If there’s one thing Canadians are useful for, it’s making Americans feel good about themselves. The biggest pick-me-up we’ve ever received from our neighbor to the north came in 1973, when Canadian radio commentator Gordon Sinclair unleashed “The Americans,” a spirited defense of our nation’s innovation and generosity. It was a time of great need for the U.S. — we had just left Vietnam, the Mississippi River was flooded and the dollar was in disarray — but as Sinclair’s oratory was rebroadcast across the land, it pulled Americans out of their doldrums and filled them with a patriotic fervor that lasted all the way until the Ford Administration.
Sinclair eventually recorded the speech as a single, but it was a cover by his fellow Canadian Byron MacGregor that was more successful, rising to No. 4 on the Billboard charts. All proceeds from both versions benefitted the American Red Cross, almost singlehandedly pulling the organization then from the brink of bankruptcy. Thanks, Canada!