October 17th marks the anniversary of the passing of one of Canada’s most beloved figures & Tragically Hip front man, Gord Downie.

The Amherstview, Ontario native was born February 6th, 1964 sharing his birthday with a few legendary names: Bob Marley, Axl Rose & Rick Astley. We’re thinking Feb 6th should be a national holiday! Do you agree?

Are you actually Canadian if you don’t like hockey and The Hip? We learned Geography from Gord (notably where the hundredth meridian is which is way better than the 99th meridian), how bad it would be to end up locked in the trunk of a car, we learned what ‘Road Apples’ are (horse manure!) … but we are still searching for that place that serves $1.50 beers!? We also learned to be passionate about what you do with your life, stretch your comfort zone, and be a positive change in the world.

We wanted to celebrate Gord Downie by sharing our favourite songs, quotes and facts about this national treasure. By the way, can we please rename the silver dollar to the ‘Silver Downie’ and put his face on it?

Gord’s Guilty Pleasures

Gord’s guilty pleasure was the Bee Gee’s. “You know, it’s not a band that you’re supposed to [like], but God, I love them.” he said in the documentary ‘Long Time Running’. We do too Gord.

Did Gord have stage fright?

Gord was asked on the Hip’s farewell tour about his new shiny suits, which was a drastic departure from his usual attire. Many feel these outfits matched his personality & stage presence though, so no one complained. These outfits were for show, but also a stronger attitude. Gord described his new stage attire as: “Elvis ’74” — they acted like armour. “I felt cool up there ’cause I was usually afraid.”

Gord Downie … the actor?

Did you know Gord & the boys made a couple cool guest appearances which you might have seen? Downie was in ‘Men with Brooms’, in which the Tragically Hip play a curling team. He was harassed once while eating a bologna sandwich at a singles dance on an episode of the Trailer Park Boys, plus appeared in their movie ‘The Big Dirty’, alongside Alex Lifeson (RUSH) where they’re playing a pair of police officers. (Check out that ‘stache!)

 

Jeff Brown (JACK Mornings)

Favorite Hip song: Bobcaygeon

“I Grew up not far from Bobcaygeon where I constantly watched the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time!”

Close runner up: Fireworks

Perhaps the most Canadian song ever, how do you beat the lyrics “You said you didn’t give an f— about hockey, I never saw someone say that before!”

 

Charis Hogg (JACK Mornings)

I remember seeing them at Richard’s on Richards which was amazing because I loved that bar and it was a special place to see them.

I love Poets – even after talking to Gord one time and he said he hated that song – but I always liked it. So now when I hear it I laugh on the inside thinking about how much he disliked playing it.

 

Jeff W. (JACK Program Director)

1996 … I wasn’t much of a Hip fan yet but a friend told me he had an extra ticket so I thought it would just be fun to go with him. When we got in the doors he told me the seat wasn’t even with him… it was a random seat he got through his brothers friend. Disappointed, I trudged on and watched the concert by myself. I remember “Grace, Too” like it was yesterday, and the whole show was amazing… from then on I was a massive fan.

Fast forward almost exactly 20 years later and I was in Hamilton for one of the final Hip shows… During “Grace, Too” Gord got emotional… tears were running down his face during the big scream section. I couldn’t help but join in the emotion… and man, I’m tearing up a bit just reminiscing on that memory. There was always so much emotion in his performances.


(video from: squintyt4e on Youtube)

 

Corbet (JACK Asst. Program Director & National JACK Music Director) &
Sully (Online Host/often singing)

Sully:
Favourite song: Little Bones … my beer league hockey team used to crank it in the locker room before we hit the ice. We didn’t always win. I don’t blame the Hip for that though. Great song to get the blood pumping!

Corbet:
“Gotta say that I also love “Little Bones”. One of my favourite Canadian songs ever. I really like their early stuff, as that’s when I was most into them.”

 

Terry (JACK Programming Asst.)

Favourite song – two actually, both from Day for Night… ‘Grace, Too’ and ‘Nautical Disaster’. My best friend was moving back home after finishing school in Toronto. I flew out and did a great buddy road trip back home to B.C. in his packed-to-the-gills Cavalier! And Day for Night was one of the main parts of the soundtrack all the way!

 

Billy (JACK Promotions)

I saw The Hip at Maple Leaf Gardens in December, 1996 on the Trouble At The Henhouse Tour. The Gandharvas (I believe) opened the show, and during change over there was a lucky seat upgrade announced over the P.A. My friend won the upgrade. So we were escorted onto the floor, all the past the front row, through the barricade between the first row and the stage to 2 leather recliner chairs where we watched the show from. Fifty-Mission Cap was the 2nd song of the night and they had a spotlight on Bill Barilko’s banner hanging from the rafters, pretty cool moment. The second high-light was Gord turning his microphone stand upside down and playing hockey on stage with a banana.

We miss you every day Gord. Share your favourite Hip/Gord Downie songs and memories with us on Facebook.

 

 

 

Filed under: Canada, Gord Downie, Gord Downie Tribute, The Tragically Hip