8 pop acts that made their mark on YTV’s Hit List

The show gave numerous acts their first big break in Canada.

September 18, 2015

Before you were watching MuchOnDemand or the The MuchMusic Top 30 Countdown, you probably got your music fix just like the rest of us, by cozying up to Tarzan Dan on YTV’s Hit List (an all-time AUX fave, naturally). In its first six seasons on air, Hit List played a diverse genre of music, but once our beloved Tarzan Dan left the building, the musical direction took a turn that not everyone would be in favour of — the dreaded pop music.

By 1997, Hit List moved with the times and for the next several seasons bands like The Moffatts, Spice Girls, and *NSYNC were taking over. In fact, Hit List has been noted on more than one occasion as playing an essential role in giving bands like The Backstreet Boys the early air time they needed to make it big in North America.

See if you still remember the pop acts below that made their mark on the Hit List (and our mixtapes) way back in the day.

Aaron Carter

Likely due to the major success The Backstreet Boys received in Canada thanks to the support of Hit List, Nick Carter’s little brother Aaron Carter found his way on our favourite television show as well. Hit List first began airing Aaron’s “Crazy little Party Girl” and “Crush On You” when he was just a wee tot that had yet to hit puberty. Aaron would continue to make music well into his teens until entering a treatment facility in 2011 for “emotional and spiritual issues”. After bouncing back from his demons, Aaron hit up a few reality shows, boy crushed publically on former girlfriend Hilary Duff, and toured Canada all before 2014 had ended. Currently, fans are still waiting for the release of his latest album.


This Irish girl group’s music videos were on high rotation between 1998 and 2000 on Hit List thanks to popular singles “C’est La Vie,” “Rollercoaster,” “Blame It on the Weatherman,” and “Jesse Hold On.” The band made up of twin sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch, Lindsay Armaou, and Sinéad O’Carroll found major success in Europe and North America during the tail end of the ‘90s, but ultimately broke up after their label dropped them in 2002. Subsequently B*Witched were reunited on the UK reality show The Big Reunion and released their third album as an EP titled Champagne or Guinness in September 2014.


Formed in 1996, Irish boy band Mytown released only one album, but that one self-titled disc was enough to get them front and center on Hit List back in 1999. This typical four-man boy band made up of members Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan, Terry Daly, and Paul Walker made a small splash in Canada thanks to YTV with their lead single “Party All Night.” Mytown parted ways in 2000, but O’Donoghue and Sheehan would later find great success when the formed pop rock group The Script in 2001 with third member Glen Power.


The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions M2M is that damn Pokémon music video. The Norwegian pop duo was featured on Pokémon: The Movie soundtrack back in 1999 and if you listen to the lyrics you will understand how that is totally confusing. Hit List loved to play the crap out of this music video and ultimately all other music videos released by band. Childhood friends Marion Raven and Marit Larsen decided to disband M2M after they were dropped from their label while on tour with Jewel in 2002. They both later went on to build solo careers and still perform today.


5ive rode the boy band wave in the ‘90s with a ton of success and they definitely had their share of the limelight on Hit List. The music video for “When the Lights Go Out” was arguably their most popular and probably had you convinced that every bowling alley always doubles as a dance floor. The group consisted of Sean Conlon, Ritchie Neville, Scott Robinson, Abz Love, and Jason “J” Brown, who stuck together until 2001. Since then the band has tried to re-form several times but have yet to successfully sign on all five members, which of course poses a problem because 5ive.


Remember back in the day when reality TV tried to make boy bands happen with Making The Band? That’s how the wonder that is O-Town came into our life and things have never quite been the same since Ashley Parker Angel batted his beautiful lashes. Surprisingly, Erik-Michael Estrada, Trevor Penick, Jacob Underwood, Dan Miller, and Ashley managed to keep those bubble gum tunes and on-point choreography together until J. Records dropped the band in late 2003. This year all of the members except Ashley agreed to form again and their efforts were met with a giant flop.


Billie Piper known back then by her stage name “Billie” made an impressive mark on Hit List with her music videos for popular singles “Because We Want To” and “Girlfriend.” Though she received major success in the UK, Billie decided to retire from her singing career in 2003 and went on to lead a fairly lucrative career in television. You may have seen her on shows like Doctor Who, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, or most recently as Brona Croft in Penny Dreadful. But for every teen boy or girl that listened to pop music, she will always be known as our favourite Honey To the B.


German singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim was a very popular artist on Hit List — most Canadians would probably have never heard of him if it weren’t for the show playing his videos each week. Gil was discovered in a Munich underground station by a talent scout for Bravo magazine. After doing a spread for the mag, several fan letters came flying in and BMG offered him a recording contract (yup—it was that easy). Gil experienced major success in Germany from 1998 until 2003 when he realized he was over being a pop idol. He is now married with a child and sings lead vocals for his two bands Zoo Army and Acht.

Bravo All Stars


This one is just a bonus with a simple question: aside from the obvious, did you know who any of these artists were before Hit List was playing this video?

Exclusive videos, interviews, contests & more.

sign up for the a.side newsletter

sign up