For someone who has been a driving force behind two very successful rock bands, most people could not tell you who Randy Bachman is. The two clues are in the title.
Starting in Winnipeg, Canada, Bachman teamed with Burton Cummings to form the “Guess Who.” Cummings is the voice you hear as lead singer, but Bachman is the lead guitarist and co-writer of most of the songs with Cummings.
Several songs of note from a vast body of work include: “American Woman,” “No Time,” “These Eyes,” “Undun,” “Hand me Down World,” ” Albert Flasher,” “Share the Land,” “No Sugar Tonight/ Mother Nature,” and many others. It is hard for me to pick a favorite as the quality of each is terrific, but if you held a gun to my head, I would say “Share the Land.”
After deciding to part ways, Bachman formed another group with his two brothers – Robbie and Tim – and Fred Turner. The band used the moniker “Bachman Turner Overdrive.” Often referred to as BTO, the band offered a heavier rock sound than the Guess Who.
Some of BTO’s songs include their anthem “Let it Ride,” the most radio played “Takin’ Care of Business,” “You ain’t seen Nothing Yet,” “Hey You,” and my personal favorite “Roll on Down the Highway.”
Even though Bachman is a major part of both groups, they have different sounds. In the Guess Who, Cummings is a very underrated singer whose voice is expressive. The lyrics are more poetic with terrific musicality in support of Cummings voice. “These Eyes” is a great example of their work – “these eyes have seen a lot of love, but they’re never going to see another one like you.”
Neither lead singer in BTO matches the vocal talents of Cummings. But, that is OK. The harder songs – “Let it Ride” and “Roll on Down the Highway” – have a more robust feel with the guitar lead. BTO’s other hits are more fun than gritty, but they do have great guitar riffs, as well. “Takin’ Care of Business” starts and continues with a well-known guitar riff that even AC/DC, who typically started each song with a guitar riff, would admire. My guess is this song would be the fan favorite at a concert.
If you are not familiar with either band, start with the Guess Who. You will likely recognize some of their songs. “American Woman” was later covered by Lenny Kravitz. But, you must give BTO a listen. They had a huge following as well.
“If your train’s on time, you can get to work by nine and start your slavin’ job to get your pay……..takin’ care of business.”