TORONTO, February 6th, 2017 – The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) is pleased to announce the induction of Hand Me Down World, a hit song for The Guess Who in 1970, written by bandmate and lead guitarist Kurt Winter. To celebrate the induction, four-time Juno Award winning rock band The Sheepdogs perform Hand Me Down World as part of the Hall of Fame and CBC Music/ICI Musique’s Covered Classics series – their rendition can be viewed here.
“It was truly a pleasure to cover this timeless classic from Canada’s greatest ever rock band, the Guess Who” said Ewan Currie of The Sheepdogs. “Hand Me Down World still rings every bit as true in 2017 as it did when Burton was belting it out back in 1970.”
Hand Me Down World was the follow-up song to The Guess Who’s massive No. 1 success, American Woman. Produced by Jack Richardson, it appeared on The Guess Who’s 1970 album “Share The Land”, their first after headliner Randy Bachman’s departure. The band offered Bachman’s place to another Winnipegger, Kurt Winter, who conveniently brought with him Hand Me Down World.
Hand Me Down World was a protest song in an age when there was much to protest about: damage to the environment, the Viet Nam war, and restrictive social mores. Winter’s lyrics, still relevant decades later, embody the perennial frustrations of socially-conscious youth objecting to the complacency of the middle-aged who have turned a blind eye to society’s problems.
The song had the distinction of being one of the few rock protest songs ever played at the American White House. The Guess Who, at the time the world’s top rock band, performed it at a gala for a distinguished audience including US President Richard Nixon and Prince Charles on July 17, 1970.
Both the album and single went gold. Hand Me Down World spent two months on Billboard’s singles chart, peaking at No. 17 in August 1970, while Share the Land reached No. 14 and charted for a full 25 weeks. At home in Canada, Hand Me Down World hit No. 3 on the CHUM chart in August, and No. 10 on RPM’s Top 100 Singles chart the following month, while RPM’s Top 50 Canadian chart featured it in the Top 10 for several weeks.
The Guess Who won back-to-back Juno awards for Top Vocal Instrumental Group in 1970 and 1971, and the single earned a 1971 BMI Canada Certificate of Honour. The song gained international exposure when the band performed it on the Johnny Cash television show, for which they draped a full-sized red-and-white maple leaf flag over Cummings’ keyboard.
The Guess Who featured Hand Me Down World on various “best of” albums and anthologies, including the 2000 live album Running Back Thru Canada, and played it on a Canadian television special in 1978. Over the years it has been performed by the complete band, by Bachman and Cummings as a duo, and by Cummings alone. Among the countless concerts where The Guess Who have performed the song was a charity event at Toronto’s famous El Mocambo nightclub.
Kurt Winter (1946‒1997), from Winnipeg, Manitoba, played with various bands through the 1960s before joining The Guess Who as lead guitarist from 1970 to 1974. He later starred with the Jim Kale version of the band from 1977 to 1979. Winter wrote or co-wrote (with Cummings and others) several songs that became SOCAN Classics: Rain Dance; Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon; Follow Your Daughter Home; and Clap for the Wolfman.
A collaboration between the CSHF and CBC Music/ICI Musique, Covered Classics invites Canada’s finest musical talent to perform their version of a classic song to celebrate its induction into the Hall of Fame. To view more 2017 CSHF song inductions and Covered Classics performances, click here.
About the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (www.uatcshf.ca) honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and those who have dedicated their lives to the legacy of music, and works to educate the public about these achievements. National and non-profit, the Hall of Fame is guided by its own board of directors who comprise both Anglophone and Francophone music creators and publishers, as well as representation from the record industry. In December 2011, SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) acquired the Hall of Fame. The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame’s mandate aligns with SOCAN’s objectives as a songwriter and publisher membership-based organization.
CBCMusic.ca (www.cbcmusic.ca) is Canada’s free digital music service connecting Canadians with the very best in Canadian and international music. Simple and easy to navigate, CBC Music gives fans access to over 60 web radio stations, available on your smartphone, tablet or desktop, and content from the most knowledgeable music personalities and programmers from across the country.
ICIMusique.ca (www.icimusique.ca) is Radio-Canada’s online music platform. It allows Canadians to stream live radio, and listen to over 150 channels of web radio, albums streaming, special features and music news.
Media contact, to arrange an interview:
Christine Liber, Liberty Ink Communications (for CSHF)
Christine@LibertyInk.ca, 416-651-4722 x 1