If you’ve listened to rock radio in the last 50 years, you’re familiar with the work of Randy Bachman. With his groups The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive, he had a long list of hits, including “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” “These Eyes,” “Taking Care of Business,” “No Time,” “Undun,” and “Let it Ride.”
Since 2001, Bachman has done an occasional concert tour called “Vinyl Tap” — also the name of a weekly CBC radio show he hosts — where he sits on stage with his band and tells stories about his career and the tunes he’s written. Last year, one of those shows (in his hometown of Winnipeg, Canada) was recorded for a DVD called “Every Song Tells A Story,” and it’s a lot of fun for any classic rock fan to watch.
My favorite story is about one night the Guess Who were playing a gig and the bar owner insisted they play longer or he wouldn’t pay them. The rest of the band had walked off, but Bachman stayed on stage just riffing with his guitar, and then motioned for the other guys to come back to play, too. He and Burton Cummings traded licks for awhile, with Bachman on guitar and Cummings on keyboard, flute, and harmonica. After 5 or 6 minutes, Bachman shouted to Cummings, “Sing something!” Cummings replied, “What should I sing?” Bachman said, “Anything!” So Cummings ad-libbed “American woman, stay away from me,” which he repeated four times, and a classic was born.
One other thing I learned from the DVD is that I’ve been pronouncing his name incorrectly all these years. It’s “back-min,” not “bok-min.”
Here’s the trailer for “Every Song Tells A Story,” which I have added to my Movies You Might Not Know list…