Bachman Turner Overdrive!

Gary: “What do you do after a Super-Group disbands?
The Guess Who

We are a very large country  (2nd in the World, Canada) but our population is less than 40 Million or about the population of California.  Artistically, we have many huge stars and in the late 60’s and early 70’s we had a Rock Group out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, called “The Guess Who“. 

Now when the two founders, Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, decided to end their collaboration, they  continued in the music business.  They would never be as successful as the “Guess Who”, because in 1969, the Guess Who outsold the Beatles. 

But they did continue on, and  eventually got over there differences and did re-unite.  This will chronicle Randy Bachman and I will do a separate post for Burton Cummings.

Randy Bachman
Bachman Turner Overdrive
Randy Bachman and Fred Turner


2010 / Roseland Ballroom NYC / with Paul Schaffer Fred Turner and a great band / Taking Care of Business /
1974 / You ain’t seen Nothin’ yet /
1974 / Roll on Down the Highway /
Let it Ride / Randy on Acoustic /
1988 / BTO / Let it Ride / Roll on down the Highway / Hey You / Four Wheel Drive /
2010 / Roseland Ballroom / Blue Collar /

In the year 2000 the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) encouraged, Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings to get the boys back together and go back to the city they started in, Winnipeg Manitoba.  I own the DVD, these guys could play and can play.  Here is a 9 minute, fantastic version of “American Woman” LIVE in Winnipeg during a thunderstorm 



Takin’ Care of Business / Mercury 73487 / June 1974 / #12 BB #3 Canada
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet / Mercury 73622 / October 1974 / #1 BB #1 Canada
Roll on Down the Highway / Mercury 73656 / February 1975 / #14 BB #4 Canada
Take it Like a Man / Mercury 73766 / February 1966 / #33 BB #24 Canada

Bachman-Turner Overdrive parlayed workmanlike heavy metal, a blue-collar image, and non stop touring into over 7 million records sold in the U.S. by 1977. The group —in various personnel combinations —has retained an impressive following in its homeland, where Randy Bachman is a respected guitar hero and successful solo artist.

Guess Who founders Chad Allan and Randy Bachman had left that group in 1966 and 1970 respectively [see entry]. After Bachman made a solo album (Axe, 1970), he teamed up with Allan and younger brother Robbie Bachman in Brave Belt. After two albums (Brave Belt I and Brave Belt II), Tim Bachman and vocalist/bassist Fred Turner replaced Allan, and Brave Belt became Bachman-Turner Overdrive, named in part after the truckers’ magazine Overdrive.

Twenty-five record companies rejected the band before Mercury released its 1973 debut album. Extensive touring netted BTO several hit singles, including “Let It Ride” (#23, 1974), “Takin’ Care of Business” (#12, 1974), “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (#1, 1974), “Roll On Down the Highway” (#14, 1975), “Hey You” (#21, 1975), and “Take It Like a Man” (#33, 1976). (Live recordings from 1974 resurfaced on a King Biscuit Flower Hour CD in 1998.) In 1975 Tim Bachman left to become a producer. That year Warner Bros. re-released Brave Belt II under the title As Brave Belt. With Randy Bachman’s departure in 1977 for a solo career (he released Survivor and later formed Ironhorse, which recorded two LPs, Ironhorse and Everything Is Grey), BTO’s momentum slowed considerably, although the group did release two more LPs.

The group disbanded for the first time in 1979 or 1980, but regrouped several times through the ’80s to tour under the names Bachman-Turner Overdrive and BTO (sometimes with Turner, sometimes without) while brother Robbie Bachman performed under the BTO moniker (again, not always with Turner along). The ensuing confusion caused Randy to file suit against his ex–band mates’ brother Robbie, Turner, and Thornton for rights to the band’s logo. Randy Bachman left for good in 1993, leaving the band to Robbie. The new lineup released 1996’s Trial by Fire, which included a mix of rerecorded Bachman-Turner Overdrive songs and a handful of new ones.

Randy Bachman tours occasionally with the reconstituted Guess Who (the latest reunion occurred in 2000) and also records as a solo artist. Nineteen-ninety-three’s Any Road (Sony, Canada), his first solo album of the decade, featured guest appearances by the guitarist’s protégé from their early days in Winnipeg, Neil Young, on “Prairie Town,” and by the Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins. Young also showed up on Bachman’s 2000 album Merge (True North, Canada). By the late ’90s he was working as a songwriter for hire, commuting between his Canadian home, London, and Nashville. His son, Tal Bachman, released a self-titled album on Columbia in 1999.



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