The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip

Michael Barclay. ECW (PGW, U.S. dist.; Jaguar, Canadian dist.), $27.95 (488p) ISBN 978-1-77041-436-5
Music journalist Barclay (coauthor of Have Not Been the Same) provides an in-depth chronicle of Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip. Half of the book traces the Hip’s arc from its beginnings as a university band in 1984 through to front man Gord Downie’s death of cancer in 2017. Barclay intersperses those chapters with thematic essays attempting to illustrate the Hip’s drawing power and to describe what the band meant to Canadians, 12 million of whom watched a broadcast of their final concert. “Not since the Guess Who had a commercial rock band so clearly identified themselves as Canadian artists,” he writes. Tracking challenges such as their break with their longtime manager, Jake Gold, with the precision and objectivity of good journalism, Barclay cites articles, news coverage, books, personal correspondence, and interviews. (All quotes from band members were drawn from past interviews because none of them agreed to new ones.) The book is the product of prolific research and yet is easy and enjoyable to read. Far from writing a fawning hagiography, Barclay combines his admiration of the band with his knowledge of the music industry to make a clever, touching, and very informative book that may well be the definitive work on an important piece of Canadian pop culture. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-978670-58-7
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