Randy Bachman

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Randy Bachman
Randy Bachman

Randolph Charles Bachman, (born September 27, 1943) was lead guitarist, songwriter and a founding member for both the 1960s-70s rock band The Guess Who, and the 1970s rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Bachman was also a member of the band Brave Belt with Chad Allan and a band called Ironhorse, and has recorded numerous solo albums.



Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Randy Bachman has become a legendary figure in the rock and roll world through his talents as a guitarist, songwriter, performer and producer. He has earned over 120 Gold and Platinum album/singles awards around the world for performing and producing. His songwriting has garnered him the coveted #1 spot on radio play lists in over 20 countries and he has amassed over 40 million records sold. His songs have been recorded by numerous other artists and placed in dozens of television, movie and commercial soundtracks. His music has provided a veritable soundtrack of the last thirty years of popular music.

The Guess Who

In 1960, Bachman and Allan co-founded Al and The Silverstones in Winnipeg. By 1962, the band changed names to Chad Allan and the Expressions and later on to The Guess Who. In 1965, the Guess Who had a #1 hit in Canada with their cover of "Shakin' All Over", which also charted in the U.S. at #22. In 1966, Chad Allan left the band and Burton Cummings became the primary vocalist. Starting in 1968, the group released three successful albums: Wheatfield Soul (1968); Canned Wheat (1969); and American Woman (1970) which brought them mainstream attention. Bachman wrote or co-wrote (primarily with Cummings) most of the groups songs during this period.

In early 1970, the "American Woman" single hit #1 on the U.S. charts, a first for a band from Canada. Due to health concerns and desiring a change in lifestyle, which would include spending more time with his young family, Randy left the Guess Who at the height of their success. While this move stunned the music world, Randy knew that he could never leave music behind. He formed Brave Belt - a county rock outfit in 1970 and experimented with a new musical style and line up that eventually metamorphosed into Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Bachman Turner Overdrive

Bachman, formed Brave Belt - a county rock outfit in 1970 and experimented with a new musical style and line up that eventually metamorphosed into Bachman-Turner Overdrive, releasing their first self-titled album, Bachman-Turner Overdrive in May, 1973.

In December, 1973, BTO released their second LP, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, which featured the hits "Takin' Care of Business", which charted at #12 in the U.S., and "Let It Ride", which rose to #23. In 1974, they released the LP Not Fragile which hit #1 on the album charts. It also contained the #1 single "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" and the hit "Roll On Down The Highway" which charted at number 14.

BTO stayed on the charts with their next two albums, Four Wheel Drive and Head On, through the mid-1970s. The band began to fall apart in late 1976 with the recording of the Freeways album. Randy Bachman wrote or co-wrote all but one song and sang on every song but two. The album only scraped the charts at #70 in America and had no hit singles. He then left the band in mid-March 1977.

Post B.T.O.

After his depature from BTO, Randy recorded a solo album called Survivor. It did not chart in the U.S. . He formed a band with bassist/ singer Tom Sparks called Ironhorse and released its debut album in 1979. It contained the single "Sweet Lui-Louise" and the single charted at #36 in the U.S. and #26 in Canada. Sparks left after the tour for this album and was replaced by Bob Ludwig. Ironhorse, with Ludwig, released another album, Everything Is Grey, in 1980. In 1981, Fred Turner joined Ironhorse and the band changed its name to Union. BTO had broken up in early 1980. Union released one album before disbanding.


Randy joined The Guess Who reunion in 1983 with Burton Cummings and other members of the American Woman era. They did a tour of Canada and released a live video performance of it. Once The Guess Who reunion ended, Randy rejoined a new BTO reunion, consisting of Randy, Fred Turner, Tim Bachman, and Garry Peterson of The Guess Who on drums. Robin Bachman and classic line up guitarist Blair Thornton could not join the reunion. Randy stayed with with this version of the band until 1987 and they put out an album in 1984. The classic Not Fragile line-up reformed in 1988 and they toured together until 1991 when Randy left the group. It would be the last time he played with BTO. The Guess Who reunited, including Randy, on August 8, 1999.

Randy played on several tours with The Guess Who until July 31, 2003. Both he and Burton Cummings left the band and formed Bachman Cummings. They are currently on tour together in Canada. In 2000, he made a guest appearance on The Simpsons as himself with his former Bachman-Turner Overdrive bandmates, C.F. Turner and Robin Bachman. Simpsons creator Matt Groening (whose father is originally from Winnipeg), is a well known BTO fan. Homer Simpson yells at Bachman to "get to the working overtime part" while playing "Takin' Care of Business".

In 2001 Bachman received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba along with the other members of the Guess Who. In 2005 Bachman was awarded the Order of Manitoba, the highest award in the Province of Manitoba. Bachman, along with The Guess Who, was also the recipient of The Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, Canada's foremost distinction for excellence in the performing arts, in 2002. In 2008, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Bachman travels the world with his wife Denise to write with many European songwriters, including Douglas Carr (producer of the Swedish band Ace of Base) and Michael Saxell in Sweden. Bachman has also performed with Swedish rockers The Soundtrack of Our Lives and appears on a vinyl picturedisc with them from a live performance at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada's Commodore Ballroom in 2004.

Since the summer of 2005, Bachman created and is currently hosting the series Vinyl Tap on CBC Radio One, where he tells stories about music and musicians while playing appropriate recordings.

Randy helped Kalan Porter on his CD 219 Days. He suggested that Kalan do a drone on his violin on one of his songs, In Spite Of It All. He was also featured in his song, And We Drive, playing a guitar solo near the end of the song.

Bachman tours with his own band, the Randy Bachman Band and the Bachman-Cummings Band. He has also created a popular theatre show he calls "Every Song Tells A Story" featuring Bachman live and unplugged with his band, telling the stories behind the writing of his famous hits from the 1960s and 70s. Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings toured throughout Canada as Bachman & Cummings in the summer of 2006 with Toronto, Ontario, Canada's, The Carpet Frogs.

Randy Bachman has also released an album of original melodic jazz songs called "Jazz Thing" which is available on his official website.

Bachman's coast-to-coast CBC Radio One show Vinyl Tap, featuring Bachman playing audio recordings and reminiscing about his personal encounters with famous artists and musicians from his 50-year career in rock, runs from 7-9 p.m. every Saturday night and can be accessed via the CBC Radio One web site and Sirius channel 137. There is a replay of the Saturday show on the following Friday night at 11 pm. Streaming audio of the show is available through the internet in every Canadian time zone at http://www.cbc.ca/listen/

Although Randy and Fred turner are working on new songs for Randy's album, Randy has been noted for trying to put a Bachman-Turner Overdrive reunion together. However, the only former members of BTO that have been in any known discussions are Fred Turner and Randy Bachman.


Randy's career has been built upon his unstoppable drive to work at creating music. He has released numerous solo albums throughout his career, and has simultaneously worked at producing for other artists. His production/writing work with Canadian rock band Trooper generated gold and platinum record in the 1970's.

His love of guitar music and a desire to support some unsung and legendary guitar greats including his early mentor Lenny Breau, led him to found the jazz guitar record label Guitarchives which rescues and releases otherwise lost archival guitar music. As well he founded Ranbach Music, a label which releases archival Guess Who recordings, and other material which never made it to CD.



  • 1970 Axe
  • 1978 Survivor
  • 1992 Any Road - Referred on the cover simply as Bachman
  • 1993 Bob's Garage -
  • 1996 Merge
  • 1998 Songbook
  • 2001 Every Song Tells A Story
  • 2004 Jazz Thing
  • 2006 Bachman-Cummings Songbook - Compilation that features tracks from The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • 2006 The Thunderbird Trax - A compilation of previously unreleased material recorded by Bachman and Cummings in Bachman's tool shed back in 1987
  • 2007 Jazz Thing II
  • 2007 Jukebox - Bachman & Cummings album which is also Cummings' first studio album in 17 years since Plus Signs. The album features covers of songs by such artists as Bob Dylan, The Shadows and The Beatles
  • 2008 Takin' Care Of Christmas - A compilation of Randy performing classic Christmas songs, with the title track being a reworked version of BTO's "Takin' Care Of Business"
  • 2009 New album in the works for release in Fall of 2009. It will contain prerecorded tracks with Jeff Healey and Neil Young. It will also contain new material with former BTO vocalist/ bassist Fred Turner.

The Guess Who

  • 1968 - Wheatfield Soul
  • 1969 - Canned Wheat
  • 1970 - American Woman
  • 1970 - Share the Land
  • 1971 - So Long, Bannatyne
  • 1972 - Rockin'
  • 1972 - Wild One
  • 1973 - Artificial Paradise
  • 1973 - #10
  • 1974 - Road Food
  • 1974 - Flavours
  • 1975 - Power in the Music
  • 1976 - The Way They Were (previously unreleased tracks)

Live Albums

  • 1972 - Live at the Paramount
  • 1984 - Together Again
  • 1986 - The Best of the Guess Who Live (complete concert from the Together Again release)
  • 1998 - The Spirit Lives On
  • 1999 - Down The Road
  • 2000 - Running Back Thru Canada
  • 2004 - The Best of Running Back Thru Canada
  • 2004 - Extended Versions: The Encore Collection

Bachman Turner Overdrive

  • 1973 Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • 1973 Bachman-Turner Overdrive II
  • 1974 Not Fragile
  • 1975 Four Wheel Drive
  • 1975 Head On
  • 1977 Freeways
  • 1978 Street Action
  • 1979 Rock n' Roll Nights
  • 1984 Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • 1996 Trial By Fire: Greatest and Latest

Live Albums

  • 1977 BTO Live - Japan Tour
  • 1986 Live Live Live
  • 1994 Best of Bachman-Turner Overdrive Live
  • 1997 Motorcity Detroit USA Live
  • 1998 King Biscuit Flower Hour: Bachman-Turner Overdrive