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25 best Canadian singers ever

Editorial Staff

From coast-to-coast-to-coast, the greatest storytellers and songwriters of Canada in one place. The nations songwriting circle. Hear: Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn, Ron Sexsmith and more!

There was swearing. Arguing. Laughter. Tears.

And finally — finally — grudging consensus. Compiling a list of the 25 greatest Canadian singers ever isn’t as simple as picking the voice you fell in love with at 16, or the timbre that soothes the nostalgic part of your brain or even the impressive pipes that blew your mind your first time at the opera.

It’s a tenuous, lawless balancing act of separating voices from songwriting skills, honouring established talents while still giving a nod to younger generations and giving due respect to those with mad skills regardless of whether they are too cool or not cool enough.

We assembled a panel of CBC producers and hosts and tried our best to arm wrestle this list into submission. But there are just 25 spots and a country’s worth of incredible talent to squeeze into position. If your favourite didn’t make the list, we’re sure they would have made the top 50.

More to explore:

25 best Canadian songwriters ever

25 best Canadian debut albums ever