By Adam Bunch


They called it “The Doom Tour.” Promoted by Billy Graham and armed with giant new speaker systems, it was hailed as “the first large-scale stadium tour in rock history.”

During the summer of 1974, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY) were reunited to play shows together for the first time in years. The tour would take them to 30 different stadiums across North America, including stops at Varsity Stadium in Toronto and the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. However, the shows have been remembered more for what happened backstage than on stage: a debauched orgy of drugs and sex that helped to fuel tensions between the members of the band. That’s why David Crosby gave it the “Doom Tour” nickname.

“We actually had a guy that was employed just to provide us with cocaine,” Graham Nash admitted recently to Rolling Stone. The magazine compiled an oral history of the infamous tour. There are stories about smuggling joints and balls of coke through security, of snorting the stuff off of the carpet, of having meetings in the middle of sexual encounters. The general consensus is that the music suffered as a result. As the band tried to pioneer the big outdoor rock show, they were hardly at their sharpest.

“It’s a horrible drug,” Crosby said of cocaine, “and it has a terrible effect on your psyche and your work. The more we did it, the worse things got.”

For his part, Neil Young chose to keep his distance from the debauchery, travelling on his own bus with his son. “The tour was disappointing to me,” he remembered years later. “I think CSNY really blew it.”

But it was also a time of incredible creativity. The band members were constantly writing new songs, debuting them on stage before they’d even learned how to play them properly. And Young was leading the way. “Neil… My God….” Crosby remembered. “He knocked it out of the park over and over and over. He set the bar very, very high.”

It was on the Saturday afternoon of this week in 1974 that The Doom Tour headed across the Atlantic for one final show in London, England. The band took the stage at Wembley Stadium in front of nearly 100,000 people—and they weren’t alone. The concert was a 10-hour spectacle featuring two of Young’s fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees: Joni Mitchell and The Band.

Earlier this summer, the show was released as part of a box set of live recordings from The Doom Tour. CSNY 1974 features audio and video from nine of the shows the band played on the tour, with some of the flaws edited out to give the recordings a more polished feel. The three-disc album has been met with rave reviews. Even when CSNY weren’t at their best, they were one of the best. Even on one of the most infamous tours in the history of rock and roll.


By Adam Bunch


The year was 1912. Calgary had been home to an annual agricultural fair for decades, but this year, Guy Weadick – a trick roper who performed in Wild West shows across North America and Europe – had a new idea. He wanted to start a festival that was both entertaining and a more accurate representation of the real West than the shows he was used to performing in. And so during this week in 1912, the very first Calgary Stampede was held. They called it “The Last and Best Great West Frontier Days Celebration” or “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.”

Since those early beginnings, the Calgary Stampede has grown into one of Canada’s most popular events. More than a million people visit every year. It’s one of the biggest festivals in the country and one of the biggest rodeos in the world. It has also developed into one of the biggest musical events of the Canadian summer. Every year, dozens of musical acts take to the stages of the Stampede, from the big stars playing the massive Scotiabank Saddledome to the local talent search at the Boyce Theatre.

This year’s festival included some of the best young acts in Canada – artists such as Said The Whale, Classified and Tokyo Police Club – along with Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Shania Twain. And she’s far from the first inductee to play at the Stampede, or at the related Stampede Roundup charity event – they’ve also included Bryan Adams, The Tragically Hip and k.d. lang. Back in 2012, CMHF inductee Ian Tyson was even named grand marshal of the Stampede Parade.




This is also a big week in the history of 1980s synthpop star Corey Hart. Hart was born in Montreal and by the time he was in his early 20s, he’d already recorded with the likes of Billy Joel and Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Paul Anka. It wasn’t until 1983, though, that Hart released his own debut full-length album: First Offense. The first single off the record is still considered to be one of the most iconic songs of that entire decade: it was during this week in 1984 that “Sunglasses at Night” climbed all the way to No. 7 on the Billboard pop chart.

Oddly enough, the song wasn’t an instant smash hit north of the border. In Canada, it only peaked at No. 24. But soon enough Canadians were embracing their new star. Hart was nominated for four JUNO Awards that year, and 30 years later, the CBC declared “Sunglasses at Night” the greatest Canadian song of the 1980s.


By Adam Bunch


They came from very different backgrounds. The Crew-Cuts were a doo-wop group from the heart of the big city: choir students in downtown Toronto. Hank Snow was born in small-town Nova Scotia and spent much of his youth as a cabin boy on a fishing schooner before becoming a country crooner. But during this week in the summer of 1954, both Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees were sitting at the top of the Billboard charts.

It started with Snow. “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” was released in early 1954 and by the middle of June it had climbed all the way to the top of Billboard’s Country and Western chart – and that was just the beginning. The song spent an amazing 20 weeks at No. 1: throughout the entire summer of 1954 and all the way to the end of October. The tune would eventually be covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan to Dinah Washington. Even Snow himself released another version of the same song years later.

The Crew-Cuts soon joined him as chart-toppers. A couple of weeks after “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” claimed the top spot on the Country and Western chart, the Toronto group arrived on the Hot 100 with the song that would prove to be their biggest hit: “Sh-Boom.” It immediately leapt all the way up to No. 8, knocking another one of their own tunes, “Crazy ’Bout You Baby,” out of the Top 10 – and “Sh-Boom” kept climbing. Just a few weeks after it debuted, the song was sitting at No. 1. It would stay there for the next seven straight weeks and continue to be the most-played song on the radio and on jukeboxes for weeks after that.

So during this week in 1954 – and for a span of seven straight weeks through nearly all of August and September – there were two Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees sitting atop the Billboard charts at the very same time.





More than 30 years after Snow and The Crew-Cuts topped the charts, another Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee found himself sitting high on the Billboard Hot 100. It was during this week in the summer of 1985 that Bryan Adams reached No. 5 with his smash hit “Summer of ’69.” In fact, the nostalgic tune raced up pop charts all over the world: in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Austria….

Even today, three decades after the song was first released, it’s still remembered as one of Adams’ greatest hits. It regularly ranks on best-of lists: the best songs of the ’80s, the best Canadian songs ever and even, quite simply, one of the best songs of all time.


By Adam Bunch


During the summer of 1966, The Lovin’ Spoonful was at the height of its powers. The group had only been around for a couple of years, but was already one of the most popular bands in the world. The band had first formed as part of the early 1960s folk scene in New York City’s Greenwich Village. American John Sebastian (son of a classical harmonica player) teamed up with Toronto’s Zal Yanovsky (who once lived in a dryer in a Yorkville laundromat, played in a folk-pop band with Mama Cass and fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Papa Denny Doherty, and was also the husband of future “Road To Avonlea” actor Jackie Burroughs). It only took the Spoonful about a year to release its very first single and it was a smash hit: in the summer of 1965, “Do You Believe In Magic” raced up the Billboard charts all the way into the Top 10.

That was just the beginning. “Do You Believe In Magic” was the first of seven straight Lovin’ Spoonful singles to reach the Top 10, including “Daydream,” “You Didn’t Have to Be so Nice” and “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?” The group was one of only two 1960s bands to get off to such an impressive start on the charts. The other was Gary Lewis and The Playboys. Not even The Beatles or The Rolling Stones were able to match their record.

The biggest hit of them all was “Summer in the City.” It was released during the summer of 1966 and nearly 50 years later is still one of the most iconic songs of the season, played on radio stations all over the world when the weather gets warm. During this week in August 1966, the song climbed all the way to the very top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, where it would stay for three consecutive weeks.

Zal Yanovsky was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1996.




Canada’s “King of the Banjo” was born in New Brunswick during the winter of 1920. His name was Maurice Bolyer. Growing up, he learned to play a wide range of instruments, including the piano, but as a teenager he picked up the one that would make him famous.

By the time he was in his early twenties, Bolyer was making appearances playing banjo on a local radio station, performing with Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Hank Snow. Before long, he would be heard in kitchens and living rooms all across the country as a regular guest on the CBC’s “Tommy Hunter Show” – first on radio and then TV – and then all across the continent thanks to American programs like “The Lawrence Welk Show.” By the time his career came to an end, Bolyer had earned a place as one of the greats in the history of his favourite instrument and in Canadian country music as a whole.

Maurice Bolyer, the King of the Banjo, passed away during this week in 1978.

By Adam Bunch


It was the summer of 1965. The summer of “Help!” and “Ticket To Ride.” Just two days earlier, The Beatles had played one of the most famous concerts in the entire history of rock and roll: their gig at Shea Stadium. However, that visit to New York City was just the first stop on a big North American tour. The next leg brought them to Canada, to play in Toronto for the second year in a row. On August 17, they played two sold-out shows to a total of 36,000 screaming fans during one long night at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Fab Four were late to arrive, but that didn’t seem to faze the group’s rabid fans, some of whom had camped out at the airport overnight in the hope of catching a glimpse of their mop-topped heroes. Downtown, ecstatic teenagers crowded around the King Edward Hotel, where the band was staying, annoying the other guests. The organizer of an engineering conference was particularly miffed.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” he complained to the Toronto Star, “my old man would have skinned me alive if I’d acted like this.”

Police said the fans in Toronto were even more excited than they’d been the year before, when the crowd outside the hotel had torn Paul McCartney’s shirt and the band had found a girl hiding in their closet.

The trouble created by the giant crowds wasn’t the only problem, either. As thousands of fans waited to get inside the Gardens, some vile person took the opportunity to drop anti-Semitic flyers on the crowd. The teenagers, thinking the flyers might be free tickets to the show, raced to collect them, only to be disgusted by what they found.

Inside, the show was getting underway. The night was hosted by CHUM radio DJ Jungle Jay Nelson. The opening acts included a team of gymnasts and Motown star Brenda Holloway. Inside the arena, the air was hot and sticky. The anticipation mounted, ready to hit a fever pitch.

Finally, The Beatles arrived. The biggest band in the history of the world took the stage and launched into their first tune: “Twist & Shout.” They were met by what the Globe and Mail described as: “An orgy [of] 18,000 screaming, waving, bouncing, flashbulb-clicking, laughing, sobbing, hysterical teen-agers” who, as usual, drowned out the actual music. It was, said the Globe, “V-Day, the Grey Cup, the visit of the Queen Mother and the chariot race in Ben-Hur all rolled into one.”

More than 600 police officers were on hand to keep things under control – the next day, the Star suggested that Toronto’s criminals had taken advantage of the situation: three armed robberies took place while the cops were distracted. Scores of ambulance workers rushed to the aid of the fans who just couldn’t take it. Three hundred of them fainted.

Between sets, The Beatles held a press conference in the Hot Stove Lounge, delivering their usual off-the-wall humour between questions about their movies and whether Paul was going to propose to his girlfriend. Then, it was back into the fray. During their second show, they played the same dozen songs they’d played during their first show, featuring the same incredible string of tunes at the end –  “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help!” and, finally, “I’m Down” – not that anyone could hear them over all of the screaming.

And then it was all over. The band, exhausted from their day, spent the night at the King Edward. In the morning, they were off to Atlanta. They wouldn’t be back to visit Canada until the next year, when they played Maple Leaf Gardens again, on the very same night in 1966.


By Adam Bunch


It was 1990. Boy bands were all the rage. New Kids on the Block was one of the most popular groups in the entire world. The group’s last album, Hangin’ Tough, had spent more than two years on the Billboard charts. And now, NKOTB had a new record. Step by Step would sell more than 20 million copies and spawn a massive tour to visit one hundred different cities in North America and Europe – all sponsored by Coke. The dates in the United States and Canada proved to be the most successful road trip by any band in history not called “The Rolling Stones,” and it included a stop at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

On a Sunday night during this week in 1990, 57,000 people showed up to see NKOTB take the stage at the Big O. Many of them paid for more than just their tickets. The band had a merchandising empire: “lunch boxes, buttons, T-shirts, comic books, dolls, trading cards and even a Saturday morning cartoon.” They sold hundreds of millions of dollars of souvenirs every year. They made a killing at every show they played – including the one in Montreal.

For three particular criminals, that haul made a tempting target. After the show, they burst into a room at Olympic Stadium where a dozen employees were counting the money made selling merchandise that night. The thieves were armed with revolvers. They handcuffed the employees and placed a grenade by the door, telling their victims that if they tried to escape the grenade would explode. It was a fake, but no one realized that until much later. Then, the bandits made off with nearly $300,000 in NKOTB souvenir money.

Since there don’t seem to be any newspaper reports following up with news of a conviction, it could very well be that the villains behind the Great Montreal New Kids on the Block Heist are still out there somewhere, waiting for another reunion tour to pass through Montreal.




All the way back in 1934, a new bandshell was built in the Malkin Bowl of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Just a few years later, a new society was founded to bring music to that spot every year. The program was called Theatre Under the Stars. The very first season opened during this week in 1940. While the organization would be disbanded in the 1960s, a new version of the group is still going strong more than 70 years after Theatre Under the Stars first took the stage. In that time, the group has brought dozens of musicals and operettas to the people of Vancouver: from Footloose to My Fair Lady, from Jesus Christ Superstar to The Mikado, and from The Sound of Music to this year’s musical versions of Shrek and Legally Blonde.


By Adam Bunch


The Crew-Cuts were rock-and-roll pioneers. However, the group’s beginnings weren’t very rock and roll at all: the band was formed at a choir school. The four vocalists who made up the group all attended St. Michael’s Choir School in downtown Toronto (the same Catholic music school that spawned fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees The Four Lads), and after they graduated, they all worked as bureaucrats for the government of Ontario. They mostly played small clubs around Niagara Falls, and their first single didn’t do much at all.

But it was while they were at a gig in the frigid snows of Sudbury that they finally caught their big break. They were invited to play on a radio station in Cleveland, driving hundreds of kilometres through -40° weather to get there. But it was worth it. The radio DJ got them an audition with Mercury Records and they impressed the label enough to land a recording contract.

A year later, they released the smash hit that would make them famous. By then, “Sh-Boom” was already a well-known song: the original version by The Chords had climbed into the Top 10 on the Billboard charts just a few months earlier. In fact, it was the very first time an R&B single had crossed over onto the pop charts and climbed that high. But these were the days when covers were commonplace and when record companies were in the habit of taking songs released by black artists and having them re-recorded by white artists. When The Crew-Cuts released their own version of “Sh-Boom” it was an even bigger hit than the original. During this week in 1954, it was sitting at the very top of the Billboard pop chart and it would stay there for seven straight weeks.

The Crew-Cuts were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1984.




Today, Anne Murray is an international superstar who plays to sold-out crowds in some of the biggest cities in the world. But the story of her incredibly successful career started in the small coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia. It was there that the Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee was born. It was there that she first learned to love music and to play the piano. And it was there that she caught a bus every Saturday morning to travel an hour away to the tiny village of Tatamagouche to take singing lessons.

Now, more than half a century later, Springhill still celebrates the early beginnings of one of the world’s most popular singers. It was during this week in 1989 that the Anne Murray Centre first opened its doors and it’s still going strong 25 years later. The not-for-profit organization tells the story of the artist’s career and how it all started in that small Nova Scotian community, while attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to Anne Murray’s hometown.


By Adam Bunch


In 1963, Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Neil Young was only 17 years old. He had been born in Toronto, spent some time in the sleepy Ontario town of Omemee and went to high school in the suburb of Pickering. But when his parents broke up, he moved with his mother to Winnipeg, and that’s where his passion for music really took off.

These were the early years of the 1960s: the golden age of rock ’n’ roll. So the young Young grew up listening to jukebox legends such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. It wasn’t long before he started playing music himself. As a teenager in Winnipeg, Young joined a few different bands. The one we remember best was called The Squires.

That’s because The Squires was the very first band that Neil Young ever recorded with. It was during this week in the summer of 1963 that Young and his bandmates walked into the studio of a local Winnipeg radio station, CKRC. That day, they recorded two songs – “The Sultan” and “Aurora” – with one of the station’s DJs serving as the producer. V Records released the tunes as a single, with only 300 copies pressed. Today, only 10 are thought to have survived. It’s one of the rarest 45s in the world and an important piece of history, because that was the day that Neil Young’s recording career officially began.




He said he would never perform “The Wall” again. This was in the early 1980s. Roger Waters was done with Pink Floyd, calling the band “a spent force.” It seemed safe to say that the elaborate theatrical live version of the group’s classic anti-fascist album – which was co-produced by Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Bob Ezrin – was a thing of the past. Unless, he added with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, the Berlin Wall came down. Then he’d have to. At the time, the fall of the wall seemed like something that might never happen; the Soviet Union was still very much a superpower. But then, of course, it did.

Just a few months later, Waters arrived in Berlin. He picked a spot that had been part of the no man’s land between the two sections of the city and there, during this week in 1990, he put together one of the biggest rock shows in the history of music.

The concert, which aimed to raise money for the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief, also included a symbolic tearing down of a temporary wall. It included plenty of guest appearances, too. Three of them were by Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees: Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams and The Band. They performed to a massive worldwide audience. The show sold a quarter of a million tickets, gave free admission to 100,000 more, was aired on television in 65 different countries, produced a live album and came out on VHS. The days of the Berlin Wall were over. “The Wall” was back.


By Adam Bunch


During this week in 1922, a thunderstorm rolled across the Saskatchewan prairie. Rain pelted the streets of the capital. Lightning flashed overhead. But that didn’t stop Bert Hooper from doing his job. He was sitting in a studio on the fifth floor of the Leader Building in downtown Regina, upstairs from the offices of the Morning Leader newspaper. He’d been hired by the publisher to become one of the Canadian pioneers of a whole new kind of media: radio.

At that point, it had only been about 20 years since Guglielmo Marconi made his famous broadcast across the Atlantic Ocean. There were still only a few radio stations in all of Canada. The government had only just started granting commercial licenses a few months earlier and, for now, Hooper was the first and only employee of the new radio station in Regina. So it was all up to him. During that dark and stormy night in 1922, he launched the very first commercial radio broadcast in the history of Saskatchewan. CKCK was on the air.

A lot has happened in the 92 years since then, and there have been plenty of landmarks: the world’s first complete broadcast of a hockey game, the first live broadcast of a church service anywhere in the British Empire, and the groundbreaking years of the Second World War, when the management of the station was run entirely by women. Eventually, CKCK-FM became an all-music station, under a variety of different formats over the years: top 40 rock, adult contemporary, oldies…. And today, more than a century after Bert Hooper first put them on the air, CKCK is still going strong, now known as JackFM and bringing classic rock to the airwaves of Regina.



Back in the mid-1900s, Don Messer and His Islanders were one of the most popular bands in all of Canada. They played traditional music to Canadians all across the country, completing more than a dozen national tours, playing on CBC Radio three times a week and eventually ending up with their very own CBC TV show, “Don Messer’s Jubilee.”

The show spent more than a decade as one of the most beloved programs on Canadian television. Guests included Canadian folk and country music legends such as Stompin’ Tom Connors and Catherine McKinnon. In fact, “The Jubilee” was even more popular with Canadians than “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The only program that beat it in the ratings was “Hockey Night in Canada.” When the show was finally cancelled in 1969, there were public protests, petitions and even questions raised in the House of Commons.

This is a sad week in the history of the Islanders. It was on July 16, 1972, that one of the musicians who had been with the group since the very beginning – Charlie Chamberlain – passed away at the age of 61. Four years later, on the very same day, he was joined by another famous Islander, Marg Osburne. She was only 49.


By Adam Bunch


The song goes all the way back to 1962. That’s when it was first released as a single by the legendary American country singer George Jones, who was already famous thanks to the songs “White Lightning” and “Tender Years.” The tune was called “She Thinks I Still Care,” and it would end up being the third No. 1 single of Jones’ career. It spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard country chart.

But that was just the beginning. The song has been covered over and over again since it was first released over five decades ago. The Monkees’ Michael Nesmith did one version. James Taylor has made it a frequent part of his live shows. Patty Loveless included it on an album just a few years ago. Elvis Presley made it the B-side to “Moody Blue” back in 1977. Bill Haley and His Comets even recorded a version in Spanish. And Connie Francis changed the title to “He Thinks I Still Care” and saw her recording climb up the charts just a few months after Jones’ did.

But there’s only one other artist who recorded a version of the song that followed Jones’ version all the way to the top of the Billboard charts. In the early 1970s, Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Anne Murray recorded her own version of “He Thinks I Still Care.” She released it on her 1973 album Danny Boy and then as the B-side to “You Won’t See Me,” a cover of The Beatles’ tune. While the A-side would climb all the way up to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, that B-side had a life of its own. During this week in 1974, Anne Murray’s “He Thinks I Still Care” was sitting at the very top of the Billboard country chart.




If we told you that Geddy Lee, frontman for Canadian Hall of Fame inductees Rush and a huge baseball fan, sang “O Canada” at a baseball all-star game, you might assume it happened in 1991. That, after all, was the year the event was held in his hometown of Toronto, at the brand new SkyDome. But that year the honour actually went to Alannah Myles, while the American anthem was sung by Michael Burgess, star of Les Misérables. So Lee had to wait for his chance. It came three years later, south of the border, at another brand-new stadium: Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. It was during this week in 1994 that Lee stepped out onto the field and sang our national anthem in front of 60,000 baseball fans.