Summarized by Eric Bunker
LDS rock star treated like a saint (So long, Bannatyne)
Jam! (Winnipeg Sun) 21Nov99 A2
By Brendan O'Hallarn: Winnipeg Sun
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA: 30 years ago, four young men from Winnipeg were
on top of the world. For the first three weeks of May 1970, The Rock Band,
The Guess Who had a single titled žAmerican WomanÓ that was the No.
1-selling single in the world. Among the group, church member Randy Bachman
was lead guitarist.
Almost 30 years later, this particular rock anthem endures as a legacy for
all Canadian bands. The Guess Who were the first made-in-Canada supergroup.
Their successes inspired many young artists to copy them and opened the
doors for many to follow.
No one anticipated that a band from the Canadian Prairies would ever make it
big and yet retain attached to their Canadian roots. Before they became
famous, they were known as the best and hardest-working band in Winnipeg,
playing at every community club, church basement and high school dance in
the city they were hired for, garnering a reputation for a fabulous live
As a supergroup in the 1970's, the band recorded eight gold records in five
years and made two appearances on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. The four
kids from Winnipeg were also invited to perform at the White House.
In 1970, The Guess Who sold more records than any band in the world, even
more than the mighty British acts such as The Beatles and the Stones, or
U.S. powerhouses such as The Doors and Creedence Clearwater Revival. And
unlike Canadians Neil Young and Paul Anka, The Guess Who chose to "make it"
while staying in Canada.
Beginning March 28, 1970, the band's single, "American Woman" stayed 14
weeks on the Billboard Top 40, propelling The Guess Who to superstardom.
Later that year, though the band was at its peak professionally, Randy
Bachman, because of his religious principles, left the group, upset with the
excesses and normal decadent perks of the rock lifestyle.
The band replaced Bachman and barely skipped a beat. But gradually, life on
the road with its excesses took its toll. The Guess Who broke up in
October 1975. Nevertheless, its legacy of artistry lives on, on the
This touring season, Guess Who biographer John Einarson went backstage with
Randy Bachman him at a concert in Tennessee. He said that Randy was treated
like a saint by the featured superstar band. One of its singers said that
Randy Bachman is rock 'n' roll royalty to him. He said that all of his
friends grew up listening to his records, dreaming they could be like him.