1. 1. American Woman
You might be familiar with the Lenny Kravitz version of “American Woman” but the song was actually written by a group of “Canadian Men.” Written in 1970 by Canadian rock band The Guess Who (Winnipeg, Manitoba), it was the nation’s first ever number 1 hit in the United States, remaining in the top spot for three weeks.
2. 2. Born To Be Wild
Mars Bonfire was originally in the Toronto blues band Sparrow before he went on to pursue a solo career, while the three remaining band members went on to form Steppenwolf. Mars Bonfire’s “Born to Be Wild” was a million-selling single for Steppenwolf, and the song became an immortal classic when Dennis Hopper used it in the groundbreaking counterculture film Easy Rider. It’s been said that the second verse lyric “heavy metal thunder” coined the term “Heavy Metal.” However, I’ll let you guys battle that out yourselves in the comment section.
3. 3. Sugar, Sugar
You’ve definitely heard this one in every commercial ever made. In 1969, the year of Woodstock, Easy Rider and the Underground Movement, “Sugar, Sugar” not only climbed to the top of the charts, but would go on to become both Song of the Year and Record of the Year, eventually selling 13 million copies worldwide. The song written by Canadian singer/songwriter Andy Kim was written for the CBS cartoon television series “The Archies” that featured a virtual pop band with the same name.
4. 4. Hit Me With Your Best Shot
“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was written by Canadian singer/songwriter Eddie Schwartz and recorded by American singer Pat Benatar in 1980. It was her first Top 10 Hit and sold over 1 million copies. For those of us born a little later, we’ve rocked out to it on Guitar Hero a few too many times…
5. 5. My Way
Although the melody originated from the French tune “Comme d’habitude” written in 1968 by Claude François, Jacques Revaux, and Gilles Thibault, it was canadian songwriter and Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee, Paul Anka, who secured the rights and wrote the now legendary English lyrics to “My Way.” The song was specifically written for Frank Sinatra, who had revealed that he wanted to retire and wanted Anka to write one last song for him. Today “My Way” is renowned as Frank Sinatra’s signature song.
6. 6. It’s Raining Men
“It’s Raining Men” was written by Canadian songwriter Paul Shaffer (he’s also David Letterman’s band leader) and American songwriter Paul Jabara. The song had been offered to Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Cher, and Barbra Streisand before being accepted by The Weather Girls. Recorded and released in 1982, the song became an international hit, selling over 6 million copies worldwide. Warning: the music video is dangerously 80’s.
7. 8. Life Is A Highway
I’ve included this one only because I had a friend who was convinced that “Life Is A Highway” was a Rascal Flatts written song…. We are no longer friends.
8. 7. She’s A Lady
Another of the many hit songs written by Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Paul Anka. “She’s A Lady” was written on a plane ride home from London, England. Tom Jones’ manager, Gordon Mills, had asked Paul Anka to write a song that would be a guaranteed hit in the U.S., so as Anka sat on the plane, he began thinking, ‘Tom…women…’ and the rest is history. In the United States, it is Jones’ highest-charting single to date.
9. 9. Big Yellow Taxi
You may or may not associate “Big Yellow Taxi” with the Counting Crows. For those of you who do, I promise the song was written by Joni Mitchell in 1973. Mitchell was in Hawaii peering out of her hotel window hoping to glimpse the breathtaking scenery, only to see an enormous parking lot. The song is about taking nature for granted.
And.. just in case you wanted to listen to the Counting Crows version of “Big Yellow Taxi.”
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