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Music World Mourns Chad Allan, Founding Member of Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Dead at 80

The Canadian music scene lost a towering legend this past week with the passing of Chad Allan, accomplished singer-songwriter and founding member of two iconic Winnipeg bands: The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO). He was 80 years old at the time of his death.

Over a prolific career spanning five decades, the multi-talented Allan made an indelible mark on music history as the inaugural frontman of The Guess Who before later helping kickstart BTO in his late 30s. He continued performing across Western Canada well into his late 70s, cementing his place as true national treasure thanks to prodigious talents and unwavering passion for his craft.

The Voice That “Put Winnipeg on the Map”

Though his longtime bandmates Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings may be more household names today, Chad Allan’s profound influence as The Guess Who’s original lead vocalist and creative force cannot be overstated.

It was Allan’s smooth voice singing out the iconic opening lines of “Shakin’ All Over” that first put Winnipeg groups on the national radar back in 1965. Without his singular contributions, who knows if The Guess Who or BTO ever launch to global stardom.

“As soon as the needle hit the vinyl, you knew [Shakin’ All Over] was a great song,” music historian John Einarson told CBC Radio. “Chad Allan absolutely put Winnipeg on the musical map across Canada.”

Even after departing his original group, Allan’s legacy continued impacting his homeland’s Signature Sound.

 Launching Legendary Bands

Beyond smash hits like “These Eyes”, Chad Allan laid the foundation for all The Guess Who’s subsequent success by assembling the initial lineup and honing their stage presence through endless gigs across Manitoba in the group’s early days. His creative guidance proved formative even after his exit.

Remarkably, lightning struck twice for the visionary tunesmith when Bachman asked Allan to join his fledgling new outfit BTO later on, playing a key supporting role in their early development before once again leaving just shy of the breakthrough LPs.

But whether with The Guess Who or BTO, Allan’s genius set the stage for greatness to follow even after stepping back from touring rigors.

A Pillar and Mentor in Canadian Music

Well into his late 70s, Chad Allan never stopped recording new original music and delivering spirited sets for loyal fans, especially back home in friendly Manitoba where he was revered as local royalty.

The words of his former bandmate Burton Cummings epitomize Allan’s treasured place as both pioneer and mentor in the Winnipeg music ecosystem and Canada at large for over 60 incredible years.

The stage lost an original this week, but Chad Allan’s countless hits and the artists he inspired will keep Canadian classics rocking for ages. A nation pays tribute to this gracious founding father’s lasting musical legacy.

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