Burton Cummings: Up close and personal
Its Burton, a Keyboard and 50 years of songs and stories
Burton Cummings is that rare artist who has transcended time, genres and generations with a body of work that continues to resonate with fans both old and new. His voice has been rated among the finest in rock music and his extensive catalogue of songs is the envy of his contemporaries. Burton continues at the top of his game as a performer, singer, songwriter and recording artist second to none.
As a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, Canadian Walk of Fame, Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, Prairie Music Hall of Fame, multiple Juno Award winner, recipient of the Order of Canada, the Order of Manitoba, the Governor-General’s Performance Arts Award, and several BMI (Broadcast Music Industry) awards for over 1 million airplays of his songs, Burton is one of the most celebrated rock artists in Canadian music history. Beyond his many awards, accolades and accomplishments he is also unquestionably Canada’s most beloved rock ‘n’ roll son. How many Canadian rock stars can boast both a community centre and a performing arts theatre named in their honor? Yet Burton also enjoys a world-wide stature shared by only a handful of other Canadian artists.
With Canada’s original rock ‘n’ roll superstars The Guess Who, Burton scored an unprecedented string of international hit singles and albums including These Eyes, Laughing, No Time, American Woman, Share The Land, Hang On To Your Life, Albert Flasher, Sour Suite, Orly, Glamour Boy, Star Baby, Clap For The Wolfman and Dancin’ Fool, all written or co-written by Burton. By 1970 the Guess Who had sold more records than the entire Canadian music industry combined to that point and their achievements remain unparalleled. The group notched up a long list of firsts including the first Canadian group to reach #1 on the Billboard charts (holding that spot for three weeks) and the first to earn a platinum album for sales of over 1 million copies in the US. Rolling Stone magazine hailed the Guess Who as “one of rock’s most consistently fascinating maverick bands, with a succession of meritorious songs that has few equals among contemporary North American groups.” Dick Clark described the group as rock innovators and ambassadors of Canadian music. Staples of classic rock and oldies radio today as well as in feature films including American Beauty, Almost Famous, Cable Guy, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and Jackie Brown, the Guess Who’s vast catalog of songs remains enduring. “When I think back on having five million-selling records in the Top 10, one after the other I can hardly believe it,” states Burton with justifiable pride. “I was just twenty years old and every time I turned around I was getting a gold record. The scope and magnitude of our success escaped all of us. It really didn’t sink in until years later.”
Never content to rest on his extraordinary accomplishments, Burton Cummings continues to write, record and perform. “Not all artists are lucky enough to have that kind of staying power,” he admits. “It’s pretty amazing.” A consummate artist, performer and professional, he possesses an extraordinary gift for entertaining, never failing to delight audiences from 10 to 10,000 across the United States and Canada.