[Music] The Tragically Hip – My “Un-plucked” History

Happy Valentine’s Day! Well, the cat’s outta the bag now! I am *once again* embarking on a journey of tandem reviews with my husband, the one and only Kevin from his awesome website Buried On Mars!

The last collaboration series we embarked on, Kevin and I took on Led Zeppelin, reviewing every studio album released. This trip will see us travel through the history of releases by The Tragically Hip, Canada’s adopted National band. We’ll go through EVERYTHING they’ve ever released in audio and video form – studio album, live show, video releases…We do have a couple of holes in the collection, but we have done our best to even add to our collection recently in prep for this series.

So, stick around! And be sure to follow along with Kevin too!


The usual question gets posed when starting a series such as this, so let’s begin:

“How did you get into the Tragically Hip?”



Truth: I don’t remember -exactly- when the Tragically Hip entered my life.

My older sister was a fan of the Hip before I ever was. A student at the University of Western Ontario living in residence in 1990, she got to experience the Tragically Hip (AND the Barenaked Ladies) live in concert for free during UWO’s O-Week final concert. There was also the wild universe of college radio, and the musical tastes of her peers. I was still living at home six hours North and was cutting my teeth on the eclectic mix of Smiths and Led Zeppelin. I don’t recall the radio playing much Tragically Hip, but then again, we didn’t get a half decent rock radio station up in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario until the spring of 1990.

Later on, my sis and I would give each other mix tapes, and I’d always be excited what interesting music she’d found for me to listen to. I would go for walks whilst listening to music after dinner; it’s during one of these times when I put my sis’s latest mix into the Walkman, and the Hip’s Blow at High Dough was at the top of the second side. I have a very strong visual memory – I can even remember where I was when I heard it – on Ontario St in Sudbury, rounding the corner onto Martindale. The song was on the radio during this period, but this was the first time I actually HEARD it…

Fast forward to 1993…by then The Hip was a staple on Canadian Radio. So, when my sister suggested we go to Another Roadside Attraction that summer, I jumped at the chance. The Hip were headlining, and it was sure to be a good time. I’m not going to rehash how Sarca became a rug under the mosh pit at that event except to direct you to my write-up here. All I can say is that event made me fall in love with the song Courage (for Hugh MacLennan) from the Fully Completely album. That fall, when I moved in with my sister, her copy of the album didn’t leave the stereo for weeks. I never did see the Hip live again.

Sarca SEEEcret: I never owned a Hip album until after my sister moved out in 1995 and I was forced to buy my own copy of Fully Completely. I did, however, own a Fully Completely t-shirt that I still have…

At this point, it was hard to find anyone who wasn’t a Hip fan or who didn’t know who they were. Day For Night and Up to Here were also added to the collection. I’d hang with my massive Hip Fan friend Sandra, and we’d have Hip Karaoke sessions (*in my mind* our rendition of “Ahead By a Century” was killer!).

Phantom Power was a turning-point album for me. I’ll reserve my review of it, but I’ll start here by saying, it got me through a horrible professional period in my life.

As for the rest, I had a very dry spell when it came to the Hip. A lot of living, a lot of working, busyness, nonsense…There were periods of time when I stopped buying and listening to music altogether, and our music collection embarrassingly lived in a powder blue Rubbermaid container (🛎🛎🛎 Shame!). I had several missing Hip albums, and even lost track of what album was most recent. This is something I have definitely rectified over the last 6 years or so, thanks to sheer collective will (my hubs included in that), and friends who have helped fill in some of the gaps in my collection (thanks, especially Aaron at the KMA!).

The rest is history! Still, I am unfamiliar with some of the Hip’s latter album releases, so my hope is that, like my deep dive into Led Zeppelin’s albums, that I’ll discover more “unplucked gems” in them.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to head over to Kevin’s blog for his take!


  1. Cool stuff and I always like the personal connection to the albums as well. I will add that when the Another Road Side Attraction show came to Tbay it was a disaster and I will explain that when you folks get there…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great stuff. I really like reading about someone’s connection with music and how they connected. How that music gets etched in.

    I had commented over at Kevin’s that it was Aaron and Geoff that ‘hipped’ me to The Hip. Aaron hooked me up with tunage and I listened to each of the albums when Geoff did his series. I’ve only really gone back to a couple of them, but I’ll be giving them another whirl while reading along over the next while!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Admittedly, I’m not a huge Hip fan but I’m Canadian so I don’t dislike them (even really like some of their tunes) and of course, I’ve seen them live. Looking forward to your collective takes on some of their albums…

    Liked by 1 person

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