Laughing

Album: Canned Wheat (1969)
Charted: 10

Songfacts®:

  • A #1 hit in their native Canada, this song was written by Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings during their brief collaboration together in The Guess Who. The name of the band was actually a marketing gimmick that backfired. Their label Quality Records released their first hit single ("Shakin' All Over", #1 in Canada) credited only to "Guess Who?" in an attempt to build a mystique around the band. The idea was to evoke in the fans' minds the suspicion that this might be an assembly of more famous singers playing incognito. The real name of the band was "Chad Allan & The Expressions," but radio station DJs continued to refer to them as "The Guess Who" when playing subsequent singles by them - so they were stuck with it.
    While the team-up of Bachman and Cummings was short-lived, as Bachman split a year later citing conflicts with his Mormon beliefs, they have since reunited as either The Bachman-Cummings Band or, under the name of their backing band, The Carpet Frogs.
  • This song took about 10 minutes to write. Speaking with The Edmonton Journal in 1969, Bachman said: "We find that if we have to sit down and ponder, it doesn't happen."
  • Rolling Stone's review of the album Canned Wheat sniffed that it "would be even more pleasurable if they didn't sound a mite too much like the Airplane (instrumentally) and the Springfield (vocally and often instrumentally)."

Comments: 4

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 16, 1969, the Guess Who performed "Laughing" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #12 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, the following week it would peak at #10 {for 1 week} and it spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on September 6th it reached #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Singles chart...
    Between 1965 and 1976 in their native Canada the group had forty records on the RPM Singles chart, sixteen made the Top 10 with four* reaching #1, besides "Laughing", their three other #1s were "Shakin' All Over" for 3 weeks in 1965, "No Time" for 2 weeks in 1970, and "American Woman/No Sugar Tonight" for 3 weeks in 1970...
    * They just missed having a fifth #1 record when "Share the Land" peaked at #2 in 1970, plus they had three records peak at #3, "Tossin' and Turnin'" in 1965, "Hey Ho, What You Do To Me" in 1965, and "Rain Dance" in 1971.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 6th 1969, "Laughing" by the Guess Who entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #83; and on August 17th, 1969 it peaked at #10 (for 1 week) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    And in their native Canada it reached #1 (for 1 week) on September 6th, 1969 on the RPM Top Singles chart...
    Between 1965 and 1974 the group had twenty-one Top 100 records; six made the Top 10 with one reaching #1 ("American Woman" for 3 weeks on May 3rd, 1970).
  • Steve from Whittier, CaAnd this song is about just what the lyrics are..she was laughing, he was waiting....other side was "Undun"", their next hit, October '69. And Camille, I totally gree with you. Only that the song shoulda been a minute longer!
  • Camille from Toronto, OhOh, this is just an excellent, classic song. Great lyrics, I'm figuring this is Burton Cummings singing; always love his voice. Another one of those tunes that we should hear on the oldies radio stations more often!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Tanita TikaramSongwriter Interviews

When she released her first album in 1988, Tanita became a UK singing sensation at age 19. She talks about her darkly sensual voice and quirky songwriting style.

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New YorkSong Writing

Can you be married in one country but not another? Only if you're part of a gay couple. One of the first famous singers to come out as a lesbian, Janis wrote a song about it.

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.