Let’s Make A Pledge on this July 1st Canada Day, 2019 to Stand Together for a Sharing, Caring Canada
“Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land
That they’ll be givin’ away
When we all live together.”
– the chorus from the song ‘Share the Land’, written by Burton Cummings and recorded in 1970 by one of Canada’s all-time greatest groups, The Guess Who
From Doug Draper
Posted July 1st, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Unlike our American neighbours, we Canadians don’t seem to have much in the way of anthems for our country outside of the official one.
South of the border (or east, depending on your perspective), there are rousing, flag-wavers like “America, The Beautiful,” or for what remains of the lefties in Trump-land, there are sing-alongs like Woody Guthrie’s a “This Land is Your Land.”
We have Gordon Lightfoot’s “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” and “Four Strong Winds” by Ian and Sylvia,” but they seem more to me like great songs about the country than straight-up, two or three versus and a chorus anthems for Canada Day.
And the version of “This Land is Your Land,” with references to Canadian geography dubbed in, never quite worked for me either. Whether I played and sang it here or on the other side of the border, I always found myself switching back to the original lyrics. It’s just not our song.
Yet wouldn’t it be nice to have a made-in-Canada song with lyrics with the word “land” in them?
Then I remembered all those years in the 1970 when I’d drive to Toronto to see one of our country’s greatest bands, The Guess Who, in concert at the Canadian National Exhibition. Toward the end of their show, with a giant Canadian flag with a beaver on it behind them, the band would break into a song that was written by the band’s leader, Burton Cummings, in the afterglow of the Woodstock Festival in 1969, the last mass gathering of “flower people” from the sixties.
“Share the Land” became a huge, international hit for The Guess Who in 1970 and every time the band played it in their home country the audience, to a person, would get up on their feet, many of them , lighting a match, and would sway back and forth as they joined Cummings in singing the words to the chorus; “Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand, maybe I’ll be there to share the land, we’ll be giving away when we all live together.”
It was a song that never failed to inspire strong feelings of warmth and togetherness in an audience and I sure do think we could all use more of that in the times we are living in now.
Unfortunately, a sharing land is not the one we see unfolding in Ontario under Doug Ford and his heartless Tory ranks.
Ford and company have the audacity to call themselves a “Government for the People” and they have been anything but.
And that ‘anything but’ will unfold on steroids across Canada if Ford’s Tory partner at the federal level, Andrew Scheer, is elected Prime Minister this coming October and he, along with Ford, Alberta’s Jason Kenny, together have the power of high office to drag us back to an era when there were no environmental protection rules and when few but the wealthiest among us could afford quality health care, a college or university education and a decent home.
So on this Canada Day, I think we could all use few choruses of “Share the Land” now. And let’s work together to make sure that the day these Neanderthals drag us back to a time when caring for each other and for this planet we share are share with other creatures big and small never comes.
Here is a video that Greenpeace Canada produced, using “Share the Land” as a soundtrack, that you can watch by clicking on the screen below –
Finally, here is a video of The Guess Who performing the song around the time it was released in 1970 –
By the way, Burton Cummings will be performing at Artpark in Lewiston, New York at its Tuesday in the Park series this Tuesday, June 2nd in the evening. For more details and ticket information on that, click on – https://www.artpark.net/events/burton-cummings-with-andre-philippe-gagnon .
A Brief Footnote – It was 50 years ago this spring that The Guess Who had their first major hit, These Eyes, on the Billboard charts, followed by many more, including Share the Land, Laughing, Undun, No Time, No Sugar Tonight and many more, including American Woman that went all the way to Number One in 1970.
Yet still this Canadian group that was one of the first from our country to achieve such great international fame, has not been inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
That has got to change. I think we need to start lobbying the Hall of Fame in Cleveland induct one of Canada’s and the world’s all-time best rock groups. Stay tune for a campaign to do that to start right here.
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