Notable '80s Canadian Pop Hits That Topped the Charts Only in Canada

In most cases, pop hits that reached No. 1 in Canada closely reflected the top of the charts in either or both the U.S. and U.K. However, on a few occasions a pop song reached the promised land in Canada but remained totally obscure almost everywhere else. Just in case you figured Canada was merely a more polite, attractive (and perhaps progressive) version of the U.S. (or even just a pop culture extension of one English-speaking nation or another), check out these unique Canadian hits of the '80s for a refresher. Unsung music comes in many shapes and sizes, my friends - in this case a short list of top Canadian hits presented in no particular order.

of 05

Platinum Blonde - "Crying Over You"

Canadian rock band Platinum Blonde released full-length LP 'Alien Shores' in 1984.
Album Cover Image Courtesy of CBS Canada

I've championed this Canadian amalgamation of synth pop and hair metal elsewhere on this site, but I hold fast in my assertion that this 1985 track is not the group's finest moment. Oh, it's not nearly the worst, and it fares quite well compared to other artists trapped between these disparate genres of rock during the mid '80s. That, however, does not mean it's particularly distinctive or memorable even as dated '80s pop sometimes goes. The mid-tempo tune was Platinum Blonde's only major smash single in its native land, but its glossy production doesn't do the group near as much justice as superior, harder-rocking tunes "It Doesn't Really Matter" or "Somebody Somewhere."

of 05

Diesel - "Sausalito Summernight"

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Rhino Atlantic

Dutch rock band Diesel failed to make the worldwide impact of countrymen Golden Earring (of "Radar Love" and "Twilight Zone" fame), but Canadian record buyers liked this throwback, mildly hard rock tune enough to send it all the way to No. 1 in 1981. The song charted in the U.S., but No. 25 on Billboard's Top 40 certainly falls short of a staple on retro '80s radio. Overall, this is fairly nondescript arena rock that is not lacking in charm even if it's no genuine melodic gem of the era. The northern California setting of the lyrics combined with an obsessive focus on the automobile help qualify this tune's general American obscurity as particularly ironic. Nevertheless, they don't make good-time songs like this anymore.

of 05

Jon and Vangelis - "The Friends of Mr. Cairo"

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Polydor

Well, this one's a bit bizarre as a No. 1 pop hit, but I suppose it's no stranger in that role than Murray Head's "One Night in Bangkok," a Top 5 hit in North America in 1984. The collaboration between Yes lead vocalist Jon Anderson and Greek instrumentalist Vangelis actually produced three albums during the early part of the '80s and a long-term musical partnership. That doesn't change the fact that I was completely unaware of this particular duo, but I'm not nearly as hung up as some on the notion that the U.S. is the world's de facto center. Anderson's trippy, high-pitched vocals mesh quite well with the haunting synth compositions of Vangelis. "Chariots of Fire" it certainly is not, but Canada was impressed.

of 05

Northern Lights - "Tears Are Not Enough"

Canadian charity music project Northern Lights in studio, circa 1985.
David Lee/Getty Images

If this 1985 African famine charity single proves anything, it's that mid-'80s ensemble anthems of empathy involving big-time rock stars had high ceilings for cheesiness all over the globe. I'm not sure which song is best between this one or its respective British and American counterparts ("Do They Know It's Christmas?" and "We Are the World"), but that question might ultimately be beside the point. As a collaborative effort featuring exclusively Canadian musicians emoting and gesticulating wildly in a bland studio setting, this track was probably bound to reach No. 1 in its country of birth. Canadians are probably accustomed to working within Britain and America's shadow, but all three of these tunes are simply schmaltz for a good cause.

of 05

Corey Hart - "Everything in My Heart"

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Aquarius

Corey Hart is the only artist on this list to have enjoyed substantial American success along with his Canadian superstardom. Maybe that's why I'm in the unenviable position of having to choose between two of the artist's three homeland chart-toppers (the third being "Never Surrender," a bona fide '80s classic in America as well) for inclusion on this list. It turns out the decision is made easy by the fact that "Can't Help Falling in Love" is a remake of an established pop chestnut. Therefore, "Everything in My Heart" wins by default. A worthy power ballad strangely unable to crack the Top 20 in America, this is a tune that easily could have been huge south of the 45th parallel. '80s music with hart (sic).