Long before groups like The Sheepdogs and Sam Roberts Band came the bestselling blue-collar rock of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, the Canadian troupe officially being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in Winnipeg this weekend as part of the Juno Awards celebrations.
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The "lumberjack rock" of BTO — Randy Bachman, Fred Turner, Blair Thornton and Robin Bachman — struck a chord during the mid-70s glam rock era. Their hard-driving yet catchy songs resonated with myriad fans, as did the "average joe" wardrobe of denim and flannel they wore out of necessity.
What also helped was the band spending about 330 days of their first year together on the road playing gigs for fans and meeting DJs and programmers across North America, according to band founder Randy Bachman.
They released a flood of music, including Let it Ride, Takin' Care of Business and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet. Soon enough, BTO had three albums and several singles on the music charts at once, Bachman told CBC News.
"Suddenly the radio guys go: 'These are good guys. They are meat-and-potatoes guys. There's no leotards here or eye shadow... These guys are jeans. These are the guys who would take out your garbage or help your mom mow the lawn when you're out of town. These are the next-door guys and they rock,'" he recalled.
In the attached video, Bachman recalls the long hours, hard work and a bizarre back story from Bachman-Turner Overdrive's early days, from racking up his credit card bill criss-crossing the U.S. to the lumberjack-inspired myth that first drew European fans to the rockers.
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Tune into The National on Saturday to see Deana Sumanac's report on Bachman-Turner Overdrive's road to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.