Guess Who, The. Leading Canadian rock band of the late 1960s and early 1970s. It began in the early 1960s when Chad Allan started a band called the Reflections that evolved into the Expressions, a band which singer Allan (b Allan Kowbel 23 Mar 1943) had begun in Winnipeg in 1958 as Al and the Silvertones (later Chad Allan and the Reflections). The Expressions included Randy Bachman (b 27 Sept 1943, guitar), Jim Kale (b 11 Aug 1943, bass guitar), and Garry Peterson (b 26 May 1945, drums). One of their earliest songs, 'His Girl,' was successful in England and they signed a contract with Mills Music and then King Records in the UK. The name 'Guess Who?' was invented to promote the Expressions' single 'Shakin' All Over' (1965, Quality Records Ltd) following their success in England. The marketing decision over their name stemmed from the popularity that British rock bands were enjoying at that time; the band embraced the name because of the element of mystery surrounding the name "The Guess Who," which led some people to believe that the band may have originated in England.
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The singer-pianist Burton Cummings (b 31 Dec 1947) joined the Expressions in December 1965. Allan and Bob Ashley departed in May 1966 leaving Bachman, Cummings, Peterson, Donnie McDougall (guitar) and Bill Wallace (bass) to comprise The Guess Who. With the international success of 'Shakin' All Over' the Expressions/The Guess Who appeared in the US and travelled to England. The Guess Who performed on the weekly CBC (Winnipeg) TV rock shows Let's Go (1967-8) and Where It's At (1968-9) and had more Canadian hits 1965-8 for Quality with 'Tossin' & Turnin,' 'Hey Ho What You Do to Me,' etc.
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The Bachman/Cummings ballad 'These Eyes,' recorded for Nimbus 9 Productions and released by RCA (see BMG Music Canada Inc), was a million-selling single in 1969. In 1970 Bachman left the group, but despite several lineup changes The Guess Who continued to release successful singles and albums. Cummings launched a solo career with Portrait Records in America in 1976. Over 20 singles from 1969 to 1976, such as 'Laughing' and 'American Woman,' were million sellers, and 'Undun,' 'No Time,' 'No Sugar Tonight,' 'Hand Me Down World,' 'Share the Land,' 'Albert Flasher,' 'Rain Dance,' 'Star Baby,' 'Clap for the Wolfman,' and 'Dancin' Fool' were substantial international hits. The band won Juno Awards as the best vocal-instrumental group in 1965 and annually 1967-70. 'These Eyes' brought Jack Richardson a Juno in 1968 for best-produced single.
In its heyday, during which Cummings emerged as the band's central personality and major songwriter, The Guess Who underwent several personnel changes: Bachman (later to form Brave Belt with Chad Allan, and then BTO) was replaced in 1970 by the guitarists Kurt Winter (b 2 Apr 1946, d 14 Dec 1997) and Greg Leskiw; Leskiw was replaced in 1972 by Don McDougall, Kale in 1972 by Bill Wallace, and Winter and McDougall in 1974 by Dom Troiano.
The Guess Who
The band toured extensively 1969-75 throughout North America and appeared in New Zealand and Australia in 1973. It performed at the White House in Washington, DC, in 1970 and gave a royal command performance in London in 1973. Canadian appearances included annual concerts 1971-5 before audiences of up to 20,000 at the CNE. The band, as led by Cummings, gave its 'final' concert 13 Sep 1975 at the Montreal Forum.
Cummings and Bachman reunited for concerts and CBC and PBS (USA) TV appearances in 1977 and again for concerts in 1987. Under Kale's direction a reconstituted Guess Who began touring and recording in 1978 and continued with ongoing changes in personnel through the 1980s, completing LPs for the Aquarius and El Mo labels. Despite pursuing solo careers, Cummings, Bachman, Kale and Peterson reassembled for national tours in 1983 and 1985, and in 1999 they reunited to perform at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. The band then embarked on a national tour in 2000 that was followed by a live double-CD.
The Guess Who
The Guess Who were inducted into the Canadian Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) Hall of Fame during the 1987 Juno Awards, and in 2001 members of The Guess Who were awarded doctorates from the University of Brandon (Manitoba). Also in 2001, they were inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto and in 2002 received the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards and were the first artists to be inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, an honour normally reserved for music industry executives. Cummings and Bachman were inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.
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