May 24, 2016 2:26 pm
Updated: May 24, 2016 3:31 pm

Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip: A timeline of the iconic Canadian band

WATCH ABOVE: Gord Downie, a Canadian music icon and lead singer of The Tragically Hip, revealed he has terminal brain cancer


Tuesday’s announcement that Gord Downie has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer comes as The Tragically Hip readies its 14th album and a farewell tour this summer, which will feature Downie.

A specialist treating Downie says the singer is facing one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer but has been cleared to perform, as Downie has recovered much of his physical, mental and emotional strength.

WATCH: Dr. James Perry from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre discusses Gord Downie’s cancer diagnosis.

Downie, 52, is beloved from coast to coast, known for his energetic onstage performances and true dedication to Canada in what is arguably the most Canadian rock band.

Here’s a look at the history of one of Canada’s most famous rock bands, from their roots in Kingston to their 14 Juno wins.

  • 1984 – The band — still in high school — forms in Kingston, taking a name inspired by ex-Monkees’ member Michael Nesmith’s comedy sketch called ‘The Tragically Hip,’ and perform their first gig at a party at a local art centre.
  • 1986 – The Hip add another member and hit the road, playing covers and some original songs at bars across Ontario.
  • 1987 – Their first recording — a self-titled EP — is released and the song “Highway Girl” gets traction on radio, leading to the band signing with label MCA.
  • 1989 – “Up to Here,” the band’s first album, is released and powers to one-million-plus sales thanks to now-classic Hip songs “Blow at High Dough” and “New Orleans Is Sinking.” They win their first of what will be many Junos for Most Promising Artist. A second album follows in 1991 and charts well in Canada.

  • 1995 – The Hip reach a big American audience with a performance on Saturday Night Live.
  • 1998 – Their seventh album, “Phantom Power,” grabs a Juno for Best Rock Album. It later went triple platinum.
  • 1999 – The band is the first to perform at the new Air Canada Centre in Toronto, playing to a sold-out crowd.
  • 2002 – The Tragically Hip get a spot on Canada’s Walk of Fame. They also perform that year for a special guest — Queen Elizabeth on her tour of Canada.
  • 2005 – The Tragically Hip are inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Gord Downie speaks as members of The Tragically Hip look on as the band is inducted into the hall of fame at the Juno Gala awards in Winnipeg, Saturday April 2, 2005.

CP PHOTO/Adrian Wyld


  • 2012 – Their 13th album, “Now for Plan A,” is released. It was in part influenced by Gord Downie’s wife’s successful battle against cancer.
  • 2013 – Further cementing their status, the band get honoured in a stamp series depicting legendary Canadian bands.

tragically hip

  • 2016 – Downie announces he has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Their latest album, “Man Machine Poem,” is due out in June and will be backed by a Canada-only summer tour featuring Downie.

WATCH ABOVE: The Tragically Hip’s managers and Dr. James Perry from Sunnybrook health Sciences Centre discuss Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis.

With a file from Chris Jancelewicz and The Canadian Press

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.