|"Takin' Care of Business"|
7" Single cover
|Single by Bachman–Turner Overdrive|
|from the album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II|
|Bachman–Turner Overdrive singles chronology|
Randy Bachman had developed what would later become "Takin' Care of Business" while still a member of The Guess Who. His original idea was to write about a recording technician who worked on The Guess Who's recordings. This particular technician would take the 8:15 train to get to work, inspiring the lyrics "take the 8:15 into the city."
In the early arrangement for the song, which had the working title "White Collar Worker", the chorus riff and vocal melody were similar to that of The Beatles' "Paperback Writer". When Bachman first played this version for Burton Cummings, Cummings declared that he was ashamed of him and that The Guess Who would never record the song because the Beatles would sue them.
Bachman still felt like the main riff and verses were good, it was only when the song got to the chorus that everyone hated it. While BTO was still playing smaller venues in support of its first album, Bachman was driving into Vancouver, British Columbia for a gig and listening to the radio when he heard a particular DJ's (Daryl B) catch phrase "We're takin' care of business." Lead vocalist Fred Turner's voice gave out before the band's last set that night. Bachman sang some cover songs to get through the last set, and on a whim, he told the band to play the C, B-flat and F chords (a I-VII-IV progression) over and over, and he sang "White Collar Worker" with the new words "Takin' Care of Business" inserted into the chorus.
After this, he rewrote the lyrics to "White Collar Worker" with a new chorus and the title "Takin' Care of Business". Along with this he wrote a revised guitar riff, which was the I-VII-IV progression played with a shuffle. Bachman says he then handed over the lyrics to Fred Turner with the thought that Turner would sing the lead vocal. But Turner handed them back, saying Randy should sing the lead as it would give himself a needed vocal break when the band performed live.
The song was recorded by Bachman–Turner Overdrive for their second album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II. It reached number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (August 10, 1974), number 6 on the Cash Box Top 100, and number 3 on the Canadian RPM charts, and would become one of BTO's most enduring and well-known songs. "Takin' Care of Business" spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, longer than any other BTO single.
The original studio version, recorded at Kaye-Smith Studios in Seattle, Washington, features prominent piano, played by Norman Durkee. Durkee, an accomplished musician who would become musical director for Bette Midler and Barry Manilow, was recording commercials in the next studio when sound engineer Buzz Richmond asked him to play on "Takin' Care of Business". With paid-by-the-hour musicians waiting, Durkee had only a few minutes to spare. Quickly conferring with Randy Bachman, he scribbled down the chords, and, without listening to the song beforehand, recorded the piano part in one take. The fact that Durkee wrote the chords down on a pizza box may have been the source of the long-standing myth – mischievously propagated by band members – that the part had been played by a pizza deliveryman who had heard the track being played back, and then cajoled the band into giving him a chance to add piano to it.
In 2011, Bachman said it was the most licensed song in Sony Music's publishing catalogue. It is often referred to as "the Provincial rock anthem of Manitoba." Bachman himself uses the song as the theme song for his CBC Radio music show, Vinyl Tap.
In 1980, Kurtis Blow did a cover of Takin' Care of Business on his self-titled debut album, with Mercury Records.
During his last few years of life, Elvis Presley adopted "Taking Care of Business in a Flash" as a motto, abbreviated as TCB and associated with a lightning bolt. The logo can be seen on one of his airplanes, and is still used in Elvis merchandise. His entertainment room at Graceland also shows his dedication to that motto. His last backup group was called the TCB Band, which still plays under the name. Elvis had been a major influence on Bachman, who in 2010 said he had been aware of rumors about the origins of the TCB name but had not had them confirmed until watching a documentary about Elvis in which his widow confirmed the BTO connection. In an interview with Larry London of Voice of America, Bachman commented that Elvis had recorded a version of the song but that it would probably never be released.
In 2004, Bachman rewrote the song into a Christmas version titled "Takin' Care of Christmas", which was released on a holiday CD of the same title.
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