Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Guess Who Quit

Back in 1965, a band out of Winnipeg called Chad Allan and the Expressions recorded a cover of "Shakin' All Over" that went to Number Twenty-Two on the U.S. charts. That same band went on to record six Top Ten hits, and became the first Canadian band to have a Number One hit in the United States.

If you've never heard of Chad Allan and the Expressions, there's a reason for that. The Expressions cut their cover of the old Johnny Kidd and the Pirates song (later torched by the Who on Live at Leeds) early in '65, and as a publicity stunt, their label, Scepter, put out the single with a label that just read "Guess Who?" When it came time to release an album, with "Shakin All Over" as the title track, the record was by then credited to "Guess Who? Chad Allan and the Expressions."

As you can imagine, folks found this mighty confusing, and not just Canadians. Pretty much everyone started calling the band Guess Who?, rather than Chad Allan and the Expressions. For the band's second album, Hey Ho (What You Do to Me), the crediting remained the same, but by the time of the third one, It's Time, they were down to merely Guess Who?

And guess who it wasn't: Chad Allan. The band had brought in Burton Cummings after that second album, and Allan, who was the band's vocalist and co-guitarist with Randy Bachman, started to develop throat problems in 1966. He also hated traveling, so he quit the band, and eventually was given the job of hosting a CBC music show called Let's Go. The house band was the Guess Who.

Randy Bachman left the Guess Who in 1970 to form a band called Brave Belt, and when he couldn't find anyone to play with him, Chad Allan volunteered. But Allan quit, again, after the first Brave Belt album, and after the second Brave Belt album, Brave Belt II, the band changed its name to Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Oh, and the Guess Who finally lost that question mark by the their 1968 album Wheatfield Soul. Since they didn't return to the American charts until 1969's "These Eyes," Chad Allan and the Expressions and the Guess Who both had an American hit, but the Guess Who? never did.


Innocent Bystander said...

Nice post, as always.

I love the Guess Who. My favorite song of theirs: No Time.

Although I'm not enthralled by their post-Bachman material. The only song from that era that I really love is "Sour Suite".

Burton Cummings has a very special voice, very rich.

I had never heard Chad. Here is a link to Shakin' All Over -- it's quite good:

I find Chad's voice somewhat similar to Burton's.

Anonymous said...