Nov 2, 2011
This week our final three competitors will be truly tested with well-loved songs from Canadian heavyweights. And remember: this is the last week for immunity - and the most crucial time for you to save your fave. You know what to do... vote, tweet, share, watch!
Here is a breakdown of the action we'll see on Sunday night:
Song: "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies
History: We all know this as The One Where Ed Robertson Raps Really Fast, but the coolest thing about "One Week" is that the spoken verses are completely improvised. Ed Robertson was having difficulty writing the verses, so Steven Page suggested that he freestyle onstage. They set up a camera, played the song at a slower pace and went to town. In the end, two minutes of his four minute improv were added to the final recording. The jibber jabber paid off - "One Week" hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1998... for one week.
Bonus: This acoustic version may be even better than the original.
Song: "Courage" by The Tragically Hip
History: "Courage" was the third single from The Hip's 1992 album Fully Completely. The song's bracketed title "Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)" refers to the late Canadian author and McGill University professor; his 1969 novel The Watch That Ends The Night is paraphrased in their lyrics. "Courage" hit #10 in Canada and #16 on Billboard's Modern Rock charts; 5 years later, Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley covered the song for her film The Sweet Hereafter.
Song: "These Eyes" by The Guess Who
History: This 1968 classic was co-written by lead guitarist Randy Bachman and lead singer Burton Cummings (both inductees of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame). Bachman had originally titled the song "These Arms", but Cummings made the change to "These Eyes". First released in Canada, the song hit #7 and helped them land a deal with RCA Records in the states. In 1969 it became a breakthrough hit, reaching #6 on Billboard's Pop Singles chart and eventually selling over one million copies. The song has since been covered numerous times, including Junior Walker & The All-Stars, jackSOUL and an interpolation by Maestro.
For the first time ever, there will be a new feature on Sunday's show: battles. The competitors will face off against each other with song assignments to determine who covered it better!
Here's how the battles break down:
Ali Milner vs Whosarmy
Song: "Sugar Sugar" by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim
History: In 1969 this song hit #1 for four weeks thanks to The Archies. Partly because of this association to a Saturday morning cartoon series, it was arguably the biggest #1 hit of the year - spending four weeks at #1 on Billboard, three weeks at #1 in Canada and eight weeks at #1 in the UK. Today the song is listed at #63 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time. "Sugar, Sugar" was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006, as co-writer Andy Kim is originally from Montreal. The song was apparently first offered to the Monkees, and is said to be one of George W. Bush's favourite tunes.
Whosarmy vs Melanie Morgan
Song: "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
History: One of the oft-most covered songs of all time, "Hallelujah" was released on Leonard Cohen's album Various Positions in 1984. It had little initial success until John Cale covered it in 1991, and then Jeff Buckley in 1994, whose version was ranked #259 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It has also been covered by KD Lang and Rufus Wainwright; in fact, the song has been performed by almost 200 artists. Interpretations of the song may include differing verses; Cohen originally wrote 80. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.
Melanie Morgan vs Ali Milner
Song: "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell
History: "Both Sides Now" appeared on the album Clouds in 1969. The first commercially released version was recorded by Judy Collins in 1968, hit #8 on the US charts and won a Grammy. It has also been recorded by Bing Crosby, Anne Murray and Frank Sinatra, among countless others and was ranked #170 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Joni Mitchell was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007.
Thanks to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame for the stories behind these iconic songs!