Stuttering to the Top of the Charts

The Stuttering Foundation has recognized the song You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, a 1974 number one hit by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, as being the most unique of the many rock songs featuring stuttering vocals.

Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation, said recently, “Not only was You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet the first song with stuttering vocals to reach number one, but more importantly it was the first such song that was actually about a real person who stutters and therefore has a human connection to the struggles faced by someone who stutters.”

There have been numerous songs in the rock era that display stuttering vocals. Among them have been Too Much Time on My Hands by Styx, My Sharona by The Knack, Changes by David Bowie, My Generation by The Who, Benny and the Jets by Elton John, and many more.

Bachman –Turner Overdrive consisted of the Bachman brothers Randy, Robbie, and Tim, along with Fred Turner. The band’s first manager was Gary Bachman, another Bachman brother, who stuttered. After Gary stepped down from his job as manager, Randy sang their new song with stuttering vocals as an inside joke with the intention that only Gary would hear the tape. After recording their new album Not Fragile, their record company, Mercury Records, asked if the band had a spare song to include. Randy played them You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet and explained it was a joke and agreed to include the song on the album if the band could re-record it. The record company hated the new “serious” version of the song and demanded the version with the stuttering vocals for the album. The rest is history, as the song climbed to number one, giving BTO their only chart-topper.

Gary Bachman would overcome his stuttering through speech therapy and go on to become one of the most successful real estate agents in Winnipeg and own his own agency for almost 30 years.

Said Fraser, “I know people think that these rock songs with stuttering vocals are cute or humorous, but it is a shame that whenever You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet is played that people do not know the true story behind it. If more DJ’s mentioned the song’s history, it would do a lot to spread a message about stuttering, not to mention the fact that the audience would find it most interesting.”

-From the Fall 2011 Newsletter