The precursor to BTO was the band Brave Belt formed in Winnipeg in 1971 by Randy Bachman and Chad Allan, both formerly of The Guess Who, and drummer Robin "Robbie" Bachman. After their demo tape had been rejected 26 times, Bachman was prepared to tell the other band members that they would no longer be able to remain on salary, "and they had to go and get the dreaded day jobs".
At this point the band’s demo tape was still called Brave Belt III. Fach convinced the band that a brand new name was needed; one that capitalized on the name recognition of the band members. The band had already mulled over using their surnames (à la Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). While on their way back from a gig in Toronto, the group had spotted a copy of a trucker’s magazine called Overdrive at a Windsor, Ontario truckstop, after which Turner wrote "Bachman-Turner Overdrive" and the initials "B.T.O." on a napkin.
BTO released their eponymous first album in May 1973. The album broke through in the US via border towns such as Detroit and Buffalo, and stayed on the charts for many weeks despite lacking a true hit single.
Their second album, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, was released in December 1973, and became a massive hit in the U.S. and their native Canada. It yielded two of their best known hit singles, "Let It Ride" and "Takin' Care of Business". After years of touring, the band went into a hiatus in 2005- but now Randy Bachman and Fred Turner have reunited for a tour and collaboration on new songs for 2010.
When we were kids we joked "Bachman Turner Overwieght"- but always loved the band and their power-pop sound. And did see them in the 80s at a free outdoor concert in Toledo, Ohio too... hey, wasn't as bad as it sounds, lol- good show actually:
Bachman-Turner Overdrive: Hey You- 1974