Throwback Thursday – Bachman-Turner Overdrive


I recently read a review of a new band in which the reviewer made this comment:

“What they do, they do well.  But what they do isn’t very good.”

Two things immediately sprung to mind:

  1. I wish I’d thought up that line and
  2.  Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

Formed in 1973 and fronted by the former Guess Who lead singer, Randy Bachman, BTO saw their greatest commercial success between the years 1973 – 1975.  During that time they produced seven top-forty hits, including “Taking Care of Business”, which hit number one.

Their sound was just what the youth of my generation loved: fun, hard-driving, guitar-heavy tunes with a strong, macho lead voice.   Seldom did an hour go by without local radio station regaling us with one good dose of Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  And even if that were to happen, at least half your friends had them on 8-track, making the rare case of BTO withdrawal curable in short order.

bto gears

My dislike for BTO put me at odds with the majority of my friends.  There was a small a group of us, as I remember, who preferred music that had a little more thought put into it.  We found solace in each other’s company and discussed, in private, how the music of artists like Chicago, Billy Joel and the Moody Blues far superior.  Music with more sophistication with thought-provoking lyrics –  you know, cerebral pop music.

BTO was the blue-collar, everyday working man’s music.  Loud, strong, head-pounding stuff with words that remind us that just ‘cuz it rhymes doesn’t mean it’s poetry.

I met a devil woman
She took my heart away
She said, I’ve had it comin’ to me
But I wanted it that way
I think that any love is good lovin’
So I took what I could get,
Oooh, oooh she looked at me with big brown eyes

And said,
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet
Here’s something that you never gonna forget
B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet

And let’s not forget the mind-numbing repetitive guitar licks.  The same five-six notes over and over again.

Am I being too hard on this best-selling ’70s band?  I suppose it depends on how you interpret that comment from the music reviewer.  What they do, they do well – and BTO did it well.  Well enough in fact, that even an egghead like me can be caught tapping a foot along to the BTO beat if he lets his guard down a bit.

Fun Facts.

  • BTO fans are called “gearheads” – named for the gears in their logo (see pic above).
  • Also notice the Maple leaf – like The Guess Who, BTO hails from Winnepeg, Manitoba Canada.

Here’s a BTO playlist for you…


Listen. Enjoy.


2 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday – Bachman-Turner Overdrive

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