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Universal Music Canada apologise for ‘oversight’ on Canada 150 box set

Label sorry for lack of French language tunes.

Universal Music Canada have taken to Facebook to acknowledge their ‘errors’ when compiling the sesquicentennial Canada 150 release which is available as a six-CD super deluxe edition.

With more than than 20 per cent of citizens in Canada being French Canadians, Canada 150 was widely criticised for failing to include ANY French language songs (across its six CDs) something the label are now describing as an ‘incomprehensible oversight’.

The company say they will ‘take action’ to remedy the situation, although don’t say what that action will be. Their statement was uploaded as an image to Facebook and was offered in English and French. You can read it below, or visit the Universal Music Canada Facebook page.


Universal Music Canada’s statement. Click to enlarge.

Click this link to view the original details of the Canada 150 release.

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43 responses to Universal Music Canada apologise for ‘oversight’ on Canada 150 box set

  1. JonC says:

    But are the French language tunes actually any GOOD, or is this just gesture politics & tokenism?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      They put Justin Bieber on here, so not sure ‘good’ is the criteria they were working to… Also, this is specifically about celebrating Canada music. Ignoring a the contribution of a fifth of your population is a bit of a cock-up.

      • Simon says:

        Why shouldn’t a song be “good”, just because it ‘s in a different language?? I don’t understand the logic…
        It’s all a matter of opinion anyway, but there are dozens (at least) of french language songs that I wouldn’t want to live without!….

      • Gary says:

        That is without a doubt the funniest reply I have ever read on here.

    • Andre Thivierge says:

      JonC, you should educate yourself about French music in Canada. A lot of francophone artist are selling more than anglophone musicians in Canada!

  2. Maitre R says:

    Really? Nothing from Felix Leclerc, Gilles Vigneault, Robert Charlebois, Daniel Lanoie, Serge Fiori, Offenbach, Harmonium, Beau Dommage? Some of the best-selling artists in Canada were french-speaking, and none of them are included? I guess it’s just another day in english Canada, where french-canadians are told to learn a “real language”… :/

    I’d be interested to know who curated this collection.

  3. William_M says:

    Sacre Bleu!!!!!

  4. To be honest, the playlist did kind of feel more like a ‘what’s popular in Canada’ rather than ‘what’s a good cross-section of Canadian music’. Sort of like those Now compilations. It was an interesting spread, but a shallow one that really didn’t bother to dig all that deep.

    [And yes, I still think it’s a gross oversight that no Tragically Hip was listed, considering they’re the Canadian version of Bruce Springsteen in terms of fame and following. On the other hand, I would not be surprised if Gord Downie and the band nixed it.]

    • Michael Wiley says:

      The Canadian version of Bruce Springsteen in terms of following? I nearly fell out of my desk chair with a case of the giggles.

  5. Eddie says:

    La complainte de Sainte Catherine (I know the versions by the McGarrrigle sisters and Kirsty McColl) – isn’t that (a very lovely) French Canadian song?

    • Catweazle says:

      La complainte is a very lovely French Canadian song indeed, as is Entre Lajeunesse et la Sagesse (which is also by Kate and Anna McGarrigle).

  6. Michael says:

    “But are the French language tunes actually any GOOD”
    What ?!? Do you even listen to french language tunes ? Yes, of course there are (very) good tunes in french and like anywhere else in any languages a lot of others not so good…

    • JonC says:

      I’m in no doubt about the likes of Gainsbourg, Piaf etc and agree there are great tunes in French, despite not claiming to be an expert by any means……..but this is specifically *Canadian* music in the French language we’re talking about.
      Lanois is there, and Celine Dion is perhaps a missed opportunity as they’ve used the obvious choice but could have included a lesser known track in French

  7. Eddie says:

    Correction: Complainte Pour Ste Catherine (not de)….co-written by one of the McGarrigle sisters.

  8. Colin Harper says:

    Are there Inuit artistes on it? If not, have they apologised yet for that? There’s another 4.3% of their population, and apart from Denmark (Greenland) and USA (Alaska) Canada’s the only nation to have any Inuit population.

    They should learn from the Mercury prize (or whatever it’s called now) – always A Token Jazz Act and A Token Folk Act along with A Token Black Urban Act, and the rest are usually angsty white guitar bands and the odd elederly legend who’s suddenly become hip again.

    • Jakob says:

      There doesn’t appear to be any First Nations artists at all on it—which is unfortunately in-keeping with the Canada 150 brand.

      Possible A Tribe Called Red was approached and declined out of protest, of course.

  9. Joe Mac Pherson says:

    Once again, more than ever, I know so sadly, there was absolutely no recorded music in Canada in the 1900’s, 1910’s, 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s. MAYBE, possibly by the very late 1950’s, sound recording technology was able to commence in Canada, at last. The insufferable blizzards, ice storms, constant tracings of frost obscuring windows, glacial cold, bitter, Arctic winds and every freezing element one could imagine must have been a daily reality for Canada.
    After all, WHERE IS THE MUSIC FROM 1900-1959?
    It’s obvious. There wasn’t any. It was a Herculean effort for armadas of snow plows to finally gauge away all the massive drifts of snow away from housing and buildings, allowing for actual passage, improved living conditions and automobile traffic. Which meant, instead of, “I can’t hear or find ANYTHING on the radio in Canada! I must listen to U.S. stations from Maine, Vermont, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington!”, now, real Canadian citizens could here tunes in THEIR OWN COUNTRY by the early 1960’s!! Amazing!
    I’m sure the very first recording studio, completed at great expense in the early 1960’s, drew lines of traffic and astonished pedestrians, marveling at the sight of it!
    If you ever doubted it, this box set is definite proof, Canada had no recorded music AT ALL until the 1960’s. It was a heroic effort to accomplish, but at last, The Great White North had THEIR OWN MUSIC- imagine that thought- in the 1960’s.

  10. O(+> Peter B says:

    Then there is the oversight of not including “F**k The Pain Away” by Peaches, which would surely be a staple of daytime Canadian radio… ;0)

  11. Larry Davis says:

    I love many artists in different languages, and yes many French Canadians…not many got released on major labels, so there would be lots of licensing involved. One French Canadian artist I just love is Mylene Farmer…yes she is considered French, but she was born in Montreal and got trod on for her accent when she moved to France as a teenager…so in reality, I consider her a French Canadian. Another is Julie Masse, the former Mrs Corey Hart. But yes, at least 1 disc, maybe 2, should be other language artists…1.5 French, 0.5 Inuit…totally agree…and what about native Newfoundlanders?? They have their own culture as well, and Great Big Sea are great ambassadors of NL…

  12. away says:

    They’re stupid. Quebec’s progressive, fusion and avant 70s scenes are the best and most original rock related music to ever come out of Canada…

  13. don cooper says:

    Why can I hear Cartman bawling “Zut Alors!”

  14. Will says:

    Maybe a few indigenous Canadians can pipe up and complain about no songs representing them! What a fuckin’ joke. I’m Canadian (47 years of age) and can’t think of any French pop songs. That’s because they only market towards themselves (in the province of Quebec). So once Quebec decides to put on their “big boy” pants and sit at a table with English Canada they can stop complaining about lack of representation.

    • Larry Davis says:

      Point understood…HOWEVER, Anglophone Canada has to open up to French-language music too…equal English and French side by side…yes, Quebec markets to themselves, many indie labels there, most French music there is not released on major labels…or outside Quebec, except to France and Benelux and other French-speaking countries…

  15. Ralph Williams says:

    What, no William Shatner!

  16. La El Nino says:

    Do French Canadians all play accordions and ride bicycles whilst wearing strings of onions around their necks like real French men?

    • BillyD says:

      Naw, it’s a string of beavers around their necks and they ride in canoes. They may sing in the wilderness.

  17. Gisabun says:

    Part of the problem [in the missing artists] is that they are on another label and I would guess the two labels couldn’t come to some type of agreement in costs, licensing, profit sharing, etc.
    The other label did release their own “150” edition although I don’t think there was a large set released.

  18. Tom says:

    Curiously, I cannot find the link on the Amazon Canada site. I wonder if they are delaying it to “remedy the offense”.

    • Gisabun says:

      Don’t see the box set either. Looks like it may have been pulled.
      They should keep it as is but thrown in a 7th disc of non-English music and for anyone who bought the 6 disc edition, mail in a proof of purchase and get the 7th disc – if they want it.

  19. T-Ho says:

    Let me just say this, I run a record store in Canada carrying new releases and Universal product and this if the first I have even heard of this release.

    French artists, Inuit artists, English artists, the only way this release was getting any type of attention let alone sales would be through some type of “uproar” as this. The fact that they are apologizing and changing the tracks is absurd.

  20. Phil Fogel says:

    There is so many French songs that could have been included, just off the top of my head “Les Blue Du Businessman” by Claude Dubois taken from the Play Starmania. “Oxygene” by Diane Dufresne. “Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore” one of Celine Dion’s biggest French hits, The Box “L’Affaire Dumoutier” Giles Vignault “Mon Pays” songs by Martine St Clair, Ginette Reno, Felix Lecrlerc, Harmonium, Beau Dommage……..

  21. Richard says:

    No Mary Margaret O’Hara is woeful, Miss America is one of the best Canadian albums ever!

  22. Julian H says:

    The biggest oversight is not including anything by Saga, one of the most unique sounding prog / AOR bands ever!!

  23. Cardinal says:

    Saga would have been good, as would have FM (with or without Nash The Slash). As for French language, Michel Pagliaro had a few crossover hits in the 70s. He would’ve been a good representative on here as well.

  24. Stan Butler says:

    It would seem that compiling a collection that aimed to encapsulate an entire nation’s musical heritage was always going to be fraught with with difficulty.

  25. Marc Bijlsma says:

    The general idea with record companies nowadays seem to be that people are only interested in songs in English. Universal in the Netherlands even stated they won’t ever use anything anymore from their back catalogue of songs in Dutch.

  26. Jacques T says:

    Hello,

    I m a french lover of quebecer music and i can confirm that singers-songwriters like :
    Plume Latraverse, Félix Leclerc, Diane Dufresne, Robert Charlebois, Gilles Vigneault and a long … are top recording artists not only in Canada but also in France. It would be very easy to release the same boxset with only top french-canadian songs, if Universal music needs some help i m ready to give a hand. By the way but i m sure that this collection was made by people only interested in selling a lot and of course in this case we cannot compare the world sales and fame of Joni Mitchell or Leonard Cohen with Diane Dufresne or Robert Charlebois but that s another story.

    Have a nice day
    Jacques

  27. Tino Stabile says:

    Canada is the biggest country in the world in the terms of geography and is one the G7 for a reason. It is rich in resources and what it lacks in small population it has an abundance of great landscapes, some of the best places to visit in the world and the artists hailing from this country are only the biggest on the planet…either past or present. Want some examples… Bryan Adams, Michel Pagliaro, Celine Dion, Paul Anka, Bruce Cockburn, Red Ryder, Rush, April Wine, Beau Dommage, Octobre, Harmonium, Joni Mitchell, Kim Mitchell, Max Webster, Shania Twain, The Payolas, Paul Piche, Robert Charlebois, Saga, Morse Code, Ginette Reno, Frank Marino, Aldo Nova, Walter Rossi, Gino Vannelli, Serge Fiori, Luba, Loverboy, Gowan, Plume, Daniel Lavois, Robbie Robertson, The Band, Leonard Cohen. I am sure that I am leaving out a few but you get where I am going.
    These artists only influenced the biggest names in music today like U2. So when someone makes comments before reflecting…. please reflect. Also, if politics or business gets in the way of what gets released by these big corporations on these compilations is completely beside the point. In a perfect world…. French, English and Native recording artists should be part of this compilation.

    Sincerely,
    Tino

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