Unquestionably the most prolific and successful songwriting duos in Canadian music history began when Burton Cummings was asked to join Chad Allan and The Expressions in January, 1966. Allan would leave within a few months and the band officially adopted their nickname of The Guess Who.
Over four records, the band tore up the charts with hits like “Undun,” “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Time,” and “American Woman,” when Bachman announced he was leaving in 1970. After a solo record, he formed Brave Belt, which evolved into Bachman Turner Overdrive, responsible for classics like “Hey You,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.”
Meanwhile, Cummings carried on as leader of The Guess Who, which went through a number of incarnations until he called it quits and went solo in ’76. He released several gold records over the next few years, scoring huge with “Stand Tall,” “I’m Scared,” “My Own Way To Rock,” and “Break It To Them Gently.” Rumours of a Bachman/Cummings reunion were first sparked in 1980, when Cummings was featured on a CBC special. His guests included The Guess Who and his first band, The Deverons.
Although Kale had kept the revolving door open, thus continuing the name ‘The Guess Who’ throughout this time frame, the reunion the whole country wanted to see became reality in ’83 later when Cummings and Bachman, along with Kale and Gary Peterson got back together for a series of concerts across Canada, and also wrote a number of new songs, including “Sun Go Down,” “What’s Gonna Happen To The Kids,” and “Come On and Dance,” as well as a TV concert special and subsequent live album. But the same old feeling just wasn’t there, and the love affair fizzled out. By the end of the year Cummings and Bachman were both doing their own things again, and Kale continued tainting the name of The Guess Who with a never-ending array of personnel.
Near the turn of the new millenium, the worst-kept secret was that The Guess Who would be reuniting again. The only question was who would be in the band. Although Kale initially was in the studio with the guys, he pulled out before any official news was released due to personal and health reasons. But in 2000, Cummings and Bachman, along with Peterson, and former Guess Who members Bill Wallace and Don McDougall rockedthe country once again, touring from coast to coast. The live DVD, RUNNING BACK THROUGH CANADA fuelled speculation that the reunion wasn’t a flash in the pan, but following the end of the tour, the members’ break from the road became permanent. Unable to wrestle the rights to the name of the group from Kale, the rumours ended and everyone drifted off once again to do their own things.
Cummings and Bachman, however, couldn’t stay apart for long. They began a series of concerts in late ’05 acrosss the country that resulted in the release of THE BACHMAN AND CUMMINGS SONGBOOK in the spring of ’06. The album featured Guess Who tracks recorded during and after Bachman‘s tenure with the group, as well as a handful of BTO and solo Cummings classics. Later that same year what was originally a CBC special featuring the two in front of an intimate crowd, playing the hits and relaying their stories was released on DVD, FIRST TIME AROUND.
A year later JUKEBOX hit the store helves. The duo’s musical influences were showcaseed by sixteen of their favourite covers from the ’60s and ’70s. The album transcended genre barriers, covering the likes of Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Orleans, and The Box Tops. Also featured was a new recording of one of their biggest hits ever together, “American Woman,” done in a trendy, laid-back lounge atmosphere style.