#1176: Believe Me by The Guess Who?

Peak Month: March 1966
7 weeks on CFUN chart
Peak Position #16
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart

Allan Kowbel was born in Winnipeg in 1943. By the age of fifteen, in 1958, he was singer and guitarist who went by the stage name of Chad Allan. He formed a group that year named The Rave Ons, as a tribute to Buddy Holly. By 1960 the band was known as Allan and the Silvertones. Another name change took place in 1962 when they billed themselves as Chad Allan and the Reflections. At this time their lineup, in addition to Allan, consisted of consisted of keyboard player Bob Ashley, guitarist Randy Bachman, bass player Jim Kale and drummer Garry Peterson. Bachman, Kale and Peterson all provided backing vocals. The group chose the name, The Reflections, to resemble the popular backing band for Cliff Richard called The Shadows. Another name change took place in 1965. A pop group from America, called The Reflections, had a top ten hit called “Just Like Romeo & Juliet.” Their popularity became problematic for Chad Allan and The Reflections. Now they billed themselves as Chad Allan & the Expressions.”

Just as they did this they got their first hit in Canada and America called “Shakin’ All Over.” It was a cover of a 1960 hit by UK band Johnny Kidd & the Pirates. Quality Records issued the record as by Guess Who?. This was an attempt to imply that the record might be by a British Invasion act. Although the recording artist was revealed to be Chad Allan and the Expressions a couple of months later, radio DJs continued to announce the artist as Guess Who? The group subsequently permanently changed its name to The Guess Who? (They would drop the question mark in their name by 1968). Later in 1965 The Four Seasons attempted a similar masking by recording under the similar nom de disque The Wonder Who?

Believe Me by The Guess Who?

This is the story of my broken romance,
and how she decided to give me just one more chance.
For our love to last ’til the end of my days,
and to get her back, use all the words I have to say.

I’ll always be your guy. Believe me.
I’ll never make you cry. Believe me.
I’ll always stand by your side. Believe me.
Just to keep you satisfied. Believe me.
Believe me. Believe me.

There ain’t no use in telling you nothing but the truth.
It’s the same old play and it happens every day.

You said that I had to stop my running around,
keep my eyes straight ahead, my feet on the ground.
She wanted things to be the way that they were,
and to get her back, I had to say these things to her.

I’ll always be your guy. Believe me.
I’ll never make you cry. Believe me.
I’ll always stand by your side. Believe me.
Just to keep you satisfied. Believe me.
Believe me. Believe me.

There ain’t no use in telling you nothing but the truth.
It’s the same old play and it happens every day.

I’ll always be your guy. Believe me.
I’ll never make you cry. Believe me.
I’ll always stand by your side. Believe me.
Just to keep you satisfied. Believe me.
Believe me. Believe me.

“Believe Me” is a song written by Randy Bachman and performed by The Guess Who. It reached #10 in on the Canadian RPM singles chart in 1966. It peaked at #16 in Vancouver. The song was released in the United States as a single, but it did not chart. It was their first of three single releases off their 1966 album, It’s Time. “Believe Me” had some of the infectious, rambunctious sound of The McCoys “Hang On Sloopy,” “Just Like Me” by Paul Revere and The Raiders, “Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” by the Young Rascals and “Dirty Water” by The Standells.

“Believe Me” was produced by Bob Burns and arranged & sung by Chad Allan. It was the first single to feature former Deverons lead singer, Burton Cummings, who would later become the lead singer of The Guess Who?, on the piano, after Allan left the band to go to college.

In “Believe Me” there are lines that are said as an add-on, “There ain’t no use in telling you nothing but the truth. It’s the same old play and it happens every day.” The Standells in “Dirty Water” had numerous phrases that were added to by lead singer Dick Dodd who partially sung and partially spoke the lines shown below in brackets.

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles
(Aw, that’s what’s happenin’ baby)
That’s where you’ll find me
Along with lovers, muggers, and thieves
(Aw, but they’re cool people)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home
(Oh, you’re the number one place)

In the Supremes “You Keep Me Hanging On” later that year, they also used an aside for effect when they sang “…but how can we still be friends when seeing you only breaks my heart again” and then spoke these words:”and there ain’t nothing I can do about it?”

In “Believe Me” the add-on line emphasized the key point that there was no more fooling around. If the guy wants to repair his broken romance he has to stop running around, keep his eyes on the prize and be grounded. He has to tell her nothing but the truth. He has to be the kind of partner for her that he wants her to be for him. And she require him to spit out lines of faithfulness so the bar is set high enough to make their relationship count for something:

I’ll always be your guy. Believe me.
I’ll never make you cry. Believe me.
I’ll always stand by your side. Believe me.
Just to keep you satisfied. Believe me.

In 1966 men giving expression to their feelings and intentions for the girl of their dreams featured in a number of songs. Perhaps, most prominently in “Cherish” by The Association, the #2 song of the year in the USA. Cherish was the word they used to describe all the feelings they had inside. The Four Tops smash hit, “Reach Out I’ll Be There” made a confident plea:

If you feel that you can’t go on,
‘Cause all your hope is gone.
And your life is filled with confusion,
until hapiness is just an illusion.
And your world around is tumblin’ down.
Darling, reach out (come on girl, reach out for me).
Reach out, reach out
I’ll give you all the love that will shelter you.
I’ll be there with a love that will see you through….

And like The Guess Who’s “Believe Me,” The Temptations sang “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” in an effort to repair a broken relationship. Their lyrics included:

….If I have to sleep on your doorstep all night and day
Just to keep you from walking away
Let your friends laugh, even this I can stand
‘Cause I wanna keep you any way I can…

Now I’ve got a love so deep in the pit of my heart
And each day it grows more and more
I’m not ashamed to call and plead to you, baby
If pleading keeps you from walking out that door…

Ain’t too proud to beg and you know it
Please don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)
Ain’t too proud to plead, baby, baby
Please don’t leave me, girl (don’t you go)….

In 1966, it seemed that if a man could come up with the right compelling words to let his girlfriend know she was cherished, he’d always be there and never make her cry, it was enough to keep the relationship in one piece.

The Guess Who tried to tour in the UK themselves in 1967 to support their single, “His Girl.” However, they didn’t have the proper documentation to perform, and “His Girl” only ended up spending one week on the British singles charts. In the fall of 1967 The Guess Who were hired as the house band for The Swingers, a local CBC radio show in Winnipeg. They also were hired as the house band for the TV show Let’s Go, also on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. That show was hosted by their former band-mate, Chad Allan. The group got exposure on the 39 weeks the show aired in both seasons, 1967-68 and 1968-69.

Believing in The Guess Who, producer Jack Richardson went into debt to help them record their first studio album in September 1968 called Wheatfield Soul. It was released in March 1969 along with the debut single from the album, “These Eyes.“  The band followed up Wheatfield Soul with the release of Canned Wheat in September 1969. The album featured the double sided hit single “Laughing” / “Undun” along with the initial recording of the song “No Time.”

By 1970, the Guess Who had moved toward an edgier hard-rock sound with the album American Woman. The album’s a single, “American Woman,” with B-side “No Sugar Tonight,” was the first record by a Canadian band to top the U.S. Hot 100, and was the group’s only No. 1 hit in the U.S. Bachman left the band after releasing his own solo record and within a few years founded the Bachman–Turner Overdrive.

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