Snow, Martha and the Muffins Among Inductees for Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
They join Dream Warriors and Bran Van 3000 for the organization's 25th anniversary celebration, honouring songs from the '80s and '90s.
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) is entering the ‘80s and ‘90s. Entering its 25th year, the organization has chosen four songs from a period in Canadian songwriting when new voices and genres were breaking through, both nationally and on the global stage.
All four songs will be inducted on November 1 at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto as part of the CSHF’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
Snow and MC Shan’s global sensation “Informer” (1993)
Snow - Informer (Official Music Video) [4K Remaster]
Dream Warriors’ hip-hop statement “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style” (1991)
Bran Van 3000’s laid-back opus “Drinking in L.A.” (1997)
Bran Van 3000 - Drinking in L.A. (Official Music Video) - Best Quality
Martha and the Muffins’ new wave classic “Echo Beach” (1980)
Martha and the Muffins - Echo Beach
"As the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame marks 25 years of recognizing the songs and songwriters who have helped shape our culture, we are so excited to be moving into the selection of Inductees from the ‘80s and ‘90s — one of the most diverse, creative and ground-breaking eras in music that truly opened up the gates to global success for many Canadians,” says Stan Meissner, CSHF Board Chairman.
From pulsating synths to grunge guitars, jazz flutes to reggae rhythms, the four songs each show a different style that pushed music in new directions during the two influential musical decades.
Snow’s “Informer” spent seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. Snow (real name: Darrin O’Brien) wrote the song while incarcerated, inspired by the Jamaican music that he grew up with in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Co-written with MC Shan, Terri Moltke and Edmond Leary, the song is a reggae-rap hit that tells the story of his arrest after a violent fight. It brings together several contradictions: a musically upbeat song about the violence of the prison system, sung in Jamaican patois by an Irish-Canadian artist. Though it earned some satire and scorn at the time, the song continues to resonate. In 2019, Daddy Yankee repurposed “Informer” and featured Snow on “Con Calma,” which hit No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart.
Released just two years earlier, “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style” also came out of Toronto’s thriving music scenes. Written by King Lou (Louie Robinson) and Richard Rodwell and released by Lou and Frank Allert (Capital Q) as the duo Dream Warriors, the track reached number 13 on the U.K. charts and was certified gold in Canada. “Boombastic” is a bold assertion of Dream Warriors’ vision for jazz-rap, with Lou’s confident and cool rapping backed by an instrumental sampled from Quincy Jones’ 1961 song “Soul Bossa Nova.” Also in 1991, Dream Warriors joined together with other hip-hop, dub and R&B artists to release “Can’t Repress the Cause,” a collaborative single advocating more airtime for those genres in Canada.
On “Drinking in L.A.,” Montreal’s Bran Van 3000 bring together alt-rock, hip hop, electronic music and more for a song that is as uncategorizable as it is captivating. The track has a loose, improvisational feel that stands the test of time and helped it become a top 40 hit in Canada when it was first released. Co-written by Haig Vartzbedian, Duane Larson, and James Di Salvio, the song is inspired by Salvio’s experience of waking up on a Los Angeles lawn after a night out and finds him taking stock of his situation, accompanied by dreamy textures and a catchy chorus.
If these '90s songs capture the genre-blurring spirit of that decade, Martha and the Muffins’ “Echo Beach” has the invigorating force of early ‘80s post-punk and new wave, with its moody vocals and propulsive bass lines. Songwriter Mark Gane came up with the concept while working as a wallpaper inspector, and “Echo Beach” is an anthem for daydreamers everywhere, as well as the Juno Awards’ 1981 Single of the Year. By the time it arrives at a cathartic saxophone solo, there’s the sense that “Echo Beach” might not be so far away after all.
The songs will be inducted alongside new songwriting inductees Marc Jordan and John Capek, who co-wrote Rod Stewart’s “Rhythm of My Heart.” O’Brien, Robinson, Rodwell, Di Salvio and Gane — all performers or writers of the songs by Snow, Dream Warriors, Martha and the Muffins and Bran Van 3000 — are planning to attend.