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Canada 150: Celine Dion & Shania Twain Lead Nielsen Music Canada’s Top Canadian Artists Chart

Canada 150: Celine Dion and Shania Twain are the biggest Canadian artists of the Nielsen Music Canada era.

The official 150th birthday of Canada — commemorating  confederation — is this Saturday, July 1,  known as Canada Day, but it’s been a year-long celebration with the government putting in a half-billion dollars towards the branded ”Canada 150” festivities and businesses commemorating the sesquicentennial their own way. Nielsen Music Canada, in collaboration with Billboard, has compiled its own celebratory lists of the biggest artists, albums and songs since the data-tracking system came into Canada in 1996 (and cut off Dec. 31, 2016).

“We’re excited to celebrate the success of Canadian artists at home, in partnership with Billboard, as we honour [sic] Canada’s 150th anniversary,” said Paul Shaver, Head of Nielsen Music Canada.

Nielsen Music Canada’s recap charts include all-format and radio charts (started April 1995), album sales (1996 -) and digital song sales (2005 – ). The most recent chart for streaming (July 2014 -) extends to March 2017.


The top-selling Canadian artist (by album sales in Canada) during the 20-year “Nielsen Music Canada era,” is, not surprisingly, Celine Dion when tallying up all her physical and digital sales for the Top Overall Artist chart. She’s followed by Shania Twain and Michael Bublé at Nos. 2 and 3, both of whom are massive outside Canada. Next, however, is The Tragically Hip (No. 4), the rock band that does not have the same profile in the rest of the world as it does at home but has been one of the country’s biggest acts for decades and played its final tour in 2016 following singer Gord Downie’s announcement he has brain cancer. Also among the top 25 artists: Sarah McLachlan (No. 5), Nickelback (No. 6), Diana Krall (No. 7) and Avril Lavigne (No. 8), but the appearance of DIY artists Johnny Reid (No. 17) and Loreena McKennitt (No. 20) is impressive and francophone acts Francois Perusse (No. 19) and Isabelle Boulay (No. 24) show the power of the Quebec market.

The Top Overall Albums chart — combining physical and digital album sales — finds Twain holding two positions in the top 10, Nos. 1 and 3 for Come On Over and Up!, respectively. Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love is sandwiched between at No. 2, while the diva also holds down Nos. 9 and 10 with Falling Into You and These Are Special Times, respectively. The top 10 also includes McLachlan’s Surfacing at No. 4, Lavigne’s Let Go at No. 5 and Our Lady Peace’s Clumsy at No. 8.


When we get into the digital era, the dominating names are quite different, pointing to the buying habits of a younger generation. Sitting at No. 1 on the Top Digital Songs chart (ranking the best-selling digital song downloads) is Canadian passport-carrying Robin Thicke with “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Pharrell, followed by Carly Rae Jepsen’s breakthrough hit, “Call Me Maybe” (No. 2), and East Coast rapper Classified with “Inner Ninja” (No. 3), that comes in before hits by international smashes by Bieber, The Weeknd and Magic! Bieber takes three positions in the top 10 with “Love Yourself” (No. 4), “Sorry” (No. 5) and “Beauty and a Beat,” featuring Nicki Minaj (No. 9), while pop band Hedley, which hasn’t broken the U.S. but headlines arenas at home, is at No. 6 with “Kiss You Inside Out.” The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” is No. 7 while Magic!’s “Rude” takes No. 8 and Drake’s “One Dance,” featuring WizKid and Kyla, rounds out the top 10 at No. 10.

The same familiar Canadians that have been dominating the U.S. charts lately also pepper the top 10 of the Top Streamed Songs chart: Bieber, The Weeknd, Drake and Shawn Mendes.  Bieber’s “Sorry” is No. 1 and “What Do You Mean?” No. 2, but he also takes No. 5 with “Love Yourself.” Drake takes a pair of spots in the top 10 with “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling” at Nos. 4 and 7. The Weeknd claims a trio of tracks in the top 10 (“Starboy” at No. 3, “The Hills” at No. 6 and “Can’t Feel My Face” at No. 8) while Mendes is at Nos. 9 and 10 with “Stitches” and “Treat You Better.”


When it comes to airplay, taking into account all format spins, the No. 1 on Top All Formats Songs belongs to Armin Van Burren’s “This Is What It Feels Like,” featuring Canadian Trevor Guthrie on vocals. The ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen comes in at No. 2, and Martin Solveigand Canadian band Dragonette with “Hello” at No. 3.  A pair of songs by rock band Finger Eleven are next at Nos. 4 and 5,  “One Thing” and “Paralyzer.” 

Scroll down to view Nielsen Music Canada’s top Canadian artists, albums and songs of the Nielsen Music Canada era:

Top Overall Artist (by album sales, physical and digital combined)
Rank Artist  
1 Celine Dion  
2 Shania Twain  
3 Michael Buble  
4 The Tragically Hip  
5 Sarah McLachlan  
6 Nickelback  
7 Diana Krall  
8 Avril Lavigne  
9 Our Lady Peace  
10 Bryan Adams  
11 Justin Bieber  
12 Leonard Cohen  
13 Neil Young  
14 Blue Rodeo  
15 Barenaked Ladies  
16 Great Big Sea  
17 Johnny Reid  
18 Alanis Morissette  
19 Francois Perusse  
20 Loreena McKennitt  
21 Jann Arden  
22 Nelly Furtado  
23 Amanda Marshall  
24 Isabelle Boulay  
25 Matthew Good/Matthew Good Band  
Top Overall Albums (physical and digital sales combined)
Rank Artist Title
1 Shania Twain Come On Over
2 Celine Dion Let’s Talk About Love
3 Shania Twain Up!
4 Sarah McLachlan Surfacing
5 Avril Lavigne Let Go
6 Celine Dion All The Way – A Decade Of Song
7 Michael Buble Christmas
8 Our Lady Peace Clumsy
9 Celine Dion Falling Into You
10 Celine Dion These Are Special Times
Top Digital Songs  
Rank Artist Title
1 Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Blurred Lines
2 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe
3 Classified Inner Ninja
4 Justin Bieber Love Yourself
5 Justin Bieber Sorry
6 Hedley Kiss You Inside Out
7 The Weeknd Can’t Feel My Face
8 Magic! Rude
9 Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj Beauty And A Beat
10 Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla One Dance
Top Streamed Songs  
Rank Artist Title
1 Justin Bieber Sorry
2 Justin Bieber What Do You Mean?
3 The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk Starboy
4 Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla One Dance
5 Justin Bieber Love Yourself
6 The Weeknd The Hills
7 Drake Hotline Bling
8 The Weeknd Can’t Feel My Face
9 Shawn Mendes Stitches
10 Shawn Mendes Treat You Better
Source: Nielsen Music Canada — Album sales tracked from 1996-2016; digital song sales tracked from 2005-2016; streaming songs tracked from July 2014-March 2017.
Airplay — Top All-Formats Songs  
Rank Artist Title
1 Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie This Is What It Feels Like
2 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe
3 Martin Solveig & Dragonette Hello
4 Finger Eleven One Thing
5 Finger Eleven Paralyzer
6 Serena Ryder Stompa
7 Magic! Rude
8 Avril Lavigne Complicated
9 Bedouin Soundclash When The Night Feels My Song
10 Drake feat. Majid Jordan Hold On, We’re Going Home
Airplay — Top Rock Songs  
Rank Artist Title
1 Big Wreck That Song
2 Finger Eleven Paralyzer
3 Sam Roberts Brother Down
4 Matthew Good Band Hello Time Bomb
5 Big Sugar Diggin’ A Hole
6 Big Wreck The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)
7 Finger Eleven One Thing
8 Sloan Money City Maniacs
9 Matthew Good Load Me Up
10 Default Wasting My Time
Airplay — Top AC (Adult Contemporary) Songs  
Rank Artist Title
1 Daniel Powter Bad Day
2 Bedouin Soundclash When The Night Feels My Song
3 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe
4 Avril Lavigne Complicated
5 Nelly Furtado I’m Like A Bird
6 Nelly Furtado Say It Right
7 Martin Solveig & Dragonette Hello
8 Deborah Cox Beautiful U R
9 Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie This Is What It Feels Like
10 Michael Buble Haven’t Met You Yet
Airplay — Top Country Songs  
Rank Artist Title
1 Paul Brandt My Heart Has A History
2 Jason McCoy Born Again In Dixieland
3 Deric Ruttan When You Come Around
4 Paul Brandt That’s The Truth
5 Paul Brandt I’m Gonna Fly
6 Shane Yellowbird Pickup Truck
7 Carolyn Dawn Johnson I Don’t Want You To Go
8 Shania Twain No One Needs To Know
9 Paul Brandt Yeah!
10 Aaron Lines Turn It Up (I Like The Sound Of That)
Airplay — Top CHR (Mainstream Top 40) Songs  
Rank Artist Title
1 Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie This Is What It Feels Like
2 Martin Solveig & Dragonette Hello
3 Drake feat. Majid Jordan Hold On, We’re Going Home
4 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe
5 Kardinal Offishall feat. Akon Dangerous
6 Magic! Rude
7 Edward Maya & Mia Martina Stereo Love
8 Classified feat. David Myles Inner Ninja
9 The Weeknd Can’t Feel My Face
10 Anjulie Brand New Chick/B*tch
Source: Nielsen Music Canada, for airplay monitored from April 1995-2016.
Digital Songs by Decade — 1960s  
Rank Artist Title
1 Steppenwolf Born to Be Wild
2 Steppenwolf Magic Carpet Ride
3 The Band The Weight
4 The Guess Who These Eyes
5 Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now
6 Leonard Cohen Suzanne
7 The Band Up on Cripple Creek
8 The Irish Rovers The Unicorn
9 The Band The Night They Drove Old Dixie
10 Gordon Lightfoot Early Mornin’ Rain
Digital Songs by Decade — 1970s  
Rank Artist Title
1 Neil Young Heart of Gold
2 Neil Young Old Man
3 Trooper Where Here for a Good Time
4 Stompin’ Tom Connors The Hockey Song
5 Trooper Raise a Little Hell
6 Gordon Lightfoot The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
7 Gordon Lightfoot Sundown
8 The Guess Who American Woman
9 Bachman-Turner Overdrive You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
10 Gordon Lightfoot If You Could Read My Mind
Digital Songs by Decade — 1980s  
Rank Artist Title
1 Bryan Adams Summer of ’69
2 The Tragically Hip New Orleans Is Sinking
3 Leonard Cohen Hallelujah
4 Blue Rodeo Try
5 Rush Tom Sawyer
6 Bryan Adams Heaven
7 Alannah Myles Black Velvet
8 The Tragically Hip Blow at High Dough
9 Neil Young Rockin’ in the Free World
10 The Tragically Hip 38 Years Old
Digital Songs by Decade — 1990s  
Rank Artist Title
1 Sarah McLachlan Angel
2 Tom Cochrane Life Is a Highway
3 Celine Dion My Heart Will Go On
4 Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
5 Spirt of the West Home for a Rest
6 The Tragically Hip Wheat Kings
7 Shania Twain Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
8 The Tragically Hip Bobcaygeon
9 Sarah McLachlan I Will Remember You
10 Neil Young Harvest Moon
Digital Songs by Decade — 2000s  
Rank Artist Title
1 Hedley Perfect
2 K’Naan Wavin’ Flag
3 Nickelback Burn It to the Ground
4 Nickelback Rockstar
5 Deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire Ghosts ‘N Stuff
6 Hedley For the Nights I Can’t Remember
7 Finger Eleven Paralyzer
8 Nickelback Gotta Be Somebody
9 Karl Wolf feat. Culture Africa
10 Hedley Cha-Ching
Digital Songs by Decade — 2010s  
Rank Artist Title
1 Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell Blurred Lines
2 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe
3 Classified feat. David Myles Inner Ninja
4 Justin Bieber Love Yourself
5 Justin Bieber Sorry
6 Hedley Kiss You Inside Out
7 The Weeknd Can’t Feel My Face
8 Magic! Rude
9 Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj Beauty and a Beat
10 Drake feat. WizKid & Kyla One Dance
Source: Nielsen Music Canada — The top selling digital songs of the Nielsen Music Canada era from each decade.