Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Randy Bachman

As part of two Canadian rock groups, guitarist/singer Randy Bachman has

been responsible for some rock standards, including "American Woman" and

"Taking Care of Business."

Randall Charles Bachman was born 56 years ago today in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

He and singer/guitarist Chad Allan formed the rock band the Silvertones,

later called Chad Allan and the Expressions. In 1965 the band recorded

Johnny Kidd and the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over," which became a hit in

Canada and reached the top 40 in the States.

The Expressions' album of the same name listed on its jacket "Guess Who?"

as the artist. It was an attempt by Quality Records, the band's label,

to mislead consumers into thinking that the LP — which was issued

at the height of the British Invasion bands' popularity — was by a

famous group under an alias.

The moniker "the Guess Who" stuck with the band. In 1966 singer/keyboardist

Burton Cummings became the group's lead vocalist after Allan's departure.

Despite success in Canada, the Guess Who didn't score another hit in the

U.S. until 1969's "These Eyes." One year later, the Guess Who topped

Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart with "American Woman."

When performing for President Richard Nixon, the Guess Who were asked by

Pat Nixon to exclude the song, which contained anti-U.S. sentiments.

Bachman became a Mormon around this time and began to clash with the

rest of the group's partying lifestyle. He quit in 1970, first recording

the solo LP, Axe, and then forming a more metal-oriented band

called Brave Belt with Allan and bassist C.F. Turner. The group also

included Bachman's drummer brother Robbie. Their other brother, Tim,

soon replaced Allan and the band changed its name to Bachman-Turner

Overdrive, in honor of the trucker magazine Overdrive.

BTO, as the group was also known, hit it big with 1973's Bachman-Turner

Overdrive II, including the hit singles "Let It Ride" and "Taking

Care of Business." Blair Thornton replaced Tim Bachman before the band

issued its biggest smash, 1974's Not Fragile. The heavy-rock LP

featured the hits "Roll On Down the Highway" and the chart-topping "You

Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" (RealAudio

excerpt).

After 1975's Four Wheel Drive and Head On failed to match

that success, Randy Bachman left the band, which continued on as BTO for

a few more albums. Randy issued the solo Survivor and formed

the group Ironhorse.

In the '80s Randy led a revival of Bachman-Turner Overdrive at the same

time that Robbie toured with a band called BTO. Randy also toured with

a revamped version of the Guess Who.

Randy issued the solo Any Road in 1993. It included guest appearances

by fellow Canadians Neil Young and the Cowboy Junkies' Margo Timmins.

Three years later Young joined Bachman again on the latter's Merge,

which featured the two teaming on the 10-minute track "Made in Canada."

Bachman has participated in two covers of "Taking Care of Business" (by

the Vancouver punk band DOA and by the U.S. band Dread Zeppelin). He has

also worked with Canadian artists such as Leslie Spit Tree-o and Hardship

Post.

In 1995 Bachman joined Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band. This year he

toured as a solo act.

Other birthdays: Meat Loaf, 52; Greg Ham (Men at Work), 46; Robbie

Shakespeare (Sly and Robbie), 46; Shaun Cassidy, 40; and Mark Calderon

(Color Me Badd), 29.