Barenaked Ladies performing at City Hall for Canada 150!

June 30, 2017 | Mary Rae

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Toronto is getting ready for a huge party to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial. There will be music, dancing, fireworks displays, picnics and (Oh my gosh!) – Barenaked Ladies! 

Barenaked Ladies - the band

Ironically, 26 years after the band was banned from performing at City Hall, the Barenaked Ladies have been asked to be one of the headliners at the biggest party of the century. How did that come to be? 

Toronto Star article, Naked Ladies Banned, "Pop band can't play in city square because name objectifies women"
Toronto Star, January 7, 1992, page 1

In 1991, the band was originally scheduled to perform at the New Year’s Eve concert at Nathan Phillips Square. But then a member of the mayor’s staff stepped in and had them removed from the lineup because she felt that the band’s name objectified women. The ensuing media attention and adverse public reaction propelled sales of the band's record Yellow Tape and launched their careers internationally. By February 1992, they had outsold Michael Jackson, Genesis and U2 concerts.

In 1994, the City tried to make amends to the band by offering them a key to the City of Toronto, but the BNL declined. As a form of apology, they were given a key to Toronto in 2000.

But it appears that Canada 150 is too big a party to be missed and they will take their place on the stage June 30, the first of 4 days of celebration at the City.

barenaked ladies, the original duo

The Barenaked Ladies  began as a duo in 1988, when Scarborough natives Steven Page and Ed Robertson teamed up. Later joined by Jim and Andy Creggan and Tyler Stewart, the iconic Canadian band has released 15 albums, plus live recordings and compilations

They have won eight Junos, making them a made-in-Toronto national treasure. For more stories about Canada’s moments in history visit 150 sTOries

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