Meet Burton Cummings [PHOTOS/VIDEOS]
“Burton Who,” you say?
You know him from the “Guess Who,” and his 1970′s Top-10 solo hit “Stand Tall.”
Catch him in concert TONIGHT at The Tropicana Showroom in Atlantic City!
Burton Cummings was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on December 31, 1947.
He was raised by his mother, Rhoda…and says he never knew his dad, as his father took off when Burton was very young.
Cummings’ first band was a local Winnipeg R&B group, the “Deverons.” Of the two singles released by the band, the first, “Blue Is The Night/She’s Your Lover” was recorded in a Winnipeg radio station!
Cummings joined “The Guess Who” in 1965, replacing keyboardist Bob Ashley.
Soon, Chad Allan, the band’s lead singer would depart…
Between 1966 and 1969, with an album and several singles to their credit, plus a weekly TV appearance as a house band…The Guess Who was Canada’s hardest working band…but mainstream success still seemed just out of reach.
Above, “Burt” remembers those early years…opening for the “big” acts. Some great stories…worth the almost 9 minutes…especially if you are in a struggling band, or you have aspirations of music stardom…and, pay attention to his words of wisdom at the end…
All of the hard work paid off in 1969, when Cummings and Randy Bachman wrote “These Eyes.”
The song was an international smash hit…(#6/1969)…
…quickly followed up by other Top-10 Guess Who hits into 1970, including: “Laughing,” “No Time” and “Share The Land.”
“American Woman” was the band’s first (and only) #1. It perched atop the U.S. Hot 100 for three weeks in the spring of 1970 (it spent 15 weeks in the Top-40). It was also #1 in Canada.
A conflict between Cummings and Randy Bachman caused a rift in the band…with Bachman leaving…and eventually forming another band that would go on to have several of “Jersey’s Favorite Hits.” Bachman-Turner-Overdrive should sound familiar to you…
For the next few years, Burton Cummings would be the leader of the Guess Who. Song highlights of his tenure include: “Share The Land,” “Hand Me Down World,” and the 1974 (somewhat “novelty”) hit “Clap For The Wolfman” (#6/1974).
Sing along with me…”Clap for the Wolfman…he gonna rate your record high…Clap for the Wolfman…you’re gonna dig ‘im ’til the day you die!”
In time…all good things must come to an end.
In 1975, Burton Cummings would disband the Guess Who, and head out on his own…it was solo career time.
“Stand Tall” would be Cumming’s signature solo hit, making it to #10 on the US Hot 100 charts in early 1977.
Other singles include “I’m Scared” (#61/1977).
“My Own Way To Rock” (#74/1977).
“Break It To Them Gently” (#85/1978).
“You Saved My Soul” (#37/1981).
Burton Cumming released a total of eight solo albums and collections between 1976 and 1990.
He moved to California in the late 1970′s, and began writing and singing for films.
He now splits his time between the U.S and Canada.
In 2000, Cummings, Randy Bachman, and original drummer Garry Peterson toured as The Guess Who. With additions, this reformed “Guess Who” toured Canada and the U.S. until 2003!
Then, through 2009, Burton Cummings played occasional shows with Randy Bachman, as “Bachman-Cummings.”
Since 2009, Cummings has toured as a solo act, backed up by the Toronto-based band “The Carpet Frogs.”
By the way, Randy Bachman has rejoined Fred Turner and toured as “Bachman-Turner.” Sorry, no “Overdrive…”
In 2008, Burton Cummings released his first solo album of new material (since 1990). It includes a “making of the album/behind the scenes” DVD. There are 19 new songs on the album…and it is available through Cumming’s official website, or on iTunes.
The Burton Cummings Theatre is located in his hometown, in downtown Winnipeg.
Among his awards, Burton Cummings was named an officer of “The Order of Canada” in 2009. Established in 1967, this is one of Canada’s highest civilian honors, recognizing a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community, and service to Canada.
In 2011, Burton Cummings got his solo star on Canada’s “Walk Of Fame.” This goes along with his star as a part of the Guess Who, awarded in 2001.
Check out more from Burton Cummings on his official site, by clicking here!
And don’t forget to check out Burton Cummings, live, at the Tropicana in A.C. TONIGHT!
Above: Burton Cummings sings “American Woman” live in Tacoma, Washington, on his birthday, December 31, 2012. Gotta love the “Beatles” t-shirt!