Six months after the release of their debut album, Bachman Turner Overdrive released their second record appropriately titled Bachman Turner Overdrive II. With the success of the album’s lead single “Taking Care of Business,” Bachman Turner Overdrive would soon become one of the most popular bands in the world. In 1974, Bachman Turner Overdrive released the album Not Fragile. The album was fueled by the band’s first and only number one record, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” It was one of those songs that you would hear playing on the AM radio dial constantly no matter what music station you turned to. The album also featured brand-new guitar player Blair Thornton who replaced Tim Bachman.
The follow up album to the very successful Not Fragile record was entitled Four Wheel Drive. It was a great record that many Bachman Turner Overdrive fans felt was one of their strongest records. The album’s single “Hey You,” had only moderate success in the United States reaching number 21 on the U.S. charts. However, the song became a number one record in Canada. It would be the band’s last successful single ever released.
Bachman Turner Overdrive was pumping out albums at a furious pace. The band was releasing two albums a year. In the same year the band released Four Wheel Drive, they also released the album Head On. The cover featured a large headshot of Randy Bachman It was an interesting album cover. The cover unfolded into four large squares that displayed great portraits of all four band members. The album Head On featured no hit singles, although it was still well received by true Bachman Turner Overdrive fans. However, most Bachman Turner Overdrive fans believe that this was the last great Bachman Turner Overdrive record, especially during that time period.
The band’s legendary lineup of Randy Bachman, Robbie Bachman, C.F.Turner and Blair Thornton released one final album together in 1977 entitled Freeways. It was an album that was disliked by hardcore Bachman Turner Overdrive fans and resulted in the Randy Bachman leaving the band.
The band continued without Randy Bachman using the named BTO on the new albums instead of Bachman Turner Overdrive. Bassist Jim Clench replaced Randy Bachman on the next two BTO albums. The band released Street Action in 1978 and Rock and Roll Nights in 1979. The albums were largely ignored at the time by Bachman Turner Overdrive fans. Furthermore, many of the Bachman Turner Overdrive fans who had grown up listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive in the early 1970’s had grown into their late teens and were now becoming fans of bands like The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, The Sex Pistols and the punk and new wave genres that infiltrated the rock scene in the late 1970’s.
There was a Bachman Turner Overdrive album in 1984 that reunited Randy Bachman and C.F. Turner. However, it did not include Blair Thornton or Robbie Bachman. Over the years the band’s record company Mercury Records has released various live albums and hit compilations. Their studio albums at times are hard to find on CD but have been reissued several times on various labels. There have been reunion tours and battles over use of the name Bachman Turner Overdrive between Randy Bachman and Blair Thornton.
Our Top 10 Bachman Turner Overdrive songs list is an attempt to list some of the band best material regardless of commercial success. Many of the Bachman Turner Overdrive songs on this Bachman Turner Overdrive songs list were indeed massive hits. However, there are a few album tracks that we have always believed represented the best Bachman Turner Overdrive songs the band ever released. We stand by this one because we grew up with the band and were big fans back in the day when we brought each of these albums when they were first issued.
# 10 – Away From Home
We start out our Top 10 Bachman Turner Overdrive Songs list with a great hard driving song entitled “Away From Home.” The song was released on the band’s fifth album called Head On in 1975. Listen to those guitars at the start of the song in the way the counterpoint rhythms of both guitarists play off against each other showing an incredible maturity in the band’s musical arrangements since their first album. Great guitar solos at the two minute and two minute forty marks further showing how good Bachman Turner Overdrive were becoming.
# 9 – Stayed Awake All Night
The band’s debut album Bachman Turner Overdrive makes its first appearance on this Bachman Turner Overdrive Songs list with the track “Stayed Awake All Night.” The song was written by Randy Bachman. Randy and his brother Tim shared lead vocals on this killer track.
# 8 – My Wheels Wont Turn
The follow album Freeways signaled the beginning of the end of the band. However, many BTO fans have gone back to the record and discovered that it was actually a pretty good album. Our favorite track, “My Wheels Won’t Turn,” features some great guitar work by Blair Thornton.
# 7 – Gimme Your Money Please
Continuing with our Top 10 Bachman Turner Overdrive Songs list we turn to the band’s first album Bachman Turner Overdrive. The album was released in 1973. The albums opening track “Gimme Your Money Please,” was also released as the first single of the band’s career. The song was written and sung by C.F Turner.
# 6 – Not Fragile
The title track of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s smash album Not Fragile has always been one of our favorite Bachman Turner Overdrive songs. The album Not Fragile was released in 1974. The title Not Fragile was a tongue in cheek response to the Yes album title Fragile that had been released a few years earlier by the band Yes.
# 5 – Let It Ride
“Let It Ride,” was the second single released from the band’s sophomore album entitled Bachman Turner Overdrive II. The album was released in 1973. The single “Let It Ride,” was not as successful as the album’s smash hit “Taking Care Of Business.” However, riding off the success of that song, “Let It Ride,” still reached the number 23 spot on the Billboard top 100 singles chart in 1974.
# 4 – Four Wheel Drive
“Four Wheel Drive,” may have never been a huge hit, but was clearly one of the best Bachman Turner Overdrive songs ever released. In fact, if we had to label one song that defined the sound and spirit of the band Bachman Turner Overdrive, it would be the song “Four Wheel Drive.” The song “Hey You ,”was the first and only single released from the album Four Wheel Drive, but in our books, the title track was the best song on the album.
# 3 – Roll On Down The Highway
The Bachman Turner Overdrive album Not Fragile is the most represented BTO album on this Top 10 Bachman Turner Overdrive songs list. “Roll On Down the Highway,” was the second single released from the album. The song reached number 14 on the U.S. Billboard Hit 100 in 1974. The song was written by C.F.Turner and Rob Bachman. C.F.Turner sang lead vocals on this great roaring rock and roll track.
# 2 – Taking Care Of Business
Many people would argue that BTO’s “Taking Care of Business,” is their greatest song. It certainly is their most popular. It is the song that lasted longer than any other Bachman Turner Overdrive song. So why is this not number one? The answer is simple, we like another song better. Nonetheless, “Taking Care of Business,” was a huge record for the band. It was the the song that put Bachman Turner Overdrive on the map. The song reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the song’s legacy has only grown over the years
# 1 – You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” was the band’s first number one record. It was also there only number one record. It was a sung with an dynamic slick guitar lick fueled by the perfect blend of rock and roll pop groove. Randy Bachman’s vocal performance was as original as it gets. It seems as if they were not even taking the song seriously when they recorded it because they had originally intended to leave it off the album. Sometime you never know what you got until you release it on an album when your record company tell you so,
Updated July 16th 2021
Top 10 Bachman-Turner Overdrive Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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