from left; Ron Foos, Randy Bachman, Chris Leighton, Frank LudwigFollowing the disappointing lack of success of FREEWAYS and growing musical differences, Randy Bachman left Bachman Turner Overdrive in the spring of 1977.

He retreated to his west coast home to ponder his future, and while serving as producer for other acts including Trooper, he began writing new material while searching out the supporting cast for his new group. He was introduced to Washington State native vocalist/guitarist Chris Sparks, and the two struck it off and started collaberating. Drummer Mike Baird and John Pierce on bass were soon recruited to round out the group.

A deal was struck in ’78 with Scotti Brothers Records and the band travelled to Hollywood’s Studio 55 to record the demos, with Bachman serving as executive producer. They released their self-titled debut the next spring.

It was described as Bachman’s outlet to let loose all his penned up musical frustrations, the album ran the gamut of rock’s spectrum, from the gritty “Watch Me Fly” and “Old Fashioned” to the almost-eclectic “Stateline Blues”. The first single “Sweet Lui-Luise” showed great promise, cracking the Top 100. By that summer their second single “He’s A Joker” hit the airwaves and also gained moderate success. “She’s Got It”, penned by Sparks was quick to follow, while the band was on the road finishing up their first North American tour.

Pressure from the label to come up with a more mainstream album led to Sparks being replaced with vocalist/keyboardist Frank Ludwig, who’d recently left Trooper. Released in the summer of 1980, EVERYTHING IS GREY featured new bassist Ron Foos as well, and was a fitting epitaphe for the band, with nothing seemingly going right. Problems with management and the label’s financial woes were affecting the band – on the air and onstage.

Although tracks like “Try A Little Harder”, “Only Way To Fly” and the title track all held their own, all the problems going on, plus the changing musical landscape in general spelled the end of Ironhorse. Now released from their contract with Scotti Brothers, they replaced Foos with Bachman‘s fellow Brave Belt and BTO‘er CF Turner on bass, and carried on – now under the monikor of Union in 1981.

  • With notes from Paul Leask

    IRONHORSE (1979)
    One & Only
    Sweet Lui-Luise
    Jump Back In The Light
    You Gotta Let Go
    Stateline Blues
    Watch Me Fly
    Old Fashioned
    She’s Got It
    There Ain’t No Cure
    everything is grey
    Everything Is Grey
    What’s Your Hurry Darlin’
    Only Way To Fly
    Try A Little Harder
    I’m Hurting Inside
    Playing That Same Old Song
    Railroad Love
    Somewhere Sometime
    Keep Your Motor Running


chad allan & the expressionsRandy Bachmanbtobody electricBrave Beltbrutusguess whoTrooperUnion