canada’s five men rock bands that was formed back in 1983 in Kingston, Ontario. Over the years, Tragically Hip has grown in popularity especially here in their native country of Canada. By 1987 the band had signed a long-term record deal with MCA after former company president seen the band perform live at a Tavern. Tragically, Hip did not achieve success until the release of “Up To Here” in 1989. Although the Tragically Hip never really did become very famous in the states, the band has managed to become one of Canada’s pride and joy of the music industry. The Tragically Hip still does tours all over Canada and is schedule to do a show on February 23, 2008 in their hometown of Kingston. The bands performance will be the first live act to perform at the new Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre.


Another one of Canada’s greatest classic rock bands is Triumph, which was formed in Toronto, Ontario in 1975 but some articles claimed the band was formed in Mississauga. This band has been compared to Rush over the years but Triumph has a style of its own. This band is probably best known for their number 1 hit single “Rocky Mountain Way” in 1978 but has made many other hit singles and albums. The band was mainly popular in the 80’s around the same time of Rush and other popular Canadian music artists. Through the long career of the band they have manage to record 18 albums, 4 of them went gold while one went platinum, released over 20 hit singles and won many different awards. Rumours has it that the band is gearing up for a full-scale world tour somewhere in 2009, so if your fan keep your eyes open.

Blue Rodeo

Blue Rodeo is one of Canada’s more popular and well-known country rock bands that were formed in Toronto, Ontario in 1984. Since the release of their debut album “Outskirts” in March 1987, the band has been signed to Warner Music Canada. Over the years, the band has had much success in the music field winning many different Canadian music awards like seven Juno awards and seven Socan awards. They also have released 16 albums; the most recent was in 2007 called “Small Miracles”. Blue Rodeo has also had about 40 hit singles here in Canada two of which where number one on Canadian music charts and made two videos. To this day, Blue Rodeo travels all over Canada performing and their next show is scheduled for April 15, 2008 in Belleville, Ontario.

Bryan Adams

November 5, 1959 in Kingston, Ontario Bryan Adams was born. Adams was a hard working teen who at the young age of 15 in 1975 dropped out of school to pursuit his musical career. He played at nightclubs and bars for a few years until he was 18 and finally sent some of his demo’s to A&M Records. Shortly after the producing company received Adam’s demos, they signed him to a contract. Although Bryan was, finally get exposure he still did not really find success until 1983 after the release of his third album “Cuts like a Knife” which greatly helped his popularity grow. After 1983, his popularity just kept growing and he kept releasing albums and hit singles. Bryan has got over 24 hit singles, released 10 albums, won five ASCAP awards, won a Grammy and won a MTV award not to mention the number of nominations for awards he has received. On top of all of that, Bryan’s fourth album “Reckless” is the best selling Canadian album of all time and he received the Diamond Sales Award for the album, which is the first for a Canadian. Some of Bryan Adams best-known albums are “18 Till I Die” and “Waking Up the Neighbours” and finally “Reckless”. For his accomplishments and contributions to the music industry, Adams will always be known as one of Canada’s greatest musicians.

Sum 41

Sum 41 is one of Canada’s newer rock bands that were formed in Ajax, Ontario in 1996. The band consists of three members, which now are Deryck Whibley, Jason McCaslin and Steve Jocz. Most articles I have read claim the band originally started out as a cover band for NOFX with the name “Kaspir” and then changed its name to Sum 41 on September 28, 1996. From June 27, 2000 to July 24, 2007 the band has made released 5 main studio albums all of which went platinum here in Canada and the bands album went platinum once on US charts. Four out of five of the albums where number one on Canadian sales list as well. On top of all the accomplishments Sum 41 has already completed in their short careers, they have also made 17 hit singles; made six DVD’s and their music has been in over 15 movies between 2000 and 2005. The band’s next schedule show is February 21, 2008 in London, Ontario.

April Wine

Formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, April Wine is now a four-member hard rock band that is still very popular even today. Since the bands first album they have released 15 other studio albums, 13 complication albums, 7 live albums, and 1 DVD. The band has also had 41 single hits and 24 of those hits where on Canada’s top 40 list. April Wine is now in their 39th year as a band and they still tour across Canada annually as well as play in festivals in Europe and in the United States. I live in Peterborough, Ontario and April Wine comes back every summer, plays at our Festival of Lights, and puts on an enjoyable show every time.

Avril Lavigne

Born September 27, 1984 in Belleville, Ontario. It was apparent at a young age that Avril was destine for stardom, and in 1989 Avril’s parents had decided to move to the city of Napanee, Ontario when she was 5. Avril always enjoyed singing church songs with her mother and as time went on, she only got better. In 1998, she had won a competition to sing with fellow Canadian musician Shania Twain on her first major concert tour. Her own personal music career took off June 4, 2002 when she released her album “Let Go” which reached number 2 in the US and number 1 in Australia, Canada and United Kingdom. The album had sold 16 million copies worldwide and was certified gold 6 times in the US. This made Lavigne, at only 17 the youngest female soloist to have a number 1 album in the UK up until that time. Some of Avril’s accomplishments are, she has had 6 number 1 songs worldwide, 11 top ten hits, appeared in five TV shows and won 25 different awards. To date Avril is still touring and making music and the only difference is; now she is married to the lead singer of Sum 41 and goes by Arvil Lavigne Whibley. Her records have sold over 30 million copies worldwide to date and there looks like there are no signs of her stopping anytime soon. For all of Avril accomplishments in such a short time makes her one of Canada’s greatest musicians of all time in my eyes.

So that is my list, but remember these are just base facts and this is only ten of Canada’s famous musicians. There are many more musicians that have come from Canada that helped paved the way for others all it takes is a little research and patients and you will find what you are looking for.


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