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The Guess Who
The Guess Who are a Canadian rock band that gained international fame during the late 1960s and early 1970s. They are known for their hit songs like "American Woman" and "These Eyes." The band's history is a fascinating tale of musical evolution and the pursuit of success.
Formation and Early Years:
- The band was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1962. Initially, they went by the name "Chad Allan and the Expressions," led by lead singer Chad Allan. The original lineup included Chad Allan (vocals and rhythm guitar), Randy Bachman (lead guitar), Bob Ashley (keyboards), Jim Kale (bass), and Garry Peterson (drums).
- In 1965, the band released the single "Shakin' All Over," which became a massive hit in Canada and the United States, reaching the Top 40.
- In 1966, Chad Allan left the band, and Burton Cummings took over as the lead vocalist, which marked a significant turning point for the group.
- In 1968, the band officially changed their name to "The Guess Who." The new name was suggested by Burton Cummings' mother when she saw a cover of the "Guess Who?" magazine at their home.
Breakthrough and International Success:
- In 1969, The Guess Who released their iconic single "These Eyes," which became their first major hit, reaching the Top 10 in the United States and Canada.
- The same year, they released "Laughing" and "Undun," which solidified their status as a rising rock band.
- However, it was the 1970 release of "American Woman" that catapulted the band to international stardom. The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making them the first Canadian band to achieve this feat.
- The "American Woman" album, released in 1970, was also a massive success, and it went on to be certified as a multi-platinum record.
- The band continued to release several successful albums throughout the early 1970s, including "Share the Land" (1970), "Canned Wheat" (1969), and "So Long, Bannatyne" (1971).
Challenges and Lineup Changes:
- As with many bands, The Guess Who faced internal conflicts, and by the mid-1970s, Randy Bachman had left the group. Kurt Winter and Don McDougall joined as new members.
- The band's commercial success waned in the mid-1970s, although they continued to tour and release new material.
- By 1975, Burton Cummings left the band to pursue a solo career, marking the end of an era for The Guess Who. Cummings was replaced by keyboardist/vocalist Domenic Troiano.
Later Years and Legacy:
- The Guess Who continued to release albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but they failed to recapture the massive success of their early years.
- Over the years, the band underwent various lineup changes and temporary reunions.
- In 2000, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman briefly reunited for a tour, generating much excitement among fans.
- The Guess Who's music continues to be celebrated and played on classic rock radio stations, and their influence on the Canadian rock music scene is undeniable.
The Guess Who's history is a testament to the ups and downs of the music industry and the enduring impact of their classic songs. Their early success with hits like "American Woman" and "These Eyes" established them as one of Canada's most iconic rock bands, and their music remains a significant part of rock and roll history.