Guess Who – No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature

I grew up with the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive on AM radio. I always thought these two songs flowed together well.

Randy Bachman wrote No Sugar Tonight. When he presented the song to the band he was told the song was too short. To solve the problem they pieced the Burton Cummings song New Mother Nature together with this one on the album American Woman.

This is the last hit song that Randy Bachman played on with The Guess Who. He would leave soon after because of his Mormon beliefs didn’t go with the Guess Who’s touring rock lifestyle. They wouldn’t play together again until 13 years later in 1983.

The song peaked at #1 in Canada, #13 on the Billboard 100, and #19 in the UK in 1970.

Before I knew about the Who or Guess Who…when I heard the name I thought they were the same band. Their name came about when their label Quality Records released their first hit single (“Shakin’ All Over”) credited only to “Guess Who?” in an attempt to build a mystique around the band. They wanted the public to believe that this was a possible British band. The real name of the band was “Chad Allan & The Expressions,” but radio station DJs continued to refer to them as “The Guess Who.” when playing subsequent singles.

The Guess Who tried to get The Who to change their name.

Randy Bachman: “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, 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, Pete Townshend looked at us and replied: ‘There’s the Yardbirds and the Byrds. Nobody’s confused by that. So bugger off.'”

The two bands became friends after that according to Bachman. . “And that phrase ‘bugger off’ was our in-joke, 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.”

John Presho…security for Randy Bachman: “Randy told me that the inspiration for writing ‘No Sugar Tonight’ came to him from an experience he had walking in downtown Berkeley, California. Randy was walking and talking with a bandmate when he looked up and saw four big biker guys walking on the same sidewalk approaching them. Randy made up his mind to cross the street rather than confront the bikers, then he heard the skidding of car tires. Just as Randy was stepping off the sidewalk the car came to a skidding stop and a biker lady got out of the car, walked over to one of the bikers and engaged in a heated conversation with him. When the argument ended the biker lady walked back to the car, opened the door, turned around, then shouted to the biker, ‘One more thing honey, you’re not getting any sugar tonight’ indicating he was not going to get any sex that night from her. The car took off, Randy crossed the street went back to his hotel and started writing the song based on that experience.”

No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature

Lonely feeling
Deep inside
Find a corner
Where I can hide
Silent footsteps
Crowding me
Sudden darkness
But I can see

No sugar tonight in my coffee
No sugar tonight in my tea
No sugar to stand beside me
No sugar to run with me

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

In the silence
Of her mind
Quiet movements
Where I can find
Grabbing for me
With her eyes
Now I’m falling
From her skies

No sugar tonight in my coffee
No sugar tonight in my tea
No sugar to stand beside me
No sugar to run with me

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

Jocko says “Yes” and I believe him
When we talk about the things I say
She hasn’t got the faith or the guts to leave him
When they’re standing in each other’s way
You’re tripping back now to places you’ve been to
You wonder what you’re gonna find
You know you’ve been wrong but it won’t be long
Before you leave ’em all far behind

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

Jocko said “No” when I came back last time
It’s looking like I lost a friend
No use callin’ ’cause the sky is fallin’
And I’m getting pretty near the end
A smoke-filled room in a corner basement
The situation must be right
A bag of goodies and a bottle of wine
We’re gonna get it on right tonight

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

(Lonely feeling) Jocko says “Yes” and I believe him
(Deep inside) When we talk about the things I say
(Find a corner) She hasn’t got the faith or the guts to leave him
(Where I can hide) When they’re standing in each other’s way
(Silent footsteps) You’re tripping back now to places you’ve been to
(Crowding me) You wonder what you’re gonna find
(Sudden darkness) You know you’ve been wrong and it won’t be long
(But I can see) Before you leave ’em all far behind

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow

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

Guess Who – Undun…1970’s AM Radio Gold Week

I had a greatest hits package by the Guess who given to me by a relative. At the time I thought the Guess Who and The Who were the same.

The title of this song was inspired by Bob Dylan. Randy Bachman said he got the idea after hearing the Dylan song “Ballad In Plain D” on the radio. It was a very long song, and just as Bachman was about to turn off the radio, Dylan sang the line “She came undone.” Bachman said the lyrics were about a girl he saw at a party who went into a coma after dropping acid.

Canadian Jazz guitarist Lenny Breau taught Bachman some chords and you can hear the jazzy feel of the song. Bachman also was influenced by an obscure Kenny Rankin song called “Soft Guitar.”

Burton Cummings learned to play the flute for this song. In his old band The Deverons he played saxophone. While playing at a music store Cummings saw a flute in a case. Burton learned from the dealer that the fingering for the flute was the same as a sax (except for C).

Their name came about when their label Quality Records released their first hit single (“Shakin’ All Over”) credited only to “Guess Who?” in an attempt to build a mystique around the band. They wanted the public to believe that this was a possible British band. The real name of the band was “Chad Allan & The Expressions,” but radio station DJs continued to refer to them as “The Guess Who.” when playing subsequent singles.

This was released as the B-side of Laughing. It got radio play when some disc jockeys flipped the single and played it. That in turn prompted the record company to release it as an A-side 4 months later.

The song peaked at #21 in Canada and #22 in the Billboard 100 in 1969. The song was on the album Canned Wheat.

Undun

She’s come undun
She didn’t know what she was headed for
And when I found what she was headed for
It was too late

She’s come undun
She found a mountain that was far too high
And when she found out she couldn’t fly
It was too late

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun
She wanted truth but all she got was lies
Came the time to realize
And it was too late

She’s come undun
She didn’t know what she was headed for
And when I found what she was headed for
Mama, it was too late

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun
She’s come undun

Too many mountains, and not enough stairs to climb
Too many churches and not enough truth
Too many people and not enough eyes to see
Too many lives to lead and not enough time

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun
She didn’t know what she was headed for
And when I found what she was headed for
It was too late

She’s come undun
She found a mountain that was far too high
And when she found out she couldn’t fly
Mama, it was too late

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun
No, no, no, no, no, no, no