Canada Day proved to be special for guitar legend Randy Bachman.
Bachman, the former lead guitarist of The Guess Who and founder of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was reunited with the 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar that was stolen 46 years ago, CBC reported.
Takeshi, the Japanese musician who bought the guitar in 2014 without knowing its history, went onstage at the Oscar Peterson Theatre, located at the Canadian Embassy in Toyko, according to the news organization. Bachman traded a nearly identical Grestch for his original.
“Absolutely thrilled,” Bachman, a Canadian native, tweeted Friday.
“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, 78, who composed “American Woman,” “No Sugar Tonight” and “Takin’ Care of Business” with the guitar before it was stolen from a Toronto hotel in 1976.
“My girlfriend is right there,” Bachman told The Associated Press at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. “It made my whole life. It was my hammer and a tool to write songs, make music and make money.”
Bachman said the orange Gretsch was his first really expensive guitar, and he had to work hard to earn the $400 to buy it.
“It was just terrible,” Bachman told the news organization. “I cried for literally all night. ... I loved this guitar so much.”
However, a fan’s creative use of facial recognition software helped track down the instrument, the news service reported.
William Long came across a video of Bachman discussing the guitar after listening to some songs by The Guess Who on YouTube and decided to join the hunt for the instrument, CNN reported.
“My wife does jigsaw puzzles on the internet, and I thought, ‘I prefer to do real-life puzzles,’” Long told the news network.
Long used the internet to find photos of every orange Gretsch he could find and compared them to a video of Bachman playing the BTO song “Lookin’ Out For #1″ on Dutch television, CNN reported.
“I probably went through maybe 300 Gretsch images and I got pretty good at it so I could see them and I could know right away that it wasn’t it,” Long told CNN. “So, it’s eliminate, eliminate, eliminate, eliminate.”
Long’s hard work paid off and the mystery was undone. He tracked the guitar to a vintage guitar shop in Tokyo, and then he found an obscure YouTube video posted on Christmas Eve 2019, CTV News reported. The 11-minute clip featured Takeshi playing Christmas songs on the Grestch at a Tokyo restaurant, the website reported.
That led to the guitar trade between the two musicians, who performed several songs together Friday, including “American Woman,” the AP reported.
“I was going through a lot of emotions today,” Takeshi said through an interpreter as he sat next to Bachman on stage, CBC reported. “But seeing your smile after you saw that guitar, I just thought it was all worth it.”
Bachman said he is going to lock up the guitar in his home.
“I am never ever going to take it out of my house again,” he told the AP.
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