The Daily Cut: The Guess Who “American Woman”

The Guess Who: “American Woman”

ALBUM: American Woman

YEAR: 1970

WRITERS: Burton Cummings, Jim Kale, Garry Peterson, Randy Bachman

Topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Former Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman says that “American Woman” began totally spontaneously when the group was jamming onstage and he called out to singer Burton Cummings to sing something. He sang “American Woman stay away from me” and it got such a great reaction that they decided to turn it into a song. Bachman says the American woman they ended up singing about was actually a very specific one. “We had just gone through the whole ‘60s being Canadians in the United States and second-hand witnessing Vietnam and the draft situation and what was going on in America. And at that time the American woman to us meant the Statue of Liberty and what it stood for. And basically at the time it was the war. So that’s why we were screaming, ‘Stay away from me. I don’t need your war machines and I don’t need your ghetto scenes. It was not the normal healthy good looking American woman you see walking down the street, who is no different from an Australian woman or Canadian woman or anything else. It was the Statue of Liberty.”

Original Guess Who bassist Jim Kale, who owns the rights to the group’s name and has kept it going to this day, turns 73 years old today (August 11th).

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