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Bachman-Turner Overdrive

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With a powerful, working-man image and a robust sound to match, Bachman-Turner Overdrive has consented to exist and perform in various incarnations despite having disbanded more than once; losing its most famous member a number of times; reforming under a new name; and for a while competing with a band that largely duplicated its repertoire, former name, and some founding personnel. While the original Bachman-Turner Overdrive is long gone, BTO continues to thrive, Turner and one of the three founding Bachmans intact.

Randy Bachman, who had recently converted to the socially conservative Mormon religion, found its teachings too much in conflict with the high-living lifestyle of the Guess Who, of which he was a founding member, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter. He left the highly successful band, virtually overnight. After releasing a solo album (1970ís Axe), he formed a new group, with a country-rock flavor, called Brave Belt. Joining Bachman (who played guitar and sang) were his brother, Robbie, on drums; C.F. Turner on bass; and singer Chad Allen, who had been the original lead singer of the Guess Who.

Following two albums, the group reconfigured. Allen, whose role as singer was being displaced by Turnerís more vigorous approach, departed and was replaced by a third Bachman brother, guitarist Tim. Projecting a harder image than before, the band renamed themselves Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Tim designed the bandís logo; a fourth Bachman brother, Gary, was the bandís first manager.

Their debut album failed to cause much of a stir, but their second, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, included the breakthrough tracks Let it Ride and Takiní Care of Business Ė a song that, in addition to becoming a staple on classic rock stations and in the repertoire of countless bar bands, has seen a lengthy (and profitable) afterlife through use in commercials, television, and movies. Ironically, it was based on a song (White Collar Worker) that Randy had written for the Guess Who, who rejected it. The composer wound up singing lead on the Bachman-Turner Overdrive version only because Turner had lost his voice that day.

Tim Bachman was first to leave the group, to pursue a career in production. His replacement, Blair Thornton, arrived in time to participate in the groupís No. 1 single, You Ainít Seen Nothiní Yet Ė a song whose stuttering lead vocal, Randy says, was inspired by Gary Bachmanís speech impediment, not The Whoís My Generation (or, for that matter, Charlie Feathersí Stutteriní Cindy).

Following Randyís 1977 departure, to concentrate on other projects, including his production of the band Triumph, Bachman-Turned Overdrive replaced him with Jim Clench, changing their name to BTO.

Randyís solo career Ė a second solo album, Survivor, followed up by the new groups, Ironhorse and Union -- having met limited success, in the 1980ís, he re-formed Bachman-Turner Overdrive with Randy and Tim Bachman, Thornton, and former Guess Who drummer, Gary Peterson. That incarnation lasted three years, as brother Robbie continued to front what was left of BTO.

Today, Randy pursues numerous solo projects Ė recently, a jazz album called Jazz Thing. A 2000 reunion with many of the members of the best-selling edition of the Guess Who resulted in a triumphant tour, with accompanying live compact disc and DVD.

C.F. Turner, Blair Thornton and Robbie Bachman still carry the BTO banner, with singer-guitarist Randy Murray, who joined in 1991. The group continues to tour extensively.

© 2004