Tokyo – The song “American Woman” is a rock anthem and one of the biggest hits of the 1970s. However, in 1976, The Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman discovered that the guitar he used to write the classic – and a string of other hits – was stolen from his hotel room.
The theft haunted Bachchan for nearly 50 years, but as the two musicians hugged on a stage in Tokyo last Friday, as CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports, it was the happy ending of the story that spanned 46 years. had started earlier.
After Recording His Hit With The Guess Who, Bachchan Discovers Bachchan Turner Overdrive, it was Well On his way to becoming a rock legend, in 1976, his first and favorite guitar, a Gretsch, was stolen from the hotel.
“It was the end of my life at the time,” he told Palmer, “because I wrote six Guess Who Million-Sellers and six BTO Millions…and played them with that guitar.”
“I had a period of no sleep for about a week,” he said, adding that he spent that time “just crying and grieving.”
Jeevan and Bachchan eventually moved on, but he never really recovered from the loss.
He frequently reminisced about the guitar in public, including an interview clip that was posted to YouTube and was seen in 2020 by a man named William Long.
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, Long was stuck at home in Vancouver. To fill some time, the amateur Internet finder decided to start a search for stolen guitars.
“I heard Randy’s interview on YouTube. He said he had a small mark on it by the main control knob,” recalled Long. “That would help me identify it. I believed I could find it.”
He looked through thousands of images online looking for that distinctive mark, until he saw an orange Gresch at a vintage guitar shop in Tokyo. It was the perfect match.
But the thrill of discovery was followed by bitter disappointment. The guitar was sold out. Fearless, he kept on searching.
A few days later, he saw her – with her owner. A young Japanese musician named Takeshi was playing in a Christmas video he posted online.
Palmer visited the guitar store where Takeshi bought Bachchan’s favorite instrument. The owner only knows that he acquired it in bulk purchase of a vintage guitar somewhere in the United States.
We’ll probably never know where it spent the lost decades, but Bachchan revisited it last week at the Canadian Embassy theater in Tokyo for the first time in 46 years.
Takeshi had offered to give it back, and in return, Bachchan gave Takeshi the twin of the guitar, which was made at the Greats factory not only in the same year but in the same week.
Then, on stage, he did what musicians do: He made music, jamming out old guitars, new friends, and renditions of “American Woman” to celebrate little miracles.