Bachman–Turner Overdrive Drummer Robbie Bachman Dead at 69

Bachman Turner Overdrive Live At Fillmore East - Credit: Redferns
Bachman Turner Overdrive Live At Fillmore East - Credit: Redferns

Robbie Bachman, the drummer for Bachman–Turner Overdrive who powered the band’s biggest hits including “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and “Takin’ Care of Business,” has died. He was 69.

Randy Bachman, the drummer’s brother and bandmate, confirmed the news on Twitter Thursday night. “Another sad departure,” he wrote. “The pounding beat behind BTO, my little brother Robbie has joined Mum, Dad & brother Gary on the other side. Maybe Jeff Beck needs a drummer! He was an integral cog in our rock ‘n’ roll machine and we rocked the world together.” Further details surrounding Robbie’s death have not yet been revealed.

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Robbie and Randy began playing music together as kids while growing up in Winnipeg, Canada. Eventually, guitarist Randy asked Robbie to become the drummer for his band Brave Belt, which he had formed with musician Chad Allan, Randy Bachman’s former bandmate in the Guess Who. Together, the band recorded two albums released in the early Seventies before eventually adding middle brother Tim Bachman on rhythm guitar and bassist C. Fred Turner, and changing their name to Bachman–Turner Overdrive.

While their first self-titled album as Bachman–Turner Overdrive in 1973 wasn’t a huge hit upon release – though it did boast the gem “Hold Back the Water,” featuring a rare co-writing credit for Robbie – they quickly found their real success with their second album later that same year. The LP, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, featured their most famous song, “Takin’ Care of Business,” as well as the hit “Let It Ride.” Not Fragile followed in 1974, and with it another hit, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”

The group continued to make music throughout the mid-Seventies, releasing a handful of albums, before Randy Bachman exited the band in 1977 following the release of Freeways, leaving Robbie as the lone Bachman still in the Overdrive.

BTO briefly disbanded in 1979, but by 1983, the band reunited with Randy and Tim Bachman returning, though without Robbie; BTO’s 1984 self-titled semi-reunion album is the lone album by the band to not feature Robbie on drums.

However, Robbie would later rejoin Bachman-Turner Overdrive in 1988, and when Randy once again left the band in 1991, Robbie continued on with “BTO” – the band’s legally agreed upon name when Randy wasn’t involved – through 2005. When Randy revived Bachman-Turner Overdrive in 2009, it was once again without his younger brother.

In 2014, Bachman–Turner Overdrive were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

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