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It will go down in CBC Music history as the Great Gowan Debate of 2014: "Strange Animal" or "Criminal Mind"? Of course it depends on the context, which in this case was: what is the best, but also the "most '80s," Gowan song? 

That question — what was the best, most '80s song? — was at the core of this list, in which we sifted through the biggest, most popular, best and even cheesiest songs in order to present to you a cohesive list that stands as a snapshot of what Canada sounded like for a decade. It was the '80s, so of course there's metal, but there are also timeless rock anthems. There are cheesy synths, sure, but there was also the daring new wave scene happening across the country. And at a time when a lot of major artists around the world were creating some pretty questionable content, Canadian superstars were shining brighter than ever.

To compile the list, we pooled our colleagues across the country and asked for top 10 lists, including our Quebec colleagues at IciMusique.ca, then debated the results, limiting it to only one song per artist, until we bled neon and agreed upon a list with which we were happy. So who won the Gowan debate? Check out the gallery above to find out, and don't forget to hit play below, as we've updated our '80s stream to count down the top 50 for you with one easy click.  

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Listen to CBC Music's Top 50 Canadian songs beginning at noon EST on Aug. 25 & 29, 4:00 EST on Sep. 1 & 5 and again at noon EST on Sep. 8 & 12. 

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The 50 best Canadian songs of the ’80s

It will go down in CBC Music history as the Great Gowan Debate of 2014: "Strange Animal" or…

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The Smiths
#1 posted by
The Smiths
on Aug 25, 2014

I can imagine it would be very difficult to come up with 50 of the best Canadian songs of the '80s. You did a great job. And, #15:  YES!  Me, too! That Frozen song ain't got nothin' on Luba! :D

J Sparovec
#2 posted by
J Sparovec
on Aug 25, 2014

Plenty of reminders why 80's music sucked (although there are a few "jams"). But when I think of it, popular music in every decade from the 70s on had plenty of crap too. 

moxiesound
#3 posted by
moxiesound
on Aug 25, 2014

Upsetting to see Jane Siberry missing from this list. "One More Colour" is an 80's standard.

krib
#4 posted by
krib
on Aug 25, 2014

yeah, no Siberry is a pretty big miss

seden
#5 posted by
seden
on Aug 25, 2014

It's a pretty good list, but I agree with others that Jane Siberry should have been included.  Also, what about the Grapes of Wrath, 54-40, The The, Heart, the Dream Warriors or Sass Jordan?  Bruce Cockburn also had some significant 80's tunes ("If I had a Rocket Launcher")...Skinny Puppy may have been fairly innovative, but you could also argue that Skinny Puppy, D.O.A. were also pretty influential in their genre (punk) during the same time.  Plus, it would be hard to argue that the Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions (coming out in 1987) didn't have a pretty broad impact.

DrinkerOfDecaf
#6 posted by
DrinkerOfDecaf
on Aug 25, 2014

I'm a little stunned by this list. No Bruce Cockburn? No Joni Mitchell? And "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" has to be the most awful song of the decade. How something so vacuous and insipid could ever have become a hit is a mystery for the ages. Yet, it scores at #12 here while "Rise Up," a joyous anthem of liberation that's still as relevant today as it was in 1983, gets stuck at the bottom. I'm shaking my head.

seden
#7 posted by
seden
on Aug 25, 2014

Oops, I just read my post and realized I made an error, the second time I stated 'Skinny Puppy', I actually meant to say 'SNFU'.

DrinkerOfDecaf
#8 posted by
DrinkerOfDecaf
on Aug 25, 2014

Isn't The The British?

abmacd
#9 posted by
abmacd
on Aug 25, 2014

It's a sort of good list, although I get the feeling that the songs were chosen by people who weren't alive in the 80s.  I get why most of the acts were chosen, but I think the song picks are off -- Lee Aaron is the best example: she will always be Metal Queen.  No one who was forced to brave the 80s would miss that.

seden
#10 posted by
seden
on Aug 25, 2014

Drinker of Decaf, you are right, The the is British...for some reason I recalled (incorrectly) that Matt Johnson was from Vancouver, but your post caused me to look it up, and that looks like two mistakes for me on one post!  Anyway, to redeem myself (at least in my eyes)...here's two more bands that could have been on the list:  Crash Vegas (Red Earth was a successful homegrown album in the 80's) and Chalk Circle.

MMROCHUK
#11 posted by
MMROCHUK
on Aug 25, 2014

The link at the end of the story does not go to the "Top 50 Canadia 80's Songs," it goes to the more general "80's" stream.  :(

DrinkerOfDecaf
#12 posted by
DrinkerOfDecaf
on Aug 26, 2014

It's all good, seden. No harm, no foul. :)

The Keystone Garter
#13 posted by
The Keystone Garter
on Aug 29, 2014

Missed the top 100 list.  Top 50.

The Best Was yet to Come.  Glamour Boy, No Time, These Eyes.  Magic Carpet Ride.  Rock Machine.  Above, Good Times, The First Time.  Not Quite Sonic, So Gently We Go, Raspberry, One More Astronaut radio station only version, Blacksox,  Juicy, We Got the Love.  Fields of Green (forget the song name).

(A of E) Untitled. Razorblades and Bandaids, Surefire.  Do You Care?, Central Red Army.  Tangerine, Live It Alone, Gasoline, Mechanical.  Breathe, One Last Run, Hero.  Outta My Head, See Right Through Me.  Apparitions, Strange Days, Underdogs.  All Uncovered, Any Day Now, Stereo.  Alien.  Screaming bloody Murder,  Nautical Disaster, Poets, Grace Too, Music At Work.  Tear-drop Carnival, Superman's Dead, 4am, Naveed, The Wonderful Future, In Repair, Starseed.  Anyways Mayonnaise.  Bulletproof (The Velvet Pill).  Neil Young and Pearl Jam song. 

 

The Keystone Garter
#14 posted by
The Keystone Garter
on Aug 29, 2014

...Save Me,  Sister Awake instead of Starseed, Music At Work.  You guys close the comments too quickly. 

The Keystone Garter
#15 posted by
The Keystone Garter
on Aug 29, 2014

...Coax me , One Gun, for Apparitions, Central Red Army...before 1991 all the music sounds like country to me. Unoriginal.  Conservative since the age of radio started, just waiting some power and message.  Then Shoegazer, Grunge and Nirvana shattered guitar rock to pieces.

spamuel
#16 posted by
spamuel
on Aug 29, 2014

Aldo Nova:  Either "Fantasy" or "Foolin' Yourself" should definitely have made the list.

imapatsy
#17 posted by
imapatsy
on Aug 30, 2014

Rise Up at number 50! Don't know what the rest of the list looks like cause I closed the gallery and went straight to the comments section to see that I was not alone.  Lame.

imadiveguy
#18 posted by
imadiveguy
on Aug 30, 2014

Interesting how they missed 'Living on video' by Trans X, possibly the most played song at dance clubs worldwide during the 80's

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