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Big hair, bigger shoulder pads and the arrival of the digital age all mark the 1980s Canadian music scene. Narrated by Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio's Q, Rise Up documents when Canadian music explodes internationally. Mixing concert clips and interviews, the program digs up a treasure trove of hits, from Men Without Hats' "The Safety Dance" to Bryan Adams' "Summer of 69". This is a revolutionary time as CDs replace cassette tapes and synthesized sounds and music videos dominate the airwaves.Singer Bryan Adams.
The arrival of MTV in the US, and then MuchMusic, Musique Plus and the CBC program Video Hits in Canada, create a powerful new marketing medium. Now musicians have to have good hair and wardrobe - and they have to play to the camera. CBC's own Denise Donlon, one of the original MuchMusic veejays, recalls the wild frontier and openness of the broadcast landscape at the time. The biggest star in the Canadian pop pantheon of the 80's is Bryan Adams, a hit making machine.
By the mid 1980s Canadian musicians - from synth pop groups, singer-songwriters and hard rock bands - are topping charts around the world. Music videos are the fast-track to international fame, with artists like Robbie Robertson and Alannah Myles producing multiple chart-topping hits. The late 80s also sees the rise of some diverse new sounds, including the alt-country of Blue Rodeo and Cowboy Junkies and the hip hop beats of Maestro and Michie Mee.
Rise Up explores how Canadian music in the 1980s grows to unprecedented heights. Never before has Canada produced as many international stars, from Leonard Cohen, Daniel Lanois, and Neil Young, to Chilliwack, Red Rider and Glass Tiger.