The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip

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Product Overview

Format: Hardcover

The biography of “Canada’s band”

In the summer of 2016, more than a third of Canadians tuned in to watch what was likely the Tragically Hip’s final performance, broadcast from their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Why? Because these five men were always more than just a band. They sold millions of records and defined a generation of Canadian rock music. But they were also a tabula rasa onto which fans could project their own ideas: of performance, of poetry, of history, of Canada itself.

In the first print biography of the Tragically Hip, Michael Barclay talks to dozens of the band’s peers and friends about not just the Hip’s music but about the opening bands, the American albatross, the band’s role in Canadian culture, and Gord Downie’s role in reconciliation with Indigenous people. When Downie announced he had terminal cancer and decided to take the Hip on the road one more time, the tour became another Terry Fox moment; this time, Canadians got to witness an embattled hero reach the finish line. 

This is a book not just for fans of the band: it’s for anyone interested in how culture can spark national conversations.

This great book is the Trans-Canada Highway of post-punk rock journalism, connecting all the dots on the map." Joel Plaskett

"This book will be required reading at Canadian universities by 2085. A thoughtful and detailed document of a groundbreaking time in the country's musical history." Jay Ferguson, Sloan

"This is a must-have for any discerning Canadian music fan." Grant Lawrence, CBC host and author of Dirty Windshields

"It should be read cover to cover by anyone who is thinking of making music for a living in this country." Paul McEwan, Toronto Star

"A survey of unprecedented generosity and breadth." Quill & Quire

"It fills a gaping hole in the written account of Canadian popular music." Rob Bowman, Grammy-winning author of Soulsville U.S.A.

"There is, without a doubt, no better book on the rise of popular Canadian music in the 1980s and 90s than Have Not Been The Same. . . . The exhaustively researched and referenced text gives readers a front- row seat to the spectacle of the burgeoning Canadian rock and pop music scene as it began to exert significant influence internationally for the first time ever." Scene Magazine

"[A]n insightful and penetrating look at the roots of the Canadian underground rock scene . . . anyone with a curious interest in Canadian music will appreciate this well-researched book, which is largely culled from players in the scene at the time, and it's a credit that the authors were able to gain access to so many people in compiling the book." Pop Matters

©2018, 380 pages