Bachman Turner Overdrive – Let It Ride

Canadian Bachman Turner Overdrive was one of those bands in the early to mid seventies that just kept pumping out hits.

Randy Bachman and Fred Turner of Bachman-Turner Overdrive got the idea for this song when they were driving to a gig in New Orleans.

They were driving on a highway when a few truckers decided to have some fun with the musicians, who were riding in the little van from Canada. The truckers boxed them in and slowed down to a crawl. When they finally turned into a truck stop, Randy and Fred followed them with the intent of giving them a good talking to…but when they met up with the trucker Randy said “The trucker looked like a Volkswagen with a head.” The truckers had a good laugh and told the band that they needed to learn to “Let it ride.”

Bachman and Turner had never heard that expression before, but they liked the sound of it: it meant to just relax and not let things upset you. When they got to New Orleans, they wrote the song in their dressing room.

The song was on their album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II released in 1973. The album peaked at #6 in Canada and #3 in the Billboard Album Chart.

The song peaked at #2 in Canada and #23 in the Billboard 100.

Songfacts

The distinctive guitar riff in this song is something Randy Bachman came up with after listening to a classical piece by Antonin Dvorak called “Piano Concerto in D.” He transposed a chord progression he heard in the piece to guitar, which sounded great.

Bachman believes that pretty much any piece of modern music is based on something that came before. When we spoke with him in 2014, he said: “You’ve got to get them, reshape them, and hopefully they are reshaped enough that you can call it original.”

All of the background vocals were sung by Fred Turner, which caused a flanging effect that Randy Bachman liked. 

Does this song’s intro sound similar to that of “Long Train Runnin'” by the Doobie Brothers? Randy Bachman thinks so. He says that the Doobie Brothers were sharing a dressing room with him and Fred Turner the night they came up with “Let It Ride,” and the Doobies nicked the riff for their song.

Let It Ride

Good bye, hard life
Don’t cry would you let it ride?
Good bye, hard life
Don’t cry would you let it ride?

You can’t see the mornin’, but I can see the light
Try, try, try let it ride
While you’ve been out runnin’ I’ve been waitin’ half the night
Try, try, try let it ride

And would you cry if I told you that I lied and would you say goodbye or
Would you let it ride?
And would you cry if I told you that I lied
And would you say goodbye or would you let it ride?

Seems my life is not complete I never see you smile
Try, try, try let it ride
Baby you want the forgivin’ kind and that’s just not my style
Try, try, try let it ride

And would you cry if I told you that I lied and would you say goodbye or
Would you let it ride?
And would you cry if I told you that I lied
And would you say goodbye or would you let it ride?

I’ve been doin’ things worthwhile, you’ve been bookin’ time
Try, try, try let it ride

And would you cry if I told you that I lied and would you say goodbye or
Would you let it ride?
And would you cry if I told you that I lied
And would you say goodbye or would you let it ride?

Would you let it ride
Would you let it ride
Would you let it ride
Would you let it ride

Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride

Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride

Try, try, try let it ride
Would you let it ride?
Would you let it ride?
Would you let it ride?
Would you let it ride?

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Bachman Turner Overdrive – Let It Ride”

  1. I’m surprised it only made it to #23 nationally. It was a huge hit in Chicago.

    Randy’s right: there’s very little completely original music. Everything borrows from everything the composer ever heard. If you sat down to write a completely unique piece of music… you couldn’t. Or if you could, it’d sound terrible.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They were a gritty rock band…Bachman is great at those riffs. They always sounded a little dirtier than the Guess Who…although I like both. Great range of songs by those bands.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nah…sorry for the confusion. Your reference at #3 is quite possibly right. The chart I posted was just the Chum one…which was THE chart for Toronto & area. But sometimes national trends were different.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well this sure propelled me back to junior high. I wasn’t there yet when this song came out, but it was still being played in regular rotation when I got there a few years later. :p It was definitely a big hit, and a very catchy one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a hit song but it hasn’t been beat to death like Taking Care of Business….It does remind me of my childhood also.

      Like

  3. We used to do this one in a band I was in, many years ago. Fun one to play. “Not Fragile” is still one of my all-time fav albums. BTO was just a solid 70s rock band.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I did also…I need to post more songs by them….the only one I can’t stomach is TCB. Just way too many times.

        Like

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