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The Guess Who Tried to Force the Who to Change Their Name

Former Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman said his old band tried to force the Who to change their name.

Although the Guess Who enjoyed their greatest success from 1969 through 1974, the Canadian rockers formed several years earlier and released their first album as “the Guess Who?” in 1966. Before that, they released two albums as Chad Allan and the Expressions in 1965 — the same year the Who released their debut, My Generation — though the words “Guess Who?” featured prominently on the cover of their sophomore LP, Hey Ho (What You Do to Me!).

Considering this timeline, one can see why Bachman might accuse the British rockers of encroaching on their territory. “When I was in the Guess Who, we found out about this English band called the Who and were determined to force them to change their name,” Bachman recently told Classic Rock. “So, we were in London, and the Who were playing at the Marquee club. Down we went to confront them. They were being filmed for German TV at that show, so we had to wait around for about four hours.

“Eventually, we get to meet them and say: ‘Look, we were here before you. So, change your name, it’s confusing people,'” Bachman continued. “Pete Townshend looked at us and replied: ‘There’s the Yardbirds and the Byrds. Nobody’s confused by that. So bugger off.'”

Despite their inauspicious introduction, the Guess Who and the Who later became “great friends,” according to Bachman. “And that phrase ‘bugger off’ was our in-joke,” he added. “We’d check into a hotel and find out the Who were there, so we’d call up one of the guys at 3AM and when they answered we would say: ‘Bugger off!’ then hang up. They’d do the same to us.”

Bachman first left the Guess Who in 1970 following the release of their biggest LP, American Woman, and went on to enjoy success in Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The Guess Who have continued in various lineups for the past 50-plus years, with drummer Garry Peterson as the sole remaining original member.

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