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"If I Had $1974" (sometimes written incorrectly as "If I Had $1,974" or "If I Had One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Four Dollars") is a song written by Steven Page and Ed Robertson and originally performed by Barenaked Ladies. It is one of, if not the first song ever co-written by Ed and Steve and is one of the band's most well-known and enduring songs in their native Canada. The song is also one of the most popular parts of the band's live show; performances feature large amounts of improvisation and banter that change from show to show.

History Edit

According to Ed in a 2001 interview, he began writing the song in summer 1988 to entertain kids on a bus as a counsellor for a school music camp. [1] The song became a staple of their live show and versions of it appeared on every pre-Gordon release. The song's popularity exploded after Gordon's release and a promo CD single was issued to radio stations later that year.[2] A proper CD and 12" vinyl single was released in the United Kingdom the following year. Another commercial single was released in the UK in 1996, with the line about "pre-wrapped sausages" edited out for time.

Having been one of the first songs Steve and Ed wrote together, it has the distinction of being played at virtually every full-length BNL concert (with the exception of most of the 2003 Peep Show tour).

After Steve's departure from the band in 2009, Kevin took over his vocal parts (with Jim providing harmony) in live performances. Along with "One Week", it was one of two songs Steve sang with the group for their first performance together in nine years at the Juno Awards in Vancouver on March 25, 2018.

Trivia Edit

  • The band reportedly recorded a different version of the song every day during the Gordon sessions and selected the version with the best banter.
  • In 2005, the song was selected as the #2 essential Canadian song in a CBC listener poll, beat out of the top spot by Ian & Sylvia's "Four Strong Winds" .
  • The line "but not a real green dress, that's cruel" was originally "with a tastefully rounded neck". The first recorded version to have the new line was on The Yellow Tape.
  • The song's mention of Kraft Dinner has often prompted audiences to throw boxes of the foodstuff onstage during performances of the song.

References Edit

  1. https://books.google.ca/books/about/The_Barenaked_Ladies_Chronology.html?id=sD7pBgAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y
  2. http://www.barenaked.net/discography.php
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