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Undun by The Guess Who

Album: Canned Wheat Packed By The Guess WhoReleased: 1969Charted:
22
  • Randy Bachman wrote this. He got the idea after hearing the Bob Dylan song "Ballad In Plain D" on the radio. It was a very long song, and just as Bachman was about to turn off the radio, Dylan sang the line "She came undone."
  • The lyrics are about a girl Bachman saw at a party who went into a coma after dropping acid.
  • Bachman wrote this after learning some chords from Canadian Jazz guitarist Lenny Breau.
  • Bachman has said this is his favorite Guess Who song.
  • This was released as the B-side of "Laughing." It got radio play when some disc jockeys flipped the single and played this instead, which prompted the record company to release it as an A-side 4 months later.
  • Quentin Tarantino used this in his movie Jackie Brown. It is used in the scene where Bridget Fonda and Robert DeNiro have a fight while this plays in the background.
  • Bachman was influenced by an obscure Kenny Rankin song called "Soft Guitar." (thanks, Barry Kesten - Bellmore, United States)
  • Burton Cummings learned to play the flute for this song. In his old band The Deverons he played saxophone. Randy Bachman encouraged him to play the flute for some of their songs, to give them a spacier feel. Right after Randy wrote Undun, The Guess Who played a YAMAHA music store opening where they had a flute in the display case. Burton learned from the dealer that the fingering for the flute was the same as a sax (except for C), and a classic was born. (thanks, Richard - Lansing, MI)
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Comments: 12

On August 16th 1969, the Guess Who performed "Undun" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
Just under two months later on October 12th, 1969 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #78; and on November 23rd, 1969 it peaked at #22 {for 1 week} and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
In their native Canada it reached #21 on the RPM 100 Singles chart, while the flip-side, "Laughing", peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on September 6th, 1969 {#10 on the Top 100}...
Between 1965 and 1974 the Canadian quintet had twenty-one songs enter the Top 100 chart; six made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "American Woman" for 3 weeks on May 3rd, 1970.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
A sad subject matter, but beautifully sung. . .

Here's a proposed smnooth jazz cover of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_gxQt-bhik&feature=player_embedded
Cyberpope - Richmond, Canada
"Undun" was a treasure I kept wrapped in tissue as an escape route from 1969.Cindy - North Hollywood, Ca
Folks, the sax flute and clarinet have SIMILAR fingerings.If you can play one then learning the others is pretty easy. The blowing techniques are pretty different, especially on the flute because you have no resistance for your air stream.Guy - Benson, Nc
Up to this day i like the jazzy sound to this song,,and knowing the meaning,to it makes you wonder,How come i didn't guess that myself,lolJorge - Bronx, Ny
Wait, the saxophone and the flute have the same fingering??? So...I've been able to play the saxophone for years, without even knowing it? Damn.Megan - Toronto, On
The first time I heard this song was in an antique store with my dad in Westminster, MD. From that day on this has been my fav song by The Guess Who.Claire - Miller's, Md
Wonderful song, sung perfectly by Burton.
Great lyrics, too.
Oldpink - New Castle, In
I think the Guess Who is a pretty underrated group. Many of their songs got airplay on classic rock radio when I was younger, and I soon grew accustomed to their music (especially while riding in a car).Roy - Granbania, Ma
I had always assumed the songwriter was referring to Art Linkletter's unfortunate daughter who, in the late 1960s, dropped acid, found a mountain that was far too high (a high-rise) and, believing she could fly, leaped to her death. This was a news item about six months before the appearance of the song. Coincidence, I guess. "Too many churches, not enough truth.." Eloquent, Randy.Wayne - Erie, Pa
lol.........Jezebel - Lincoln, Mo
The line was "she was easily undone."Warrinder - A Town, Canada