Things changed course in the 1980’s, the changing fast-paced culture was accompanied by an explosion in youth culture. Until the mid-1960’s, little attention was paid to rock by Canadian daily newspapers except as news or novelty. With the introduction during the 1970’s of the “rock critic”, coverage began to rival that of any other music. The 1980’s saw Canada support and promote many of its own talent in pursuit of true originality. Canadian rock generally had been discouraged by market forces before the 1980’s, in particular the need to conform to the taste of a Canadian audience that has had its standards and expectations formed by constant exposure to US and British acts for the prior three decades. The popularity of Chilliwack, for example, rose dramatically after the band turned from the experimental nature of its first few LP’s to a mainstream pop style consistent with the US style. The band first hit the Top 10 charts in Canada with 1973’s “Lonesome Mary”, but are perhaps best remembered for three America hit songs from the 1980’s “My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)”, “I Believe” and “Whatcha Gonna Do”. Even though those three hits were their only popular singles in the US, the band has releasing over a dozen albums with 23 Canadian hit singles. Bill Henderson, the founder of the band, was musical director for the Canadian edition of Sesame Street from 1989 to 1995. Henderson also acted as director of the Canadian Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and as president of the Songwriters Association of Canada (SOCAN).
Music videos assumed a major role in the promotion of pop rock recordings in 1980’s for US exposure. Videos produced many mainstream pop-rockers that saw huge success in and outside of Canada. Success in the larger US market remained the major goal of most, if not all, post-1970 Canadian rock acts; a goal in fact reached with some greater or lesser degree of consistency by several, among them Bryan Adams, Aldo Nova, Loverboy, Saga, Red Rider, Corey Hart, Alannah Myles, Lee Aaron, Toronto, Tom Cochrane, Honeymoon Suite, Haywire, Doug and the Slugs and Glass Tiger. As well, the era produced the country cowpunk of K.D. Lang.
Bryan Adams would emerge as Canada’s superstar of the 80’s having been awarded the Order of Canada, and the Order of British Columbia and inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1998 for his contribution to popular music and his philanthropic work. Also notable is Loverboy who accumulated numerous hit songs in Canada and the United States, making four multi-platinum albums. The band’s hit singles, particularly “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” and “Working for the Weekend” have become hard rock staples, and are still heard on classic rock radio stations across the US and Canada. Loverboy has received five Juno Awards, Canada’s highest award for music, in one year, a record that still stands today. The band would later receive an additional three Juno Awards, bringing their total to eight, which is the most received by a single group or individual except Bryan Adams.
Quebec-born singer, Celine Dion is the best-selling Canadian artist of all time, and when her 1997 album, Let’s Talk About Love was released in Canada, it broke the record for the highest opening weekly sales for any album, selling 230,212 copies, a record which still stands.