Guess Who duo in hall of fame

ROB WILLIAMS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 3:21 PM ET

Millions of fans already know it, but now it's official: Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings are two of the country's greatest songwriters.

The leaders of legendary Winnipeg rock band The Guess Who will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in February, it was announced yesterday.

"I knew it had to come because my main passion and talent is songwriting," Bachman told The Sun. "I like the fact they do it by songs. I'll be back in a couple of years for Takin' Care of Business and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet."

The pair are being honoured for writing American Woman, No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature, No Time and These Eyes.

The third honouree, Winnipeg native Bob Nolan, is being inducted for cowboy standards Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Cool Water. Nolan was born in Winnipeg but moved to the east coast as a child before settling in the U.S., where he was in Sons of the Pioneers with Roy Rogers.

The Guess Who put Winnipeg on the musical map in the 1960s and sold more albums than The Beatles in 1970, the year Bachman left the group. The guitarist said their formula was built on trying to write songs that were instantly recognizable from the first chord.

"We'd get together every Saturday and we'd write dozens and dozens of songs, and one or two would be good and those were the ones that would make it to the albums."

The pair will be inducted into the CSHF Feb. 8 along with Nolan; Buffy Sainte-Marie for Universal Soldier; The Beau-Marks for Clap Your Hands; and songs such as O Canada and A Huron Carol. Cummings and Bachman will play a few songs and other bands will perform at the ceremony.

As for another Guess Who reunion, don't count on it. Bachman and Cummings want to tour next year to celebrate the 35th anniversary of American Woman but can't work out a deal with former bassist Jim Kale, who owns the band name.

"It keeps getting worse instead of better. If we can't do it in '05, I can't see it happening. The logistics involved to get it legally and financially settled so everyone can make some money is proving impossible," Bachman said.

If a Guess Who tour isn't possible, Bachman would like to hit the road with Cummings. Either way, he has a busy year ahead. He plans to release a followup to his JazzThing CD and hit the festival circuit; record and tour with country-surf group The Sadies; and continue performing his Every Song Has a Story shows.

The next time he will be in his home town is for the Junos in April, when he has some surprises planned. Could it involve old pal Neil Young? Bachman won't say but believes the one-time Winnipegger will be here.

"Once he says he's coming, he's coming. I went to him a while ago and said, 'You said you would come if it was in Winnipeg'... and he said, 'I guess I'll have to go then.'


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