Undun (song)

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"Undun"
Single by The Guess Who
from the album Canned Wheat
A-side "Laughing"
Released 1969
Recorded 1969 at RCA Studio A, New York, New York
Genre Rock
Length 3:26
Label RCA Victor 0195
Writer(s) Randy Bachman
Producer(s) Jack Richardson
The Guess Who singles chronology
"Laughing"
(1969)
"Undun"
(1969)
"No Time"
(1970)

"Undun" is a popular song by Canadian rock band The Guess Who. It spent two weeks at #21 on the Canadian Singles Chart in November–December 1969[1] and reached #15 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart and #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

It was written by Randy Bachman after hearing Bob Dylan's "Ballad in Plain D", which included the phrase "she was easily undone". Bachman's song tells the story of a girl whom he had seen at a party who slipped into a coma after dropping acid. The song structure is based around new jazz guitar chords Bachman had learned from his friend and neighbor Lenny Breau. Bachman's former bandmate Burton Cummings, during The Guess Who's 2000 reunion tour, Running Back Thru Canada, declared the song to be one of Bachman's finest compositions and "one of the best songs ever written by any Canadian songwriter".[3] Bachman himself has stated that "Undun" is his favorite song from his time as a member of The Guess Who.[4]

The original 4:17 version of "Undun", complete with a country guitar section at the end, appeared on The Guess Who's 1969 album, Canned Wheat, and was initially released as the B-side of the single "Laughing" which peaked on August 23, 1969. The song was subsequently released as a 3:26 single (omitting the country guitar section) after it gained popularity when disc jockeys started turning the "Laughing" record over.[4]

Cultural references and cover versions[edit]

The song plays in the background of a fight scene between Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda in Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film Jackie Brown.[4]

Numerous jazz and other genres' artists have covered "Undun". These include Hennie Bekker,[5] Steve Cole,[6] The Phil Dwyer Septet,[7] Kurt Elling,[8] Ranee Lee,[9] Sophie Milman,[10] Hugo Montenegro,[11] and Alexander Zonjic.[12]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1969) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 21
US Billboard Hot 100 22

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Guess Who, "Undun" Canadian Chart Position Retrieved March 6, 2015
  2. ^ The Guess Who, "Undun" U.S. Chart Positions Retrieved March 6, 2015
  3. ^ The Guess Who: The Concert (recorded in Winnipeg, June 30, 2000), Directed by Rico Labbe, Saifer Entertainment, 2000
  4. ^ a b c "Undun by The Guess Who", Songfacts
  5. ^ Hennie Bekker, Cover Story Retrieved March 6, 2015
  6. ^ Steve Cole, Undun Retrieved March 6, 2015
  7. ^ The Phil Dwyer Septet, A Canadian Songbook for Jazz Retrieved March 6, 2015
  8. ^ Kurt Elling, Nightmoves Retrieved March 6, 2015
  9. ^ Ranee Lee, Maple Groove Retrieved March 6, 2015
  10. ^ Sophie Milman, Make Someone Happy Retrieved March 6, 2015
  11. ^ Hugo Montenegro, Colours of Love Retrieved March 6, 2015
  12. ^ Alexander Zonjic, Doin' the D Retrieved March 6, 2015

External references[edit]