Guitar intro, lyrics, hook riff, more lyrics, bridge, more lyrics and finish.
This is the blueprint for a rock and roll song, and take it from me, the plans aren't of recent vintage. Back in prehistoric times (when rock and roll was really rock and roll) Neanderthal man would beat out simple rhythms with stones, not realizing that his primitive banging would someday come to be known as bar chords.
In the years beyond B.C. the practitioners of what has become three-chord rock and roll have alternately fallen and risen from grace. In leaner times the trio of patterns is resurrected from shame, dusted off and relegitimized
in the guise of new wave or some other transient phenom. But let a fat creative year come in and it's slings and arrows for sure. A case in point being Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
BTO was unfortunate in coming into existence at a time when critics were moving to a progressive drummer. The idea that a band would devote its entire being to recycling E,D,A was considered uncouth and was treated accordingly. The band, however, wasn't helping matters. It took balls to clone out five near perfect imitations of "Taking Care of Business" on an unsuspecting top forty public. Phrases like 'connect the dots rock' were everyday occurences as reviewers waded in with feet flying.
"Well, Randy, as you know, was very good at the formula stuff."
Fred turner punctuated the sentence with a stifled laugh. It was a relaxed sign that BTO's guitar player was up to answering anything, even the inevitable barb of why the band seemed content to play by the numbers.
"If you'll notice," continued Fred, "most of our hits were Randy's. If we needed a top forty hit we'd go to Randy and say 'hey Randy, we need a hit single.' And he'd always come up with something.
"It wasn't our intention to become a formula band in people's minds. Personally I know of a couple of things that happened that did put us in that situation. Around the time of the Not Fragile album we were under record company pressure to come up with material and, as a result, we came up with two LPs, Not Fragile and Four Wheel Drive, that sounded incredibly similar. The reason being that the material was written for both at the same time. What we didn't realize at the time is that we were giving people the impression that we had run out of ideas."
Turner recounted that the other major problem lay with Randy Bachman's slide into the valley of lightweight pop and the dictatorial restraints (both
• -I ,,rid social) he placed on the band. Needless to
into a genuine deodorant say the friction soon ,,,,»1n
problem that ended with Bachman leaving tile 6, , amidst all sorts of legal hassles.
The ensuing 18 months saw surviving members (Turner, Robbie Bachman and Blair Thornton) involved in a cat fight that left them with a compromised name change, `BTO,' and little else. The group, however, was not about to crawl away and die. Five days before BTO was due to record its first non-Randy LP, Street Action, Jim Clench was added on bass. Some quick relearning of old instruments turned into a highly energetic recorded effort.