Episode 2: Turning Points

NOVEMBER 22 9PM Musicians have led a charge for social change and undergone professional turning points

Musicians have led a charge for social change and undergone professional turning points

k.d. lang on CBC TV in 1986. (CBC Archive)

This episode explores musicians who altered their career trajectories, the world around them, or both, in a single moment. Whether it was a move that radically changed society, re-oriented their career, or changed how the world saw them, all the artists in this episode experienced a distinct turning point, after which, things were never the same. 

AIRDATE: Nov. 22, 9 p.m.

Featuring: Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang, Oscar Peterson, Craig Russell, Johnny Cash, Sky Gilbert, Michael Kaeshammer, Dave King, Joe Sealy, Kelly Peterson, Oliver Jones

How Sarah McLachlan turned the music industry on its head

At a time when opportunities for female musicians were still limited Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair proved that an all-woman festival could be a commercial smash. (CBC)

Sarah McLachlan turned the Canadian music industry on its head in the '90s with an all-women concert tour called Lilith Fair. Not only was it a turning point in her career, but her tour is also credited for breaking down barriers in the music industry, making it a turning point for women in music. 

k.d. lang and her turn away from country music

In 1990, k.d. lang upset folks in her hometown in Alberta's cattle country by participating in PETA's "Meat Stinks" campaign. "It was easier to come out as a lesbian than it was to come out as a vegetarian," she said. (CBC)

k.d.lang began her career in the '80s, quickly gaining a massive mainstream country fanbase. But by the time she appeared on The Tommy Hunter Show in 1991, the "Cowpunk Princess" had arrived at her own personal turning point.

Oscar Peterson's musical tribute to Canada

Oscar Peterson on The Wayne & Shuster Hour in 1964. (CBC)

In the early 1960s, Oscar Peterson was renowned as the best pianist in all of jazz music. The Montreal native had sold out concert halls all over the world, and collaborated with a who's who of jazz greats: Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, and dozens more.

But Peterson didn't want to just be known as a great piano player. He wanted to be known as a great composer, too. 

How Craig Russell out-Carol Channinged Carol Channing

Craig Russell as Tallulah Bankhead. (David Street)

In the late '70s, Craig Russell became a national sensation, bringing the queer culture that was blossoming in downtown Toronto clubs into the mainstream.


Oscar Peterson's performance on The Wayne and Shuster Hour wasn't just a turning point for him, but for all of Canadian jazz. Here's the first ever performance of "Place St. Henri."

Oscar Peterson — "Place St. Henri"

5 years ago
Duration 1:29
Peterson's most famous work, the Canadiana Suite, made it's debut on CBC TV in 1964. This footage hasn't been seen in over 50 years.