As far back as 25 years ago, Much Music chose these songs as Canada’s best musical offerings. Years later, these MMVA-winning tunes are still highly listenable — and not just for nostalgia’s sake. (Okay, partly for nostalgia’s sake but who doesn’t like nostalgia?).
Let Your Backbone Slide – Maestro Fresh Wes
1990’s Best Rap song still gets people out on the dance floor — a fact any good wedding DJ is well aware of. Maestro’s debut single put him on track to becoming the country’s first ever gold-single-selling rap artist. See if you can spot CBC anchor Dwight Drummond playing a camera man in the video below.
Ahead By a Century – The Tragically Hip
In 1996, Gord Downie and his bandmates accepted the Best Video award at the MMVAs. At nearly 20 years old, this is one clip that’s still pretty neat to look at and it’s set to a song you want to turn up the volume on every time it comes on the radio.
Possession – Sarah McLachlan
This 1993 hit (and its steamy accompanying video directed by McLachlan herself) was voted Best Adult Contemporary Video. The singer told Rolling Stone that the song was written in response to some frightening fan mail she’d been receiving. “Writing the song was very therapeutic,” she says. We feel the same way about listening to it more than two decades later.
Hasn’t Hit Me Yet – Blue Rodeo
Heartbreak and loss, both pretty timeless themes, are good subjects to musically tackle if you’re looking to have a hit that will weather the years well. In 1993, the MMVAs awarded the video for the song with a Best Director award and a Best Video prize but while the clip may seem a little quaint or dated these days (especially in the face of music videos like this or this or even this), the song still stands.
Bye Bye Mon Cowboy – Mitsou
Remember Mitsou? The French Canadian artist started her singing career off with a bang when her first single become a huge, nationwide hit — a major feat for a francophone singer in Canada. ‘Bye Bye Mon Cowboy’ took home the award for Best Dance Video at the very first Much Music Video Awards. Go ahead and take dance break, we’ll wait right here for you.
Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
Not only did Myles’ 1990 song win Most Popular Female Video at the MMVA’s, it also officially earned the Toronto native a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocalist. Unofficially, it earned her a place in our hearts for best dressed rock chick. Check out those chaps!
I’m Like a Bird – Nelly Furtado
Before Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein were encouraging us to just “put a bird on it”, Victoria, British Columbia’s Nelly Furtado was singing about how she was one. The 2001 People’s Choice Favourite Canadian Artist winner may not know where her soul is, or where her home is, or where the giant, wide-legged pants she wore in the video are, but she probably has a good idea where her Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, her JUNO, and her MMVA are located.
Lovers in a Dangerous Time – The Barenaked Ladies
A tune so nice, it was recorded twice: the 11th Greatest Song of All Time (according to CBC Radio One) was originally written and performed by Bruce Cockburn but the Barenaked Ladies made it an MMVA-winner when they covered it in 1991, taking home the Video Fact Award and the People’s Choice award for Best Group. Both versions are still good for a listen.
Insensitive – Jann Arden
An international success, Arden’s biggest hit wasn’t actually written by her, it was penned by a fellow singer-songwriter working part-time as a waitress in Arden’s hometown of Calgary. The video was directed by Canadian documentary filmmaker Jeth Weinrich and won both Best Video and Best Director in 1995. We think that if the MMVAs awarded a prize for Best Breakup song, it’d still be a contender today.
Find Your Love – Drake
Sure, Drake’s MMVA-winning Best International Video is a mere four years old but we think it has lasting power. Co-written by Kanye, the track is notable for showing a new side of Drake — the singing side. Who knew Jimmy Brooks would grow up to be such a hip hop dreamboat?
The MMVAs are set to ignite Sunday, June 15th at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on Much, CTV and CTV GO. For breaking news and everything you need to know about this year’s festivities, stay glued to the official MMVA website.