The Guess Who
Garry Peterson – Drums and Vocals
Jim Kale – Bass and Vocals
*Carl Dixon – Lead Vocals and Guitar
*Derek Sharp - Lead Vocals and Guitar
Leonard Shaw – Keys, Flute, and Vocals
Laurie MacKenzie – Guitar and Vocals
*Carl Dixon was in a serious auto accident in April and is currently undergoing therapy due to his serious injuries. In his place will be Derek Sharp from Canada. Derek has recorded and performed with a wide array of rock musicians for the past 25 years. He is married to Canadian Juno Award winning singer/songwriter Sass Jordan. Sharp is also her musical director.
Drummer Garry Peterson and bassist Jim Kale, the two original members left in The Guess Who, started playing together in 1962 with a band called Al and the Silvertones with singer Allan Kowbel, guitarist Randy Bachman and pianist Bob Ashley. Kowbel then chose the stage name Chad Allan and the band became Chad Allan and the Sivertones, then Chad Allan and the Reflections, and finally Chad Allan and the Expressions. After recording a tribute to Buddy Holly in 1964, the band was signed to Quality Records and released the album Shakin’ All Over. The company, hoping to build a buzz and secrecy about the record, released the album without the band name listed and instead put on the cover “Guess Who?”. When the title song “Shakin’ All Over,” which was a Johnny Kidd and the Pirates cover, became a #1 hit in Canada and #22 in the US, radio stations just referred to the band as Guess Who and the band eventually changed their name to The Guess Who. After having some success with that album, Burton Cummings joined the band as co-vocalist and soon Chad Allan left the band. This would start what would be many personnel changes for years to come. While the band was very popular in its home country of Canada, where it would have a string of hits over the next few years, it wasn’t until 1969 that the song “These Eyes” from the album Wheatfield Soul became a huge hit in the US, reaching #6. The following album Canned Wheat would produce two more hits, “Undun” and “Laughing.” In 1970, the band released the album American Woman. This album, their last with Randy Bachman, turned out to be their most successful, spawning the hits “No Time” (which had been reworked from their previous album), “No Sugar Tonight,” and the title track. The single with “American Woman” and b-side “No Sugar Tonight” would be the first release ever with both songs from one single to hit #1. The band would also be the first Canadian band with a #1 hit in the US. Bachman left after differences with Cummings and formed the band Brave Belt, which would eventually become Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Two guitarists would take the place of Bachman, Greg Leskiw and Kurt Winter for the next album Share the Land. This album would also prove to be a hit, yielding the hit singles “Hand Me Down World” and “Share the Land.” The next two studio albums came quickly in 1971 and 1972 but contained few hits so the band released a live album Live at the Paramount, which was the last album to reach the top 40 in the US. More lineup changes would hit the band as Leskiw left and was replaced by Don McDougall and Jim Kale was replaced by Bill Wallace. This lineup would release the last big hit for the band, “Clap for the Wolfman,” which was in honor of DJ Wolfman Jack and AM radio. The band broke up in 1975 and since 1979 has various versions off and on. Kale secured rights to use the name The Guess Who and Bachman and Cummings have toured together as well but have been unable to use the band name. Carl Dixon, current lead singer, joined the band in 1997 after being in the band Coney Hatch. After Lenny Kravitz covered “American Woman,” renewed interest in the band led to a reformation with Bachman and Cummings, which lasted from 2000 to 2003. Dixon would take over vocals again and keyboardist Leonard Shaw and guitarist Laurie McKenzie are also currently in the band. These three join original members Kale and Peterson to form the current version of The Guess Who.
Moondance Jam Appearances
MDJ 4 – 1995
MDJ 15 – 2006
I was blown away by the band in 2006 at Moondance and I have wanted to see them ever since. I had low expectations going into the show that night because of the absence of Bachman and Cummings but Dixon did an amazing job making all the hits sound just like I remember them. I knew after hearing their stellar version of “Shakin’ All Over,” one of my least favorite songs of theirs, that it was going to be a special show. From “These Eyes” to “No Sugar Tonight” to “American Woman” the band was on all night. You could also tell Dixon was appreciative of the opportunity to front the band and Kale had a smile on his face all night. I also remember the band was on the surprise list for many on the G-Page after MDJ that year. Unfortunately the band has not played in the Kansas City area the last couple years so I have been unable to see them since that night. Their show is right now the one I am looking forward to the most this year. The band is also mentioned twice in my favorite movie ever “Almost Famous” in a scene where rock writer Lester Bangs says “American Woman live is “the most brilliant piece of gobbledygook ever!” and later he says "Give me the Guess Who. they got the courage to be drunken bufoons, which makes them poetic". The band had a great string of hits and it is a testament to how great those songs are that they are still able to tour today.
Did You Know?
The single American Woman and its b-side “No Sugar Tonight” were both #1 hits.
In Canada, The Guess Who had 33 Top 40 hits, 14 Top 10 hits, and 5 #1 hits.
The band won best vocal-instrument group at the Juno Awards (Canadian version of the Grammy’s) in 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970.
The band was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1987.
Lenny Kravitz’s version of “American Woman” is in the movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve, currently in Loverboy, was in The Guess Who in 1998.
DJ Wolfman Jack can be heard on the hit “Clap for the Wolfman.”
Lead singer Carl Dixon has sung in Coney Hatch and April Wine.
The album Rockin’ from 1972 was recorded live in studio without any overdubs over one weekend.
Peterson played on tour for one year in Bachman-Turner Overdrive with Randy Bachman.
The band performed at the White House in 1970 and President Nixon requested that “American Woman” not be played.
The album Shakin’ All Over was released without a band name on the sleeve. Instead it just read “Guess Who?” in hopes that record buyers would think it was by a famous British band incognito.
Live at the Paramount was supposed to be recorded at Carnegie Hall, but the band had to cancel the Carnegie Hall dates at the last minute due to Cummings losing his voice.
The Paramount shows consisted of 2 nights but only the first night was used for the album because bassist Kale was so inebriated the 2nd night that the recording was useless.
Cummings was originally just brought in to play keyboards but eventually sang on many of their biggest hits.
Billboard Top 100 Hits
1965 - Shakin' All Over - #22
1969 - These Eyes - #6
1969 – Laughin - #10
1969 - Undun - #22
1970 - No Time - #5
1970 - American Woman - #1
1970 - No Sugar Tonight - #1
1970 - Hand Me Down World - #17
1970 - Share the Land - #10
1971 - Rain Dance - #19
1971 – Broken #55
1971 - Hang on to Your Life - #43
1971 - Broken - #77
1971 - Albert Flasher - #29
1972 - Sour Suite - #50
1972 - Heartbroken Bopper - #47
1972 - Runnin' Back to Saskatoon - #96
1972 - Guns, Guns, Guns - #70
1973 - Follow Your Daughter Home - #61
1974 - Star Baby - #39
1974 - Clap for the Wolfman - #6
1975 - Dancin' Fool - #28