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Men Without Hats

Men Without Hats
With some members ironically adorned with hats, Men Without Hats performing in 2011
Background information
Origin Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genres New wave, synthpop
Years active 1977–1992, 2003, 2010–present
Labels Virgin, MCA, Mercury, Sire, Statik, PolyGram
Website .comsafetydance
Members Ivan Doroschuk
Lou Dawson
James Love
Rachel Ashmore
Past members Stefan Doroschuk
Jeremie Arrobas
Colin Doroschuk
Derek Mansfield
Lysanne Thibodeau (aka Lisanne/Lisan/Lynne Tibodo)
Roman Martyn
Jean-Marc Pisapia
Tracy Howe
Daniel Wheeler
Mike Gabriel
Johnny Souranis
Joe Roberts
Allan McCarthy
Lenny Pinkas
Bruce Murphy
Marika Tjelios
Richard Sampson
Heidi Garcia
Mark Olexson
Brandon Biernacki
James Bryan
Sean Kinney
Mark Arm
Evan Gilsenan
Luke Scarisbrick

Men Without Hats is a Canadian new wave group from Montreal, Quebec. Their music is characterized by the distinctive baritone voice of their lead singer Ivan Doroschuk as well as their elaborate use of synthesizers and electronic processing. They achieved their greatest popularity in the 1980s with "The Safety Dance", a worldwide Top Ten hit (#3 in the United States) and "Pop Goes the World".


  • History 1
    • Early days 1.1
    • International success 1.2
    • Break-up and reformation 1.3
  • Discography 2
    • Studio albums 2.1
    • EPs 2.2
    • Compilation albums 2.3
    • Singles 2.4
    • Music videos 2.5
    • DVDs 2.6
  • Covers 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Early days

Men Without Hats initially consisted of Ivan Doroschuk (vocals, keyboards) and Jeremie Arrobas (keyboards & electronics), as well as Ivan's brother Stefan (guitars), with various other members joining and leaving the group, including a third Doroschuk brother, Colin (electronics). The band was founded in 1977 in Montreal and would undergo numerous personnel changes through the rest of the decade with Stefan, Colin, and Arrobas as the only relative constants joining Ivan. The name came about because Ivan and his two brothers, following the self-described principle of "style before comfort", refused to wear hats during Montreal's cold winters, calling themselves "the men without hats." (A popular but apocryphal tale is that an announcer at an early gig misread the band's name as "Men Without Pants."[1])

Their first release was the EP Folk of the 80's, released in 1980. At this point, the band officially consisted of Ivan Doroschuk and Jeremie Arrobas; also appearing on the EP were auxiliary members Stefan Doroschuk (bass), Roman Martyn (guitars) and Lynne Thibodeau (backing vocals).

Shortly after the release of the EP, Martyn left and was replaced by Jean-Marc Pisapia, who would later found The Box. Pisapia stayed only a short time before leaving; he was replaced briefly by Tracy Howe, who also left in short order, co-founding Rational Youth shortly after his departure. Howe was around at just the right time to be credited on a reprint of Folk of the 80's, but didn't actually play on it.

Howe's interim replacement, Daniel Wheeler, spent a short time as the group's percussionist, before departing for a brief, but successful, career in United States state politics after being elected to the State of South Dakota School Board. Mike Gabriel also joined Men Without Hats around this time of constant membership turnover and by 1982 both Arrobas and Gabriel would leave to work with Pisapia in a new (pre-The Box) band, Checkpoint Charlie, before eventually forming their own group, Isinglass.

International success

Ivan and Stefan Doroschuk (now promoted to full membership status) subsequently recruited Allan McCarthy (percussion, electronics) to join the group, and recorded their 1982 debut album Rhythm of Youth. The band subsequently enjoyed a hit in Canada with "The Safety Dance", which peaked at No. 11 in May 1983. Soon after, the trio erupted onto the international scene when "The Safety Dance" spent four weeks at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and was also a major hit in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 6,[2] and reached the top ten in various European countries. The song also peaked at No. 2 in New Zealand, and was rated the eleventh biggest selling single of the year in South Africa in 1983.

Adding Colin Doroschuk (who had guested on Rhythm of Youth) as an official fourth member, Men Without Hats released the album Folk of the 80's in 1984. While lead single "Where Do The Boys Go?" was a top 40 hit in Canada, the album failed to match the international success of Rhythm of Youth.

In 1985, the band released the EP Freeways, consisting of multiple (and multi-lingual) remixes of one of their earliest efforts, Ivan Doroschuk and Jeremie Arrobas's 1980 "Freeways". To support the EP, the group undertook a related tour, footage from which would later (in 2006) be released on DVD as Live Hats.

Reshuffling the line-up again, the band released the album Pop Goes the World in 1987 with Ivan, Stefan and Lenny Pinkas. The album's title track reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 2 on the Canadian Singles Chart, and was No. 1 in Austria. The song was also featured in the 1987 film Date with an Angel and became the fifteenth biggest selling single in South Africa for 1988. The touring band added Bruce Murphy on keyboards and guitar, Marika Tjelios on bass, Richard Sampson on drums, and Heidi Garcia on vocals and keyboards.

Their next album, The Adventures of Women & Men Without Hate in the 21st Century, released in 1989, featured a cover of ABBA's song "SOS". The musicians on the album were essentially the touring band from Pop Goes the World. Their 1991 album Sideways, dominated by processed electric guitars instead of keyboards, revealed a dramatically different sound for the band due to synthpop going out of style. The album failed to attract an American label, despite the group's efforts to convince their own record label. Soon after this career setback, the band officially disbanded, although Ivan Doroschuk and keyboardist Bruce Murphy would record several demos in 1993, for a concept album tentatively titled 'UFO's are Real', which was never released.

Break-up and reformation

In 1995, former band member Allan McCarthy died due to AIDS complications. Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk released a solo album, The Spell, in 1997. Stefan and Mack MacKenzie (of 3 O'Clock Train) released Ride of Glory, a post-modern Western-themed CD. Stefan and Ivan Doroschuk later regrouped in 2003 to release the album No Hats Beyond This Point.

On September 24, 2010, Ivan reformed Men Without Hats, with three hired backup musicians, and appeared at the Rifflandia Music Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, performing ten songs from the Men Without Hats back catalogue. The Ivan-fronted band (described by the Austin American-Statesman as "simply singer Ivan Doroschuk and some hired guns"[3] and by Stefan as a "tribute band"[4]) began the "Dance If You Want Tour 2011" with a well-attended and positively received performance at Austin's South by Southwest event in March, 2011.[5] At the North by Northeast festival in Toronto on June 18, Ivan announced that Men Without Hats would be releasing a new studio album, and that it would be entitled "Folk of the 80s: Part IV". On June 19, 2011 he played at the Festival "Sound of Music" in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. On March 6, 2012, the band announced via Facebook that their album would be called Love in the Age of War and be released in May of that year. The album was released in June 2012 and received mostly favorable reviews.

In 2013, Men Without Hats toured around the U.S. as part of the 80's themed Regeneration Tour with other acts such as Howard Jones, Andy Bell of Erasure, and Berlin.


Studio albums


Compilation albums


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Dance
US Main
1982 "I Like" 84 Rhythm of Youth
"The Safety Dance" 11 7 2 6 3 1 21
  • CAN: Gold[12]
  • UK: Silver[13]
"I Got the Message" 99
"Living in China"
1984 "Where Do the Boys Go?" 30 39 Folk of the 80's (Part III)
1987 "Pop Goes the World" 2 1 15 20 27
  • CAN: Gold[12]
Pop Goes the World
"Moonbeam" 23 46
1989 "Hey Men" 8 The Adventures of Woman & Men
Without Hate in the 21st Century
"In the 21st Century" 35
1991 "Sideways" 50 Sideways
2012 "Head Above Water" Love in the Age of War
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

  • "Nationale 7"
  • "Security"
  • "Antarctica"
  • "The Safety Dance"
  • "I Like"
  • "Where Do the Boys Go?"
  • "Pop Goes the World"
  • "Moonbeam"
  • "Hey Men"
  • "In the 21st Century"
  • "Sideways"



See also


  1. ^ "ihistory". Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Men Without Hats". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Joe Gross, "At SXSW, 1990s bands feel different from 1980s band", Austin American-Statesman, March 18, 2011.
  4. ^ Stefan Doroschuk, Men Without Hats Official Forum, February 2nd 2011.
  5. ^ Lynn Saxberg, "Sexsmith, Men Without Hats score as festival wraps up", The Vancouver Sun, March 22, 2011.
  6. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada - Top Singles". RPM. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ " - Austria Top 40". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ " - New Zealand charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Men Without Hats Album & Song Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Men Without Hats Album & Song Chart History - Dance/Club Play Songs". Billboard. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Men Without Hats : Allmusic : Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum Search - Music Canada - Singles".  
  13. ^ "BPI Searchable Database". BPI. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Lazlo's Discography Machine: Men Without Hats
  • Jeremie Arrobas official site
  • 2012 interview for Innerviews
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