OTD: Geddy Lee sings Canadian anthem before 64th midsummer classic

On today’s date in 1993, Canadian musician Geddy Lee sang O Canada at Baltimore’s Camden Yards before the opening of the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game at Oriole Park.

Lee, who’s best known for being the bassist and lead vocalist of Rush, sang the Canadian anthem before U.S. actor James Earl Jones recited his country’s anthem accompanied by the Morgan State University choir.

After the ceremony, fireworks exploded over Fort McHenry while airplanes from Andrews Air Force Base flew over Camden Yards.

The American League (AL) eventually defeated the National League (NL) 9-3, with the NL only earning one run after the first inning—in the top of the sixth, Barry Bonds scored for the NL after Barry Larkin hit a sacrifice fly to Devon White, making the score 5-3.

2013 STAMPS

In 2013, for the first time ever, Canada Post featured bands on its postage stamps.

Included in the series – dubbed “Canadian Recording Artists: The Bands” (Scott #2656-2659) – were Rush, The Tragically Hip, The Guess Who and Beau Dommage.

Printed by the Lowe-Martin Group on Tullis Russell coated paper using six-colour lithography, each stamp has general tagging along each side and is available in booklet panes of 10 stamps. Four souvenir sheet of four stamps (one for each band) was also issued (SC #2655).

Designed by Louis Gagnon, of Paprika, the set focuses on what fans would recognize most about their favourite artists.

As a result, the Rush stamp (SC #2657) features the fan-favourite cover of Rush’s iconic album, 2112.

Canada Post featured Rush alongside three other Canadian bands on a souvenir sheet of four stamps (SC #2655).

“The main challenge was trying to catch the mood of each band, while keeping a respectful look and feel,” said Gagnon. “The current band members were present in the development process and gave their input all the way through. That helped us balance how we saw the final result and how they wanted to be represented.”

“Although these bands have existed for over 30 years, they are still active and performing today,” he added, “so we wanted to stay as close as possible to a timeless treatment.”

Those challenges were echoed by Canada Post Stamp Design Manager Liz Wong.

“Representing the incredible history of these groups in just a few images is nearly impossible. Balancing history with the present to create something classic and lasting was essential, ” she said.

“This release is really about the fans. We wanted to turn the larger-than-life character of each group into something that every fan would recognize and love.”

‘RESONATING’ BANDS

“These names have enormous history and, along with their all-time classics, are still very influential in the rock scene,” said Gagnon. “It was very rewarding to design their stamps, considering that these will travel the world and be part of special collections.”

In deciding which Canadian bands to celebrate, Canada Post’s 12-person Stamp Advisory Committee looked at which bands “really resonated” with Canadians, said Director of Stamp Services Jim Phillips.

“I mean, Rush sold 40 million records. This is huge. And who can say The Guess Who doesn’t belong on a Canadian stamp? They’re part of our cultural makeup.”

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