Ah, Toronto–home of giant buildings that seem to touch the sky, bustling streets, and iconic musicians. With its cultural diversity, it’s no surprise that there have been dozens of famous musicians that have come out of the city. But how many do you know? Today, we’re diving into five of the most iconic musicians to have come out of Toronto!
1. Neil Young
We couldn’t write this list without including the iconic Neil Young! Although he needs no introduction, Neil Young was born in 1945 in Toronto. He started his solo career in Winnipeg before moving to Los Angeles in the 60’s to really jumpstart his career. Many people categorize Neil’s sound as a mix of rock and folk which at the time, fit in perfectly with his first group in L.A, Buffalo Springfield. The band released their first album in 1966 and managed to grab a top 10 single, which brought them acclaim. In just 2 short years, Neil parted ways with the band and set out on his solo career once again. It was shortly thereafter that his backup band, Crazy Horse was formed. Much of Neil’s most iconic songs and albums were made with Crazy Horse backing him up. All in all, Neil Young has a whopping 44 studio albums under his belt with many of them reaching platinum, gold, or silver status. Neil’s next album is set to release in November 2022!
While he may not be everyone’s cup of tea, we can’t deny that Drake is the most popular artist to come out of Toronto in the past decade or so. Drake, born Aubrey Graham, was born in Toronto in 1986. From the very start, Drake was destined for a career in music. His father was the drummer for the iconic Jerry Lee Lewis while one of his uncles was a bass player for the band Sly and the Family Stone. In 2001, Drake got his first big break with a role on Degrassi Next Generation. Drake actually ended up dropping out of high school before he could graduate to pursue his acting career (he ended up getting his high school degree in 2012.) When he was still in Degrassi, Drake started his music career. In 2008, Lil Wayne gave Drake a call asking him to join his upcoming tour and the rest was history! In 2010, Drake released his first studio album, Thank Me Later. It debuted at No. 1 in Canada and America and became certified platinum. Since then, Drake has had 11 No. 1 hits and 59 top 10 hits. Drake is now known as one of the most popular artists of our generation and continues to make hit album after hit album!
3. The Band
A band called The Band–who would’ve thought?! If you’re not familiar with The Band, let us get you acquainted. Throughout the late 60’s to the mid 70’s, The Band was one of the most popular groups in the entire world. While The Band consists of both Americans and Canadians, the group was ultimately formed in Toronto in 1967. The group boasted five members who produced a sound that can only be described as a mix of rock, jazz, folk, R&B, and country all rolled into one. In the mid-60’s, The Band gained some popularity for backing Bob Dylan and started to venture out on their own. Their debut album, Music From Big Pink, was released in 1968 and has been influential for musicians everywhere since. Since their inception, The Band has had many different members and sounds to play around with. They released 12 studio albums and will forever go down as one of the most critically-acclaimed rock bands of all time!
4. Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles has a much different sound than anyone else on this list, but that unique sound is what makes them so popular! The electronic duo known as Crystal Castles was formed in Toronto in 2006. The group is known for their high-energy stage presence and frankly, crazy music. The group released several limited-edition vinyls before releasing four studio albums. During the beginning of their stint, the duo toured mostly through festivals all throughout the world. Unfortunately, the group started to fall apart in 2014 and has not released any music since 2016. That said, Crystal Castles has garnered billions of streams across the world and will be forever known as one of the most popular electronic groups in history!
Rush is a Toronto-born rock band that was formed in 1968. During the very beginning, Rush went through a few different members until they found the trio that worked best for them–Geddy Lee (bass), Neil Peart (drummer/lyricist), and Alex Lifeson (guitarist.) This trio remained in the band for the entirety of its career. During the 70’s is really when Rush hit their commercial success. In fact, they released four studio albums in just 3 years. While Rush is considered rock, they always brought elements of heavy metal, blues, and progressive rock into their
sound. Rush is known for their music as a band, but their single band members are also known as some of the best in the business for their respective instruments. All in all, Rush released 19 studio albums between 1974-2012. They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and still continue to boast over 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Unfortunately, Rush did stop touring in 2015 due to age and the death of member, Neil Peart. They still continue to be a force in the world of rock and a huge inspiration to musicians everywhere.
Think you’re ready to be the next iconic musician from Toronto? Reach out to us today at Greater Toronto Music School! We offer top-rated lessons in guitar, drums, brass, strings, voice, and so much more. Whatever your musical interests are, we can help you get started on your journey!