Thursday, June 19, 2014

Spotlight on The Guess Who

The Guess Who put Canadian rock music firmly on the map from the late 1960s to the mid '70s with a few ballads, some psychedelia, and a mix of light and heavy rockers.
The Guess Who in 1970 

With keyboardist/vocalist Burton Cummings, guitarist supreme Randy Bachman as well as bassist Jim Kale and drummer Gary Peterson, and later guitarists Kurt Winter and Gary Leskiw (among others), The Guess Who placed 11 songs in the U.S. Top 40.

They first cracked the Top 10 at No. 6 in 1969 with the ballad, "These Eyes." That was followed by No. 10 "Laughing," and No. 5 "No Time," also in '69, before hitting No. 1 with double-sided recording"American Woman/No Sugar Tonight," in '70.

Other Top 20 hits for the Canadian rockers were No. 10 "Share the Land," No. 19 "Rain Dance," and No. 6 "Clap for the Wolfman."

A few of my favorites include "Undun," "Bus Rider," "Hang On to Your Life," "Star Baby," and "Friends of Mine."

I like The Guess Who because they could rock with the best groups and they could be socially conscious on songs such as "American Woman" "Hand Me Down World," and "Share the Land." And I believe their music still holds up very well after more than 40 years.

As in my previous "Spotlight on ..." posts, I'm curious as to why The Guess Who aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, despite being eligible since 1990. Furthermore, they've never been nominated for rock's highest honor.

They were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1987.

A variation of The Guess Who (with Kale and Peterson) still tours. I saw them about 15 years ago with Carl Dixon, formerly of April Wine, handling the lead vocals. They put on a good, solid show.

I also recommend the DVD, "The Guess Who: Roaming Back Thru Canada," to get a sense about great the original group was in concert.

Cummings had a good solo career ("Stand Tall") while Bachman formed the power group Bachman-Turner Overdrive ("You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," "Takin' Care of Business," "Let It Ride" and more).

Now listen to a few of the great tunes by The Guess Who:

Until the next time...

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