Imagine that your brother is a rock star. Imagine that he’s sold millions of records, played concerts all over the world, is adored by tons of fans. You on the other hand, have a speech impediment, one that your brother likes to make fun of. In fact he sent you a song that he wrote where he mocks you in the chorus. Real funny, you think. Until one day you hear it on the radio as his band’s next single. It climbs the charts, getting bigger & bigger until it finally hits #1 in the US & Canada. And is a worldwide smash. Your stuttering brother, making millions while making fun of you. That’s what happened to Gary Bachman, brother of musician, Randy Bachman.
In keeping with disclosure, Randy didn’t intend to release this song with his stuttering vocals. In fact it was just a scratch vocal take with all other band members just picking up their instruments and laying this song down to tape, while they were recording songs for their LP, Not Fragile. They figured why not, let’s capture the vibe. It sounded fun, and it was a good tune to run through just to warm up the fingers but it was kind of a joke.
When the album was completed, Mercury Records asked Randy if he had any other songs to record. They felt the album sounded flat. Randy reluctantly pulled You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet out of the box old recordings, but admitted that the recording wasn’t really done well. The guitars are out of tune. The vocals are all over the place. Randy admitted that they didn’t take the recording seriously and that he was stammering through the chorus as a funny gag for his brother.
But to prove that record company executives are either stubborn or cruel or savvy as hell, they told BTO that YASNY was a hit. It’s bright, fun and way better than this other Canadian wilderness rock crap that you have here.
So the band re-recorded the song but could never recapture the feel. Each take was too stiff. The magic just wasn’t there. Mercury Records said, fuck it, just put out what you have and get out on the road and promote it. Randy, figuring it would tank upon release, gave up wrestling with the mucky mucks and them put it out as a single. 2 months later, it was #1. Yay, I mean, oops, I mean…yay? I’m sure Pete Townsend wasn’t amused. [The chorus is a direct ripoff of Baba O’Riley and I’m sure Randy was wasted when he wrote this.]
Ah, who cares if it’s not AIS-approved? It’s dumb and fun, so turn it up. And remember any lovin’ is good lovin’, so take what you can get….[find a picture of Randy Bachman, and you’ll see what he means]
An aside: Former jilted partner of the Guess Who, Burton Cummings, does a great lounge version of this song on his 1976 debut solo album