Randy Bachman reunited with his stolen guitar 45 years later — in Japan

Canadian rock legend receives beloved instrument from Japanese musician decades after it was swiped in Toronto

CBC -- Jul 02
Randy Bachman has performed many times on Canada Day, but the event he played this year is like no other.

The former member of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive flew to Japan to reclaim a guitar that he's been hunting for decades.

"I'm really happy. I'm getting my lost Gretsch guitar back," the 78-year-old rocker told CBC News in a meeting room inside the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.

The guitar is a 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins, in orange, which he bought from a Winnipeg music store when he was 19 years old.

Forty-five years after it was stolen in Toronto, it's back in his arms, and he can hardly believe it.

"If you never want to forget your anniversary, you get married on your birthday. You never forget your wedding anniversary. I'll never forget this day," said Bachman.

The Gretsch was his first big purchase as a young adult, and he played it on the recordings of iconic tracks like Takin' Care of Business, American Woman, These Eyes and Undun. But when his band BTO came to Toronto in 1977, it was left in a locked hotel room, where it was somehow snatched.

"It was just terrible," Bachman said in an interview in 2021. "I cried for literally all night.... I loved this guitar so much."

Bachman launched his own search, which lasted decades and turned up nothing.

Japanese media reports suggest the Gretsch was eventually taken across the U.S. border, where it was sold to a guitar trader from Japan. The reports say Takeshi, a musician who writes for Japanese pop bands, purchased it in 2014 from a Tokyo guitar shop, without knowing its history. ...continue reading


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