Top 10 Best Canadian Bands

The Top Ten
1 Rush Rush was a Canadian progressive rock band that was formed in 1968. The band has had an iconic lineup since 1975, which included Neil Peart (Drums, Percussion), Geddy Lee (Vocals, Bass, Keyboards), and the guitarist, Alex Lifeson. Peart passed away after a 3 year battle with brain cancer in January of 2020. Because of this, Lee says there are no plans to keep the band going, so Rush is most likely... read more

Rush isn't a good band. Rush is an amazing band. Neil Peart is by far the greatest drummer that ever lived. Not only that, but the lyrics are so complex and really make you think about what the song is about, which I think is a great thing for songs to have.

Most other bands sing about very blunt, straightforward topics that don't require a lot of thinking, if any at all. The good thing about Rush is you really have to think to know what the song is really about. Just because a band's lyrics are basic and straightforward doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad band. Many great bands have blunt song lyrics.

Rush just makes you think, and I think that's why they're so underrated. People don't like songs with complex lyrics. They just want to hear straightforward and blunt lyrics, and I think that's why a lot of music nowadays is not appealing.

What a phenomenally difficult choice. Rush? The Hip? Neil Young? Bruce Cockburn?

To me, Rush is the greatest (not just Canadian) band ever. Brilliant musicianship and intelligent lyrics have produced music over decades. Pursuing a course that was never mainstream and challenged the conventions of popular music, they created music that is timeless, eclectic, and thought-provoking, influencing the next one or two generations of musicians. No 4/4 beat... no hair/girls/cars nonsense... just kick-ass musicianship. I have listened to and loved The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Frank Zappa, U2, Neil Young, and Midnight Oil. Still, none rival Rush for their gift. In my 61 years on this earth, no band has produced more material that speaks to the moments of our times and the real nature of love.

Territories - a musical declaration deploring the slavish devotion to a nation and a flag.
Animate - a call for men to embrace their feminine sides, be complete, and realize fully developed relationships.
Entre Nous - fewer than 300 words to describe the intricacies of relationships.
Earthshine - in my opinion, truly the greatest love song ever written. No sappy overindulgent strings. Powerful grinding riffs with painfully personal lyrics acknowledging the lingering influence of a lost, great love.

On top of all of that, some of the greatest instrumentals of our times - La Villa Strangiato, YYZ, Leave That Thing Alone - convince me this is the ultimate Canadian band.

That all said, the band that speaks to my Canadian soul is... The Tragically Hip. The Hip are quintessentially Canadian and a national treasure, one we jealously hold close to our hearts. I respect and appreciate Rush, but I love The Tragically Hip at a visceral level. If the rest of the world doesn't get it, that is okay. We Canadians can nod to each other and realize we have and embrace this wonderful band - if the rest of the world doesn't... more

2 Tragically Hip

I've lived in Seattle my whole life, and I can't understand why The Hip hasn't made it bigger in the States. They are, hands down, my favorite musical entity of all time. Yes, they're Canadian-centric in their lyrical content, singing about Tom Thompson, Skates Dreams, Isle aux Morts, Speed River, and Cape Spear, etc.

But they also sing about Kurt Cobain, Ry Cooder, Willie Nelson, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Nashville, and of course, New Orleans. They are often compared to several American bands - right after Sam Roberts, Sloan, and Blue Rodeo are mentioned first - like Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Counting Crows, and R.E.M.

Oh well, I guess that just means I get to keep seeing them live in "smaller," more intimate venues like the Showbox @ The Market (1,100 capacity) or The Paramount Theater (2,807 capacity) in Seattle. They will be playing at the latter on September 29, 2015. This will be my seventh time seeing them live. I've also seen Gord solo.

The really cool thing about a Hip show in Seattle is that about 60% to 75% of the crowd is Canadian because they can't see The Hip in a venue that small north of the border. And everybody knows every single word to every song and sings them loudly and proudly! It makes the whole experience just that much more special. I can't wait.

I just saw The Tea Party for the first time a couple of months ago. It was frigging awesome! Martin is quite the musician. He must have played about seven or eight different instruments. Very cool!

3 Three Days Grace Three Days Grace is a Canadian post-grunge/alternative rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario in 1992 with a line-up consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, and bassist Brad Walst. Their original name was Groundswell until they changed it to their current name in 1997. In 2003, the band's current guitarist Barry Stock was recruited to the... read more

Three Days Grace is an absolutely AMAZING Canadian band! I've loved them since their first album was released and have followed them ever since. In addition to having amazing talent and the ability to create one hit after another, they are genuinely good guys. They are fan-friendly and just plain down to earth. Three Days Grace definitely has my vote. They should be #1 in my opinion.

They're stylish, talented, and passionate. They don't make music only for selling records and crowding stands. They always convey a message. Even the band's name is a message - Three Days Grace: "What if we had only 3 days to change the world?" Well... They've changed. Not in just 3 days, but in each period of 3 years when they release a record.

These people are amazing, releasing their newest album "Transit of Venus". They have many great instalments. From "Three Days Grace" to "Transit of Venus", they have had 4 albums, and they keep pulling through. A very good job.

4 Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Just because they're your favorite and they are extremely technically proficient, doesn't mean they're better than Neil Young. Young doesn't have thousands of airplay hours more than any Canadian rocker for no reason.

Definitely number one. Come back to Australia very soon, Neil!

A living legend and icon. The one that is appreciated both by old and young folks.

5 Billy Talent Billy Talent is a Canadian rock band from Mississauga, Ontario. They formed in 1993 with Benjamin Kowalewicz as the lead vocalist, Ian D'Sa on guitar, bassist Jon Gallant and drummer Aaron Solowoniuk.

Billy Talent is the greatest band that has ever existed. If you don't like them, I really don't want to know what music you listen to. Benjamin is such an intense and powerful frontman, to the point where I'd say he matches up with Serj Tankian from System of a Down. D'sa and Gallant make for a fantastic backup, but they are no less powerful.

And their songs are so unbelievably catchy that you will be singing them to yourself for hours after listening to it. Red Flag, Viking Death March, Fallen Leaves, Diamond on a Landmine, Surprise Surprise, Devil in a Midnight Mass, River Below, there isn't a single song by them that isn't incredibly powerful and meaningful. If you don't know who Billy Talent is, I pity you. You haven't lived life to the fullest yet until you hear at least one song by Billy Talent.

I love Three Days Grace, but I honestly have to give the number one spot to Billy Talent. I can find something I like about each and every one of their songs. Even their stuff from I and Dead Silence, which I wasn't a fan of as a whole, was still good. They've got an awesome sound, thanks to the individual skill/talent (no pun intended) and the harmonies of D'sa and Gallant's vocals behind Kowalewicz's are always glorious. They will forever be my favorite band, Canadian or otherwise (and yes, I'm American).

6 Annihilator Annihilator is a Canadian thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, engineer, producer, mixer and mastering engineer Jeff Waters and former vocalist John Bates.

Great band - more appreciated outside Canada than in Canada. Weird... They deserve to be either at #1 or #2 after Rush - nothing less than that. I'm talking about true musicianship and valuable contributions to music development.

Very unknown and underrated band, but one of the best metal bands not of the Big 4.

I agree with Rush, but Annihilator 23?! Should be first!

7 The Guess Who The Guess Who are a Canadian rock band formed in 1962. The band was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is mostly known for their hit "American Woman".

This band sold more records in 1970 than any other band IN THE WORLD! They performed at the White House and produced some of the most lyrically timeless tracks which still resonate today. Who else could sing like Cummings? Coupled with Bachman et al., these four guys made Winnipeg shine on the world stage. There is no doubt they belong on the peak of the mountain.

This is ridiculous! To even think that these guys have contributed less to music than Arcade Fire, Simple Plan, Hedley, and most of the bands above is insane! Anyone who votes for the bands above (besides Rush) should seriously reconsider their votes. There IS NO argument against these guys being in the top 2.

Definitely, The Guess Who are and always will be number one for me. Their songs are still played and who can forget the song These Eyes? Their songs were full of passion and talent, and their Across Canada tour reunion concert was like they never left us. Never wanted to see the end of this band.

8 Steppenwolf Steppenwolf is a Canadian-American rock group that was prominent from 1968 to 1972. The group was formed in late 1961 in Toronto by vocalist John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton.

Three Canadians started in Oshawa. How much more Canadian do you need?

Born to Be Wild

9 Arcade Fire Arcade Fire are a Canadian indie rock band based in Montreal, Quebec consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, along with Win's younger brother Will Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara.

Their music is multidimensional. It has so many rich layers, revealing more with each listen, just like a good painting that reveals itself slowly. Arcade Fire creates their music with true artistic talent, originality, and musical sophistication that many bands lack today. One can clearly notice the discipline and richness of the classical music training that goes into arranging their sounds.

Incredible band. I am so proud of them not only for winning a Grammy but also for evolving with time and constantly reinventing their style. Ladies and gentlemen, this is real music: creativity, meaningful lyrics, and great instrumental quality. Also, I love it when they include some French in their songs because it shows where they are from! Again, so proud!

They are the best quality band of the twenty-first century, without a doubt. All of their albums are gold, and they are definitely one of the greatest bands of all time, not based on popularity or commercial success, but by the quality of their music.

10 Marianas Trench Marianas Trench is a Canadian rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia, formed in 2001. The band consists of members Josh Ramsay, Matt Webb, Mike Ayley, and Ian Casselman.

Marianas Trench is extremely hardworking and dedicated. They put so much thought and emotion into their songs, making them relatable on many different levels. Most of their music has unbelievably well-planned concepts behind it. They are not afraid to show their gratitude for their fans, display their true personalities, and share their personal struggles.

Their music has something for everyone. Their individual voices are amazing, and when you put them together, it's beyond perfect. They can produce music in a variety of genres. They make an effort to stay friends with and support others in the music industry instead of bashing them.

They are supportive of their fans, making sure they stay away from internet predators taking their names and regularly posting self-help advice. They ensure fans get the most out of the experience of being fans. They even allowed fan choirs from each city to sing on stage with them. They never fail to make me smile. They deserve this.

The Contenders
11 Our Lady Peace

How did Nickelback get ranked sixth and Our Lady Peace is stuck in twenty-second? Listen to Naveed and Spiritual Machines then tell me how that happened.

This band would be so much higher if they were popular outside of Canada, kind of like how Breaking Benjamin can't get popular outside of America.

Favorite band of all time. Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, and Big Wreck are definitely contenders.

12 The Band The Band was a Canadian-American roots rock group formed in 1965 . Which originally consisting of Rick Danko (bass guitar, double bass, fiddle, vocals), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboards, saxophones, trumpet), Richard Manuel (piano, drums, vocals) and Robbie Robertson (guitar, percussion, vocals) .

Great band and very underappreciated. Three members sang, but all of them could sing, and the musicianship was phenomenal. They aren't completely Canadian, but 3/5 means majority rules. Their first 2 albums are fantastic. Let's not forget they were Bob Dylan's band at one time.

When Music From Big Pink was released in 1968, the world of rock and roll was changed forever. Although sales were slim, the industry took notice, and many of the UK and American bands dissolved. The music has aged well and is still relevant and influential.

Incredible talent, who, at the Last Waltz, attracted all the big stars of the day. Not only one of, if not the best ever, Canadian band, but one of the best and most influential bands ever. Period!

13 Anvil Anvil are a Canadian heavy metal band from Toronto, Ontario, formed in 1978. The band consists of Steve "Lips" Kudlow, Robb Reiner and Chris Robertson.

Anvil are one of the pioneers of the thrash sound. They also have the best drummer in the genre. Rob Reiner is the Buddy Rich of Metal. Steve "Lips" Kudlow is also a virtuoso. His distinct solo style and guitar chops are aggressive and melodic, leaving the listener exhausted and energized all at the same time.

14 Voivod Voivod is a Canadian heavy metal band from Jonquière, Québec. Their musical style has changed several times since the band's origin in the early 1980s. The band's current line-up consists of Denis "Snake" Bélanger, Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain, Dominique "Rocky" Laroche and Michel "Away" Langevin.

Voivod starts where metal ends. They could only be described as a twisted combination of Motorhead, Pink Floyd, Exodus, and Rush. RIP Piggy.

Listen to Dimension Hatross, Killing Technology, or Nothingface.

Best thrash metal band to have come out of Canada, along with Annihilator, of course.

15 Barenaked Ladies Barenaked Ladies is a Canadian rock band. The band is currently composed of Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart.

One of the best bands ever. They do not get the same respect as other bands because Barenaked Ladies are humorous and quirky. But, they had well-written songs and complex melodies.

With widespread popular success in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, as well as an incredible range of cunningly creative and beautiful songs spanning more than 20 years, BNL should easily be in the top five.

BNL has a ton of great songs. To really appreciate their sound, you need to listen to their albums, not just their singles. I would suggest Stunt and Maroon. They are pretty talented musicians.

16 Simple Plan Simple Plan is a French-Canadian pop rock/pop-punk band from Montreal, Quebec. The band has released six albums.

Really? Simple Plan #11? How much music have you guys even listened to? Have you even heard of Godspeed You! Black Emperor? I'm out. I'm glad a lot of good bands aren't on this stupid list.

Simple Plan is so awesome that the rest of the bands would take a millennium to match their excellence!

Simple, straight to the point. Good rhythm, speaks to the lonely and faint-hearted. Good music!

17 Sum 41 Sum 41 is a Canadian pop-punk band from Ajax, Ontario, Canada. Originally called Kaspir, the band was formed in 1996 and separated in 2023. The band members included lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Deryck Whibley, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Dave Baksh, co-lead guitarist and backing vocalist Tom Thacker, bassist and backing vocalist Jason McCaslin, and drummer Frank Zummo... read more

I'm going to give these guys a vote because they are incredibly good. I will never argue with legendary Canadian bands like Rush, Guess Who, and Tragically Hip being at the top of a list of Canadian bands. But Sum 41 is better than a few bands higher up. Marianas Trench, Simple Plan? In my opinion, they're the best punk/alternative group out of Canada, with Three Days Grace being higher but totally respected. I think because Sum 41 is a punk band, that's why they're underrated.

Sum 41 is evidently the best Canadian band out there. I really love them because they are worth it. Their music is flawless, soothing, precise, and really likable. In my opinion, Sum 41 is better than Green Day. And today, if Dave Baksh was there in Sum 41, they would have been touching the skies!

I understand that Sum 41 can't pass legends like Rush, but for this band to be outside the top 10 is outrageous! One of, if not the greatest bands of their time.

18 Cryptopsy Cryptopsy is a Canadian technical death metal band from Montreal, Quebec, formed in 1988. The band has sold over 300,000 records.

If you're a metalhead, listen to None So Vile and you won't be disappointed.

I cannot believe I have to add these guys!

19 Hedley

How is Hedley number 29? They should be number 1. They're one of my all-time favourite bands. I love this band. Their music is awesome, the band members are awesome, they're great to their fans, and their shows are awesome. And how the hell is this band lower than Nickelback? Nickelback doesn't belong on this list. Hedley's music is a billion times better than Nickelback's music.

I met the band on their Hello World tour and saw them live on that tour. I also saw them live on their Wild Life tour. I don't get how anyone could dislike this band's music. They're awesome. Their music is just beyond awesome and incredible. I LOVE Hedley!

Hedley is so good they should be at least in the top 5! Anything, Invincible, Crazy for You, I'll Be With You, 321, Old School, Never Too Late, One Life, Young are so boss.

I loved this band before they became pop. Their albums Hedley and Famous Last Words were great!

20 Bachman-Turner Overdrive

This is good old rock and roll! There is a reason these guys were honoured at the Junos. Who can forget the classic "Takin' Care of Business"? This band should definitely be in the top ten - it's hard to compare today's bands to oldies like Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Easily in the top 5, in my opinion. One hit after another in the mid-seventies. Hugely popular in Germany, I recall.

One of my favorite bands of the 70s, no matter where they are from. I love the heavy guitar and fun lyrics.

21 Saga

Saga belongs in the top 2, if not number 1 in my opinion. They got overshadowed by other Canadian and American bands and never got the recognition they deserved. On the Loose and Wind Him Up got some air time but not enough for people to really appreciate the great sound that Saga produced. The ability to make an album from other albums is something no other band has ever done. The Chapters took about 25 years to complete, but the way they wrote the story and not in order is really amazing.

Too bad Canada as a whole did not get Saga. Overseas, they got it right. Amazing collection of progressive rock. Rush got and deserved a lot of attention. Saga, in my mind, deserved a whole lot more credit. I'll put Saga's top 10 songs against Rush's any day. How about you?

My favourite band! Unique sound that maybe didn't appeal to everyone. I have met the band in person, great bunch of guys. Sorry to hear they are wrapping things up. A must deserved rest after decades of touring the world.

22 Nickelback Nickelback is a Canadian post-grunge band formed in 1995 in Hanna, Alberta, Canada. The band is composed of guitarist and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger, guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist Ryan Peake, bassist Mike Kroeger, and drummer Daniel Adair.

We used to be haters, then (forcibly) spent some time listening to their music, and it got better and better with each listen. Lots of "hidden gem" tunes, most of which are our favourite songs of theirs, not the radio-friendly hits. Plus, in the many times we've now seen them live in concert, they're second to none.

I'm a Nickelback Fanatic and I feel on this list they should be #2. Rush is Canada's #1, period, but #2 is up for debate, and Nickelback has been mega successful for a Canadian band!

Canadian bands all time, Nickelback is top 5 belongs on this list:

- Rush
- Neil Young
- April Wine
- Bryan Adams
- Nickelback

Great band with great music. Like many things in the art world, it is a "personal like". Sometimes you like a thing, sometimes you don't, but it doesn't mean others' positions are wrong, just different. And yes, statistics do count as you can't refute the numbers. They made an impact on the industry and defined a specific style. Have you?

23 April Wine

April Wine is my favorite band anywhere in the world! Every album is different, and they are an album band. Some of their deeper cuts are as good, if not better, than their hits. I love Rush and Triumph too, but April Wine is my top choice. Weeping Widow, Roller, I Like To Rock, Say Hello, Bad Side Of The Moon, You Could Have Been A Lady, Just Between You And Me, Oowatanite, Tonight Is A Wonderful Time To Fall In Love, and Sign Of The Gypsy Queen are just a few of their standout tracks. Do yourself a favor and check out all their albums/CDs.

It is a tragedy that these guys have never been awarded a Juno Award in Canada for their music. Their height of popularity predates the internet scene, which is unfortunate because they would have totally exploded online with their catchy rock. They have a wide selection of great music and continue to be a great performance to catch. Listen to "Gypsy Queen" and then throw these guys a vote.

24 Triumph Triumph is a Canadian hard rock power trio that was popular in the late 1970s through the 1980s. Between the band's 16 albums and DVDs, Triumph has received 18 gold and 9 platinum awards in Canada and the United States.

The most underrated band of all time. They have the longest run of great albums to me, aside from Yes. The albums I consider to be in the list are Triumph, Rock & Roll Machine, Just a Game, Progressions of Power, Allied Forces, Never Surrender, and Thunder Seven. Even Rush didn't have the long line of great albums that Triumph did!

Yes, by far my favourite. Nickelback is from Canada? Well, there is a now and then favourite list for number one. Nickelback / now. Triumph / then / first. Thank you.

Triumph has got to be higher in the rankings. Creative rockers. A part of Canadian rock history.

25 Matthew Good Band

Matthew Good Band should have been way more popular than they were. I can't believe Three Days Grace is number two on a list that has some absolutely amazing Canadian talent.

One of the biggest names in Canadian music for over 20 years!

Matthew Good should be in the top 10!

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