Burton Cummings, (born December 31, 1947, in Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian musician and songwriter. He was the lead singer and frequent keyboardist for the Canadian rock band The Guess Who.
During his 10 years in The Guess Who, from 1965 to 1975, he sang and wrote or co-wrote many songs including “American Woman,” “No Time,” “Share the Land,” “Hand Me Down World,” “Undun,” “Laughing,” “Star Baby”, “New Mother Nature,” and “These Eyes.” His solo career includes many Canadian singles including “Stand Tall”, “My Own Way to Rock” and “You Saved My Soul”.
Cummings was born and raised in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, as were all of the other original members of The Guess Who, and attended St. John’s High School. His first band was a local Winnipeg R&B group The Deverons, with an ‘E’ (not to be confused with the band The Devrons who had Country/R&B hits in the early ’60s). He joined The Guess Who in 1965 to replace keyboardist Bob Ashley and shortly thereafter its previous lead singer, Chad Allan, left the band.
Cummings also tried his hand at acting. He appeared alongside Paul Sorvino, Glynnis O’Connor and Don Johnson in the 1982 film Melanie.
Success with The Guess WhoIn 1969, The Guess Who scored an international hit with “These Eyes”, co-written by Cummings and guitarist Randy Bachman. It was followed up by hit “Laughing”, again written by Cummings and Bachman. Another Guess Who song “Undun” featured Cummings on a jazzy flute solo. In 1970, the band hit no. 1 in Canada with “American Woman.”
Ultimately, personal issues between Cummings and bandmate Randy Bachman – partially ignited by Bachman’s deepening Mormon religious beliefs—caused a rift in the band. Bachman left and went on to form the band Brave Belt with former Guess Who mate Chad Allan, and later Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Cummings became the band’s leader and recorded songs that included: “Share the Land,” “Hand Me Down World,” “Albert Flasher,” “Rain Dance,” “Sour Suite,” “Glamour Boy,” “Star Baby” and “Clap for the Wolfman.”
Going solo In 1975, after 10 years, Cummings left The Guess Who to become a solo artist and the group disbanded. One of his first projects included providing back-up vocals on Eric Carmen’s second solo LP, Boats Against the Current, including “She Did It.”
Cummings’ subsequent solo hits in Canada included “Stand Tall,” his biggest American solo hit, peaking at #10, “I’m Scared,” “Break it to Them Gently,” and “Fine State of Affairs.” Cummings charted outside Canada with “Stand Tall” and “You Saved My Soul.” His Dream of a Child album released in 1978 was the biggest Canadian album in history at that time. Cummings released a total of eight solo albums and collections from 1976 to 1990. In 1997 he released a live compilation album of his solo performances entitled Up Close and Alone.
Cummings became a resident of Sherman Oaks, California, and began writing and singing for films in the late 1970s. He currently winters in California and returns to Winnipeg in the summer, living in Canada throughout autumn. clarification needed] Besides his music, Cummings purchased Winnipeg’s “Salisbury House” restaurant chain with manager Lorne Saifer and is an avid comic book collector.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"] Burton Cummings[/lastfm] [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Guess Who[/lastfm]
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