Fifty Mission Cap

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"Fifty Mission Cap"
Single by The Tragically Hip
from the album Fully Completely
Released January 1993
Recorded Battery Studios (London)
Genre Rock
Length 4:10
Label MCA
Writer(s) Rob Baker
Gordon Downie
Johnny Fay
Paul Langlois
Gord Sinclair
Producer(s) Chris Tsangarides
The Tragically Hip singles chronology
"Locked in the Trunk of a Car"
"'Fifty Mission Cap'"

"Fifty Mission Cap" is a song by Canadian rock group The Tragically Hip. It was released in January 1993 as the second single from the band's third full-length album, Fully Completely.


The song is a tribute to Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Bill Barilko, reintroducing Barilko's story to a younger generation,[1][2][3] and is among The Tragically Hip's most popular songs.[4][5]

The song's influence on public awareness of Barilko's story was such that the band is devoted an entire chapter in the 2004 book 67: The Maple Leafs, Their Sensational Victory, and the End of an Empire.[1]


The song's lyrics describe the mysterious disappearance of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Bill Barilko.[6] Barilko scored the Stanley Cup clinching goal for the Leafs over Montreal Canadiens in the 1951 cup finals.[6][7] Four months and five days later, Barilko departed on a fishing trip in a small, single-engine airplane with friend and dentist, Henry Hudson.[5] The plane disappeared between Rupert House and Timmins, Ontario, leaving no trace of Barilko or Hudson.[6]

Eleven years later, on June 7, 1962, helicopter pilot Ron Boyd discovered the plane wreckage roughly 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Cochrane, Ontario (about 35 miles off-course). Barilko was finally buried in his home town of Timmins, the same year that the Maple Leafs won their next Stanley Cup.[6]

The song's lyrics also reference the World War II style U.S. Army Air Corps, or U.S. Air Force officer's cap, mentioned in the song's title. The fifty mission cap was a cloth cap with visor issued to U.S. Army officers in World War II that developed a particular crush from the headphones that the bomber crews wore.


Chart (1993) Peak
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[8] 40


  1. ^ a b Woolsey, Garth (2004-12-12). "The sad decline". Toronto Star (Pay-per-view). 
  2. ^ Pagan, Ken (2005-05-31). "In Barilko's honour" (Pay-per-view). Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  3. ^ Hunter, Paul (2004-10-26). "Leaf legend's star on the rise again" (Pay-per-view). Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  4. ^ Ross, Sherry (2006-10-15). "THE TRAGEDY OF BILL BARILKO". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  5. ^ a b Hornby, Lance (2004-10-26). "The legend lives on". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Leafs pay tribute to Barilko". CBC Sports. 2001-05-01. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  7. ^ "Tragically Hip's Downie auditions for TV role". CBC News. 2005-02-17. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  8. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 57, No. 3, January 30 1993". RPM. Retrieved 2016-08-21. 

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