Chad Allan & The Expressions

Some followers of 60's pop music remember a group called Chad Allan and the Expressions, the song that they put in the top forty in 1965, and the foundation they laid for music in the 70's. For those who don't, maybe a refresher course is in order.

This is a group which started in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1963 as Allan and the Silvertones, and later called themselves the Reflections, then the Expressions, then Chad Allan and the Expressions. Eventually they would change their name again, and become a very well known band in the 70's. Some of the people who performed with the group would become well known names in the music world in the 70's. Not many people remember Chad Allan and the Expressions making any kind of contribution to pop music in the 60's, although many will remember their song.

The original group consisted of Allan Kobel on guitar and vocals, Randy Bachman on lead guitar, Jim Kale on bass, Bob Ashley on piano and Gary Peterson on drums. Allan Kobel used the pseudonym Chad Allan, and Bob Ashley served as lead singer. They also had a singer named Carol West who performed with them in stage appearances at times, but not on any of their recordings. Among others who would be members of the group over the years were musicians Kurt Winter, Greg Leskiw, Bill Wallace, Don McDougall, and Domenic Troiano.

They were a very good band and recorded on several record labels in Canada, without gathering much notice. In the mid-60's, anything British seemed to work well in pop music, and Chad Allan had long been an admirer of British pop music. Chad Allan and the Expressions took a song that had been written and recorded by British rocker Johnny Kidd in 1960 called Shakin' All Over and made their own recording of it. Quivers down my backbone, I got the shakes in my thigh bone, I got the shivers in my knee bone, shakin' all over ... It was released with the words "Guess Who ???" on the label on Quality in Canada (in order to give the appearance of being done by a British Invasion band) where it was an immediate hit, and later on Scepter (also as "Guess Who?") in the United States.

This one clicked. Shakin' All Over took off nationally in Canada and in the United States, and went as high as number 22 on the charts in the summer of 1965. Chad Allan and the Expressions toured with Dick Clark that year. They also appeared on a television program called Let's Go with Chad Allan as the host, and for a time were regulars on another Canadian television show titled Where It's At.

Some big changes were in order for the band. In early 1966, Allan "Chad Allan" Kobel left to concentrate on his studies. He was replaced by local Winnipeg resident Burton Cummings, who served as lead singer. The band had been signed to the Quality Records label at a time when the British Invasion was in full force. Some groups began to pick up names that sounded British, in order to help record sales -- acts such as the Beau Brummels from San Francisco, and the Sir Douglas Quintet from San Antonio. At the suggestion of Quality, Chad Allan and the Expressions from Winnipeg changed their name -- to the Guess Who.

Recording in New York City in 1968 for the RCA label under the direction of talented record producer Jack Richardson, the Guess Who and their excellent lead singer, Burton Cummings, were poised for phenomenal success. Their first hit was These Eyes, a number 6 record in early 1969. The Guess Who proceeded to have many more hits, including some that made the top ten such as Laughing, No Time, American Woman/No Sugar Tonight, Share The Land, and one that they recorded with legendary DJ Wolfman Jack titled Clap For The Wolfman.

In 1970 American Woman became a number one record for the Guess Who, and a short time later Randy Bachman left the group. Bachman is a terrific guitar player. Together with Chad Allan he formed a new band called Brave Belt. That group later became Bachman-Turner Overdrive, which had several hits in the 70's including Takin' Care Of Business and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet. Burton Cummings is regarded by some as one of the best lead singers in any rock band ever. Cummings went on to meet with success as a solo act, including a big hit with his Stand Tall.

The Guess Who disbanded in 1975 but has had several reunions over the years. Some recall that the group first gained notice as Chad Allan and the Expressions with the 60's standard Shakin' All Over.

Most Recent Update: February 1, 2005

Return to Rock-and-Roll Page.

Return to Home Page.

Send email to the author, Tom Simon