The Guess Who

2002 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music)

Canada's first international rock music superstars, hailed by the Toronto Star as “the greatest band in Canadian history,” The Guess Who (founder and singer/guitarist Randy Bachman, lead singer/keyboardist Burton Cummings, drummer Garry Peterson, guitarist Donnie McDougall, and bass player Bill Wallace) have sold over 60 million albums worldwide, recorded fourteen Top 40 hits, and spawned impressive solo careers. They paved the way for Canadian artists like Rush, Alanis Morrisette, Sarah McLachlan, the Barenaked Ladies, and Bryan Adams. The group's dynamic fusion of guitar-driven psychedelia, piano-pounding rock and elegant rhythm & blues has stood the test of time, and nearly 40 years after their momentous arrival on the pop music scene, The Guess Who continue to inspire fans around the world.

The group started out in 1962 in Winnipeg as Chad Allen and the Reflections. They had become Chad Allen and the Expressions by the time they recorded their first single, a cover of Shakin' All Over, in 1965. Hoping to capitalize on the success of another British Invasion band, Quality Records released the group's first LP in a plain white sleeve bearing only the album title, Shakin' All Over, and the cryptic question “Guess Who?” The marketing ploy worked: the song hit #1 in Canada and #22 in the U.S., and after selling two million copies, the band had their trademark name.

The Guess Who's hits include such timeless classics as American Woman (reached #1 in the U.S., unseating The Beatles for three weeks straight; voted “#1 Canadian Song Ever” by the Canadian public in a 2001 contest sponsored by Canoe, Canada's leading news and information Internet site), No Time, These Eyes (#1 in Canada, #3 in the U.S.), Laughing, Share the Land, Undun, No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature, and Hand Me Down World. In all, The Guess Who had twenty Top 10 singles in the U.S., including three double-sided hits—an achievement matched only by The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater.

In 1970 they were invited to perform at the White House before Prince Charles and the President and Mrs. Nixon.

Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings left the group in the early 1970s, Bachman to form Bachman Turner Overdrive and later Ironhorse/Union, and Cummings to pursue a solo career. The original lineup reunited briefly in 1985 and again in 1999 at the personal request of the Premier of Manitoba, who invited them to perform at the closing ceremonies of the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

The Guess Who launched a hugely successful national tour, “Running Back Thru Canada,” in the spring of 2000: the tour travelled to 27 cities across Canada and grossed nearly 5 million dollars (Canada's largest-grossing summer tour). In October 2000 the group was featured on a 90-minute CBC TV special (recorded live during the tour), one of the highest-rated specials of the year. Their two-CD set, Running Back Thru Canada, recorded live during the tour, went double platinum with sales of over 100,000 units.

Awards and honours include: Fourteen Top 40 hit recordings; first inductees into the Canadian Music Business Hall of Fame, 2002; Prairie Music Award, 2001; inducted into the Canadian Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) Hall of Fame, 1987.