CBC Digital Archives

1983: The Guess Who, together again

Gordon Lightfoot, Celine Dion, Oscar Peterson, Sam Roberts, Anne Murray, The Barenaked Ladies. What do these artists all have in common? They've all won Juno Awards. Since 1970, the Junos have been held each year to celebrate excellence in Canadian music. In honour of the annual ceremony, the CBC Digital Archives has pulled together a diverse collection of radio and TV clips that shine the spotlight on some notable past Juno winners.

The Guess Who hasn't been the same since guitarist Randy Bachman left in 1970 and Burton Cummings found his own way to rock in 1975. Now the pair has reunited with Jim Kale and Garry Peterson, and the group that charted international hits with "These Eyes" and "American Woman" is back. "People grew up listening to us on the radio," Cummings tells a CBC reporter, who notes that some of those people are shelling out up to $20 for a ticket to the show.

• The nucleus of the Guess Who was formed in Winnipeg in 1963 as Chad Allan and the Reflections. In 1965, after they changed names to Chad Allan and the Expressions, they scored their first hit with the cover song "Shakin' All Over."

• In an effort to obscure the British-influenced band's mundane origins, their record label had sent the single to DJs with only the song title and the words "Guess Who?" The name stuck.

• In late 1965, founder and vocalist Chad Allan left the band. The others turned to Winnipeg's second-best outfit, the Deverons, to recruit a new singer. "They had this wild punk singer who would destroy pianos by jumping on them with high-heeled boots," Randy Bachman remembered. Burton Cummings was just 18 years old.

• Besides Cummings (vocals and keyboards) and Bachman (guitar), Jim Kale (bass) and Garry Peterson (drums) rounded out the band.

• In 1968, the Guess Who released its album Wheatfield Soul. The first single, "These Eyes," quickly climbed the U.S. charts, peaking at #6 and earning the band its first gold record.

• After a string of hits for the band, including "Laughing," "Undun," "No Time" and the #1 "American Woman," Randy Bachman announced his departure. He went on to form the bands Brave Belt and the very successful Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

• The Guess Who replaced Bachman with two new guitarists and continued to produce hits such as "Share the Land" and "Hand Me Down World."

• Several more lineup shuffles later, Cummings left to embark on a solo career. His first album, Burton Cummings, delivered two hits: "Stand Tall" and "I'm Scared."

• Bassist Jim Kale continued to use the Guess Who name and recruited various backup musicians to play the band's hits. Cummings dubbed them "Kale's Klones."

• Though Cummings and Bachman collaborated on each other's solo albums and performed together since leaving the Guess Who, the 1983 tour was the first time the original band played together since Randy's departure. The reunion was planned as a one-off concert to launch a new amusement park near Toronto. But that show never happened; instead, the band played two dates at the CNE Bandshell in Toronto and expanded the reunion to a cross-Canada tour.

• At the request of Gary Filmon, Manitoba's premier, the band reunited again in 1999 to play four songs at the closing ceremonies of the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. The experience was so positive they came together in 2000 - without Jim Kale - for the Running Back Thru Canada tour. They performed to over 200,000 fans in 27 cities.

• In July 2003, the Guess Who played special concerts including Canada Day in Ottawa and the SARS benefit concert in Toronto.

Also on June 25:
1858: British Columbia's first newspaper, "The Victoria Gazette and Anglo-American," is published.
1950: The Korean War begins when 240 North Korean tanks cross the 38th parallel without warning to invade South Korea. The conflict, which ends on July 27th, 1953, sees the forces of the United Nations team with those of South Korea against Chinese communists. Of the more than 25,000 Canadians in the U.N. force, 312 are killed.
1968: Lincoln Alexander becomes Canada's first black MP when he wins in the riding of Hamilton Mountain for the Progressive Conservatives. Len Marchand's victory for the Liberals in Kamloops-Cariboo, B.C. makes him the first aboriginal Canadian to sit in the Commons.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 25, 1983
Guest(s): Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings
Host: George McLean
Reporter: Karen Webb
Duration: 1:59

Last updated: January 31, 2012

Page consulted on September 4, 2012

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