OTD: The Hip debut on SNL

On today’s date in 1995, the Tragically Hip debuted on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL), performing two songs – Grace, Too and Nautical Disaster – from the band’s Day for Night album.

Hosted by U.S. actor John Goodman, the SNL episode saw the Hip choose against “coming out slugging with guitars ripping for its big American debut,” according to a 2016 story by the Georgia Straight, a Vancouver-based weekly news and entertainment newspaper. Instead of playing time-tested hits such as New Orleans Is Sinking, At the Hundredth Meridian, Courage (for Hugh MacLennan), Little Bones, Blow at High Dough or Fifty Mission Cap, the band choose “art over commerce,” added the Straight story.

Two days after the Hip’s SNL debut, the band won two Juno Awards for entertainer and group of the year.

Hip singer Gord Downie died on Oct. 17, 2017, surrounded by his children and family. He’s shown (second from left) on an official first-day cover issued as part of the 2013 set, ‘The Canadian Recording Artists: The Bands.’

GORD DOWNIE

On Oct. 17, 2017, the band’s singer Gord Downie died at the age of 53 following a two-year battle with an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma.

Downie shared his diagnosis with Canadians in May 2017, on the same day his Kingston-based band The Tragically Hip – rounded out by Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fay – announced a final summer tour. The 15-show “Man Machine Poem” tour became a cultural event as Canadians from coast to coast tuned into a free CBC broadcast of the final concert, which was held in Kingston, Ont., on Aug. 20, 2016.

Throughout their career, the Hip won 16 Juno awards – more than any other band – and received the Order of Canada; a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award; an honorary fellowship with the Royal Conservatory of Music; a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame; and an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

2013 TRAGICALLY HIP STAMP

In 2013, Canada Post featured The Tragically Hip on 63-cent Permanent stamp (Scott #2655a-2656) printed by the Lowe-Martin Group on Tullis Russell Coatings coated paper using five-colour lithography.

“The Canadian Recording Artists: The Bands” issue featured three other acts—Rush, the Guess Who and Beau Dommage.

The Hip stamp depicts a photograph of the band with their logo to the bottom-left and “CANADA” to the bottom-right corner.

Each stamp in the series measures 32 millimetres by 32 millimetres with simulated perforations. The official first-day covers were cancelled in Winnipeg, Man. (the Guess Who); Toronto, Ont. (Rush); Kingston, Ont. (The Tragically Hip); and Montréal, Que. (Beau Dommage). The stamps are available in booklets of 10 stamps, a set of four booklets and a souvenir sheet of four stamps.

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