Blair Thornton

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Blair Montgomery Thornton (born July 23, 1950 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a rock guitarist and songwriter most widely known for his work with the Canadian rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO). He also played in the Vancouver-based band Crosstown Bus prior to joining BTO.

Thornton replaced a founding member Tim Bachman, who left the group in January 1974. This occurred during the supporting tour for the Bachman-Turner Overdrive II album. Thornton made his live debut with BTO at a televised event for Don Kirshner's In Concert program hosted by Don E. Branker.[1]

With Thornton's arrival, BTO began incorporating "dual-lead" guitar solos in many new songs, with Thornton playing the lead guitar parts along with primary lead guitarist Randy Bachman.[2] Such solos were not a major feature on the band's first two albums. As a songwriter, Thornton contributed two compositions to the Not Fragile album: "Givin' It All Away" and an instrumental called "Freewheelin'", still one of the favourite anthems of Not Fragile that also wound up as the B-side of the No. 1 hit "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet". He also co-wrote three songs for the follow-up 1975 album, Four Wheel Drive, including the title track (with Randy Bachman),[3] and co-wrote the Top 40 hit "Take It Like a Man" (with Fred Turner) for the 1975 album Head On.

Following Randy Bachman's departure from the group in 1977, Thornton took over as primary lead guitarist on their next two albums: Street Action (1978) and Rock n' Roll Nights (1979), also contributing several compositions. Thornton rejoined the "classic" Not Fragile line-up (Randy Bachman, Rob Bachman, and Fred Turner) in 1988 for a reunion tour. In 1991, Randy Bachman left the group again and this time was replaced by Vancouver guitarist-singer Randy Murray. This version of BTO proved to be the most enduring, as they toured together until the latter part of 2004, though the band was unable to recapture its past commercial success.

Thornton currently enjoys a quiet semi-retirement with his wife, Shane.


  1. ^ Retrieved 2011-04-03
  2. ^ Liner notes on Not Fragile album, 1974 BTO release
  3. ^ Liner notes on Four-Wheel Drive album, 1975 BTO release

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