The Tragically Hip — often referred to simply as The Hip — formed in 1983. They took their name from a skit in the movie Elephant Parts by Michael Nesmith of The Monkees.
In 1987, the band signed a long-term record deal with MCA after former company president Bruce Dickinson saw them perform live at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario. Later that year they released the eponymous EP The Tragically Hip, though they were largely unrecognized until 1989's Up to Here. Up To Here established them as one of the best and most influential bands in Canada. In 1992, they created the Another Roadside Attraction festival, which tours Canada to promote small, unknown bands.
The band is immensely popular in Canada. They have never found great success in the United States, but have never specifically sought it. Their most-seen appearance in America was on March 20, 1995, when they appeared on Saturday Night Live with fellow Canadian Dan Aykroyd guest starring, and with John Goodman hosting. When touring in Canada they typically play to sold-out arenas; when touring in the United States they will play smaller venues and clubs, or festivals where they aren't the headliner. Performances abroad are usually attended by Canadian expatriates. The band permit recordings of their performances, so an active trading community thrives. The tone and content of much of their music is a paean to the Canadian experience and touches on such themes as small-town life, geography, and hockey.