With our Top Ten Men Without Hats songs we look at the career of an overlooked power pop who hail from Montreal, Canada. They were originally formed as a punk rock band in 1977. Frontman Ivor Doroschuk reformed them as a synth band in 1980 with a completely different line-up which included his brothers Stefen on guitar and Colin on bass, along with Jeremie Arobas on vocals and keyboards. They released their debut ep Folk of the 80s in 1980.
After having a few revolving line-up changes they released their full length debut in 1982 titled Rhythm of Youth. They had a hit off this record with “The Safety Dance” which was a worldwide hit across several different countries. In 1984 they released their second album Folk of the 80’s (Part 3) which was not as successful as the first record. After releasing the EP Freeways in 1985 they released their third album Pop Goes The Word in 1987, the title track of which was a big hit. In 1989 they released their fourth album The Adventures of Men and Women Without Hate in the 21st Century. By this point, Ivor was the only remaining original member. Then in 1991, they released their fifth album Sideways which was dramatically different in sound, being guitar dominated as opposed to synth based which was due to Ivor’s discovery of Nirvana, the band who were dominating the music scene at the time. However, this did not prove to be wise career move, as the album was received negatively and they split up in 1993.
After the split the members of Men Without Hats would go on the work other projects before they reformed and released No Hats Beyond This Point in 2003. However, the reunion was short lived and they split up again in 2004. Ivor reformed the band once again with just himself from the old line-up and he enlisted a group of hired musicians to play live. In 2012 they released Love In The Age of War. They are still currently in existence and are reportedly working on new material. Here is a list of their ten best songs.
# 10 – I Like
Kicking off our Top Ten Men Without Hats songs list is this track taken from their debut album Rhythm of Youth released in 1982. This song got to number eighty-four on the US Billboard charts. The album received Platinum status when it sold over 100,000 units. The record has had several different releases over the years.
# 9 – Modern Dancing
Next on the list we have the opening track of the band’s very first recording which was the EP Folk of the 80’s released in 1980. This track in particular was a minor dance hit on the local Montreal dance club scene. All four of the songs contained on this ep would later be included on their second ep Freeways released in 1985.
# 8 – Head Above Water
This next track was the lead single to be taken from Men Without Hats’ most recent album Love In The Age of War released in 2012. This was the band’s second album as they had broken up again after the previous album No Hats Beyond This Point released eight years previously. The album was produced by Dave Ogilvie from Skinny Puppy.
# 7 – Dancing In The Moonlight
Here we have a song taken from Men Without Hats Comeback album No Hats Beyond This Point released in 2003 which is its opening track. The album was the band’s first record in twelve years. The album was a return to the band’s original synth sound which they had abandoned on the previous album Sideways in favour of guitar based rock. The song has nothing to do with the either the Thin Lizzy song of the same name or the King Harvest song that was covered by Toploader.
# 6 – Where Do The Boys Go?
This song was the single taken from the band’s second album Folk of the 80’s (Part 3) released in 1984. The album got to 127 on the US Billboard 200 charts. It was the final album to feature both of Ivor’s brother Stefan and Colin. The recording of the album had to be put on hold because the band had to go on tour due to the previous album’s single “The Safety Dance” becoming a big hit.
# 5 – Sideways
Kicking off the second half of this list we have the title track from the band’s fifth album released in 1991 which was its lead single. Ivor stated in the press that the song is about “other ways of looking at things.” The song has a very different sound to what the band are known for, as does the whole album. It is not electronic based and is instead guitar based rock that is very reminiscent of a lot of the grunge and alternative rock bands that were around at the time such as Pavement and the Pixies.
# 4 – Hey Men
This next track is taken from Men Without Hats’ fourth album The Adventures of Women and Men Without Hate in the 21st Century released in 1989 as its debut single. The song is based on experiences that Ivor had as a child and is a song that is against domestic violence. Upon its release it got to number seventy-two on the RPM 100 charts where it debuted at number seventy-two. It was only moderately successful at first and disappeared from the charts before reappearing getting into the top ten, which was because of its message in the light of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre that happened later that year, in which ten women were murdered.
# 3 – Pop Goes The World
At number three is the lead single from the band’s third album of the same name released in 1987. It got to number one in Austria and number two in both Canada and Sweden. Originally written as an instrumental, it has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. The song is about two people called Johnny and Jenny who are both in a band and trying to become famous.
# 2- Nationale 7
Just off the top spot is this single released in 1985 which was released under the title “Freeways” which is the title of the ep on which it was included. When it was originally written in 1979, it was under this title. Ivor referred to it as “Nationale 7” until the released of this Ep. He also referred to it as “Men Without Hats Secret Single” as a reference to its use as a B side.
# 1- The Safety Dance
At the top of our list is this single released in 1982 taken from Rhythm of Youth. The song was written by Ivor Doroschuk after he had been kicked out of a nightclub for pogo dancing. The song peaked on the Canadian Top Fifty at number eleven. Although it did not immediately chart in the US, when it did it was an even bigger hit, getting to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 where it remained for twenty-four weeks.
Top 10 Men Without Hats Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to republish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission.