I wonder what Peter Frampton, Toni Tennille and John Travolta did with their Juno Awards.
The Junos, as you probably know, are basically Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys. They’re bestowed each year by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to encourage and recognize the successes of Canadian artists in a variety of genres.
Since the awards began in 1970, most Canadian-born performers who have found a commercial foothold in America have taken home a Juno at some point or another. The list of past recipients ranges from Glenn Gould to Loverboy, from Oscar Peterson to Shania Twain, and from Bruce Cockburn to Bob & Doug McKenzie.
What I didn’t know, until today, is that the Junos have also handed out awards honoring the best-selling “international” single and album of the year — (this bit edited for clarity) which is to say, the top-selling single and album in Canada not recorded by a Canadian artist.
For a brief time, the Junos honored the “best international artist,” too. (Not sure if the artist award was based on sales, or was a value judgment.)
So, while the vast majority of Junos have been awarded to sons and daughters of the true north strong and free, a handful have been given to people whose only connection with Canada was touring there.
When I first read about that, it seemed like an odd bit of scope creep, giving these definitively Canadian awards to non-Canadians. The whole point of the Junos, after all, is to recognize the contributions of Canadians.
But I suppose these “international” awards don’t hurt anybody. They don’t change the scope and intent of the Junos as a whole. They don’t take awards away from Canadians. And they make for a good trivia tidbit.
If I had a Juno Award — the old ones look like metronomes, while the new ones look like human figures — I’d do with it what Bob Dylan does with his Oscar: I’d take it on tour with me and put it onstage in a different place each night.
Dylan can’t do that with a Juno Award because he’s never won one. But the following furriners have. (The list is not complete.)
-Frampton for Frampton Comes Alive!, international album of the year, 1977
-Australia’s finest, Men at Work, for Business As Usual, international album of the year, 1983
-Various artists, for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, international album of the year, 1989 (I hope Eric Carmen got a Juno, though I have a sneaking suspicion he didn’t)
-Milli Vanilli, for Girl You Know It’s True, international album of the year, 1990 (like their Grammy, this one was later taken away)
– The Captain and Tennille, for “Love Will Keep Us Together,” international single of the year, 1976
-Leo Sayer, for “When I Need You,” international single of the year, 1978 (beating out Elvis Presley’s “My Way;” I’m sure a posthumous Juno would have looked nice in the awards room at Graceland)
-Travolta, with Olivia Newton-John, for “You’re The One That I Want,” international single of the year, 1979 (can’t get much more international than an Aussie and a ‘Murican singing together, can you?)
-Supertramp, for Breakfast in America, international album of the year, 1980 (can’t get much more international than a band of Brits singing about America, can you?)
-Pink Floyd, for The Wall and “Another Brick In The Wall,” international album and single, 1981 (Nick Mason has two international Junos, so stand him a round next time you see him, huh?)
-The Rolling Stones, International Entertainers of the Year, 1991 (putting them ahead of their British Invasion rivals, the Beatles, who never won one as a group, though Lennon and McCartney have won one each — Lennon’s posthumously — as solo performers)
-Fittingly for an award given to foreigners: Foreigner, for “I Want To Know What Love Is,” international single of the year, 1985