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Rear View Mirror: Great Big Sea sing about Janie on 'Ordinary Day'

Alex Redekop

Today on Rear View Mirror, you’re gonna hear a sad story but don’t worry - it has 2 happy endings.

It was the mid-90s, in St. John’s Newfoundland. Alan Doyle was making waves with his band Great Big Sea - the happiest go luckiest band around.

When Alan opened up the newspaper and read a story from the opposite end of the country that broke his heart. A young songwriter named Janie was out busking in the streets of Gastown, Vancouver. She was standing there, singing her heart out… a pile of coins and small bills in her open guitar case... When out of nowhere, a stranger walked up to her, punched her, and ran off with all her money.

She was beaten up pretty bad, but instead of giving up, she got right back out there - busking, singing with all her heart. That inspired Allan Doyle to write this verse about a young busker named Janie who won’t give up...

"Janie sings on the corner, what keeps her from dying?
Let them say what they want, she won't stop trying
She might stumble, if they push her 'round
She might fall, but she'll never lie down"

"Ordinary Day" - a positive tune about staying tough no matter what - became one of Great Big Sea’s biggest hits. A hit song? A happy ending. But I promised you two happy endings to this story, right? Well, here’s the second… That Janie that Allan’s singing about? Her real name is Jann….

Yep - Jann Arden is the Janie who inspired this tune by Great Big Sea. The girl who didn’t give up when she got beaten up. Because just like Great Big Sea sings in this tune - it’s all your state of mind, at the end of the day, you just have to say it’s alright. Here’s Ordinary Day, on Rear View Mirror.

More Editions of Rear View Mirror:

The Tragically Hip - "Wheat Kings"

Duran Duran - "Hungry Like The Wolf"

Bob Marley - "Redemption Song"

Amy Winehouse - "Rehab"

Prince - "Little Red Corvette"

Fastball - "The Way"

Marvin Gaye - "I Want You"

Steve Miller - "The Joker"

Ian & Sylvia - "Four Strong Winds"

Darrell Banks - "Open the Door to Your Heart"