Calgary Songs Project

30 Songs to Celebrate 30 Years

This year, as part of One Yellow Rabbit’s 30th Anniversary High Performance Rodeo, Kenna Burima and the Calgary Cassette Preservation Society are putting together the Calgary Songs Project, a 30-song tribute to this city’s musical highpoints. The project will feature a performance on the Calgary Tower’s carillon, a playlist of the actual songs on the “Galleria Trees” sculpture on Stephen Avenue, and a final wrap-up concert at the #1 Legion with Calgary bands covering the 30 songs we choose.

The trickiest part of this project is putting together the list of 30 songs. That’s where you come in. We’re looking to the friends and followers of the CCPS to help tip us to what should be on the list. We’ll take those suggestions, comments, and ideas and then - after much arguing, fretting, and cajoling - compile a well-curated list of 30 songs that best represent the past 30 years of music in this city.

Join the Discussion

We invite you to suggest songs for the list. There are no rules about genre, only that they be by a Calgarian and that they be something that was released after 1986 (the year of the first High Performance Rodeo). Go with your gut. Tell us what matters to you - and what you think should matter for the rest of the city.

Check out the posts on this blog marked with the Calgary Songs Project tag and leave a comment. Or, pop over to the CCPS facebook page and leave a comment. 

You can check out some highlights over at the High Performance Rodeo site. We’ll also keep a long list of the suggestions we’ve received on this page… in fact, here it is, starting with a few submissions from our friends and including everything we've heard on this site and elsewhere!

Aaron Booth — Ramblin' Train/Sleep in Cinescope
Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir - Oh Sorrow
The Agriculture Club - The Ballad of Pilsner Beer/Rumblin' Down
Anne Lorree/Jann Arden - Insensitive
Arm & Hammer - Children's Day
A-Team – Always Call me By Name/I’m A Truck/IV proud albertans
Azeda Booth - Big Fist
Beach Season - Midnights
Beagle Ranch - Mr. Ordinary World
Beija Flor - Miss May
Ben Plotnick - Dancing at the End of the World
Beyond Possession - Skater's Life/Final Daze
Big Bang Theory - Sybil for Free
Big Sugar - All Hell for a Basement*
Bog Bodies - Blood Suds and Bone Shavings
The Bownesians - How Allen Saved the Radio Station/He’s from Bowness, She’s from Montgomery
The Brenda Vaqueros - The Crescent & The Cross
Brother Prussia - Why Wait
The Buzzing Bees - Bite the Curb, it's Vegan, I Swear
The Cape May - Hunting Grounds
Cat Ranch - C-A-L-G-A-R-Y
Catman Cohen - If I Could Divide the Smell of Flowers
Chad VanGaalen - Clinically Dead/Willow Tree/Sunshine Snare Hits/Burn 2 Ash/Blood Machine/Graveyard
Chantal Vitalis - Pigs Makes Ham Makes Me Happy
Chapter 16 - Sad Life
Chixdiggit - Van Horne/Chupacabra/I Wanna Hump You/Sikome Beach/Shadowy Bangers From A Shadowy Duplex/I Feel Like Gerry Cheevers (I've Got Stitch Marks On My Heart)/Hemp Hemp Hooray
Chris Gheran - Calgary
Clinton St. John - Sunlight, Good-Light/No Grand Scheme
Collapse - Geographic Center of Canada
Colour Me Psycho - Black Corvair/Sacred Valley Penetration/My Favourite Nightmare/Mother's Worry/Mr. Invisible
Corb Lund - Truck Got Stuck/Cows Around/Apocalypic Modified Blues*
Cowpuncher- Raised on Rock and Roll
Cripple Creek Fairies - She Sells Stems Cells/We Are the Bomb
Thee Cryptics - Eyeballs
Curse of Horseflesh - Liberty's Cannonball
The Daggers - Nowhere to Go
Danielle French - To the Death
David Rhymer/Blake Brooker - Surrounded by Chrome/Loneliness
Ded Souls - Green Sweep
Delusions of Reality - Moondog
Ditchrider - Five Alarm Fire
Dixie's Death Pool - Kool Whip/Death is Like a Rubber Ball
Dojo Workhorse - Gold and Green/Misbehave
Double Fuzz- Mountain/Alone in My City
Dragon Fli Empire - Mount Pleasant
The Dudes - Dropkick Queen of the Weekend/Do the Right Thing/Saturday Night/Girl Police/They’re a Comin’/Mendoza Line
Earthquake Pills - The Pink Bomb/Drag
The El Caminos - Boner
Ethan Collister - Lookout On The Lookout
Eve Hell and the Razors - When the Lights Go Out
The Ex-Boyfriends - Longer Than Your Memory/Success Hotel/Bubblegum
Eye On You - Mom, Dad and the Kids
Fake Cops - Snake Eyes
FalconHawk - Olympia
Feist - 1234/My Moon My Man/I Feel It All
Field Day - Denial/Enough for Two/Pet
The Film Extras - Lover, That's All There Is
Fire Engine Red — Black Day/Theresa Says/Shank Pony
Fist City - Let's Rip*
Forbidden Dimension - Dial "M" For Monster/Tonight I Paint In Flesh Colour/Martian Death Saucer/13 Bloody Graves/Mars is Heaven/Anabelle/Creepsville
Forest Tate - The Fall
Freak Motif - Killin’ Me (Vocal) featuring Lady C
Fuck Off Dad - A1
The Funeral Factory - So Elvis/Abduction
Ghost Factory - Burning Down the Balzac Mall
Girls Rock Camp 2015 - All bands/songs
The Golden Calgarians - Chicken on the Way*
Gravity Thugs - Take You Down
The Great Evil- The 403
Günther - Wrecking Ball
Heather Blush & the Uppercuts - My Favorite Addiction
Hello Calgary Jingle*
HighKicks - Goodlife/Not Enough People
Hot Awesome - So Many Nights (The Same Alley Home)
Hot Little Rocket - Down With Safe/Let's Play in Traffic/Vive Death!
HROM - Citadel of Heroes
Huevos Rancheros - Please Pass the Ketchup/Huevosaurus/Blonde Girl In A Blue Volare (At 100 mph)/Crowchild Trail/Cindy with an "S"/Go West Young Bee/Bar B Cutie/What a Way to Run a Railroad/Endsville
HunterGatherer - Blue Grey Green
Ian Tyson - Springtime In Alberta
In Search of Sasquatch - Stolen Youth
Inquisition - Muffin Man
James Keelaghan - Cold Missouri Waters/Hillcrest Mine
Jane Hawley/Beautiful Joe - Going Out of Style
Jane Vain & The Dark Matter - C'mon Baby Say Bang Bang
Jann Arden - I Would Die for You/The Sound Of/Will You Remember Me
Jay Crocker - Below The Ocean Over/Wake Up Honolulu
Jenny Allen - Seventh Avenue/Beautiful Mess
Joal Kamps - Years From Now
Johnny V and the Houserockers - I Need a Woman
Kaley Kinjo - Afraid
Kara Keith - Kick this City
Karl Roth - Everybody Wants to Be a Cat
Kiesza - Hideaway
Knucklehead - Shelters/End in Sight/Little Boots/North of the 54
Kris Demeanor - Extreme to Me/I Have Seen The Future/Vesuvius  (with David Rhymer)/One Shoe
Lab Coast - Walking on Ayr
Lorrie Matheson/National Dust - Wear the Grindstone Down/Mission to Inglewood/Gun Metal Grey/Sadie Hawkins/The Lamp of the Poor
Lucid 44 - Yellow Dress
The Mandates - Messing Around
Mannequin Depressives - Victim of Circumstance
Mants - Mants in Your Pants
Mares of Thrace - Act II: Bathsheba's Reply to David
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald - Care For You/Brand New Spaces
Miesha & the Spanks - Please Don't Blow/Across the Country
The Minks - Is That You Dad?
Mount Analogue - Mother Fluxus
Mozart's Rage - Things I'll Never Know
Napalmpom - Feint of Heart/Greg Ginn's Sweater/Guided by Volume
The Neckers - Friday Night/Repeat Last Summer/Have Love Will Travel*
The Neighbourhood Council - M is for Matroshika
The New 1-2 - The Submersibles/Pressures on the Eye
Night Committee - Loss Leaders
Nine Miles to Morgan - It's Not My Face But I Wear It Well
Ninth Configuration - Happy
OK Jazz – Pioneer Valour
Onalea Gilbertson/ Morag Northey - Isn't it Scandalous
Oscar Lopez - Armando’s Fire
The Pants Situation - Sound-Light/Bold
The Parkades - Attack Me/The Man Insane
Paul Brandt - Alberta Bound
Plaid Tongued Devils - In Klezskavania/Spend a Penny/Jesus Started Drinking
Primrods - Bully Proof Vest/Barbet Lad/Atom Smacker/All Right Tokyo!/Santa Lucia/Six Flags/Take It Outside/Francis Gary Powers Offers You the Trill of a Lifetime
The Puritans - Dennis Wilson
Pussy Monster - Dracula's Teabag/Pussy Machine
The Quitters - Do You Know/Feel Alright/Levitation
Rae Spoon - my heart is a piece of garbage, fight seagulls fight/Come on Forest Fire, Burn The Disco Down
Ralph Boyd Johnson/Billy Cowsill - The Fool is the Last One to Know
Ramada Gods - Ten Bucks
The Ramblin’ Ambassadors - Meat Sweats/Hup 2 3 4/Hairless Cat
Red Autumn Fall - My Friend Deceiver/Josephite
Rembetika Hipsters - Melina's Bath Pt 1
Reuben and the Dark - Rolling Stone/Bow and Arrow
The Reverie Sound Revue - This City Belongs to Us/Walking Around, Waiting Downtown
The Rocky Fortune - Art is a Dying Art
Rubim de Toledo - The River
Rusty Nails - 20 Something*
Ryan Bourne - Many Creatures
Sacred Heart of Elvis - Black Snake Moan/Sin
Samantha Savage Smith - The Score/You Always Come to Mind/Tough Cookie
Same Difference - Kiss of Ice/Cigarette (You Say)/Soft in her Silence
Schecky Forme - You'll Need a Telescope
Scott McLeod - Drank the Ocean Dry
Shaani Cage - Dance Community
The Shinolas - Ironic Seducer
The Shiverettes - Stephen Harper Suck My Dick
Sidney York - Electrolove
Skin Barn - Another Day
The Smalls - Only Thing Going*
Smelters - Three Chords
The Soft Tips - Beginning to Show
Southhaven - Free Fall
Squat - I Hope You Die
Stalwart Sons - Shared Cup
Steve Pineo - Canadian Man/Too Bad For Me
Straight - Brains/Vacant/The Obvious Things/Draw Me In
The Sturgeons - Punk Rock Virgins*
Sudden Infant Dance Syndrome - Olivia Neutron Bomb/Who Ya Gonna Take to the Prom/Branch Davidian
The Summerlad - Foot and Mouth/City of Noise
Tariq - Chevrolet Way
Tegan and Sara - Closer/This is Everything/Walking With A Ghost
Teledrome - Boyfriend/Dial Tone
Thorazine - The Day the Ash Blacked Out the Sun/Fifth Victim
Tim Hus - Goin' Back To Calgary
Tim Williams - In Rehearsal For The Blues/It's Enough to be Remembered
Tinderbox - Bucket of Frogs
Tom Phillips - Ribbons and Bows/Gravity of Ruin/Hard Part of Town
Transit - Calgary
Vailhalen - Was it a Fix?/Awake in Flight
Valiska - Clearing
Verbal Deception - Voyage
Veritas - Uncle Gadget/Spiral Staircase Knifechase
Viathyn - The Coachmen
Viet Cong - Death/Silhouettes
The Von Zippers - Kill That Guy/Insect Idol/Megavolt/Nothing Can Bring Me Down*/Bad Generation/Cracked Judy
Wagbeard - Charles Atlas/Too Easy/Can't Remember Names/TNT/Darwin Bonoparte/Alpha
The Walking Dead - Match Made in Hell
WIL- Roam
The Will - Funky Babylon
Witchstone - Deep Space Pathfinder
Women - Heat Distraction/Black Rice/Lawncare
Woodpigeon - Our Love is as Tall as the Calgary Tower
Zackariah and the Prophets - Sick Daze
Zuckerbaby - Andromeda

* potentially disqualified?


Anonymous said...

"Van Horne" - Chixdiggit

Anonymous said...

I Have Seen the Future--Kris Demeanor. It expresses something primal about the city. It's ugly, and that's a good thing.

Gene Poole said...

Dear Anonymous poster: that's a very funny, smart-assed suggestion. Consider it considered!

Gene Poole said...

Oh, second anonymous poster! I'm going to get FULLY behind the Kris Demeanor suggestion. That's such an amazing song.

Aimee-Jo Benoit said...

Vailhalen-Was it a fix?

Noah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noah said...

Vail Halen - Awake in Flight
HunterGatherer - Blue Grey Green
Veritas - Uncle Gadget/ Spiral Staircase Knifechase
Brother Prussia - Why Wait
Ghost Factory - Burning Down the Balzac Mall

Anonymous said...

Paul Brandt - Alberta Bound
Kiesza - Hideaway

JackieB said...

In 2008 Calgary's growth was changing us. We became less of a "cow town" and more of a corporate machine. There were so many new people. Newcomers and locals alike became colder. Less friendly. There were too many to say "hi" to and we were not experienced at forming quick trust. Chris Gheran's composition "Calgary" on his album of the same name is about that time.

Joel Thomson said...

Knucklehead - Shelters

Anonymous said...

Catman Cohen -- If I Could Divide the Smell of Flowers

(Catman Cohen = Canadian citizen, born in Calgary)

Anonymous said...

Catman Cohen- If I Could Divide the Smell of Flowers

Song MP3 Sample from BandCamp:

carrotadventure said...
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Sean Myers said...

The A-Team - I'm A Truck
Wagbeard - Charles Atlas
Primrods - Bully Proof Vest

Danielle French said...

Hey Kenna- this is a great idea!!
I'd love to throw my song "To the Death" into the mix (I am a Calgary musician). It won 2nd place in the Calgary Folk Fest songwriting contest. It features Burton Cummings singing on it. And I produced/directed a short film to this song at The Banff Centre that features local Calgary artists such as Sheri-D Wilson, Kirk Miles, Kyle Nylund, George Ulysses and more... you can find that here:

Alex the parrot fish said...

Southhaven - Free Fall
The Rocky Fortune - Art is a Dying Art
Hot Little Rocket - Down With Safe
Collapse - Geographic Center of Canada
FalconHawk - Olympia

Scott Oberg said...

Field Day - Denial
Red Autumn Fall - My Friend Deceiver
Ramada Gods - Ten Bucks
Jann Arden - I would die for you

Anonymous said...

miesha & the spanks - please don't blow

Anonymous said...

here's 2:

Forbidden Dimension: Dial "M" For Monster
Ask yourself, does it get any more creepy cool than FD? and damn! that drum machine is so great.

Freak Motif: "Killin' Me (vocal)"
On the complete other end of the spectrum, you've go this fresh, tight, funky cut that hits like a dusty old funk 45 classic

carrotadventure said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carrotadventure said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Curtis said...

Primrods - Bully-Proof Vest
Gravity Thugs - Take You Down
Tinderbox - Bucket of Frogs
Samantha Savage Smith - The Score
Jane Hawley - Going Out of Style
Dragon Fli Empire - Mt. Pleasant
Tariq - Chevrolet Way
Same Difference - Kiss of Ice
Dudes - Dropkick Queen of the Weekend
Chad Van Gaalen - Clinically Dead
Tegan and Sara - Walking With the Ghost
Reuben and the Dark - Like a Rolling Stone
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald - Brand New Spaces

I could do this for days....

Anonymous said...

Roam - WIL

Johanna Schwartz said...

Anything by Straight - but I love Brains.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Our Love is as Tall as the Calgary Tower by Woodpigeon

Anonymous said...

Saturday Night by the Dudes

Anonymous said...

Fright Night by the Neckers!

Anonymous said...

"The Ballad of Pilsner Beer" by the Agriculture Club

Anonymous said...

"Alan Saved the Radio Station" by the Bownesians

carrotadventure said...

I feel like we would be remiss if we didn't include a song by Calgary's first (and probably only?) pirate-metal band, Verbal Deception... lots of great songs to choose from, but I think my favourite is "Voyage"..... "Pirate Attack" is pretty deadly too.

carrotadventure said...

Also... what about the Mocking Shadows? Probably oughta have something from them too, though to be honest I don't really know their stuff as well, except for the fact that they've been around for a million years and are somewhat of a Calgary institution.

carrotadventure said...

Finally: I'm a bit biased on this one, as he's a good friend, but Ben Plotnick is arguably one of the best fiddlers/writers to come out of Calgary in a long while. The 2-part title track from his 2010 solo album "Dancing at the End of the World" is pretty brilliant.

carrotadventure said...

Oh! And I just remembered:

Sudden Infant Dance Syndrome - Olivia Neutron Bomb

carrotadventure said...

(I love this project, thank you Gene & Kenna!)

Gene Poole said...

Excellent suggestions, everyone! Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

Primrods - Atom Smacker.

Kari Watson said...

I'm old-school and it's hard to contain it to 5, but...
Color Me Psycho - Sacred Valley Penetration
Forbidden Dimension (you saw this coming) - Martian Death Saucer
Wagbeard - Too Easy
Primrods - All Right Tokyo!
Chad VanGaalen - Clinically Dead

Anonymous said...

The Sound Of / Insensitive / Will You Remember Me ..... actually anything by Jann Arden

Gene Poole said...

Thanks, everyone! Keep the suggestions coming!

Anonymous said...

Ethan Collister - "Lookout On The Lookout"
Originally recorded and released in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Success Hotel - The Ex-Boyfriends - amazing rock and roll!!

Paul Anderson said...

Knucklehead - End in Sight

Knucklehead - Little Boots (classic)

Anonymous said...

JOAL KAMPS (born and raised in Calgary) and his song 'Years From Now'. He and his wife got married on June 21st 2013, a day in Albertan History, the day of flood. He wrote the song before he met his wife in person, and in the song we hear some foreshadowing of their wedding day - 'storms will come, and winds will blow'. What a great love song!

Anonymous said...

Vive Death! - Hot Little Rocket for the way Andrew would always shout, "This is a love song. It's called Vive Death!" Or Did Yr' Ship Come In for the Nine Miles to Morgan reference.
Was It A Fix? - Vailhalen (suggested above)!
Drag - Earthquake Pills
Lover, That's All There Is - The Filmextras
Bold - Pants Situation
So Many Nights (The Same Alley Home) - Hot Awesome

Gene Poole said...

Wow - thanks for the ideas, everyone. They've all been added to the list above!

Virginia Dentata said...

Hi Gene Poole,
The Shiverettes are missing from the big list!


Gene Poole said...

OH NO! That Shiverettes song was the turning point in the election! Added!

Anonymous said...

Weapons Grade Love by Sidney York

Bryce Dunn said...

While I shed a single tear over my old band's GLARING omission from this list (cough cough), I can't believe no one has mentioned Th' Legendary Few - Bedlam For Boris (or hell, just about anything from their "Smokes" tape). This band singlehandedly started my love for local music and punk shows in Calgary as a teen. This is an amazing project by the way...Vancouver could take a hint from this!

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cyclingphysio said...

How about Downway, Belvedere and Deville.