Legend has it that the Guess Who auditioned every male singer in Winnipeg after Chad Allan left the band. Allan can be heard on the legendary (because the recording sound is so bad it is good) “Shakin’ All Over” a massive international hit that made the band famous (along with their television show).
But Winnipeg in the 1960′s wasn’t exactly New York, and the story goes that Randy Bachman and the other members of the group had just about given up. Every Tom, Dick and Harry had auditioned for the lead singer gig and none of them were good enough for an established band like the Guess Who.
In walks Hairy, otherwise known as Burton Cummings. No matter what you think about their music, Cummings could flat out sing as a young man. The Guess Who also had enormous songwriting talent in the group (These Eyes, American Woman, No Time, Undun, New Mother Nature, Sour Suite, Laughing, Share the Land, Hand Me Down World, Orly, Running Back to Saskatoon, Rain Dance) and rank among this nation’s best musical exports these many years later.
I think the Edmonton Oilers need to choose their lead singer wisely. Rumors of a Jason Spezza trade have been around for awhile and have appeared again this week, but it is important to remember the average age of the cluster (extremely young) and when the window of opportunity will open for this group.
Sam Gagner is 20 and has three NHL seasons experience. He is not Joe Sakic, but he has talent and can play the game. Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin will be an Oiler this summer, that’s not a bad name to tag as the franchise.
The Oilers have been porridge for so long most of us can’t remember the glory days. The Boys on the Bus began 30 years ago with Stan Weir, 99, Messier and so much youthful enthusiasm they captured the imagination of the nation.
The template is in those pages. Does Steve Tambellini own a copy?