My Week: Shawn Crahan, frontman of Bad Wolves

“We didn’t make him aware of what he was doing,” says the 58-year-old guitarist of the monster hit “Canadian Pacific” that became his biggest hit during the second half of the 1970s. “These songs…

My Week: Shawn Crahan, frontman of Bad Wolves

“We didn’t make him aware of what he was doing,” says the 58-year-old guitarist of the monster hit “Canadian Pacific” that became his biggest hit during the second half of the 1970s.

“These songs about death are like clichés, they’ve been done thousands of times. But he’s not just a fresh guy, he’s not just somebody you’d have a drink with. He’s a person. And he never lets any of that just go.”

The falsetto backing vocals on “Canadian Pacific” by singer-songwriter Randy Bachman become a highlight, with Bachman demonstrating his skill at chameleon-like transformations.

“The way he fuses this shivering love into this pissed-off gibberish makes it different than the first take,” says former Stratospheric manager Randy Tunks. “Even with the lead, it’s an incredibly beautiful thing to hear.”

In 1973, Bachman and former Abbatoir collaborator Burton Cummings wrote the hard-driving No1 hit “Canadian Pacific” for RCA, co-writing and performing lead on vocals. Bachman had always lived in Toronto, but he had moved to Winnipeg when the band went into Vancouver’s Venue Recording Studios for this session. Cummings had cut his recording teeth in Calgary, but had relocated to the prairie city in 1973. The song would become their biggest hit.

Over time, the song became a key musical statement for Canada. In 1976, it became the international anthem.

The version of “Canadian Pacific” featured Bachman’s ode to his hometown – “Ride for Winnipeg” – and on its second and final single, “What’s Mine Is Yours” (which featured in the 1983 Stanley Cup victory of the New York Islanders), he sounded affectionate about the legendary team, with whom he had a close relationship.

Over time, the song became a key musical statement for Canada. In 1976, it became the international anthem.

Canadian Pacific (1975)

One of the most popular Bachman-Crosby songs is “Hello Winnipeg”, which became a single before “Canadian Pacific”. It was originally recorded for the Crazy Horse Blues album, but no one knows what led to the track’s change of name.

I’ll always be in love with the sound of ‘Hello Winnipeg.’ Everybody does and I still do Randy Bachman

Over the course of the 1980s, Bachman became the label-head for both Seymour Stein and David Geffen – to the point that he left both the label and the band.

“The popularity of Canadian Pacific led them to the studio, and I was anxious to get started,” he says. “But at that time we got a lot of grief from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, even after the CBC had never commented on it. So in the end, all of that stuff was screwed up.”

Bachman has talked about his heartbreak following this period in his career. He is now married to his second wife, the daughter of Bob Sinclar.

Although he still owns his old apartment in Manhattan, he has lived full-time in Winnipeg for 18 years. “I’ll always be in love with the sound of ‘Hello Winnipeg,’ everybody does and I still do.”

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