This song was apparently a minor hit in Canada when it was first released back in 1989. I don’t remember it at all. In fact, I don’t think I recall ever hearing it until 1996 and I’m not sure I even heard it in 1996. That summer I’d graduated university but had not gotten a full time job yet. The market for green hydrogeologists, even ones from the then premier hydro school in the world, was slim pickings at the time. Thankfully my thesis advisor gave me an opportunity to do some field work in Alberta for a graduate student. I would spend two weeks collecting groundwater samples from an experiment at a gas plant then rushing them back to Calgary for overnight shipping to the university. I also had the chance to canvas some environmental companies for potential work.
During one of those rushed trips from site to the city, I think I heard this song. I was enraptured by it. It struck me so deeply that apparently I can’t remember with any confidence another thing about it. I didn’t hear it again that trip and had no knowledge of its title or singer. I wouldn’t hear it again until a couple years later when I finally moved to Calgary myself but it still remained a rare occurrence though one I treasured when it happened. Then Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam did a cover version of it and made it a worldwide sensation.
I still prefer the original. I prefer it for patriotic reasons, I suppose, and also because I just don’t like Vedder’s voice all that much (says the guy who likes Neil Young). But mostly I prefer it because of the effect it had on me the first time I heard it all those years ago when I was trying to find my first career. Assuming what I remember happening actually did happen. Sometimes even wrong memories can be good memories.
I just love these one hit wonder Cancon nuggets of greatness. From the obscure 1989 release Big Harvest, I’m kicking off the weekend with the haunting “Hard Sun” by Indio.