Backstory of The Guess Who and Me

Winston Cigarettes and Our First CD Player

My dad was a smoker. He probably smoked a lot of cigarettes. I didn’t keep count, but I have a feeling he smoked a few packs per day. Why would I know this? The amount of Winston swag we had in our house was a bit ridiculous.

Winston cigarettes had a reward program. I’m not sure how the dynamics worked, but I remember doing something similar with Kool-Aid. You would cut out your proof of purchase stickers. I’m not sure if it was a mailer or a magazine, but there was a way you could see all of the branded items and send away your barcodes to buy items. I remember getting a wonderful fanny-pack from Kool-Aid.

My father, on the other hand, had tons from Winston. I remember him having several nice spring jackets. We had cups, koozies, hats, and so much more. Some would say that these were just tchotchke’s, but there were a few items that went beyond the standard items you find at a job fair table. The Winston compact discs were the grand prize!

This is where The Guess Who comes into play. I was raised on cassette tapes. When my dad installed the first CD player, I was mesmerized. It was so easy to skip back and forth from song to song. Along with this first CD player came a collection of CDs. The Winston Decade Hits were some of my favorites. The CDS took 15-or-so of the best hits for the decade and made a greatest hits compilation.

I wasn’t much of a fan of the 50s or 70s – but the 60s and 80s hits were the best. On the other hand, I loved the eighties hits because of Axel-F and I loved the sixties because of “These Eyes”. I would soon learn all of the words to “These Eyes” and put on a nice little show by singing the entire song – even as the pace picked up. I was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade, but this song stayed with me through the decades.

Warning: Please don’t smoke for CDs.

The Impossible Find and a Little Help from My Friends (or Sister-in-Law)

This entire website is made with one person in mind. Yes, that person is me. I don’t expect a ton of traffic to come circulating in to read about my life’s relationships with these musical acts. Even though the website is designed for an audience of one, I do have others that find enjoyment from my findings. My brother Todd is one.

Over the last few months, we actually started discussing my findings on his podcast – The TodCast. We are backed up a bit, but recorded several of the early findings. During The Guess Who, I ran into a major problem.

I haven’t had a problem finding all of the albums for the 19 artists I have researched before The Guess Who. I either already had the albums or could easily download from iTunes or Amazon. On a few occasions, I found cheap CDs on Amazon Prime. There were also situations where I could listen on Spotify to get my ratings. When I looked for Now and Not Then from 1981, I was stumped.

It appears that this was a Germany/Canada release and was not to be found anywhere. There were a few CDs or Vinyl on Amazon for $40. As I was right in the middle of the coronavirus scare, even if I wanted to fork out that money for an unknown album, I wasn’t trying to have anything shipped from Europe. This was the last (and only album) I couldn’t find.

Just so happens that I did a podcast with Todd and his wife Abby about working from home. After the Skype call ended, I was trying to explain my situation to Todd. I was asking for suggestions. Should I just rank The Guess Who with a missing album? Should I take the collective ratings found online for the album and plug them in? Why does it even matter (because I am a completist – that’s why)?

Abby chimed in and made me feel like an idiot. She did a search and right on the first page of Google was suggestions from YouTube. Turns out someone recorded the album on video as they played the record. The quality was not great, but at least I could listen to the songs and give an actual opinion. Why did I miss this? Did I mention I do search engine optimization for a living? I know how to use the internet, I promise.

After feeling like an idiot, I checked out the video. Turns out it was published just five days before my conversation. I did my research maybe 10-15 days prior. What is the odds of an obscure album from The Guess Who being uploaded during that timeframe? This might be one of the weirdest coincidences I have been part of.

Needless to say, I ranked that album and I will give Abby credit. Thank you!

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