Canadian Rock and Roll and Blue-Eyed Soul starts here (free stream or download).
"As a member of Guess Who, I think 'No Time' was the best thing we ever did. It was a pivotal song in our career." – Burton Cummings, lead singer, The Guess Who
Starting off as a blues-based garage rock band in Winnipeg, the band we now know as The Guess Who originally were called Chad Allan and Silvertones way back in 1958. After several name changes, the band had their first hit in the U.S. with a cover of “Shakin’ All Over” with lead vocalist Bob Ashley, with the group unknowingly retitled The Guess Who as a record company promotional gimmick in 1965, and the name stuck. The thought of lengthy touring didn’t sit well with their vocalist, and he was replaced with Burton Cummings, who had previously been with another Winnipeg group, The Deverons.
Several line-up changes happened during the following two years, which saw Allan leave the group. The band quickly found a steady line-up after a disastrous trip to England, which subsequently saw the group becoming the house band for a Canadian rock program for two years, The Swingers. The band tightened up their sound and found their own groove.
The band’s manager found them a new producer and a new label. Their hard work paid off in spades and suddenly, the group scored a string of million-selling singles, with a sound that drew equally from the then-emerging hard rock sound and Cummings own blue-eyed soul hitting the mark for their equally impressive ballads. They also happened to become a favorite of legendary rock critic Lester Bangs, who wrote about them often in the pages of Creem magazine.
During this period, The Guess Who became the only the second Canadian group to score a #1 Billboard single with “American Woman”, and the first Rock act to achieve the feat. Previously, doo-wop group The Crew Cuts had hit the pole position back in 1954 with a cover of “Sh-Boom”. Sadly, Randy Bachman, who penned many of these hits, left the group during this time to form a new group, Bachman-Turner Overdrive. As the legend goes, Bachman, a Mormon, was unhappy with the “rock and roll” lifestyle. Undaunted, the band soldiered on through 1975. The group released over two dozen singles and 15 albums of new material. Cummings eventually went solo, ending the ten-year initial run of a band that would become classic rock mainstays.
1. Shakin' All Over
2. Hand Me Down World
3. These Eyes
4. Dancin' Fool
5. No Time (Canned Wheat LP version)
7. Share The Land
9. American Woman (full length LP version)
10. Sour Suite
12. Clap for the Wolfman (featuring Wolfman Jack)
13. It’s My Pride
14. No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature (full length LP version)
15. When The Band Was Singin' "Shakin' All Over"
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Love to you all.
Ben "Bear" Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX