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 best-selling 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.
Through extensive research and some well-placed sources, author Shapiro has put together a complete look at The Tragically Hip’s rise from humble Kingston roots to endless tours, the internal struggles to keep their music fresh and the fanatic loyalty they fostered in millions of Canadian fans of all ages and generations. Fans that would unite to honor the band and 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 may well be their final tour.
“What drew me to The Tragically Hip was a lot of questions I had,” author Shapiro said. “The most enticing to me being ‘How did they do it?’ “This was a band that almost completely avoided compromises creatively and business wise. And to be honest, their career might have turned out easier and different if they hadn’t. But you’ve got to admire anyone, band or mortal, who forges their own path regardless of the consequences. I had to know what makes rugged individualists tick and this book answers those questions.”