Rush, Rita Macneil Win Music Industry Awards, November 23, 2009

Veteran rockers Rush took the international achievement award and Cape Breton folk singer Rita MacNeil won the national achievement award as the music industry organization SOCAN handed out its awards Monday night.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, the copyright collective for musical works, gives annual awards for Canada's top acts and recognizes songs and artists who get the most airplay.

Rush is coming off a year of successful international touring and the release of its album Snakes & Arrows Live. The band, which first toured in 1974, is also wooing a new generation by releasing its classic songs for download on the game Rock Band.

MacNeil continues to tour Canada, appearing frequently over the Christmas period with Men of the Deeps.

Veteran country singer Stompin' Tom Connors, who began singing in the 1940s, was given a lifetime achievement award.

Connors, 73, returned to touring in summer 2009. He is known for hits such as The Hockey Song, Bud the Spud, Sudbury Saturday Night and The Black Donnellys, which he re-released last year on iTunes.

Finger Eleven, the Burlington, Ont., band that won the Juno Award for rock album of the year in 2008, were recognized for both the top international hit - Paralyzer reached No. 6 on U.S. charts - and for great Canadian airplay for I'll Keep Your Memory Vague.

Kardinal Offishall's Dangerous, which won the Juno for single of the year in March, earned the SOCAN urban music award. The song, which also featured St. Louis-based Akon, reached No. 2 on the Canadian charts and No. 5 in the United States.

Also honoured for airplay in 2008:

  • Feist for 1-2-3-4.
  • Kreesha Turner for Don't Call Me Baby.
  • Hedley for For the Nights I Can't Remember.
  • Gord Bamford for Stayed 'Til Two.
  • Doc Walker for Beautiful Life.
  • Deric Ruttan for First Time in a Long Time.

Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter Alex Cuba, who released his second album Agua Del Pozo in 2008, won the Hagood Hardy award for overall success in jazz, instrumental or world music.

Ottawa-born composer James Rolfe, who writes for chamber ensemble, orchestra and opera, won the Jan V. Matejcek award for overall success in new classical music.

SOCAN also recognized songs that were played 100,000 times on Canadian radio, including five hits written by veteran singer-songwriter Tom Cochrane.

Among the Cochrane songs to reach the benchmark are Big League, Boy Inside the Man, I Wish You Well, Lunatic Fringe and No Regrets. His Life is a Highway has previously earned SOCAN honours.