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Covered Classics: the Sheepdogs, 'Hand Me Down World'

Ron Skinner

Prairie rockers the Sheepdogs take on a Prairie rock classic that seems as timeless as ever in this edition of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame series, Covered Classics.

The Guess Who's "Hand Me Down World" was the band's followup to its massive international hit "American Woman." With the departure of Guess Who founder and guitar player Randy Bachman, the band was desperate to keep the hits coming.

“We needed a followup to American Woman…We were really scrambling not to lose the momentum we had," Burton Cummings told broadcaster Bob Mersereau. "The lyrics to 'Hand Me Down World' were in the same vein as 'American Woman' — it was a ‘Hey, wake up, world’ song.”

Well, to the outside world it was like the Guess Who didn't even skip a beat. Guitarist and songwriter Kurt Winter stepped in to fill Bachman's role and brought with him a handful of hit songs. "Hand Me Down World" became an instant classic, breaking the Top 20 and quickly going gold.

But the song's social commentary is likely what makes it relevant nearly 50 years after its release. The Sheepdogs' Ewan Currie explained the song's appeal to CBC Music: "When you are trying to write a popular song, timelessness is very important. When I look at the lyrics ... environmental concerns and social political change, it's all very relevant today."

Check out this amazing version of the timeless Guess Who song "Hand Me Down World" by the Sheepdogs.