Kurt Winter

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Kurt Winter
Born(1946-04-02)April 2, 1946
OriginWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
DiedDecember 14, 1997(1997-12-14) (aged 51)
GenresRock, Hard rock, Pop rock
Occupation(s)Guitarist, songwriter
  • Guitar
Associated actsGettysbyrg Address
The Fifth
The Guess Who

Kurt Winter (April 2, 1946 – December 14, 1997) was a Canadian guitarist and songwriter, best known as a member of The Guess Who.

Kurt Winter was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on April 2, 1946. He attended Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute.[1] Winter commenced the development of his music career with a number of Winnipeg bands, including Gettysbyrg Address (1967, with later Guess Who bassist Bill Wallace),[2] The Fifth (1968, with drummer Vance Masters)[3][4] and Brother (late 1969, with Wallace and Masters). Brother was regarded as Winnipeg's first supergroup, playing all original material, the live shows of which were greatly admired by Burton Cummings.[1]

At the invitation of Cummings, Winter joined The Guess Who in June 1970, along with guitarist Greg Leskiw, who had also succeeded Winter as a guitarist in Gettysbyrg Address.[2][3] He succeeded Randy Bachman, who had abruptly left The Guess Who. Winter is solely credited with writing the hit singles "Bus Rider" and "Hand Me Down World", both of which were hits for The Guess Who, but which had been composed while Winter was with Brother.[1] Songs written by Brother were collectively written by Winter, Wallace and Masters.[3] Winter also co-wrote a number of songs with group leader Burton Cummings, including the hits "Hang on to Your Life", "Rain Dance", and "Runnin' Back to Saskatoon" and also co-wrote "Clap for the Wolfman" with Cummings and Bill Wallace. Winter was dismissed from The Guess Who in June 1974, with no reason specified,[5] exactly four years after he had joined the band. He was replaced by ex-James Gang member Domenic Troiano. Winter later regrouped with a reformed lineup of the band under the leadership of bassist Jim Kale from 1977 to 1978, appearing on and contributing songs to the group's 1978 release, Guess Who's Back.[6]

Winter remained a lifelong resident of Winnipeg. With his first major earnings from The Guess Who, Winter purchased a home in the Fort Garry area of Winnipeg, where he resided for the balance of his life.[1]

Suffering health problems attributed to excessive alcohol use,[1] Winter died of kidney failure at the age of 51, on December 14, 1997.[1]

Since 1998, a scholarship in Winter's name has been presented annually at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute.[5]

Burton Cummings later memorialized Winter with "Kurt's Song" on Cummings' 2008 album, Above the Ground. Cummings described Winter as "one of my fondest writing partners".[7] When Cummings wished to revive their writing partnership in the 1990s, Winter declined, preferring a later life largely away from music.[1]

Winter's Guess Who discography[edit]

  • 2000 Live at the Paramount (re-mastered)
  • 2000 Share the Land (re-mastered)
  • 2003 Platinum & Gold Collection: The Guess Who
  • 2004 Wheatfield Soul / Artificial Paradise (re-mastered)
  • 2004 So Long Bannatyne / #10 (re-mastered)
  • 2004 Rockin' / Flavours (re-mastered)
  • 2004 Road Food / Power in the Music (re-mastered)
  • 2006 Bachman Cummings Song Book


  1. ^ a b c d e f g John Einarson, Profile of Kurt Winter. Manitoba Music Museum, 2012. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  2. ^ a b Profile of Gettysbyrg Address; canadianbands.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  3. ^ a b c Profile of Brother; canadianbands.com. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  4. ^ Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia, Profile of The Fifth. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  5. ^ a b John Einarson, Winter's tale. Winnipeg Free Press, December 15, 2013. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  6. ^ https://www.discogs.com/The-Guess-Who-Guess-Whos-Back/release/1568019
  7. ^ Stephen Ostick, Cummings picks wah-wah as career highlight. Winnipeg Free Press, October 3, 1988. As reprinted by Hillman Web. Retrieved 2015-11-14.