blank2.gif (830 bytes)

THE GUESS WHO

"Shakin' All Over" LP - The Guess WhoChad Allen (real name Allan Kobel), Bob Ashley, Jim Kale, Randy Bachman and Garry Peterson came together after two local bands merged in 1962 in Winnipeg, Canada, 1962 and took the name Chad Allen and the Reflections. For the bands' debut the band covered "Tribute To Buddy Holly", originally recorded by UK artist Mike Berry & The Outlaws for legendary producer Joe Meek. At this time in the early 1960's Allen obtained reel to reel recordings taken off UK records, imported by a friend of his. The bands' use of material by artists like Cliff Richard and The Shadows and Beatle tracks (yet to hit it off in the USA charts) helped to make their repertoire unique in the area. After signing to Quality Records they attain some success in the charts with Merseybeat influenced singles. In 1965 the group pick up a copy of Johnny Kidd's "Shakin' All Over" single from 1960. As Allen recalled in a recent interview:

"We were doing Beatles stuff, three-part harmony or more; we’d be doing Beatles things and people would come up and say "What is that?" "Oh, it’s the Beatles. Haven’t you heard of the Beatles?" Nobody had..... We were getting real good experience doing the British sound and just honing our harmonies. Anyway, obviously we covered "Shakin’ All Over". Actually, the original recording was very sparse..... ours was the actual worldwide hit. For one reason - there were holes in the Johnny Kidd version. There was no rhythm guitar to speak of. And we added the clink-clink piano and acoustic guitar and a lot of screaming. And ours became a hit. It was quite a thing for a Winnipeg band to make it in the Billboard Top 100."

Quality already licensed recordings by UK artists including the Animals, the Kinks and Hermans Hermits amongst others. Realising that Allen & co's down-to-earth rendition of "Shakin' all Over" had a "British" sound to it they credited the "Guess Who?" and publicity hinted of a moonlighting UK band, all of which assisted in making it a Canadian chart-topper. The record went on to reach no. 22 in the US. The flipside, "Til' We Met" (otherwise known under its real title of "Where Have You Been") was a Merseybeat standard, having been covered by Gerry & The Pacemakers on their debut album in 1963 amongst others.

The subsequent tie-in album "Shakin' All Over" also included the bands' take of "A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues", previously a minor hit for Kidd in the UK which ending two years out of the charts for him. At the insistence of Scepter records - who wanted the group to follow their big hit with material aimed for the US - the LP was credited to "Guess Who" using larger letters than those on the band's real name (see picture at top of page) in an attempt to fool the American public into thinking that (like the single before it) a top group was was behind the recordings in disguise. The use of two names, however, became confusing to the public at large and before long the band were using only the "Guess Who" name permanently.  

The group registered more hits after "Shakin'" becoming a top group in Canada, even so an aborted tour of the UK left the group in debt to the tune of $25,000. The returned to record commercials and appear on the tv program Let's Go, hosted by Chad Allan. By 1969 they had secured a regular slot on CBC-tv's "Where It's At" and it was here that the group attracted the attention of producer Jack Richardson, who then was working for an ad agency. It was Richardson who got the band to record a promotional album for Coca-Cola, after which he financed their album "Wheatfield Soul" (on newly-created label Nimbus 9) by mortgaging his house. "These Eyes", the third Nimbus 9 single which topped the Canadian chart, hit no. 6 in the US on its way to becoming a million-seller and gained both group and label a US deal with RCA. The album " Canned Wheat" produced three Top 40 singles later that year.

The Guess WhoIn 1970, the Guess Who scored their only US chart-topper, the ironically titled rocker "American Woman" with scything anti-American putdown lyrics. The "American Woman" album became their first to go U.S. Top Ten and first gold album, and the group performed for President and Mrs. Nixon and Prince Charles at the White House. All was not harmony, though; Bachman had converted to Mormonism and fell out with Cummings over the band's lifestyle. As a result he left the group in July 1970 to form Brave Belt with Chad Allan, which later evolved into Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The Guess Who were joined by Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw to replace him. "Share the Land", the title track from their next LP made the Top Ten later the same year and the Guess Who made regular showings thereafter.

In 1974 they registered their last top ten hit, "Clap for the Wolfman," featuring the voice of legendary US radio DJ Wolfman Jack. The bands shifting personnel coupled with the loss of direction lead to Cummings breaking up the Guess Who 1975 to go solo. The line-up from what can be called the 'glory years' reformed in 1983 and although the bands' members can be constantly shifting they continued to tour through the 1990's mainly as a nostalgia act, occasionally with original members.

blank2.gif (830 bytes)
     
Home Page       The Story       TimeLine       Band members       Gallery
Discussion      Recordings      Songs      Site Map      The Pirates Website
This website is maintained by Adrian Barrett.  Adrian Barrett, 1998-2006.
Use www.johnnykidd.co.uk as pages may be removed as the site develops.