Brave Belt was a Canadian rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba originally consisting of Randy Bachman (guitar/vocals), his former The Guess Who bandmate, Chad Allan (lead vocals/keyboards), and Randy's brother Robbie (drums). Randy also provided bass tracks for the recording of the band's first album, Brave Belt I (Reprise Records, 1971). But C. F. "Fred" Turner was added shortly after as bassist for the supporting concerts.
The band made the Canadian Top 40 with the minor hit "Crazy Arms, Crazy Eyes," which peaked at #35 in November 1971. However, they missed the U.S. charts completely.
When Allan left the band in 1971, Turner became the lead vocalist for the Brave Belt II album (1972). During the supporting concerts for Brave Belt II, Tim Bachman was added as a second guitarist. After this lineup (C. F. Turner with Randy, Tim and Robbie Bachman) had shopped around the demo that was supposed to be a Brave Belt III album, new management convinced them to change their name. They eventually settled on Bachman–Turner Overdrive.
Thus, the first (and eponymous) Bachman–Turner Overdrive album is essentially Brave Belt III, the album that was rejected by Reprise Records. Bachman had contacted many record labels to get the Brave Belt III tapes signed. Charlie Fach at Mercury eventually listened to the tapes and liked what he heard. Bachman listened to some suggestions, remixed and re-edited the tapes, and recorded at least two new songs. The result was the first Bachman–Turner Overdrive album for Mercury.
Though Brave Belt is relatively unknown some 40 years later, the importance of the band was summed up by Randy Bachman in a 2001 interview: "It was an innocent time of soul-searching. Nobody would play with me when I left The Guess Who. I was completely black-listed. I couldn't get a decent musician to play with me, except Chad Allan, who had also been in The Guess Who and left. He and I bonded together, and I might not have gotten started without him, even though he left sometime after that first album. Those [Brave Belt] albums are so important to me because, for the first time, I was making my own music, paying for it, finding strengths in it, and going through the process of finding the right music for the record. It led to me becoming a stronger producer for BTO."
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