HomeEntertainmentMusicRobbie Bachman, Bachman-Turner Overdrive Drummer, Dead at 69

Robbie Bachman, Bachman-Turner Overdrive Drummer, Dead at 69

by Samantha Whidden
Robbie Bachman Bachman-Turner Overdrive
(Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)

Robbie Bachman, who is best known as the co-founder and drummer of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, has passed away at the age of 69. 

Robbie’s brother and bandmate, Randy Bachman, took to his Twitter account to announce the news about the drummer’s recent passing. “Another sad departure,” Randy stated. “The pounding beat behind BTO, my little brother Robbie has joined Mum, Dad & brother Gary on the other side. Maybe Jeff Beck needs a drummer! He was an integral cog in our rock ‘n’ roll machine and we rocked the world together.”

According to Variety, Robbie Bachman was born on February 18, 1953, in Winnipeg. He is the younger brother of Randy, who also co-founded and played guitar in The Guess Who. Randy ended up leaving that band in May 1970 prior to the release of the band’s hit single American Woman. Robbie and Randy ended up teaming up to form a country-rock group, Brave Belt. However, the group ended up moving toward the harder rock direction. Their other brother, Tim, then joined the group along with bassist Fred Turner. They changed the band’s name to Bachman-Turner Overdrive. 

Bachman-Turner Overdrive ended up signing with Mercury Records and released its self-titled debut in May 1973. Among the group’s hit singles were Let It Ride and Takin’ Care of Business. However, six years later, Randy ended up leaving the group. He skipped a 1984 reunion with the bandmates. But he then rejoined in 1988 and stayed until the band officially split in 2004. The group had its fair of drama when there were disputes between the brothers over lineups and legal uses of the band’s name. Robbie Bachman ended up retiring after 2004. 

Bachman-Turner Overdrive was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2014. 

Randy Bachman Talks Making Music With Robbie Who Was 10 Years Younger Than Him 

During a 2019 interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Randy Bachman spoke about teaming up with his younger brother, Robbie, to kickstart the band. 

“The worst thing about being in a band is doing what you love, which is music,” Randy explained. “Your office is not even in your hometown. Daddy goes to work; Daddy’s gone to work for a month. I had six kids at the time. [BTO bandmate] Fred Turner was the same as me, I think, with four [or] five kids. We’re older guys. My younger brother Robbie is playing drums, he’s 10 years younger than me. We get [second guitarist] Blair Thornton, who’s more of Robbie’s age. These guys want to get chicks and party on the road, and Fred and I want to do the gig, get the money and go home to our wives and kids.”

However, Randy reflected on the struggles he went through towards the end of the 1970s. This included the marriage with his first wife Lorayne Stevenson falling apart. Despite the struggles, Randy managed to pull through and continued to record and perform as a solo artist. Years after the band officially retired, Randy and Turner eventually co-led their own band in 2009. He also hosted a radio station called Bachman’s Vinyl Tap.