From 1985 to 1992, The Raccoons was an inescapable force on Canadian TV. The animated environmentalist fable followed Bert, Ralph and Melissa Raccoon in their quest to stop cigar-chomping aardvark Cyril Sneer from clear cutting Evergreen Forest. Retromania reigns for Schaeffer the sheepdog and co., but the show’s greatest cultural contribution is its closing credits theme: The immortal “Run With Us.”
Etobicoke-born actress and musician Lisa Lougheed originally joined the cast as the voice of Lisa Raccoon, yet the show’s creators took note of her powerful pipes. In season one, the original version of the theme was performed by Steve Lunt, who also claims a songwriting credit for Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.” By 1987, Lougheed was asked to re-record “Run With Us”, delivering the soaring slow-burner version we now know and love.
This all-time top five CanCon banger appeared on Lougheed’s debut album, Evergreen Nights, featuring other songs from the show’s soundtrack with endearingly generic ’80s titles like “Growing Up”, “Hold Back Tomorrow” and “Don’t Fear the Fire”. The video for “Run With Us” is an equally awesome hairspray blast of nostalgia complete with squealing guitars, synchronized dance moves, and clips from the cartoon. Watch it below.
We’re clearly not the only ones who love this song with passion in our eyes. It earned Lougheed a Juno nod for for “Most Promising Female Vocalist” in 1989, a #8 spot on the Adult Contemporary charts, as well as a French version by Jano Bergeron translated to “Viens Vers Nous.” Others concerned parents were less pleased, confusing the song for a drug dealer anthem offering “everything you need.” Welp.
“Run With Us” has since been rediscovered and covered by artists like big room trance outfit Spray, alt-rockers The Morning After, and appeared on the soundtrack of Halifax horror-comedy Hobo With A Shotgun. Most recently, synth-pop crooner Matt Fishel was granted permission by Raccoons creator Kevin Gillis to compile scenes from the show for a sincere tribute video. Run with us, we are free…