Hard-rocking and memorable songs, in 1989 The Tragically Hip was the first choice for radio airplay because of their debut full-length album Up to Here.
In 1988, the band had created a self-titled EP, and toured extensively to promote and work to get the attention for a record deal.
After appearing at the CMJ Festival in New York City, the band drew the attention of MCA, leading an A&R rep from MCA to attend the Toronto Music Awards to see the band perform in December 1988 and sign them.
The band travelled to Memphis to record the album with producer Don Smith, with Gord Downie, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay and Paul Langlois collaborating on writing and playing all tracks. In September 1989 the album was released, with its first single, Blow at High Dough.
The song and album received heavy airplay on Canadian radio stations, paired with the band’s extensive touring, gaining fans from coast to coast.
Following the first single, the next single New Orleans is Sinking became another live favourite, with the band doing extended versions, debuting new songs and showing off the band’s skills in improvisation.
The album did well on the Canadian charts, and made it on to the Billboard Hot 200 album charts in 1990, although the US market didn’t embrace the band at the time as much as Canada.
The band was awarded the Most Promising Artist Award at the Juno Awards in 1990 and the album Up to Here was honoured with diamond status at the time for selling over a million copies.
As one of the band’s most beloved albums, its first two singles, Blow at High Dough and New Orleans is Sinking, are still mainstays of Canadian radio airplay.