A chat with Garry Peterson of The Guess Who!

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OK we are pumped! Not only do we have our first musician on “Wait, I Know This!” but he’s the drummer from The Guess Who” for God’s sake!! Garry Peterson has been there from the start. A start which goes back to the late 50’s and early 60’s in Winnipeg, Canada. They began as “The Silvertones” playing in any venue that would have them but soon lead singer Allan Kowbell voted for a change. Playing off their love for british music and the group called The Shadows” they came up with the name “The Reflections”. Allan also said he needed a new name as well and took “Chad” from one of his favorite groups called “The Chad Mitchell Trio”. Using THAT and his first name he came up with “Chad Allan and The Reflections”.
The group was off and running landing gigs all over the Winnipeg area and eventually getting signed to a modest label and becoming the region’s go-to band for local events. Finally in December of 1964 , the band was running low on money and went to the studios of CJAY-TV and recorded “Shaking All Over”….oh, by the way time for yet another name…Chad Allan and The Expressions.

COOL TRIVIA ALERT!: When Quality Records producer George Struth heard the song he thought it was a hit but didn’t want DJ’s and programming directors to think it was just another British Invasion wanna-be group so he came up with a plan that was pure genius. He sent out copies of the single with a plain white label and just the words “guess who” written on them. That way, he thought, the program directors might think it was the product of someone already famous.

The plan worked and soon the “mystery record” soared up the Canadian charts and by June of 1964 they cracked the USA market selling a quarter of a million copies and reaching #22 on the Billboard Charts!! The band was on its way to fame and fortune. Although there were a few speedbumps here and there they did quite well with hits like “Laughing”, “Undun” and “No Time” but it wouldn’t be until 1970 that they would get a number one hit in the US with the incredible “American Woman”.

They are truly one of the best rock bands of the 60’s and early 70’s. I mean seriously, when you have someone who leaves your group and continues to rock America (Randy Bachman who would form Bachman-Turner Overdrive) you have a great group!!

Make sure you listen to Garry Peterson and his backstage tales on this week’s “Wait, I Know This!” this Sunday Feb. 8th at 7pm EST! Check out their super groovy website at http://www.theguesswhocafe.com/

We will rock you. End of transmission.


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