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Top 10 Canadian Hard Rock Bands of All Time

Canada rocks – from its landscape to its multiculturalism to its beer and music. Compiling a list of great Canadian hard rock bands of all time is a daunting assignment that will invite many criticisms and this list is not without ifs and buts. But the task is the fairly definable “hard rock” genre, meaning no metal, no punk, no screamo, no industrial and no straight-up melodic rock. So that cuts out a range of Canadian rockers: Max Webster, Alexisonfire, Headstones, Nickelback, Prism, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Loverboy, even Anvil and Helix. It also eliminates solo acts. So with that caveat, here is Noisecreep’s list of the 10 all time best Canadian hard rock bands in no particular order.

Rush

Rush formed in 1968 in the quiet suburb of Willowdale in Toronto. More than 40 years later, singer-bassist-keyboardist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. Yeah, yeah, you’re gonna argue that Rush is prog-rock, right? True, they are progressive and unlike any other band out there with its intricacies and musicianship. But at its core, the trio rocks – hard.Essential Song: ‘Tom Sawyer’

April Wine
If you only know the ballad ‘Just Between You and Me,’ then check out ‘I Like to Rock’ – the message is evident: April Wine rocks. ‘Sign of the Gypsy Queen’ is another… sign. The band, which went on to multi-platinum success, originally formed in 1969 in Waverly, Nova Scotia, and relocated to Montreal the next year. Fronted by Myles Goodwyn, April Wine has gone through numerous line-up changes, taking a six-year hiatus from 1986.Essential Song: ‘I Like to Rock’
I Mother Earth
This is a band that should’ve been bigger than they were outside Canada. With its percussive infusion and intense playing, IME’s sound was like Jane’s Addiction meets Santana. The one-named Edwin fronted the band for 1993′s ‘Dig’ and 1996′s ‘Scenery & Fish,’ albums that still stand up today. When Edwin left, less than amicably, Brian Byrne took over for another two albums. The band is sadly defunct.Essential Song: ‘Rain Will Fall’
Triumph
Even their logo screams “hard rock.” Triumph - another brilliant Canadian trio – featured the inimitable vocals and guitar prowess of Rik Emmett and solid rhythm section of bassist Mike Levine and drummer Gil Moore. Their most enduring hit is the harmony-laden power ballad ‘Lay It on the Line.’ The band formed in Toronto (Mississauga to be exact) in 1975 and had multiple gold and platinum run until 1993. Their split was also contentious, but they reunited in 2008.Essential Song: ‘Lay It on the Line’
Billy Talent

One of Canada’s newest and biggest rock bands, the long-time friends from Streetville, Ontario have headlined arenas across the country for the past few albums now. Billy Talent frontman Ben Kowalewicz has a vocal style and stage presence all his own and guitarist Ian D’Sa has long developed a distinct sound. They’ve had a tough time breaking the U.S. like most bands do, but check out the reception they get overseasin Germany at Rock am Ring. Billy Talent rocksomeness will spread.Essential Song: ‘Try Honesty’

Man, bring back these rock ‘n’ roll logos! But back to the music, Vancouver’s Trooperis known for such classics as ‘The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car,’ ‘Raise a Little Hell’ and ‘Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time).’ Fronted by Ra McGuire, the band released its self-titled debut in 1975 which was produced by Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Randy Bachman. The press release for its first compilation, ‘Hits From 10 Albums,’ called Trooper “one of Canada’s top 5 selling bands of all time” with no figure attached.Essential Song: ‘The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car’
This band caused a riot in Puerto Rico in 1981 when fans desperately tried to get into a sold-out show for 10,000 people. How rock ‘n’ roll is that? Formed just outside Toronto, in Oakville, Ontario, Saga has reportedly sold eight million albums internationally since it formed in 1977. Michael Sadler has fronted the band all this time, except for a brief break in 2008 due to personal reasons. Hits included ‘Wind Him Up,’ ‘On the Loose’ and ‘The Flyer.’ Check out this great footage from Germany’s Rock Am Ring.Essential Song: ‘Wind Him Up’
Goddo
Goddo also inspired a riot in 1980 at Toronto’s Ontario Place when its show was oversold. The band first broke up after 1981′s ‘Pretty Bad Boys’ album, but has sporadically reunited over the years. In 2010 the original line up of singer-bassist Greg Godovitz, drummer Doug Inglis and guitarist Gino Scarpelli performed a 35th anniversary concert. Back in the day, Goddowas called “powerchord heavy metal;” today’s music trade FYI called them “former bad boys of cock rock.”Essential Song: ‘So Walk On’
Named after Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in London, England, Toronto’s Coney Hatchreleased three studio albums in the ’80s, which included such songs as ‘Fantasy,’ ‘Hey Operator,’ ‘Devil’s Deck’ and ‘First Time for Everything.’ The original lineup consisted of Carl Dixon (vocals-guitar), Andy Curran (vocals-bass), Steve Shelski (guitar) and Dave Ketchum (drums). In 2008, Dixon was seriously injured in a violent car accident in Australia, but remarkably recovered. Coney Hatch performed a reunion show last August.Essential Song: ‘Devil’s Deck’
Initially, it was just Mahogany Rush, which Montreal-born Frank Marino fronted, but his talent shone so brightly and made it a wiser business decision to bill the band as Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush. To this day, Marino is one of the world’s most underrated guitarists. This video is proof – and that was 1979. Thirty-some years later and he’s probably off the charts. Mahogany Rush broke up in the early 80s. Marino retired from the biz in 1993 but returned in 2001.Essential Song: ‘Dragonfly’

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