American Woman

Album: Austin Powers 2, The Spy Who Shagged Me (1998)
Charted: 49
  • This was originally recorded by Canadian group The Guess Who in 1970. A largely misinterpreted song, it is actually a tribute to Canadian women.
  • This was used in the movie Austin Powers 2, The Spy Who Shagged Me. The video featured Heather Graham, who was in the movie, as the American Woman.
  • Just after the movie soundtrack was released, Virgin Records re-released Kravitz' album 5 with this added.
  • This won a Grammy in 1999 for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Kravitz won the same award the year before for "Fly Away" and the year after for "Again."
  • Asked during a Reddit AMA how his cover came about, Kravitz replied: "I was called by the people making Austin Powers and they simple asked me to cover 'American Woman,' which I thought was odd but I accepted thinking it was an interesting challenge and did my best to change it as much as possible while still respecting the original. I was pleased when Burton Cummings called me to tell me how much he loved it."
  • Kelly Clarkson recorded this as the theme song to the short-lived 2018 TV series American Woman.
  • This was used in these TV shows:

    Supergirl ("American Dreamer" – 2019)
    The Mindy Project ("We're A Couple Now, Haters!" – 2014)
    The Big Bang Theory ("The Psychic Vortex" – 2010) – performed by Raj, Sheldon, and their dates.
    My Name Is Earl ("BB" – 2006)
    The Wire ("The Detail" – 2002)

    And in these movies:

    Serving Sara (2002)
    American Beauty (1999) – sung by Kevin Spacey
    If These Walls Could Talk (1996)
    The Cable Guy (1996)

Comments: 11

  • Homer from Springfield, KyI first read this song in the car on the radio. I immediately thought, "That's Lenny Kravitz."
  • Karma from New York City, NyMike from Calgary:
    bravo!
  • Ben from Scowtown, IdMike from Calgary...thank you.
  • Mike from Calgary, AbStefanie - Do you get the impression that Lenny and the video director had *NO* clue what the song was about originally? What is the point of this video aside from the predictable spectacle opportunity to parade skanks bouncing on motorbikes and looking "sexy" (i.e. like they're about to sneeze/come)?

    If the Guess Who turned our attention to the atrocities of American foreign policy, this rendition confirms that American mainstream culture is just as abominable and empty-headed.

    In other words, while the Guess Who didn't criticize the people, Lenny unintentionally did.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScJust because someone does cover songs, doesn't mean they're bad musicians. The Beatles did some great covers. The Rolling Stones also did good covers.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScCompared to most covers that are out today, this one is actually pretty good. I've also heard worse covers. I think the original is better, but this cover is really good. Regarding the content of the song, it isn't against American people, it just against American foreign policy. The guys in the Guess Who wrote it as an anti-war song and as a protest to the Vietnam war, which was going on at the time. I'm posting this for those of you who are interested.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI've heard worse covers. This is pretty good actually. How can u hate this original, Ashley?
  • Joe from Washington, DcI don't think Lenny Kravitz has had a good song out since "I ain't over 'til it's over." This is thus far the worst cover I ever heard.
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaOkay, just because someone does cover songs, it doesn't mean they're a bad musician. This is a really good cover, and I absolutely hate the original. Unless someone does alot of extremely crappy covers that absolutely slaughter the original, then they're not bad.
  • Mike from Lake Hopatcong, NjLenny was asked by the producers of Austin Powers to record this song. He recorded it in Paris while on tour. After this single was released, it gave the Guess Who a new life. After meeting several members of the Guess Who to play American Woman together, Burton Cummings, who once thought of Lenny as arrogant, said he's a great guy. Now if only the rest of his critics would get to know the man without going on what critics wrote 16 years ago. It just goes to show once again that you can't believe everything you read.
  • Belinda from Miami, Fl"American Woman" is Lady Liberty.
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