Shalom Life | January 15, 2015

Jewish Hall of Fame: Steven Page

The Canadian singer/songwriter earned a notable reputation as the frontman of the Barenaked Ladies

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: January 7th, 2015 in Culture » Music » News

Since the dawn of time, Jewish people have contributed greatly to various fields, from sports to entertainment to politics to porn. With our Breakthrough Jew feature, we recognize those who are up and comers in these various industries, identifying those great innovators and leaders in the contemporary world who are making a mark on society that will last a lifetime.

With the Jewish Hall of Fame, we recognize the remarkable advancements members of our community have made on today's society. These are people who have truly changed the world, and have earned the respect and praise of the members of today's younger generation.

ShalomLife’s Jewish Hall of Fame is our ongoing tribute to the greatest Jews who have ever lived; be sure to catch us weekly with our latest inductees, and tweet us @ShalomLife with your suggestions.

Check out last week's inductee into the Hall of Fame here.

Hall of Fame Member: Steven Jay Page

Born: June 22nd, 1970, in Scarborough, Ontario.

If you’ve ever seen the opening credits to the Big Bang Theory then you already know a little bit about Steven Page, as he and his former band, The Barenaked Ladies, are those responsible for the hit TV show’s theme song.

Page was born in Scarborough, Ontario. His mother was Ashkenazi Jewish and his father was of Anglo Protestant background. However his father converted to Judaism in order to marry his wife. Despite his father’s conversion, Page’s grandparents still disowned their daughter and Page’s Jewish heritage was the subject of an episode of the CBC show Who Do You Think You Are? Growing up in Ontario, Page was exposed to music at an early age. Both his father and brother were drummers, and Page spent ten years taking piano lessons.

Page attended Churchill Heights Public School in the school’s program for gifted children. While there he met Ed Robertson, but disliked him as he claimed that Robertson “stole” his best friend while in elementary school. The two boys continued on to Woburn Collegiate Institute, still disliking each other, until they ran into each other at a Peter Gabriel concert. There, the two boys got to know each other better and quickly became good friends. They even went on to become counselors at the Scarborough Schools Music Camp during the summer of 1988.

During their time as counselors, Page and Robertson began to collaborate musically together, with Page writing many of the duo’s songs. Later that same year, Robertson asked Page to perform at a charity event with him under the band name The Barenaked Ladies. Despite the band’s initial success, Page eventually attended York University for English literature, with a minor in theory and choral studies. However, with the band’s increased success, Page dropped out of York to dedicate himself to the band full-time.

Page was, at first, the primary songwriter for the band. The group’s first, second, and third albums consisted of songs either written entirely by Page, or in collaboration with him. However, as more records were produced, other bandmates, such as Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan who joined the band later on, had more of a creative input on the songwriting.

Page is also credited with being the band’s lead singer during the early stages of The Barenaked Ladies. Although Robertson also sang, he worked mostly as a backup vocalist to Page, although the credits for lead singer were split on their hit track “If I Had $1,000,000.” As Robertson’s songwriting developed, and the band produced more of his songs, Robertson began to increasingly sing lead.


Much like Robertson and Page played around with their roles for songwriting and lead vocals, the same can be said of their roles as guitarists. Although Robertson played lead guitar since the band’s inception, Page began to play lead for select songs, as opposed to rhythm, and the group produced albums.

During the 90’s, Page collaborated with songwriter Stephen Duffy. The two co-wrote several songs, which appeared on several of The Barenaked Ladies albums. In 2005, the collaboration between Page and Duffy resulted in Page’s solo album, The Vanity Project.

By 2004, Page was having concerns about the direction the band was taking. For both Snacktime! and Barenaked for the Holidays, Page remained uninvolved in the production of the albums. By 2009, and following a drug arrest in 2008, Page announced that he would be leaving the group in order to produce other personal solo projects.

One of his first solo pieces was writing the music for the production Bartholomew Fair: A Comedy, which premiered at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2009. He’s since produced several albums, including A Singer Must Die and Page One, and currently has a show called The Illegal Eater on the Esquire Network.

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