Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman’s lengthy search got here to an finish Friday (July 1) when he was reunited in Tokyo with a cherished guitar 45 years after it was stolen from a Toronto lodge.
“My girlfriend is right there,” stated Bachman, 78, a former member of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, because the Gretsch guitar on which he wrote “American Woman” and different hits was handed to him by a Japanese musician who had purchased it at a Tokyo retailer in 2014 with out realizing its historical past.
He stated all guitars are particular, however the orange 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins he purchased as a youngster was distinctive. He labored at a number of jobs to save cash to purchase the $400 guitar, his first buy of an costly instrument, he stated.
“It made my whole life. It was my hammer and a tool to write songs, make music and make money,” Bachman advised the Associated Press earlier than the handover on the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.
When it was stolen from the Toronto lodge in 1977, “I cried for three days. It was part of me,” he stated. “It was very, very upsetting.” He ended up shopping for about 300 guitars in unsuccessful makes an attempt to interchange it, he stated.
Bachman talked steadily concerning the lacking guitar in interviews and on radio reveals, and extra just lately on YouTube packages on which he carried out along with his son, Tal.
In 2020, a Canadian fan who heard the story of the guitar launched an web search and efficiently positioned it in Tokyo inside two weeks.
The fan, William Long, used a small spot within the guitar’s wooden grain seen in previous photographs as a “digital fingerprint” and tracked the instrument right down to a classic guitar store web site in Tokyo. An extra search led him to a YouTube video exhibiting the instrument being performed by a Japanese musician, Takeshi, in December 2019.
After receiving the information from Long, Bachman contacted Takeshi instantly, and acknowledged the guitar in a video chat they’d.
“I was crying,” Bachman stated. “The guitar almost spoke to me over the video, like, ’Hey, I’m coming home.’”
Takeshi agreed to present it to Bachman in alternate for one which was very comparable. So Bachman searched and located the guitar’s “sister” — made throughout the identical week, with an in depth serial quantity, no modifications and no repairs.
“To find my guitar again was a miracle, to find its twin sister was another miracle,” Bachman stated.
Takeshi stated he determined to return the guitar as a result of as a guitar participant he may think about how a lot Bachman missed it.
“I owned it and played it for only eight years and I’m extremely sad to return it now. But he has been feeling sad for 46 years, and it’s time for someone else to be sad,” Takeshi stated. “I felt sorry for this legend.”
He stated he felt good after returning the guitar to its rightful proprietor, however it could take time for him to like his new Gretsch as a lot as that one.
“It’s a guitar, and it has a soul. So even if it has the same shape, I cannot say for sure if I can love a replacement the same way I loved this one,” he stated. “There is no doubt Randy thought of me and searched hard (for the replacement), so I will gradually develop an affection for it, but it may take time.”
Bachman stated he and Takeshi at the moment are like brothers who personal guitars which might be “twin sisters.” They are collaborating in a documentary concerning the guitar on which they plan to carry out a track, “Lost and Found,” collectively.
They additionally carried out a number of songs at Friday’s handover, together with “American Woman.”
Bachman stated he’ll lock the guitar up in his dwelling so he won’t ever lose it once more. “I am never ever going to take it out of my house again,” he stated.