Chad Allan (musician)

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Chad Allen
Birth name Allan Kowbel
Born (1943-03-29) March 29, 1943 (age 71)
Associated acts The Guess Who, Brave Belt

Chad Allan (born Allan Kowbel, March 29, 1943, in Winnipeg) is a Canadian musician and founding member of The Guess Who. He was the group's original lead singer and front man, as well as rhythm guitarist, songwriter and occasionally drummer and pianist.[1]


Allan's first band, Allan and The Silvertones, was formed while attending Miles MacDonell Collegiate in the late 1950s. Allan brought notable Winnipeg musicians Bob Ashley, Jim Kale, Randy Bachman and Garry Peterson into the band. This band became Chad Allan and the Reflections. They released their debut single, "Tribute To Buddy Holly", on the tiny Canadian-American label in 1962. In 1963, the band changed names again to Chad Allan and The Expressions and signed a contract with Quality Records. Several singles were released and were minor hits in Canada.[2]

The "Guess Who"[edit]

In 1965, Quality released their single, a cover of the Johnny Kidd song "Shakin' All Over". As a promo stunt, Quality released promo copies of the single credited to "Guess Who?". This became the band's new name, although throughout 1965 they were being credited as "Guess Who? Chad Allan And The Expressions".[3]

In late 1965 Bob Ashley left the band and Burton Cummings of The Deverons replaced him. Shortly after Cummings' arrival, the band dropped the "Chad Allan & The Expressions" sub-moniker & began including harder R&B material into their set. Allan started developing throat problems in early 1966 that made it difficult for him to sing the grittier materials, which Cummings took on. After recording The Guess Who's third album, It's Time, Allan left the band.[4]

After the Guess Who[edit]

Allan initially went back to college for a brief period of time, but continued performing. In 1967 he was chosen to host CBC-TV's weekly music program Let's Go. Coincidentally, the house band chosen for the show was The Guess Who. The show lasted two seasons before being cancelled. Allan, still under contract to Quality Records (signed in 1963), released a number of singles. He also recorded an album, Looking Through Crystal Glass, for the Canadian Talent Library, which was leased to Quality and released in 1969.

Allan was a co-founding member of the band Brave Belt with Randy Bachman. The band released two albums for Reprise Records but as the band began playing a progressively heavier sound, Allan quit. Brave Belt eventually morphed into Bachman–Turner Overdrive.

In 1973 he released his second solo album, Sequel, released by GRT Records of Canada. He was also chosen to play the lead character in a musical adaptation of Beowulf, which was released on album in 1974.

Allan has since pursued many musical endeavours including writing gospel music, hosting a children's TV show in Winnipeg, and forming his own record label called Seabreeze Records from which he released several singles and an album that didn't fare well. For a number of years, starting in 1982, he started teaching songwriting at Kwantlen University College in Surrey, British Columbia.

In January 2008 Regenerator Records ( issued a CD consisting of four rare studio tracks and a live concert recording circa 1963 entitled Chad Allan and The Reflections — Early Roots. A limited edition double vinyl LP set of the collection (minus the 4 1962 studio cuts) was released in Spring 2009. Regenerator has remastered Allan's Sequel and Zoot Suit albums and they are available for download on iTunes.

Allan moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1977. He still performs standards, ballads, and rock and roll classics.



Year Album
1969 Looking Through Crystal Glass
1973 Sequel


Year Single Chart positions Album
1971 "West Coast Girl" 14  —  — Looking Through Crystal Glass
1973 "Spending My Time" 27 79  — Sequel
1974 "Dunrobin's Gone"  —  — 71


Preceded by
Lead singer in The Guess Who Succeeded by
Burton Cummings