Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




Takin' Care Of Business

by

Bachman-Turner Overdrive



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was written by Randy Bachman, who also sang lead on the track. He explained to classicbands.com that he came up with the idea for the song in the late-'60s while he was still a member of The Guess Who. Bachman loved "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles, and he used that music to create a song about going to work called "White Collar Worker," which needed a new hook to complete. The song lay dormant until Bachman formed Bachman-Turner Overdrive and were playing a show when lead singer Fred Turner's voice gave out. Forced to sing for a set, Bachman told the band to "Play these 3 chords over and over, C, B flat, and F endlessly and when I get to the hook, help me out."
Bachman was listening to C-Fox radio on the way to the club and heard the DJ say they were "Takin' Care of Business," which gave him the idea for the hook. Singing his lyrics to "White Collar Worker," Bachman sang "Takin' Care of Business" in the breakdown, and he had his song.
The band captured the feel of jamming in the club by having Bachman sing it, which Turner appreciated since it would give his voice a rest at their shows. Bachman had a sore throat and a head cold when he recorded his vocals.
The song propelled the phrase "Takin' care of business" into the popular lexicon, forever to be used by athletes, performers and the common man to indicate they are on the job.
Randy Bachman: "Ralph (Murphy) and I wrote a song in '67 called 'A Little Bit Of Rain.' That riff is used in the middle of 'Takin' Care Of Business,' just to break the monotony because 'Takin' Care Of Business' was three chords over and over and over. It had no bridge. No hook. No song format, other than that it was 'Louie Louie.' Endless, mind-bashing of three chords. And the original version, as I explained at the Ryman, had twelve chords. That's why nobody liked it. It had an incredible number of chords."
While the song title implies an industrious responsibility, a closer listen reveals that this song is more of a slacker anthem. The singer is presumably unemployed, and he "loves to work at nothing all day."
Norman Durkee played the piano on this track. So who is this Norman fellow? John Presho, who knew Bachman and worked security at their concerts, gives this account:
"Randy Bachman told me that when BTO was in the recording studio the record producer wasn't happy with the raw version of that song. BTO took a time out, ordered a pizza and went back to work on the song. A while later there was a knock on the studio door and it was the pizza delivery man. After giving the band their pizza he commented that 'Takin' Care of Business' was a great song but it needed some piano playing. The pizza man introduced himself as Norman and said that he was a piano player. BTO thanked and tipped him and sent him on his way. Hours later with no improvement in the song they decided to call Norman, but no one got his phone number or could remember the name of the pizza place. BTO called a half dozen pizza houses before they were able to track him down. The band paid Herman's $75 to join the musicians union so he could play the piano in the recording studio."
Throughout the early '90s, this was used in commercials for Office Depot to promote their business services. Hillary Clinton used it at many of her campaign events in 2008 when she ran for president of the US.
A cover of this song was included on the first rap album released by a major label. It happened in 1980 when Kurtis Blow recorded it for his self-titled album.
This holds the record for largest guitar jam in history. On May 7, 1994, Bachman led 1,322 mostly-amateur guitarists in a performance of this that lasted 68 minutes. The event was held in Vancouver.
The Guess Who played this on their 2000 reunion tour. Bachman was in The Guess Who before leaving to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Randy Bachman and C.F Turner reunited in 2000 for an appearance on The Simpsons that featured this song. At a concert, Homer heckles the band until they play this, then tells them to "Get to the 'working overtime' part."
The song title as well as the band's name are mentioned in the Crude but humorous video game Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, where a character claims the song was written about her. (thanks, Logan - Troy, MT)
Bachman's autobiography is titled Randy Bachman, Takin' Care Of Business.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Bachman-Turner Overdrive Artistfacts
More Bachman-Turner Overdrive songs
More songs that are commonly misinterpreted
More songs used on The Simpsons
More songs used in commercials
More songs that started catch phrases

Comments (21):

Does anyone know how they got that strange 16-th note knocking sound that persists throughout the song? Like knuckles on a conga drum, or something. Too low in the mix to identify.
- Dave, Moscow, Russia Federation
Here's the link for the real story of the piano on the song:
http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/tcob.asp
- Andrew, London, United Kingdom
The story of the pizza man piano player is not correct. Look up Normal Durkee on snopes.com. He was a proper session musician who was working in the same studio when they recorded the song.
- Andrew, London, United Kingdom
David in Birmingham, Al.
It's like the way some people mis pronounce Neil Peart's last name. It's pronounced PEERT not Pert!
- Jason, Aurora, CO
By the way, Randy's last name has been mispronounced by generations of deejays and fans. It's BACK-man...not BOCK-man.
- David, Birmingham, AL
The lyrics say it all. Tired of the 9 to 5? Get a guitar, learn a few chords and be a rock star! It's easy! It sounds like a lyrics Frank Zappa would have written. Another song in the same vein is "Money For Nothing".
- Ken, Louisville, KY
I participated in the record setting for the largest jam session. That was a fun experience and It looks awesome on a resume, and yes it has got ten me a job!
- Justin, Mt Vernon, WA
When I was a teenager growing up in Manistee, Michigan, My friends and I went to a place called "Johnny's of Custer" in Custer,Mich.We would go to the Saturday Night teen dance and do The Gator to this song.
- Jason, Denver, CO
I guess it wasn't supposed to be about anything, but the first time I heard TCOB (noone menchoned that it was a famous Elvis Presley phrase), it sounded like Bachman was talking about how everyone who goes through so much fuss to get paid. There are few people in the world today that actually do what they love to do the most, and list it as a proffesion. It sounded to me like Bachman was trying to express that he loves to write and play music.
- Ryan, Somewhere in, NJ
Has been played at Muts games for two years.

Oh, did I say Muts? Most people spell it with an E but Yankees fans spell it with a U!
- Brian, New York, NY
This goes about 4mins 45sec on the original 45 but
when K-Tel records did a comp in 74 called MIND BENDER it was cut back to 3 mins. It's the last track side 1. Vers 2 is gone & so is one of the instramental breaks. Elton Johns "Sarturday Nights
Alright..." (4.55) was cut to 2.50 on same LP.
- Nunzio, Darwin, Australia
A fellow by the name of Norman Durkee plays piano on this song. The story behind his performance on the song is that Mr. Durkee was a pizza delivery guy who dropped into the wrong studio with a pizza (apparently that had been ordered by Steve Miller who reportedly was in another studio in the building) and he commented to Randy Bachman that the song needed some spicing up with a bit of honky-tonk-like piano and he showed Randy what he had in mind. BTO decided to give the idea a try and liked it and made the recording with Mr. Durkee. He gets piano-palying credit for the song on the album cover.
- George, Ottawa, Canada
As Maurie noted, Randy put out a CD, Every Song Tells a Story, which is actually the soundtrack to a TV special. The story he tells about the creation of TCB takes a while, but it's great. It incorporates a sore-throated singer, Santana, a Vancouver DJ and a Beatles rip-off - among other things. Randy is a natural storyteller, great CD.
- Allan, Vanderhoof, Canada
C-Fun is a ladies talk radio station these days. Nice ref Fiona.
- rob, vancouver, Canada
"It's BTO -- they're Canada's answer to ELP! Their big hit was TCB! That's how we talked in the 70's. We didn't have a moment to spare."

Sorry, couldn't resist.
- Fiona, Napier, New Zealand
This is one of my fav songs
- Katheren, Augusta, ME
I like this song
- Katheren, Augusta, ME
countless sports teams used this song as a theme in the 70's and early 80's while showing highlights on tv.....i remember the chicago white sox used this as a theme one year....
- Scott, chicago, IL
this is an awsome song.
- Dani, Winnipeg, Canada
I hate this song..........Reminds me of work
- Jade, Chippewa Falls, WI
This is Homer Simpson's favorite song. On one of their episodes The Guess Who play and Homer requests that they play Takin Care of Business. Of course they tell him they dont play that song, he refuses to listen.
- Zach, Faribault, MN
The title of this song came to Randy Bachman while he was listening to a Vancouver radio stion and the DJ on the air at the time (on CFUN radio - DARYL BURLINGHAM better known as "Daryl B") would always say "... Hey it's Daryl B on CFUN radio, and we're taking care of Business..." and Randy thought that would make a good title to a song! Folks if you are a Guess Who fan like I am.. you NEED to get Randy's new CD.. "Every Song Tells a Story" it was recorded Live in Vancouver, and he tells the story of all his hits! its an amazing CD! www.randybachman.com
- Maurie, Toronto, Canada
- Katheren, Augusta, ME
countless sports teams used this song as a theme
in the 70's and early 80's while showing highlights on tv.....i remember the chicago white sox used this as a theme one year....
- Scott, chicago, IL
this is an awsome song.
- Dani, Winnipeg, Canada
I hate this song..........Reminds me of work
- Jade, Chippewa Falls, WI
This is Homer Simpson's favorite song. On one of their episodes The Guess Who play and Homer requests that they play Takin Care of Business. Of course they tell him they dont play that song, he refuses to listen.
- Zach, Faribault, MN
The title of this song came to Randy Bachman while he was listening to a Vancouver radio stion and the DJ on the air at the time (on CFUN radio - DARYL BURLINGHAM better known as "Daryl B") would always say "... Hey it's Daryl B on CFUN radio, and we're taking care of Business..." and Randy thought that would make a good title to a song! Folks if you are a Guess Who fan like I am.. you NEED to get Randy's new CD.. "Every Song Tells a Story" it was recorded Live in Vancouver, and he tells the story of all his hits! its an amazing CD! www.randybachman.com
- Maurie, Toronto, Canada
You have to to post comments.
Guy ClarkGuy Clark
Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.
Desmond ChildDesmond Child
One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."
Francesca BattistelliFrancesca Battistelli
The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.
Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerGreg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).