10 Best Classic Canadian Albums Ever

The 10 best Canadian albums of all time, as chosen by the passionate but decidedly inexpert BCBusiness editorial staff.

As a tribute to Canadian music, we have compiled a list of what we deem the indispensable Canadian albums. If you hail from north of the 49th, most should be familiar to you. But you may find the order strange – incorrect, even. Please leave your comments and suggestions in the comments.

Also, don’t miss our selections for 10 Best Modern Canadian Albums and 10 Worst Canadian Singles.

10. Anne Murray – Let’s Keep It That Way (1978)
After spending three years keeping a low profile to establish a family, Anne Murray returned in ’78 with her most popular tune and personal favourite, “You Needed Me,” from the album Let’s Keep It That Way. The rich alto proved to be an inspiration for such great Canadian divas as Céline Dion, Sarah McLachlan and Shania Twain.

Video: “You Needed Me”


9. Bryan Adams – Reckless (1984)
Playing soft rock when the style was in decline, Bryan Adams’ bestseller Reckless reached double Platinum in the UK, quintuple Platinum in the US, and Diamond in Canada. Reckless produced six singles, including the classic “Summer of 69.”

Video: “Summer of 69”

8. Gordon Lightfoot – Sundown (1974)
A Canadian icon, Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown was released at the pinnacle of his folk-acoustic career. In this his tenth album, Lightfoot relies on his narrative lyrics and soothing baritone. The title track is one of his best-known songs.

Video: “Sundown”

7. k.d. lang – Ingénue (1992)
k. d. lang moved away from her country roots to a more contemporary sound on Ingénue. The album features the salsa-inspired “Miss Chatelaine,” an ironic play on her appearance on the cover of the Canadian women’s magazine Chatelaine, and the closer “Constant Craving,” which became her most popular song.

Video: “Constant Craving”

6. Daniel Lanois – Acadie (1989) After producing such grandiose albums as U2’s Joshua Tree, Daniel Lanois released his first solo album, Acadie, a heartfelt tribute to his Acadian roots. Acadie employs a folksy, Celtic feel musically as Lanois sings of his people’s displacement and ache.

Video: “The Maker”

5. Tragically Hip – Fully Completely (1992) The Hip’s bluesy stadium rock has been a mainstay at hockey games and on radio rotation in Canada for decades. Fully Completely encompasses many of their staples, from the historical tale of “Fifty Mission Cap” to the Hugh MacLennan tribute “Courage.”

Video: “Courage”


4. The Guess Who – American Woman (1970)
Already established in their native land, The Guess Who sought international success with a heavier sound on American Woman. The Winnipeg band made Canadian history when the single “American Woman” reached #1 in the US, a first for any Canadian band.

Video: “American Woman”

3. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
Canadian poet and novelist Leonard Cohen’s debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was an immediate success upon release. The wordsmith brings his narrative lyrics and folk musicality to the standouts “Suzanne” and “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.”

Video: “Suzanne”

2. Neil Young – Harvest (1972)
The bestselling album of ’72, Neil Young’s Harvest employed a number of guests, from James Taylor to the London Symphony Orchestra. Harvest churned out the hits “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man,” classics that have stood the test of time.

Video: “Heart of Gold”

1. Joni Mitchell – Blue (1970)
Joni Mitchell’s finest creation, Blue epitomizes the Canadian icon’s autobiographical, melancholy style. She utilizes fluid imagery in the lyrics for “California,” a series of postcard snapshots from her travels throughout Europe while writing the album.

Video: “California”