Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #63–Bachman-Turner Overdrive: “Let It Ride” b/w “Tramp” – Mercury 73457 (E7/F7)
There’s something to be said about what I call “big dumb rock records.” They’re the riff-crazy tracks that make you grab for your air guitar whilst rocking your head back and forth…oh, and don’t forget the obligatory pain-ridden facial expressions a la Carlos Santana.
We’ve all been there and I still go there today from time-to-time. Anybody who’s been to a concert with me can attest to this fact. It ain’t pretty…but it’s the rock abandon that tracks like today’s jukebox classic, “Let It Ride” conjures that makes it all happen. Simply put, the track is the consummate air guitar song and one the band’s most riff-heavy moments.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive consisted of Randy Bachman on guitar and vocals, Robbie Bachman on drums, Tim Bachman on guitar and Fred Turner on bass and vocals. During the 1970s, the band sold well over seven million albums while propelling hard rock nuggets like “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Hey You” and “Roll On Down The Highway” up the charts.
The group’s leader, Randy Bachman was a founding member of The Guess Who, who charted with such classics as “These Eyes,” “Laughing, “No Time,” “American Woman,” “Share the Land” and “Albert Flasher.” After his departure from The Guess Who, Bachman recorded a solo album called Axe and then formed the band Brave Belt with Guess Who vocalist Chad Allan. Brave Belt went on to release two albums before Allan left due to creative differences. Bachman brought Fred Turner and his two brothers Tim and Robbie into the lineup forming Bachman-Turner Overdrive. When the band shopped around their debut record, they were turned away by 25 record labels before signing with Mercury Records in 1973.
Today’s jukebox classic was certainly not one of their biggest hits, but “Let It Ride” encapsulated all that was good about larger-than-life, radio-ready rock riffage of the mid-1970s. With its meat and potatoes guitar riff combined with totally relatable of-the-people, blue collar lyrics and Fred Turner’s gargled with nails vocals, the song stretched itself right down the center lane of the pop culture highway and onto the charts settling in at number 23 in 1974.
“Let It Ride” was written by Randy Bachman and Fred Turner while the band was on tour in their van. While driving, several truckers boxed the band’s van significantly slowing them down. The band followed the truckers to the next rest stop with the intent to tell them off, however upon catching a glimpse of how big they were, they decided to “Let It Ride.” (songfacts.com)
The band would have to wait for their next single, “Takin’ Care Of Business” (also from BTO II) to firmly establish themselves as top-tier hitmakers, but it was “Let It Ride” that set the groundwork for their enduring popularity.
Randy Bachman left BTO in 1977 and went on to from Ironhorse who recorded two albums that went nowhere. Bachman has since taken on reunion tours with The Guess Who and BTO.
“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.