The Tragically Hip Biography

This politically correct Canadian guitar rock band has proved massively popular in its native country, while earning comparisons to Green On Red and early R.E.M. further abroad. The line-up comprises Bobby aka Rob Baker (12 April 1962, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; guitar), Gordon Downie (b. 6 February 1964, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; vocals), Johnny Fay (b. 30 April 1966, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; drums), Paul Langlois (b. Kingston, Ontario, Canada; guitar) and Gordon Sinclair (b. Kingston, Ontario, Canada; bass/vocals). Downie is an accomplished songwriter, his keen eye evident on early songs such as ‘Small Town Bringdown’ in 1987

The Tragically Hip originally formed in 1983 when Downie, Baker and Sinclair were all studying at Queen’s University. Quickly signed to MCA Records after a series of explosive live appearances, the Kingston, Ontario-based band achieved triple platinum status with their 1989 debut album Up To Here. It also brought them their first Juno Award as ‘Most Promising Group’. Road Apples was promoted with tours of Europe and Australia. Another Juno Award followed the release of 1992’s Fully Completely, which also achieved multi-platinum sales. The attendant single, ‘Locked In The Trunk Of A Car’, produced by Chris Tsangarides (Lords Of The New Church, Concrete Blonde), gave them their first Canadian number 1. The 1994 follow-up Day For Night, while not offering any significant advance in the band’s formula, consolidated their status as Canada’s pre-eminent college rock act. They toured with Neil Young and the Rolling Stones, before releasing the reliably melodic Trouble At The Henhouse.

Wider success came in 1998 with Phantom Power. Following the release of Music @ Work the band signed a new recording contract with the Rounder Records offshoot, Zoë, making their debut for the label in 2002 with the experimental In Violet Light. Downie has also published a book of poetry and released solo albums.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.