Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care Of Business …1970’s AM Radio Gold Week

There were times when I could not hear this song anymore because it’s been played so much but…now I enjoy hearing it again. It is a great song but a song that radio has played endlessly. When I think of this phrase, I think of Elvis. Elvis loved the saying…he wore a “TCB” necklace and called his backing group “The TCB Band.”

Essential Elvis - Museum - Genuine TCB necklace

Canadian Randy Bachman wrote this song and the music was inspired by The Beatles Paperback Writer. He came up with the idea for the song in the late-’60s while he was still a member of The Guess Who. After hearing Paperback Writer and he used that music to create a song about going to work called “White Collar Worker,” which needed a new hook to complete.

For the lyric, Bachman was listening to C-Fox radio on the way to the club and heard the DJ say they were “Takin’ Care of Business,” which gave him the idea for the hook. Singing his lyrics to “White Collar Worker,” Bachman sang “Takin’ Care of Business” in the breakdown, and he had his song.

The song lay dormant until Bachman formed Bachman-Turner Overdrive and was playing a show when lead singer Fred Turner’s voice gave out. Forced to sing for a set, Bachman told the band to “Play these three chords over and over – C, B flat, and F – endlessly and when I get to the hook, help me out.”

Randy Bachman: “Ralph (Murphy) and I wrote a song in ’67 called ‘A Little Bit Of Rain.’ That riff is used in the middle of ‘Takin’ Care Of Business,’ just to break the monotony because ‘Takin’ Care Of Business’ was three chords over and over and over. It had no bridge. No hook. No song format, other than that it was ‘Louie Louie.’ Endless, mind-bashing of three chords. And the original version, as I explained at the Ryman, had twelve chords. That’s why nobody liked it. It had an incredible number of chords.”

From Songfacts

The band captured the feel of jamming in the club by having Bachman sing it, which Turner appreciated since it would give his voice a rest at their shows. Bachman had a sore throat and a head cold when he recorded his vocals.

The song propelled the phrase “Takin’ care of business” into the popular lexicon, forever to be used by athletes, performers and the common man to indicate they are on the job.

While the song title implies an industrious responsibility, a closer listen reveals that this song is more of a slacker anthem. The singer is presumably unemployed, and he “loves to work at nothing all day.”

Norman Durkee played the piano on this track. So who is this Norman fellow? John Presho, who knew Bachman and worked security at their concerts, gives this account:
“Randy Bachman told me that when BTO was in the recording studio the record producer wasn’t happy with the raw version of that song. BTO took a time out, ordered a pizza and went back to work on the song. A while later there was a knock on the studio door and it was the pizza delivery man. After giving the band their pizza he commented that ‘Takin’ Care of Business’ was a great song but it needed some piano playing. The pizza man introduced himself as Norman and said that he was a piano player. BTO thanked and tipped him and sent him on his way. Hours later with no improvement in the song they decided to call Norman, but no one got his phone number or could remember the name of the pizza place. BTO called a half dozen pizza houses before they were able to track him down. The band paid Herman’s $75 to join the musicians union so he could play the piano in the recording studio.”

BTO being introduced by the great Keith Moon.

Takin’ Care Of Business

You get up every morning from your alarm clock’s warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There’s a whistle up above and people pushin’, people shovin’
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train’s on time, you can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed, look at me I’m self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day

And I’ll be taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
I’ve been taking care of business (it’s all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime, work out

If it were easy as fishin’ you could be a musician
If you could make sounds loud or mellow
Get a second-hand guitar, chances are you’ll go far
If you get in with the right bunch of fellows
People see you having fun just a-lying in the sun
Tell them that you like it this way
It’s the work that we avoid, and we’re all self-employed
We love to work at nothing all day

And we be taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
We be been taking care of business (it’s all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime

Mercy
Whoo
All right

Take good care of my business
When I’m away, every day
Whoo

You get up every morning from your alarm clock’s warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There’s a whistle up above and people pushin’, people shovin’
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train’s on time, you can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed, look at me I’m self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day

And I be taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
I’ve been taking care of business (it’s all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime, take care

Takin’ care of business, whoo
Takin’ care of business
Takin’ care of business
Takin’ care of business
Takin’ care of business (every day)
Takin’ care of business (every way)
Takin’ care of business (it’s all mine)
Takin’ care of business and working overtime, whoo

Takin’ care of business
Takin’ care of business
We be takin’ care of business
We be takin’ care of business
Takin’ care of business
Takin’ care of business
Takin’ care of business

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

16 thoughts on “Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care Of Business …1970’s AM Radio Gold Week”

  1. Best session musician story ever, that Norman! Wow. A good song and I love that my fellow Canucks hit it big worldwide with it (and “You Ain’t Seen nothin’ Yet”) but I am a little tired of it… it’s right there with “Sweet Home Alabama” for mid-’70s rock tracks which were good, still are good, but not “hear them twice a day every day for the rest of your life ” good!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good…that is the whole point of this week…it’s been fun getting to these. Some I can’t believe I’ve never done before…except the last one on Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of those songs where it would be good if radio could play more than two songs from the band – I’m sure they have other good ones apart from this and ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ – I think I enjoyed another one you posted a while back.

    Liked by 1 person

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