By Adam Bunch
THE BIRTH OF THE CALGARY STAMPEDE
The year was 1912. Calgary had been home to an annual agricultural fair for decades, but this year, Guy Weadick – a trick roper who performed in Wild West shows across North America and Europe – had a new idea. He wanted to start a festival that was both entertaining and a more accurate representation of the real West than the shows he was used to performing in. And so during this week in 1912, the very first Calgary Stampede was held. They called it “The Last and Best Great West Frontier Days Celebration” or “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.”
Since those early beginnings, the Calgary Stampede has grown into one of Canada’s most popular events. More than a million people visit every year. It’s one of the biggest festivals in the country and one of the biggest rodeos in the world. It has also developed into one of the biggest musical events of the Canadian summer. Every year, dozens of musical acts take to the stages of the Stampede, from the big stars playing the massive Scotiabank Saddledome to the local talent search at the Boyce Theatre.
This year’s festival included some of the best young acts in Canada – artists such as Said The Whale, Classified and Tokyo Police Club – along with Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Shania Twain. And she’s far from the first inductee to play at the Stampede, or at the related Stampede Roundup charity event – they’ve also included Bryan Adams, The Tragically Hip and k.d. lang. Back in 2012, CMHF inductee Ian Tyson was even named grand marshal of the Stampede Parade.
IAN TYSON ANNOUNCED AS GRAND MARSHAL OF THE CALGARY STAMPEDE PARADE
“SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT”
This is also a big week in the history of 1980s synthpop star Corey Hart. Hart was born in Montreal and by the time he was in his early 20s, he’d already recorded with the likes of Billy Joel and Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Paul Anka. It wasn’t until 1983, though, that Hart released his own debut full-length album: First Offense. The first single off the record is still considered to be one of the most iconic songs of that entire decade: it was during this week in 1984 that “Sunglasses at Night” climbed all the way to No. 7 on the Billboard pop chart.
Oddly enough, the song wasn’t an instant smash hit north of the border. In Canada, it only peaked at No. 24. But soon enough Canadians were embracing their new star. Hart was nominated for four JUNO Awards that year, and 30 years later, the CBC declared “Sunglasses at Night” the greatest Canadian song of the 1980s.
“SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” BY COREY HART