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What Is Hip?

Riverdale Avenue

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Word Count: 55,000
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“The Tragically Hip… the soundtrack our lives.” – Justin Trudeau

On August 20th, 2016 11.7 million Canadians stood transfixed, watching the final concert of The Tragically Hip, and the rest of the world asked, “Who is this band?” New York Times Bestselling pop journalist Marc Shapiro answers that question in the first American book about this Canadian rock band that largely shunned the spotlight but has become the standard bearer of a resurgent sense of Canadian pride and patriotism.

What is Hip? The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip delves deep beneath the surface of this rock and roll story to discover how a band that spent more than three decades in the rock and roll trenches selling millions of albums and opening for the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin’s Page & Plant, remained almost unknown outside their home country, even as they rose to the level of rock royalty in Canada.

What Is Hip: The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip reveals:

• The behind the scenes story of how the band took over The Horseshoe Tavern and made it their own
• How a high up political personality was instrumental in landing the band their manager
• The day-to-day, often unforgiving, spirit-grinding days of life on the road in Canada
• The ins and outs of opening for three of the biggest groups in the history of rock and roll

The Tragically Hip are not cartoon rockers. They are real men who live by their creativity and their principles. Through extensive research and a couple of well-placed sources, author Marc Shapiro has put together a complete look at The Tragically Hip’s rise: from their humble Kingston, Ontario roots, to endless tours, to their internal struggles to keep their music fresh, to the fanatic loyalty they fostered in millions of Canadian fans. These fans shed more than a few tears when it was announced that singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and that The Hip were about to embark on what might be their final tour.

Marc Shapiro is the author of more than 75 books. His most recent releases include Trump This! The Life And Times Of Donald Trump and Hey Joe: The Unauthorized Biography Of A Rock Classic. When he is not working, which is rare, he can usually be found mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and walking the dog.

User Reviews



Journalist Meighan O'Brien recalled how, when on assignment from a local magazine, she wandered into the iconic New York club CBGB's to review and interview a band she had never heard of before...a reportedly up and coming Canadian band called The Tragically Hip.

"The bar was empty when they started playing. I was the only one in the club. And then people started to come in. People started to walk in but they weren't leaving. They were staying. And it got more crowded and more crowded and more crowded and more crowded and every song they played, people got more enthusiastic and started roaring and cheering."

O'Brien stayed until the last song and later met up with the band for the interview and, as it would turn out, hours of breakfast chat and pool games before she said goodbye early the next morning and returned to her room. Her eyes had barely closed when her phone rang. It was Gord.

"Gord asked if we could help them out," she recalled. "I said sure. What's up?' He said 'Our van got stolen."

O'Brien said the band could wait in her room while their manager dealt with the calamity. In due course, there was a knock on the door and the members of The Tragically Hip trooped into her room. O'Brien related the looks on their faces. "They were all very sad men."