Backbeat Books [Published 22.05.15] RRP £16.50
A quick word of advice: this book covers rock ‘n’ roll in its broadest terms, heck even Celine Dion gets mentioned and Triumph get a one page mention, so don’t go expecting any Maple Leaf Mayhem as coined by Kerrang! writer Paul Suter back in the 1980′s. What you do get in the book is a fascinating and potted history of Canadian music from the 1950′s until the present day.
One of the biggest artists of the late 1950′s, early 1960′s Paul Anka was Canadian and going right up to date Nickelback are of course one of the biggest rock acts in the world today. That’s before you even take into account the musical influence and heritage of artists like Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and Bryan Adams to name but three.
The rock side is covered nicely with a decent write up about Rush and April Wine, plus Loverboy who hit it big in Canada and the US. Some strange omissions like Saga, although I guess they have had more success, certainly from the 1990′s onwards, in Europe rather than their homeland. Lee Aaron only gets mentioned in passing which will surely surprise Kerrang! readers of a certain age!
The 70′s rock chapter was particularly interesting as it featured Rush, the Band and April Wine, but also the Guess Who and the related band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Both were massively successful and influential bands back in the 1970′s and of course BTO got a whole new life thanks to Harry Enfield’s Smashie and Nicey DJ characters. Interesting, too, the coverage of the legendary producers like Bob Rock, Daniel Lanois and Bob Ezrin.
There is a further reading section and as you’d expect in a music book, a list of recommended listening. Well researched and written in an easy to read style, not bombarding the casual music fan with endless line-up changes and trivia, this is a perfect book to discover further the delights of Canada’s rich and varied musical heritage.
Review by Jason Ritchie
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