Friday, May 26, 2006

Classic Canadian Rock

Here's my random pick of the month.

The short history of The Guess Who goes like this:

1962 - Local band called Chad Allen & The Reflections forms in Winnepeg, Manitoba. Later band changes name to Chad Allen & The Expressions

1965 - Burton Cummings replaces Chad Allen as lead and keyboard and signs with Quality Records. First hit "Shakin' All Over" reaches #1 in Canada and #22 in the U.S. Radio stations refused to play their music because they were Canadian so record company throws "Guess Who?" on a plain white album cover to provoke curiousity. It works and the album sells 2 million copies. Group changes name to The Guess Who.

1969 - Now signed to RCA Records. Releases "These Eyes", the bands first top ten hit (#6)under new band leader Cummings.

Groups only other #1 hit - "American Woman" in 1970.

I used to play the first minute or so of "These Eyes" repeatedly when I first heard it. The interplay between the bassline and organ stabs is perfection. Then the drum break kicks in and takes the song past perfection. The second bar then, with it's subtle string arrangements, takes the song to an angelic level. What I love about this song is that it starts quietly then gains momentum and fades out with a babbling cry from the lead. It's vintage rock, on the Canadian tip.