Guess Who joins Solano County Fair lineup

By From page B1 | May 09, 2014

FAIRFIELD — American woman, The Guess Who has time left for you.

The Canadian rock band, formed in 1962, will play the Solano County Fair on Aug. 2. It joins Con Funk Shun, Los Lobos and Little Anthony & The Imperials at this year’s event.

All shows begin at 8 p.m. and are included with fair admission.

“We’re very excited about the variety and quality of concerts we have scheduled for this year,”said fair General Manager Mike Paluszak in a press release. “The evening concerts, followed by nightly fireworks, will be a fantastic way to top off a full day of fair activities and entertainment.”

Bands for the fair’s closing night Fiesta Concert will be announced soon.

The Guess Who’s first lineup was guitarist Randy Bachman, bassist Jim Kale, drummer Garry Peterson and keyboard player Burton Cummings.

The band’s moniker was solidified when Quality Records released the group’s first single and album, “Shakin’ All Over,” in a plain white record jacket with only the question “Guess Who?” written on it.

The marketing ploy was meant to capitalize on curiosity and the promise of another British Invasion band. It worked.

After “Shakin’ All Over,” the band toured the U.S. as part of “Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars Road Revue” and in 1967 landed a regular spot on the Canadian TV show, “Where It’s At.”

Their song, “His Girl,” gave the band a top-20 hit in England, an offer to sign with London-based King Records and the opportunity to tour. After one album, the band quit King Records and returned to Canada, where its contract was sold to Nimbus 9, owned by producer Jack Richardson.

Richardson believed so strongly in The Guess Who that he mortgaged his home to finance the recording of the album, “Wheatfield Soul,” according to press materials.

The record, released in 1968, had the single “These Eyes,” which reached No. 1 in Canada and No. 3 in the U.S. It also earned the band a contract with RCA Records.

“Canned Wheat,” also released in 1968, contained the top-10 hits “Laughing,” “No Time” and “Undun.”

It was “American Woman” in early 1970 that gave The Guess Who a No. 1 single  in the U.S. and unseated The Beatles for three weeks on the music charts.

At the peak of The Guess Who’s success, Bachman decided to leave the band to form Bachman Turner Overdrive. Cummings left the band in 1975 to pursue a successful solo career. Kale continued the band with the addition of new members through the late 1970s.

The Guess Who returned to its Winnipeg roots in 1999, responding to a personal request from the premier of Manitoba to appear at the closing ceremonies of the Pan Am Games. The reunion was performed in driving rain before a combined live and television audience of nearly 1 million people. The band reunited and toured Canada.

Membership in the group has changed through the years. Kale and Peterson have been the constants. Today they are backed by Derek Sharp on vocals and guitars; Leonard Shaw on keyboards, flute, sax and vocals; and Will Evankovich on guitars and vocals.

The Solano County Fair runs July 30 through Aug. 3. More information can be found at www.scfair.com.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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