Randy Bachman

Randolph Charles Bachman, OC OM (/ˈbækmən/; born September 27, 1943) is a Canadian musician, lead guitarist, songwriter and a founding member of classic rock band The Guess Who and hard rock band Bachman–Turner Overdrive. Bachman was also a member of Brave Belt, Union and Ironhorse, and has recorded as a solo artist. He is a national radio personality on CBC Radio, hosting the weekly music show, Vinyl Tap.[1] Bachman was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2016.

Randy Bachman
Bachman in concert in 2009
Bachman in concert in 2009
Background information
Birth nameRandolph Charles Bachman
Born (1943-09-27) September 27, 1943 (age 77)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Occupation(s)Musician, guitarist, songwriter, radio personality
  • Guitar
  • Vocals
Years active1960–present
Associated actsChad Allan and the Reflections, Chad Allan & the Expressions, the Guess Who, Ironhorse, Union, Brave Belt, Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Bachman Cummings, Bachman & Turner,Carl Wilson & The Beach Boys

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Karl (Charlie) Bachman and Anne (Nancy) Dobrinsky, Bachman is of half German and half Ukrainian ancestry.[2] At age three, he won a singing contest on CKY's King of the Saddle program and age 5 he had started studying the violin in the Royal Toronto Conservatory system.[3] He studied violin until the age of 12 when he grew dissatisfied with the structured lessons.[4] He found that while he couldn't read music, he could play anything if he heard it once; he referred to it as his phonographic memory.[3]

At age 15, Bachman saw Elvis Presley play on Tommy Dorsey's television show and the sight of the guitar around Presley's neck inspired him. He learned three chords from his cousin, then started practising on a modified Hawaiian dobro.[4] At age 16, Bachman met Lenny Breau and during the next two years Breau taught Bachman finger picking. Breau also introduced him to Chet Atkins' music.[3]

In 1959 Bachman bought a ticket to see Les Paul in concert at a Winnipeg supper club but could not get in as he was too young. He instead helped Paul set up before the show and also helped him reload everything into the car after the show. Still a budding guitarist at this point, Bachman asked Paul if he could teach him a guitar lick; Paul ended up teaching his version of "How High the Moon".[5][6]

He was initially a good student at school until he took up the guitar, when he focused on that instrument to the exclusion of his education. He passed Grade 9 at Edmund Partridge Junior High School, but repeated both the 10th and 11th grades, initially at West Kildonan Collegiate. In his second year of Grade 11, he was placed in a class of students who mostly either "flunked or dropped out and came back", and was asked to be class president by the teacher, who thought he had "discipline and determination" because he had been playing violin since the age of five. He was expelled from West Kildonan in the middle of that year because of his "lack of studiousness", and finished his schooling at Garden City Collegiate. He went on to study business administration at what is now Red River College, but did not graduate.[7]

Profession musical careerEdit

The Guess WhoEdit

In 1960, Bachman and Chad Allan co-founded Al and The Silvertones in Winnipeg. By 1962, the band changed their name to Chad Allan and the Expressions and later to The Guess Who. In 1965, the Guess Who had a #1 hit in Canada with their cover of Johnny Kidd's "Shakin' All Over", which also charted in the US at #22. In 1966, Chad Allan left the band and Burton Cummings became the primary vocalist. Between 1966 and 1968, The Guess Who laboured mostly in their home country, releasing a few singles that managed to crack the Top 40 in Canada. In early 1969, the group finally broke through internationally with the hit song "These Eyes", co-written by Bachman and Cummings. The Guess Who released three successful albums over the next two years: Wheatfield Soul (1969), Canned Wheat (1969), and American Woman (1970), which brought them mainstream attention. Bachman wrote or cowrote (primarily with Cummings) most of the group's songs during this period.[citation needed]

In early 1970, the single "American Woman" hit #1 on the US Hot 100 charts, a first for a band from Canada. A group composition, the song critiques the "ghetto scenes" and "war machines" of the US, reflecting the Guess Who's experiences of extensive touring in large American cities. With the Vietnam War at its peak, many American men went to Canada to escape US Military service. Bachman left the band at the height of its popularity, shortly after the release of American Woman. He has been quoted as leaving due to the other band members' lifestyle choices conflicting with his beliefs upon converting to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in addition to wanting to spend more time with his family members.[8] He was also suffering health problems related to his gall bladder and needed to be under a doctor's care, something that was difficult to do while on the road.[9]

Brave Belt and Bachman–Turner OverdriveEdit

Before his departure from The Guess Who in May 1970, Bachman recorded an instrumental solo album for RCA Records, Axe, over three days in March 1970. The following year, he formed the country rock band Brave Belt with Chad Allan. Brave Belt released its first self-titled LP in 1971. Robbie Bachman was the drummer for Brave Belt, at barely 18 years-old. Fred Turner subsequently joined Brave Belt on bass and vocals, resulting in the band evolving into a heavier sound, which led to the departure of Chad Allan.

Left with a three-member line-up, Tim Bachman joined as a second guitarist before Brave Belt disbanded for its members to form another band. With this lineup, the members formed a new band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and signed a record deal with Mercury Records. Often referred to as "B.T.O." for short, they released their first self-titled album, Bachman–Turner Overdrive in May 1973.

In December 1973, the band released their second album, Bachman–Turner Overdrive II. This album brought the band a greater commercial success than their debut, with hits such as "Takin' Care of Business" and "Let It Ride", which charted at #12 and #23 in the US, respectively. In 1974, they released their third album titled, Not Fragile. The release hit #1 on the album charts in both Canada and the United States. The album contained the hits, "Roll On Down the Highway" and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet", which charted at #14 and #1, respectively. With the latter, Randy had the rare accomplishment of recording an American chart-topper for two different Canadian bands; the other being "American Woman" while he was in The Guess Who.[citation needed]

The band remained on the charts through the mid-1970s with their next two albums, Four Wheel Drive and Head On. With these albums, they successfully had additional hit songs with "Hey You", "Take It Like a Man", and the jazz-oriented "Lookin' Out For No. 1". In late-1976, during the recording of their sixth studio album Freeways, some disagreements surfaced within the band. Bachman wrote all but one song and sang on every song but two, while some of the other band members felt that they didn't have enough good material to record and wanted to delay the release. Upon its release, the album charted at #70 in the US, but had no hit singles. Randy Bachman officially quit the band in mid-March 1977. The rest of the band would continue to record and tour until the end of the decade, after Randy agreed to sell the rights to the "BTO" name to the remaining band members.


After his departure from Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bachman recorded a second solo album titled, Survivor. This release failed to chart in the US. Following the release, he formed a new hard rock band with bassist/singer Tom Sparks, called Ironhorse. Ironhorse released their debut self-titled album in 1979. It contained the single "Sweet Lui-Louise", which charted at #36 in the US and #26 in Canada, and performed well in other parts of Europe including Italy. After the tour for this album, Tom Sparks left the band and was replaced by Frank Ludwig. The band released a second album in 1980 titled, Everything Is Grey. The release contained pop rock influences with greater use of keyboards than the first album. After BTO broke up in early-1980, Fred Turner and Randy formed a new band called Union, and released only one album titled, On Strike in 1981.

Later in the documentary From Rags to Riches and Back, Randy recalled building up a net worth of close to $10 million by 1977, only to go broke within four years. He credits these events to his divorce from his first wife Lorayne Stevenson and the court battles over custody of their children, as well as heavy investment in musical projects that did not become fruitful.[10]

1980s-1990s & ReunionsEdit

Bachman rejoined The Guess Who in 1983 with Burton Cummings and other members of the American Woman era, for a publicized reunion. The band toured Canada and released a video of live performances. After The Guess Who reunion ended, Bachman rejoined Bachman-Turner Overdrive with Fred Turner, Tim Bachman, and Garry Peterson of The Guess Who taking over on drums. The reformed band released the self-titled Bachman-Turner Overdrive in 1984, as well as a live album in 1986, after which they opened for Van Halen during the 5150 tour in 1986. By 1987, Randy left the band.[11]

By 1988, Bachman-Turner Overdrive had reformed again, this time with the popular 1974-77 lineup. The band toured together until 1991, when Randy again departed. Randy returned to The Guess Who for a reunion performance in August 1999, in Winnipeg at the end of the XIII Pan Am Games.[12]


Bachman continued as a member of The Guess Who, and played with them on several tours. In 2000, he made a guest appearance on The Simpsons in an episode as himself, in a fictionalized reunion with his former Bachman–Turner Overdrive band-mates, C.F. Turner and Robin Bachman. Series creator Matt Groening, whose father is originally from Winnipeg, is a self-professed fan of the band. During their performance in the episode, Homer Simpson humorously yells "get to the working overtime part" while they perform "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. That year he won three SOCAN Classic Awards.[13][14] In 2005, Bachman was awarded the Order of Manitoba, the highest award in the Province of Manitoba.[15] He was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame for the first time, for his time with The Guess Who in 2001.[16] In 2002, The Guess Who were recipients of The Governor General's Performing Arts Award, Canada's foremost distinction for excellence in the performing arts. By July 2003, Bachman left The Guess Who with singer Burton Cummings, only to form a new project called, Bachman Cummings.

In 2004, Bachman helped Kalan Porter on his debut album, 219 Days. He reportedly suggested that Kalan do a drone on the violin during, "In Spite of It All". He was also featured performing a guitar solo near the end of the song, "And We Drive". During this period, Bachman has also released an album of original melodic-jazz songs titled, Jazz Thing. By the summer of 2005, Bachman began hosting the coast-to-coast radio show Vinyl Tap on CBC Radio One. For the show, he played audio recordings, while reminiscing about personal encounters with famous artists and musicians from his 50-year career in rock music. On July 2, 2005, Bachman performed at the Canadian leg of the global Live 8 mega-concert organized by Bob Geldof. In 2008, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[17]

Bachman continued his career touring with the Randy Bachman Band, as well as the Bachman-Cummings Band. During this time he featured in a theater-styled show called "Every Song Tells A Story", where he performed live and unplugged with his band, often telling the stories behind writing his most famous from the 1960s and 1970s. Bachman and Burton Cummings performed throughout Canada as Bachman & Cummings in the summer of 2006, while on tour with The Carpet Frogs. Bachman and Fred Turner completed a new Bachman & Turner album that was released in September 2010. The album's single titled "Rollin' Along", was released in June 2010 on iTunes. The pair launched a two-year world tour (2010–11) under their Bachman & Turner moniker, beginning at the Sweden Rock Festival in June 2010. Other confirmed dates included the High Voltage Festival in London, UK, in July 2010 and the Manitoba Homecoming Event in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The pair released the next single, "Rock n' Roll Is the Only Way Out" on their official website.[6][18]

The 2010sEdit

Bachman was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame for the second time, albeit as a solo artist in 2012.[19] In June 2015, he also received SOCAN's Lifetime Achievement Award.[20] In 2014, he released a home video package of his "Every Song Tells A Story" performances, which includes an occasional accompanying symphonic orchestra.

In 2015, he released an album titled Heavy Blues from his newly-formed self-titled band, Bachman. The album was influenced by classic 1960s blues rock and features musical contributions from other musicians including: Neil Young, Joe Bonamassa, Peter Frampton, Robert Randolph, and Jeff Healey. Later in March 2018, Randy Bachman released a tribute to George Harrison containing cover version of the latter's hits. The album featured one original song titled "Between Two Mountains", and also featured Walter Trout on the album's version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".

The 2020sEdit

Bachman appeared in a CBC television broadcast benefit called "Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble" on April 26, 2020 featuring various Canadian musicians and entertainers.[21] Bachman made a brief one-minute appearance to thank the front-line Canadian workers and proceeded to play a short parody of "Taking Care of Business".[22]

Guitar styleEdit

Bachman has stated that his guitar sound was influenced by his early violin studies, saying "when I wanted to play a rock solo, I played like it was violin... Violin is mostly slow, melodic stuff. So my guitar solos tend to be smooth, slow lines."[23]

He has mentioned in interviews that his guitar influences include Lenny Breau, Leslie West, Wes Montgomery,[24] George Peterson, and Hank Marvin.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

Bachman's first marriage was to Lorayne Stevenson (1966 to 1977). With Stevenson, Bachman had six children. His son, Tal Bachman, is a recording artist best known for his 1999 top-20 hit song "She's So High". His daughter Lorelei Bachman is also a writer/musician. He then married Denise McCann (from 1982 to 2011), and they had one child. They resided on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada. Bachman and McCann separated in 2011.[25]

During his early Guess Who years, his Mormon religious beliefs conflicted with the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle of the other band members.[8][26]

Bachman had gastric bypass surgery to reduce his weight.[citation needed]

Bachman also had a successful operation on his shoulder in November 2007 to repair a torn rotator cuff, which he has blamed on his decades-long use of heavy, vintage guitars.[citation needed]

Randy Bachman has seven children from two marriages, 26 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.[citation needed]

Bachman is a member of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.[27]

Name pronunciationEdit

Despite German-Canadian custom, Bachman says his surname is pronounced /ˈbækmən/ (with a short 'a' sound as in "back"), and he uses this pronunciation when referring to himself. The more common pronunciation of "bock-mən", especially on American radio, became so widespread however, that he did not bother correcting people after BTO became popular.[citation needed]

Solo discographyEdit

  • 1970 Axe
  • 1978 Survivor
  • 1992 Any Road – referred to on the cover simply as Bachman
  • 1993 Bob's Garage – live 5-track mini-album recorded for a radio show in Seattle
  • 1996 Merge
  • 1998 Songbook
  • 2001 Every Song Tells A Story
  • 2004 Jazz Thing
  • 2006 Bachman-Cummings Songbook – a 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 in 1987.
  • 2007 Jazz Thing II
  • 2007 Jukebox
  • 2008 Takin' Care of Christmas – a compilation of Bachman performing classic Christmas songs, with the title track being a reworked version of BTO's "Takin' Care of Business".
  • 2010 Bachman & Turner, with former BTO vocalist/bassist Fred Turner.
  • 2014 Vinyl Tap Every Song Tells A Story
  • 2015 Heavy Blues
  • 2018 By George By Bachman – a tribute album to George Harrison[28]

Video discographyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap". CBC. April 1, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are?". CBC. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Hey You! Randy Bachman shows how to grow a rock star". vancouversun.com. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Classic Interview: Randy Bachman from the July 1975 GP". www.guitarplayer.com. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  5. ^ "Randy Bachman recalls playing with Les Paul, calls him 'biggest influence on rock – Economy – Business – The Journal Pioneer". www.journalpioneer.com. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Bryan Wawzenek (June 16, 2010). "The Gibson Interview with Randy Bachman (Part 2)". www.gibson.com. Archived from the original on August 28, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  7. ^ "randy bachman". The Manitoba Teachers' Society. January 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Bachman bio at". Cbc.ca. January 20, 2004. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  9. ^ Bream, Jon (January 11, 2019). "'American Woman' hitmaker Randy Bachman recalls 1960s Winnipeg rock scene". StarTribune.com. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  10. ^ "From rags to riches and back: The turbulent story of Bachman-Turner Overdrive". loudersound.com. December 17, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  11. ^ http://www.vhnd.com/2014/12/27/randy-bachman-recalls-bto-opening-for-van-halen-on-5150-tour/
  12. ^ "'Best ever' Pan Am Games end". CBC News. August 9, 1999. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  13. ^ Larry LeBlanc (December 8, 2001). "SOCAN recognized McLaughlin, Klees, Bachman and Cummings". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 74–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  14. ^ "The Guess Who, Murray McLauchlan Win Big At SOCAN". Chart Attack, November 20, 2001
  15. ^ "Portage". Portage Daily Graphic. Archived from the original on October 23, 2005.
  16. ^ "Canada's Walk of Fame Inducts the Guess Who". Canada's Walk of Fame.
  17. ^ "Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada". Archived from the original on September 8, 2009.
  18. ^ Wawzenek, Bryan. "The Gibson Interview with Randy Bachman (Part 1)"Gibson.com.
  19. ^ "Canada's Walk of Fame Inducts Randy Bachman". Canada's Walk of Fame.
  20. ^ http://www.socan.ca/about/awards/2015-socan-awards
  21. ^ "Canadian stars unite in Stronger Together COVID-19 broadcast benefit | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  22. ^ CBC Music (April 27, 2020). "Randy Bachman wants Canada to keep on "Takin' Care of Business" | Stronger Together | CBC Music". Youtube. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "Secrets of Randy Bachman's Guitar Sound". mixonline.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  24. ^ Bachman, Randy (1998). "Bachman-Turner Overdrive: King Biscuit" (Interview).
  25. ^ "Review of: Randy Bachman: Taking Care of Business". CAML Review. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  26. ^ Leber, Holly (June 14, 2008). "Bachman-Cummings Band: Stars have come full circle". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  27. ^ http://artistsagainstracism.org/artists/
  28. ^ "SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: RANDY BACHMAN - BY GEORGE BY BACHMAN | The Spill Magazine". The Spill Magazine. March 2, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.

External linksEdit