Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE

Canadian hard-rock band formed early '70s by Randy Bachman, after leaving first group Guess Who at height of fame '70. Solo LP Axe same year; illness prevented planned link-up with ex-Nice keyboardist Keith Emerson; Bachman turned to production, working on LP for original Guess Who singer Chad Allan; duo made two LPs as Brave Belt for Reprise label with drummer brother Robbie Bachman (b 18 Feb. '53, Winnipeg), bass C. F. 'Fred' Turner (b 16 Oct. '43, Winnipeg). As group changed name and label (to Mercury), yet another brother Tim replaced Allan. Group's gearwheel logo and name borrowed from a trucking magazine led to 'working-class rock' label. New outfit's first (eponymous) album released '73; took six months to chart in USA; single 'Let It Ride' took a year to reach no. 23; meanwhile Bachman- Turner Overdrive 2 issued. By Not Fragile '74 guitarist Blair Thornton (b 23 July '50) was recruited to replace would-be producer Tim Bachman; his visual appeal helped band to promote LP to platinum sales. Same year saw hit singles 'Takin' Care Of Business' (USA no. 12), 'You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet' (no. 1); Townshend-like power chords took latter to no. 2 UK. Anthemic 'Roll On Down The Highway' was the last UK hit at no. 22 (14 USA), but six top 40 hits to '76 were a measure of stateside popularity; '75 LP Four Wheel Drive went platinum. As Randy Bachman left '77 the workmanlike guitar- boogie formula was worn out, though more LPs released as BTO rolled to a halt: total incl. Head On '75; Freeways '77, Jim Clench replacing Bachman; Street Action, Rock'n'Roll Nights '78, Best Of '76. Randy Bachman did unsuccessful second solo LP Survivor '78, returned to BTO sound with Ironhorse: albums Ironhorse '79 and Everything Is Grey '80 did poorly; struck up songwriting partnership with Carl Wilson of Beach Boys, wrote two songs on their Keeping The Summer Alive LP '80; re- formed Guess Who for nostalgia gigs in Canada '83; by then other Overdrivers had driven off the highway.