Episode 3: The Kids are Alright

NOVEMBER 29 The kids have always used music to shake up the status quo and make their voices heard.

The kids have always used music to shake up the status quo and make their voices heard.

The Crew Cuts and Steve Allen on the Tonight Show (CBC Archives)

The kids have always used music as a force for change. From The Who to Carole Pope, CBC has showcased remarkable performances from groundbreakers and boundary pushers who challenged the status quo.

AIRDATE: Nov. 29, 9 p.m.

Featuring: The Who, The Crew Cuts, Rough Trade, James Taylor, Jefferson Airplane, Lorne Michaels, Hart Pomerantz, Adrienne Clarkson, Laurie Brown, Lighthouse, Don Messer

When CBC's Take 30 went to Swinging London, they were hoping to interview The Kinks. They wound up having to settle for a lesser known band called The Who. (CBC)

When it came to talking about their generation, few bands matched The Who

"The velocity of it all, in terms of decibels and everything else was astonishing," says Paul Soles, who saw one of the band's early gigs in 1966. "But, as with everything else, with all great cultural upheavals, the kids were absolutely into it. It was expressing their freedom, their exuberance. And that's why the tune 'My Generation' was apt."

The Crew Cuts, performing alongside big band legends Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. (CBC Archive)

Doo-wop was what '50s teenagers craved, and Canada's Crew Cuts delivered

With an overwhelming popularity among the younger generation, doo-wop became the music of choice for teenagers in the '50s. A quartet of kids from Toronto's St. Michaels' Choir School would embrace the genre and, in doing so, become the first Canadian artists to go gold in the United States.

"“I was obsessed with sexuality because people were so screwed up about it,” says Rough Trade frontwoman Carole Pope. (CBC)

The crotch-grab heard 'round the world

In the 1970s, Toronto, that staid bastion of anglo-Canadian uptightness, was changing. The LGBTQ community was celebrating their newfound liberation, while the Queen West art scene was trying to shake things up and introduce new ideas to Canadian culture. At the intersection of these two communities was Rough Trade, a band that combined punk rock, R&B, showtunes, satirical wit and raw sexuality into something that was totally new.

Lighthouse play live on the Lorne and Hart Terrific Hour. (CBC)

From Don Messer's Jubilee to The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour

The kids were also tired of watching their parents' TV, so the CBC responded by letting them run their own show. And along came Hart Pomerantz and Lorne Michaels' (yes, that Lorne Michaels) The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour. But when they replaced Don Messer's Jubilee, the fans marched on Ottawa.

Bonus

You can never have too much Rough Trade. (Unless, of course, you're producing the Junos gala and it's 1980.) Here's some more Rough Trade. This performance of "Dyke by Default" first aired in 1977.

Carole Pope, Jo-Anne Brooks and Rough Trade perform on CBC's 90 Minutes Live in 1977. 3:19

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