Takin’ Care of Business…

As a teenager, one of my favorite bands was a Canadian group that had come from the Guess Who–Bachman Turner Overdrive.

My favorite song by BTO was not Taking Care of Business. It is the iconic song that they released–just as American Woman is the Guess Who’s most iconic track. But just because everyone else likes it doesn’t make it my favorite. In fact, that is more likely to make it not my favorite.  (Plus, sorry, but both those songs were very repetitive to me–the same riff over and over and over for way too long.)

No, my favorite song was You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, which both lyrically and musically created some juxtapositions that worked in the end.  (Note the double negative, as well as the bad grammar, in the title and chorus. It works, because this song includes some juxtapositions of its own.)  Here is the original recording from the Not Fragile album.  (The fun story behind the album title is that Randy Bachman saw that Yes had titled their album Fragile–a great album by the way–and his thought was, hey, our music isn’t fragile at all. Thus, Not Fragile.)

According to sources on the Internet, this song was originally a bit of a joke that Randy Bachman wrote and aimed at his brother who actually had a stutter. Not very nice, I think. But he would send demo tapes of it along with other songs to his brother, making fun of his stutter. Sounds like sibling rivalry taken to an extreme, actually, if you ask me.

Then, when the band decided it was time to record it for real and put it on the album, he couldn’t sing it without the stutter. He tried, apparently, but just couldn’t do it.

It’s somewhat ironic, because critics felt the song was an homage to The Who because of the stuttering reflecting the stuttering heard in The Who’s My Generation and also a belief that the same chord structure is used in this song as in The Who’s Baba O’Riley.  While both those things are true, the old rule of correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation applies here.

This is actually one of the songs we played in one of the little garage bands I was in when I was in high school. I pretty much sucked at playing bass but the bass line in this song is pretty easy to handle. Though I don’t really remember it to this day. I would like to say we sounded awesome; maybe that’s true for the rest of the band at the time, but not me. Though my hand refinished bass did look pretty sweet.

Here are some alternative takes on the song that are kind of cool.

So there you have it–a little musical and cultural enlightenment from the ’70’s–the era when the really good stuff came out.


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