Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hockey Night In Canada Anthem

The national anthem of Canada goes like this:

Da da da da DA DAAA
Da da da da DA
Da da da da DA da da da
DA da da da DAAA...
Da da

It's true. The theme song from Hockey Night in Canada has more resonance among Canadians than any other piece of music.

That is a quote from How To Be A Canadian by Will and Ian Ferguson. The book is a humorous look at Canada, but it shows how a simple little tune has become very important in Canadian popular culture.

The theme to Hockey Night in Canada was written in 1968 by Delores Claman and arranged by Howard Cable. It has been used on Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts ever since. The CBC has been paying Claman, who owns the song's rights about $500 per broadcast. Over the years, that is a huge sum of money for a song hat was written in less than a day. For that one day's work, she has made enough money to live on ever since.

She is suing CBC for $2.5 million because of their unlicensed use of the song. It has been used in Hockey Night in Canada commercials, an advertisement for Ford and a few other programs. This lawsuit is a clear money grab. If one writes a song, they deserve to be compensated and Ms. Claman has. However, suing for millions is ridiculous. It shows the craziness of the intellectual property law system and the court system that something like that could ever have occurred.

As a result of this lawsuit, CBC announced they would not renew this theme song for the 2008/09 season. In an attempt to one up the CBC and brand their hockey broadcasts as being on CBC's level (Hockey Night in Canada is the standard to which all other hockey broadcasts are compared), CTV (who owns TSN) has bought the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme in perpetuity. CBC erred by not buying the rights to the song outright 35 years ago. Had they done that, this entire problem would never have happened and they probably would have wound up paying less money to Ms. Claman than they have over their forty year relationship.

A hockey broadcast is more than just a theme song. It is the quality of the game, commentators, camera work, the time slot of the game and many other things. CBC has used a few songs in their broadcast as well as their famous theme and is holding an American/ Canadian Idol style contest to find a new theme.

Does a theme song improve the CTV/TSN hockey broadcasts? It only does indirectly. As long as CBC has the rights to the Saturday night games and the later rounds of the playoffs, their broadcasts will be in second place at best.

Gary Bettman and the NHL have to be looking at this controversy about a hockey theme song in Canada and wishing the interest existed in the United States to have two networks fighting over anything hockey related. If anything, this story shows the different positions hockey fills in popular culture in Canada and in the United States. Most of the NHL's problems come from a failure to make the game as popular in the United States.

I'm totally disgusted at the pirates at TSN and the writer of this song.....first we lose "La Soiree du Hockey" to RDS and now the jerks at TSN have destroyed a 50 year legacy. FOR SHAME!!!!!
1) We were wondering why this song thing garnered such a reaction? We figured it was a cultural thing as we're not from up North that the song had some sort of nationalistic significance of something?
2) We believe that it would seem the content of programming should be a bit more important that the intro jingle?
Well Faux, how would you feel if the exclusive rights to play the "Star Spangled Banner" were bought by Mexico and the USA would need to get a new anthem? Basically, this is what its like to have HNIC lose it's theme song, to another network!
I've written a song for this contest. Please take a listen and leave a comment! Thanks!

Here is the link:

apprently the web link won't show up in the comments. There's a link from my website www.raine.ca

Thanks for taking the time to listen! Please rate and comment on it!
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