lost password recovery

recover my password

Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact

sign in

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the Newsletter

Wheat Kings by The Tragically Hip

Album: Fully CompletelyReleased: 1992
  • This song is about David Milgaard, a Canadian man who served 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

    Milgaard was convicted of raping and murdering a woman named Gail Miller when he was 16 and sentenced to life in prison. It was a travesty of justice, as the case against him was built on flimsy evidence.

    Milgaard's family believed he was innocent and fought for him while he was in jail. His aunt contacted the Tragically Hip and when she told them about the case, the band helped them get signatures for a petition to help reopen the case and raise funds for his defense.

    Milgaard's case was overturned and he was released on April 16, 1992, prompting the band to write "Wheat Kings."
  • In the book Top 100 Canadian Singles, Gord Downie explained the inspiration for this song. "[It's] about David Milgaard and his faith in himself," he said. "And about his mother, Joyce, and her absolute faith in her son's innocence. And about our big country and its faith in man's fallibility. And about Gail Miller, all those mornings ago, just lying there, all her faith bleeding out into that Saskatoon snowbank."
  • The title is a reference to the farmers in Saskatchewan, where the crime took place. They were known as "wheat kings" after developing a popular strain of wheat that fueled the area economy.
  • The Tragically Hip are distinctly Canadian, and this song opens with the sounds of loons, a bird that appears on the one-dollar coin in the country. According to guitarist Rob Baker, the man who recorded the sounds threatened legal action, so the band agreed to make a donation to the conservation group Ducks Unlimited in his name.
Sign in or Register to post comments

Comments: 21

This is funny Wheat Kings is my fav and was the first waltz at our wedding last year. Ironic that it's about the death penalty. Love the Hip seen the 9 times so far :0)Ramona - Saint John, Nb
At a concert in Atlanta (Variety Playhouse) on October 21, 2009, Gordon Downie said this song was about the death penalty.Tom - Florence, Sc
The term "Wheat Kings" refers to the giant grain silos that are common in Manitoba and Saskatchewan where Milgaard's story played out. The murder occurred in Saskatoon and he served his time and was born in Manitoba

Milgaard served his 23 years at Stony Mountain Penitentiary, Manitoba
John - Missoula, Mt
My friends and I are big Hip fans, but we meet lots of folks who just "don't understand them." Who knows. This is a great song, much like all their others.
Everybody talks about "Up To Here" and "Fully, Completely." But my favorite album is "Day For Night."
Mike - Bellingham, Wa
Great song. I was somewhat familiar with The Hip, but thanks to Sirius Satellite Radio, I've been exposed to a lot more of their music. These guys and Blue Rodeo are two awesome Canadian bands.Mark - Springfield, Ma
May be most famous song referring to the Paris of the Prairies, Saskatoon.Rob - Saskatoon, Sk
The Hip is pretty big in Buffalo too!Scott - Orchard Park, Ny
The steven truscott case was a major factor in getting rid of the death penalty since he was sentenced to hang at the age of 14 before that was lowered to life in prison. He has also since been cleared, I actually first thought of that case when I heard this great song.Jeff - Calgary, Ab
I had noticed on several other lyric websites that the word "buried" in the song Wheatkings by the Hip was noted as "barried". Huh ?Jayne - Ottawa , Canada
If Gord said the Milgaard case was the reason they abolished the death Penalty in Canada he's wrong, David Milgaard was exonerated in 1997 and the Death Penalty was abolished on Jan. 14th, 1976. David Milgaard was only 16 when he was convicted of murder and he never received the death penalty, he received a life sentence.
Anyway, who cares if Gord downie makes things up, he's a musical genius, IMO.

Brent - Coquitlam, Canada
This is a Canadian anthem. I grew up on these guys, and I can still play any of their albums over and over without getting tired of them. The Hip are priceless.Jenna - Mission, Canada
The Hip have a pretty decent following here just south of the border. Saw them play an outdoor show at Sugarbush a few years back and they were amazing.Bill - Burlington, Vt
My dad brought me up listening to the hip and they have always been connected to fond memories. I think they should be in the dictionary on the same page as Canadian and in my opinion the best canadian band of the genre, hands down. Great song!Josh - Kooteneys, Canada
i love this song. and i cant believe im the only american to have commented so far, the hip is amazing.Tyler - Niagara Falls, Ny
any other canadians a little mad that the hip is like one of the best canadian bands ever, up there with neil young, and they are practically unknown in the U.S. I don;t get it man...the hip are awsome!!Mackenzie - Blessington, Canada
Love this song. Amazing facts too guys.Starry - Powell River, Bc, Canada
just an awesome song....great to chill toJamie - Surrey, Canada
I just saw The Hip in concert two weekends ago. Gord said that "Wheat Kings" is about a man who was convicted in the 1960s of a crime that he did not commit. I'm surprised I don't know the story, but Gord went on to say that the wrongful conviction is the reason that Canada does not have the death penalty anymore.Danton - Saskatoon, Canada
Any song that starts with a loon call is, by definition, pure awesome. Every time I hear it I think of camping on Georgian Bay, and being more than a little bit intoxicated as I sit with my friends next to the water.Franky - No Fixed Address, Canada
This is by far the best Hip song. My friends and I love to play this while drinking.James - Mississauga, Canada
This is another great song by the best Canadian band. There needs to be more people here talking about the Hip, im amazed nobody has commented on nearly any of their songs yet.Tom - Ralston, Canada
see more comments