Raise a Little Hell and Get Trooper into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame
Image by Trooper
Trooper and their fans rocking out at a live show
West Coast Broadcasters Band Together to Get Trooper into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame
Poring over the names of those enshrined into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame shows a wealth of legendary artists, all duly acknowledged for their body of work and all proudly holding their well-deserved place of honour. Oscar Peterson, Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and the Guess Who are but just a few among of the names on that esteemed list.
However, seeing Blue Rodeo become the latest inductees during this year’s Juno Awards telecast got me questioning exactly how long one must wait, and moreover, what must they accomplish in their careers before they're given serious consideration?
At first I thought it was just me. But after discussing the topic with a number of broadcast colleagues, I realized that as impressive as the Canadian Music Hall of Fame list is, there remains one notable omission: Trooper.
Despite having helped shape our country’s cultural pop music identity, the legendary West Coast rockers are noticeably absent from that list. A fixture on Canadian radio since 1975, with a string of timeless classics including "General Hand Grenade", "Two for the Show", "Oh Pretty Lady", "Raise a Little Hell" and "Here for a Good Time", Trooper has outlasted, outperformed and outsold a number of existing inductees.
They were Juno Award winners back in 1979 for Group of the Year and are generally considered one of Canada’s top bands of all time. Yet their name is nowhere to be found among those who've been recognized for artistic achievement since induction began back in 1978.
I asked Trooper lead singer Ra McGuire if he felt snubbed by the oversight.
“I don’t feel snubbed at all by the Juno folks,” McGuire tells me. “Have a look at the list of inductees and tell me which ones you’d pull out and replace with Trooper. I think the issue is more a “so much talent in the country and only one pick a year”, kind of deal. We’ve been doing this for a long time and have come to believe that, although the honours are welcome, the best actual reward is sold-out shows.”
A valid point to be certain, but one that doesn’t wash in the eyes of veteran Canadian rock radio disc jockey Stirling Faux.
“I do feel they’ve been snubbed thus far,” says Faux. “It’s really easy for the Toronto crowd who continue to dominate the Hall of Fame Selection Committee to ignore Trooper. This isn’t just Toronto-bashing either (although it’s usually richly-deserved). It has more to do with grass roots sentiments versus the ‘arty’ types who insist on criteria more suited to Arcade Fire than Trooper.”
Hall of Fame Criteria
The debate continues to rage about what exactly merits consideration. “Criteria should revolve around three things: product sales, concert tickets sales and durability,” states Faux. “Their impact on not just Canadian music, but the world of music has been significant.”
It’s this point that has prompted us to mount a crusade to see a glaring wrong righted and give Trooper their due.
“Trooper deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because of their incredible longevity and the enduring quality of their music,” says Faux. “Hockey arenas all over North America play Trooper ‘anthems’, so their impact has clearly extended well beyond our borders. Here at home, Canadian radio has typically played Trooper to death."
Faux continues, "Trooper’s music has clearly stood the test of time remarkably well. It’s so down-to-earth and basic and simple that even overexposure can’t destroy its pure, fun-loving essence. Dave Chesney, the editor of the White Rock Sun, called them ‘Canada’s Party Band' on the radio, and he’s bang-on!”
If you feel as we do, let’s rally together and help get Vancouver’s native sons to their rightful place in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. By their own criteria, the Canadian Association of Recording Arts and Sciences decrees the Hall of Fame recognizes “Canadian artists that have attained commercial success while having a positive impact on the Canadian music scene here at home and around the world.”
If that doesn’t describe Trooper, I don’t know what does.
Sign the petition to get Trooper duly inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.