Fifty years ago, the Canadian music industry was essentially non-existent. Well, at least compared to the US or the UK. Yes, we had bands who played gigs and recorded singles and albums. But there wasn’t much of an infrastructure to support a domestic scene.
There were too few recordings studios. There was a lack of experienced promoters, managers, agents, producers, and engineers. There only a tiny number of record labels. With no other alternative, the best and the brightest decamped for America in hopes of finding success. Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Paul Anka were all part of a worrisome brain drain of talent. For those left behind, it was pretty discouraging.
Canadian radio stations weren’t helping, either. There was a perception that Canadian audiences did not want to hear Canadian music because…well, because it wasn’t very good. It was inferior to all the music coming from America and England. It just wasn’t worth anyone’s time.
However, there were those diehards who believed that it just wasn’t right that our musical culture and music scenes (such as they were) should be overwhelmed by foreign powers. Canadian music was getting smothered in the crib. Something needed to be done–and five decades ago, something was done, beginning on January 18, 1971.
It was difficult, expensive, and, in some quarters, wildly unpopular. But it was all worth it because Canada is now a global musical powerhouse. This is the history of fifty years of CanCon.
Songs heard on this show:
We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor, Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.
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