Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bachman-Turner Overdrive – "Takin' Care of Business" (1973)


And if your train's on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay

(I've taken the train to get to my office in downtown Washington, DC, for over twenty years.  I used to get to work by nine . . . then I got to work by ten.  These days, I get to work by . . . actually, I think I'll keep that my little secret.)

Although I always reserve a cheap rental car when I go to Cape Cod for Memorial Day weekend, I seem to always end up with a car that comes equipped with a satellite radio.  I guess it's just the universe's way of rewarding me for being such a good guy.

This year, my rental car was a Chevrolet Cruze, which is a fairly generic compact sedan.  My Cruze was the top-of-the-line LTZ model, and it was loaded -- I got a rear-view camera, sunroof, navigation system, and 18-inch alloy wheels in addition to the aforementioned satellite radio.


Last year, I noticed that the display on my satellite radio sometimes truncated the names of the songs that were playing, as well as the names of the performers.  For example, it turned the Rolling Stones classic, "Mother's Little Helper," into "Mother's Little."  Freddie and the Dreamers appeared as "Freddie & the D."

The same thing happened this year, but with an odd little twist.

Here's what the display screen looked like when Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" started playing -- "Overdrive" was truncated to "O" and "Business" was truncated to "B."


But as the song continued, the display changed as well.  First, the "O" changed to "Overdrive" after several seconds:


Eventually, the "B" changed to "Business":



I don't know why that is.  Do you?

(Crickets.)

Randy Bachman wrote the first version of "Takin' Care of Business" when he was the lead guitarist for the Guess Who.  Burton Cummings, the group's lead singer, thought that version of the song sounded too much like "Paperback Writer," and told Bachman the Beatles would no doubt sue them if they ever recorded the song.

Bachman rewrote the song, but the Guess Who never recorded it.  Bachman left that band in 1970 and later formed Bachman-Turner Overdrive -- often referred to as "BTO" -- which released "Takin' Care of Business" in 1973 on its second studio album.


The piano part on the record was played by Norman Durkee, who was delivering pizzas to the Steve Miller Band the same night that BTO was recording in an adjacent studio.  Durkee stuck his head into the studio was BTO was listening to playbacks of "Takin' Care of Business," and told Bachman that the record needed some piano. 

Bachman didn't know Durkee was an accomplished musician as well as a pizza delivery guy, but decided to give him a chance for some reason.  Durkee scribbled down some chords on a pizza box, then nailed the piano part in one take.

The record made it to #12 on the U.S. singles chart, and is a staple of classic-rock radio playlists today.

Here's "Takin' Care of Business":



Click below to buy the song from Amazon.

1 comment:

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