American Woman

Album: American Woman (1970)
Charted: 19 1
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  • One of the most misinterpreted songs ever, this is often heard as a patriotic ode or a tribute to American women. It's usually American listeners who arrive at the jingoistic conclusions, ignoring a very clear lyric: "American Woman, get away from me."

    The Guess Who are Canadian, and Burton Cummings (the song's lyricist) insists it has nothing to do with American pride. "What was on my mind was that girls in the States seemed to get older quicker than our girls and that made them, well, dangerous," Cummings told the Toronto Star in 2014. "When I said 'American woman, stay away from me,' I really meant 'Canadian woman, I prefer you.' It was all a happy accident."
  • Some songs take months to write, others come quickly in writing sessions or during studio jams. This one, however, had a much more spontaneous genesis: It was written on stage. Randy Bachman explained the origins in a Songfacts interview. The band was playing a show at a curling rink in Ontario when he broke a string on his guitar. In those days, that meant stopping the show until he could replace it. His bandmates left the stage, and Bachman put a new string on his '59 Les Paul. The next challenge was getting it in tune (he didn't have a tech or even a tuner in those days), so he went in front of Burton Cummings' electric piano and hit the E and B notes to give him reference. As he tuned his guitar a riff developed, then something magical happened.

    "I started to play that riff on stage, and I look at the audience, who are now milling about and talking amongst themselves," Bachman said. "And all their heads snapped back. Suddenly I realize I'm playing a riff I don't want to forget, and I have to keep playing it. So I stand up and I'm playing this riff. I'm alone on stage."

    The band's drummer, Garry Peterson, who had made his way to the audience, jumped on stage and started playing. Bassist Jim Kale heard the ruckus and joined them, and finally Burton Cummings came up and grabbed the microphone. "Sing something!" Bachman implored him. Burton obliged: the first words out of his mouth were, "American woman, stay away from me."
  • Speaking with Songfacts, Randy Bachman called "American Woman" an "antiwar protest song," explaining that when they came up with it on stage, both the band and the audience had a problem with the Vietnam War. Said Bachman: "We had been touring the States. This was the late '60s, they tried to draft us, send us to Vietnam. We were back in Canada, playing in the safety of Canada where the dance is full of draft dodgers who've all left the States."

    The lines where the anti-Vietnam sentiment are most apparent are "I don't want your war machines, I don't want your ghetto scenes."
  • According to Burton Cummings, this song owes its creation to a piece of modern technology: a portable cassette recorder. He says that after his ad-libbed performance of the song, they discovered a kid in the crowd who was bootlegging the concert using the device (this is when bootlegging meant literally strapping the recorder to your leg). Listening back to his tape, they were able to jot down the words to recreate the lyric.
  • Fortunately for The Guess Who, American radio stations either didn't hear this as a protest song or didn't care. With a monster riff and the word "American" in the title, it was embraced and quickly added to playlists. By this time, the band were proven hitmakers, having scored with "These Eyes," "Laughing" and "No Time," so this single was widely anticipated. "Radio just played it automatically without even thinking we were saying antiwar words in there," Bachman told us.
  • This song's American success made The Guess Who stars in that country, and on July 17, 1970 they performed on the White House lawn for President Richard Nixon, whose daughter Tricia was a huge fan and asked her dad to bring them in.

    It was a big hit at the time, but The Guess Who didn't perform "American Woman" that day because they were asked not to "as a matter of taste." That request came from the press liaison for first lady Pat Nixon, who may have been turned off by what she perceived as anti-American sentiment or political overtones
    in the song.

    The performance served as a royal reception for Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who were guests at the White House. Looking back on the performance in 2014, Burton Cummings said it was a very stodgy affair, and that he felt the band was brought in to impress the royal guests. "It left a bad taste in my mouth," he told the Winnipeg Free Press. "They wanted a Commonwealth act when Charles and Anne went there. We were the token Commonwealthers."
  • The first time the band performed this in completed form was before 150,000 people at the Seattle Pop Festival in 1969. The crowd loved it even though they had never heard it.
  • Randy Bachman calls the distinctive guitar sound he used on this song "The Herzog." To get the effect, he would overdrive the preamp (setting it to 9 or 10) while the normal volume settings are turned down. The sound does not get any louder, but gradually it grows dirtier and finally ends up creating a cello-like effect.
  • Recorded at RCA Studios in Chicago with producer Jack Richardson, "American Woman" was released as a double A-side with "No Sugar Tonight" and stayed at #1 in the US for three weeks. The Guess Who were already huge in Canada, but this single broke them in the States.
  • In the late '90s, this was used in a variety of commercials, including one for Tommy Hilfiger and another for Castrol motor oil. Nike also used in an ad featuring women's soccer.
  • Lenny Kravitz covered "American Woman" in 1999, making #49 in the US. His version was used in the movie Austin Powers 2, The Spy Who Shagged Me.
  • Lenny Kravitz and The Guess Who performed "American Woman" on September 21, 2000 at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto, where The Guess Who were given a lifetime achievement award.
  • The album version starts with a sultry 1:05 acoustic intro, with Burton Cummings spelling out the title ("I say 'A'... I say 'M'...). Radio stations often skipped past it to get to the riff.
  • Randy Bachman left the group the month after this hit #1 in America because the band's lifestyle did not jibe with his religious beliefs. Because of his departure, they did not tour the US when the song was hot, which could have made them a lot of money.
  • "American Woman" was the first song by a Canadian band to hit #1 in America. Next to do it was another Randy Bachman act: Bachman-Turner Overdrive with "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" in 1974.
  • This was featured in the Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy, where it appears in a Karaoke scene, and American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey rocks out to it while going through a mid-life crisis.
  • Jack Richardson, who produced this song, was also responsible for other big hits like The Guess Who's "These Eyes" and Bob Seger's "Night Moves." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Acts to cover this song include Krokus and Ringo Starr. Perhaps the most bizarre cover is by the Butthole Surfers, who released their version in 1986.

Comments: 85

  • Nicky from Atl, GaThis song doesn’t sound anything like whole lotta love By Zepplin. Both the songs are in E and that’s about the extent of it.
    That is all. Nice lead lick by Randy Bachman.
  • Dumbfairy from London as you americans would say it now _ this song bussin
  • Kev from Rogers, ArI was 10 or 11 when this song came out and I thought they were just singing about bad relationships with real American women. I had no idea that the "American woman" was the Statue of Liberty.
  • P Nicole from Minnesota Talk to me play me the song American Woman coz that's what I am and that's what I want give me a chance that song speaks to my heart like American SPIRIT oldie but goodie just like us they don't write em like that any more but somebody should love it still thank you
  • Emily from MichiganIn the documentary 'What Is Classic Rock?" by Daniel Sarkissian, Randy Bachman recalled crossing the Border from Canada into the U.S. they noticed there were no young men between the ages of 18 - 35 as they had all been drafted to Vietnam. The band had green cards to be allowed to perform, pay taxes and also could get drafted. Bachman stated that "they turned around and went back to Canada". While they were performing at a curling rink, Bachman broke a string on his guitar and they had stopped playing so he could restring. As he was tuning his guitar, Cummings was on piano and Bachman was tuning to the piano. As he was tuning, Bachman started playing the riff and called the rest of the band back and the rest as they say is history. Bachman also mentions that the "American Woman" is the Statue of Liberty when asked "Who is the American Woman?". Bachman continued, "rather than saying: President Nixon, stay away from me." Bachman also said, "The song was not a woman on the street, not a personal thing." The song came out of the fear of being drafted, as if Canada was saying "America, stay away from Canada, we're peace keepers, peace lovers."
  • Phil P from Brampton OntarioRox from Scarborough, On, is correct - Some of the key lyrics, including “American woman, stay away from me ….. ”, were done adlib - Although Randy Bachman recollects that it was during a gig at a curling rink in Kitchener Ontario; in this 2013 article in the Toronto Star:, Burton Cummings says it was at a curling rink called The Broom and Stone in Scarborough Ontario; Burton Cummings is quoted as saying: “We were playing out in Scarborough, at this curling arena called Broom and Stone. We were doing two shows at night. I was out back talking to some guy and then I heard Randy and the boys start this great riff to bring me back in.”
  • Frank from Vanessa Ont One of the greatest "kick ass" rock and roll songs of all time, by one of the greatest "kick ass" rock and roll bands of all time!! If you ever seen these guys in concert back in the day, you would know what I mean. Not to mention a huge amount of other great hits in the cannon! The Guess Who Forever!!
  • AnonymousDuh! American Woman was recorded in August 1969, months before Led Zeppelin 2 was released so how could they have ripped off Whole Lotta Love??
  • Gerry from St Catharines, OnIf you were growing up in Canada during the seventies, it was obvious to all of us that American Woman was our anthem and the message was clear, we did not want US imperialism that began with the War of 1812, their interference in our our country or their ownership of our resources, as they had done in so many other countries. When the Guess Who played, they unfurled a huge Canadian flag with a tough-looking beaver with it's fist raised. The message was clear - American Woman was a metaphor for the American society in general, not the Statue of Liberty or American vs Canadian girls - it meant stay away. Canadians are still angry about American pressure to kill our sophisticated Iroquois-powered Mach 3+ Avro Arrow, that everyone knows would have taken out the SR 71 Blackbird, which was developed years later, and copied the Iroquois' revolutionary engine design. American sold us their junk obsolete Voodoos, Bomark missiles, and drained our talented world leading aircraft industry, which would have seriously affected numerous US aviation companies. The Canadian Avro engineers spearheaded putting a man on the moon in almost every area; the US wouldn't have been there without the Canadians.
  • Lee from Stockton, CaIn 1970, while I was stationed I Blytheville, Arkansas with the Air Force, I subscribed to Billboard magazine. RCA had a full page ad promoting the new release of the single, "American Woman" by the Guess Who. The full page was a picture of the Statue of Liberty. I then, recalled the picture in my mind, when I heard it for the first time and thought it as a anti-American song. I was not as thrilled with this song's lyrics as I was with the music. Funny, years later, I heard them playing it on a local radio station on a celebration of our 4th of July!
  • Chris from OklahomaIn regard to the claim that American Woman is a "complete ripoff" of Whole Lotta Love: American Woman was recorded in August 1969, 3 months before the release of LZ II, and Whole Lotta Love. Never understood how people can equate the two, anyway. While Whole Lotta Love does borrow some from Muddy Waters, American Woman doesn't seem to.
  • Easybullet3 from LondonThis song is a complete rip-off from Led Zeppelin "Whole Lotta Love", the rhythm, the background riff and also the vocal melody..
    the guy even sings with a similar voice to Robert Plant.
    the added "Lead Riff" is great.
    Lenny Kravitz ruined this record.
    but also: Led Zeppelin ripped off their song from Muddy Waters "You Need Love".
  • John from CaliforniaHey Matt of Rochester. You are the first I have seen with the same conclusion! The "American Woman" personified could only be the Statue of Liberty. However, I do not believe this was the original intention of the author.

    He states that the song is about the differences between American (US) and Canadian women and his displeasure with US women who "grow up too fast". An observation he made during the groups first US Tour.

    The lyrics would support that theory until the parts about "war machines " and "ghetto scenes" are thrown in. And that is what could have happened. Those words might have been thrown in for fill and rhyming without forethought or intent of a political message of Anti-US feeling. But they changed the whole meaning of the song. How could these guys not realize that?

    Regardless of intent, the lyrics stand and the American Woman is reference to the Statue that represents the US.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 15th 1970, "American Woman" by the Guess Who entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #46; seven weeks later it peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on May 9th, 1970 it also reached #1 {for 3 weeks} in the group's native Canada...
    Between 1965 and 1974 the Canadian quintet had nineteen Top 100 records; six made the Top 10, their five other Top 10 records were "These Eyes" {#6 in 1969}, "Laughing" {#10 in 1969}, "No Time" {#5 in 1970}, "Share the Land" {#10 in 1970}, and "Clap for the Wolfman" {#6 in 1974}...
    In their native Canada they had forty RPM Top Singles records, sixteen Top 10, with five reaching #1.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaTrust me, here in Vancouver, January is a far sight better than in a lot of the USA (AK, NY, MI, MN, et al)
  • Larry from ClevelandI laughed hard and long when I heard that the "genius" Al Gore had used this song as his opening music when addressing a women's group during his presidential campaign.
  • Rox from Scarborough, OnScarborough..not had to be there ;)
  • Rocky from Fort Smith, ArBack in '70 when this was #1, I had just come home to the US from serving in the US Army in Vietnam and I loved the song. The Guess Who band was quite popular back then & I bought their albums Talented musicians. I love their other #1 hit "Undone" too.
  • L. from Tucson, AzStrange, Canada of Rock and Roll Past, I did not know Women had war machines anymore, esp. American women. But that does give me a bit of an idea. Besides, American women, even now, who want war only want it because they are told to want it by their menfolk. How does it roll in Canada past and present? Oh, I forget, you have a Queen Mother, who has more patience than you deserve sometimes, and she has a Navy, and etc. signed A. Woman peace & out
  • Dana from Woodbury, MnCummings' explanation seems more plausible. As for feminism, I think it did start out with great intentions, but then it became about scoring points. Same thing with post-feminism. No political movement is EVER PERFECT. I don't really understand this whole rationale about feminism "destroying the family". Most of these family values advocates didn't exactly come from happy home lives themselves and are looking for some way to compensate for that and are using God as a pawn in the process.
  • Wazzzombie from Hyderabad, IndiaIn the Big Bang Theory season 2 episode 4 Raj sings "American Women" while playing Guitar Hero 4 and I laughed my ass off to that accent...
  • Andrew from Baltimore, MdI'm American, from mom had dual American/Canadian citizenship, our family had a cottage near Bayfield, Ontario for several years...Canada's beautiful, and has a fascinating early history...That one of their citizens (Burton Cummings)cleverly expressed disappointment in our foreign & domestic policy at the height of the Vietnam War, simultaneously releasing 'American Woman' at the beginning of the Women's Movement - is a kind of genius, and just the kind of critique of itself that America always needs. The fact that the critics were some young Canadians who may not have appreciated American protection of its borders doesn't mean squat - they were young North Americans, and like many stateside, they were Neil Young, for instance...One of my favorite guilty ruminations is the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame; it's a guilty thing 'cuz I suspect the R'n'R HOF is rapidly becoming moribund (so why care), consistently, and selectively, ignoring artists and bands come Induction Time. In this case, the Guess Who. I suspect the Guess Who are ignored, in some small part, as a result of 'American Woman', by those who vote on inductees. How else to deny the composers of these other greats songs: 'These Eyes', 'Laughing', 'Undun', 'No Time', 'No Sugar Tonight' (and more)? (One of my personal favorites is 'Running Back to Saskatoon'. I've never been, but I visit Moose Jaw, Moosamin & Medicine Hat in my dreams). If not the Guess Who, at very least the broad swath Randy Bachmann cut through rock'n'roll should be honored...But then the R'n'R HOF is an American institution...prone to prejudice.

  • Neil from N.y., DcYou can replace American "woman" with American "WAR MAN". Now, meaning is the real thing. Another side is American Pie Don Mclean.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, Tx'INFLATABLE WOMAN'

    Inflatable woman, nothin' much inside.
    She's my blow-up bride.
    I picked her up at the discount store.
    I took her home and threw her on the floor.
    She looked at me with that vacant stare.
    I could tell she was my kind of air--
    Headed woman, I'm gonna make her mine.
    She's practically human, as close as I could find.
    (Short instrumental break with blowing up sounds.)
    Inflatable woman, layin' next to me.
    Inflatable woman, if only she could see.
    She's a real cheap date at night.
    She's quiet and don't have much appetite.
    And if I feel like givin' her a smack,
    She always finds a way to bounce right back.
    My woman, my little rubber maid.
    Inflatable woman, I can always get lay-ay-ay-tex...
    (More instrumental and blowing up sounds, followed by a loud pop and the singer crying.)
  • Julio from San Jose, Costa Rica@kelly. According to the printed lyrics included with the album, the last 2 verses are "Goodbye American Chick, Goodbye American Broad", The former ("chick"), although clear, is commonly misheard as the "s" word, while the song ends before the latter ("broad") can be heard.
  • Kev from Brisbane, AustraliaI've been a big hard rock fan since I was eleven (Jimi, Black Sabbath, Led Zep, Skynyrd, Joe Walsh etc). The Guess Who's version of American Woman is my all-time favourite song. Every time I hear that song Randy's woman tone lead just cuts through my soul - there's nothing like it in rock. The only other song of theirs I like is Clap for the Wolfman. I also love BTO. Next favourite songs are 1983 (a Merman I should Turn to Be - Jimi) and Snowblind (Sabbath).
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxNever liked this song. Regardless of how they felt about our "war machines" (They'd feel a helluva lot more vulnerable if those "machines" weren't essentially guarding their border.), why symbolize it by railing at some unnamed woman? Did they think everyone here had but one thought between them?

    But I *do* enjoy Bob Rivers' spoof of it, "Inflatable Woman."
  • Kelly from San Luis Obispo, CaYour lyric is wrong, the last line is "goodbye American sh_ _. Not chick. Once in a great while a radio station will let it play to the very end and you will hear it, most however, cut it off.
  • Keith from Papillion, NeWhile the protest nature of “American Woman” is widely recognized, few people realize (or remember) another way the song was being promoted in the early 70’s. It’s not surprising, given that even today most people won’t let go of their prejudices long enough to acknowledge the purpose of songs like Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and the Village People’s “YMCA.” And while various people still make up different excuses for why Randy Bachman left the band in 1970, Randy himself stated that he left over the conflict between his religious convictions and the band’s lifestyle. No more was said about the “lifestyle” in question, but at the time the songs “American Woman” and “No Sugar Tonight” were being promoted in certain circles as gay anthems. In fact, the original release of The Guess Who’s “Best Of” album in 1971 (containing the two aforementioned hits) came with a gatefold cover, and the inside cover showed the band’s new five member lineup (sans Randy) against a mock ghetto background. If you care to look, you will see two vaguely readable bits of graffiti reading “GAY POWER” and “GAY IS GOOD.”
  • Jacki from Santa Barbara, CaIt is apparent that this song represented many things to many people. I thought long ago that this song was about the US government. The war, the draft and the aftermath. The Bible refers to this political system as a woman. Even if they didn't mean it to have this connotation, the song made perfect sense to me. The aftermath of any wars is horrible. Nothing is pretty about war. Having someone come to your door with the news that your loved one was killed or receiving a letter stating that you have been drafted is also horrible for some to think about. It is just my opinion, not meant to be anti-political or anything, just something that I have wondered about. I love this song! It has always been one of my top 10.
  • Marlene from Montreal, QcI remember thinking once, while listening...that guitar has to be a Gibson. I was right!
  • Velveeta from Vars, OnIn the recently released book (oct 1 2010), "The top 100 Canadian Singles of All Time", this song was chosen as number one.

    Over the years I have heard many "explanations" for the song's meaning being offered up by both Bachman and Cummings. That's the difficulty there are too many.

    To me it symbolizes their decision to remain Canadian artists after trying to break into the US market. It sounds like Cummings was both disillusioned and disappointed. The song was not about the women of America.

    (An aside: Americans who believe that the world abuses their country and then regrets it when they need US military might,need to be disabused of this notion once and for all. Most countries don't require military assistance since they rely on diplomacy to solve their problems. Of course ever since the Muslims decided it was payback time for the US,no country can ever depend on diplomacy alone...)

  • Randy from Grande Prairie, AbI'm a Canadian and I never thought of it as a put down to American women, that not it at all, it is a song about how America thinks the world revolves around their country, people and policies, and how powerful they are and all that attitude. This is just saying we don't need to be that way in Canada. thank you very much. and we'll do just fine as we are. That's my take on it. Or we could all agree that a great song has a zillion intepretations and leave it at that.
  • Janet from Fairfax, VaYeah, yeah, yea. I remember this song when it came out. hated it then, hate it now. what a gross generalization. Everyone complains about USA until they need our soldiers. It's cool to knock it. And, yes, I do think the lyrics go over Americans head; or we are way too forgiving.
  • Brian from Boston, MaIn respose to Ty from Niagara falls Canada.I know very little about The Guess Who but I always thought this song had a Zepplin like sound to it. Those I have said that to disagree with me.At the same time I don't think of it as a ripp off or anything intentional to steal Zepplins sound. I think the lead singer has a great voice.It is unique. When Lenny Kravitz did this song I think it lost some of its hard edge.This is an underrated song.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI prefer the Bob Rivers spoof, "Inflatable Woman." It hilariously parodies a song that desperatly needs it.
  • Matt from Rochester, NyThe "American Woman" in the song is the Statue of Liberty.

    Many people think this song is a rejection of American women of the time due to feminism, etc., and indeed there may be a double meaning to it for that reason. But the clear and primary interpretation is the rejection of America as a political entity due to its "war machines and ghetto scenes", clear references to Vietnam and urban blight issues that the G.W. felt were not being addressed adequately.
  • Steve from Whittier, CaGreat song.btw where is "No Time"? [of course we can always add that title.]
  • Neal from Hooterville, MiI love the bluesy intro on the extended cut of this song!
  • Jimmy from Winnipeg, Mbyes, love this song. I'm a Winnipeger myself. I laugh cause whenever I talk to an American about it there thinking of Lenny Kravitz.
  • Guillermo from Mendoza, Argentinaamerican women, american foreign policy... what's the difference? they're a product of the same decadent culture... obviously, there are exceptions, like angela davis and many others... but i wonder if they consider her as an american woman up there in the north
  • Bill from Chicago, IlIt was definitely "Goodbye American Woman, Goodbye American Bitch."
  • Steve from Arnol, MdIt's a great song, and any possible original meaning of the lyrics is now, 40 years later, beside the point.

    In any event, now older and wiser, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman would no doubt concede that throughout the Cold War and even today, one of the mottos of the U.S. is "...O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!" That's why Canada is able to spend a tiny fraction of it's national treasure on "defense" - they leave it to us ;-)

    And hey, I married a Canadian woman for 29 years, so I know a thing or two about Canada. It's a really nice place to visit... between May and early October ;-)
  • Hugh Laurie from Cambridge, United KingdomThis was covered by a singer called Lenny Kravitz.
    Some saw the song as bieng very anti-American but I'm not sure that was the true intent. At any rate it is still a brilliant (cool) song. I have heard it off of a cd combo that featured songs from the Vietnam era and now from this very website. It's around 1:30 in the a.m. here in England and once again I am dealing with a bad case of insomnia. Cheers.
  • Dave from Phoenix, AzThe Guess Who did tour after American Woman - a 15+ minute version is on their Live at the Paramount album recorded in Seattle. Listening to this live version makes the "anti-war" theme questionable, quite the anti-American female lyrics added on by Burton live. However, always one of my favorite songs!! a
  • Chase from Miami, FlYou know it could be about gettin off of drugs American woman(drugs) stay away from me I dont wanna see your shadow even stuff like that. Get me
  • Jeff from Tuscaloosa, AlThere is a riff in another longer version of "Spanish Castle Magic" by Jimi Hendrix that is identical to the main riff in "American Woman". I believe the version I am referring to runs about 5:46.
  • Vanessa from Honolulu, HiRagnbull, thank you for your comment. It is to the point and perfectly honest. I am a woman (a young one) and have lived in the U.S. all my life but I try to conduct myself in a manner that would please God. Feminism is degrading and horrible. I do not believe that women should be slaves or objects, but Feminism doesn't set a girl free from that, it only makes it worse. When women behave as women, and allow themselves to be respected and cherished by men, they can be fulfilled. Hating men only destroys us, and wanting to be a man is just ridiculous and impractical.
    (I don't see what tattoos have to do with anything, however. Tattoos are pretty much trans-gender, like rings or tennis shoes; and it's your choice if you want one or not.)
  • Ryan from Somewhere In, NjTo be honest, i actually had no idea the guess who were canadian! Great song, too. I like the acoustic intro, too.
  • Clay from Calgary, AbIn 1980 I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes speaking with Burton Cummings. I asked him the question, American Women was based on what? His reply was simply his eye opening experience as he and the band first traveled through the US. American Women for all of you that are wondering is the Statue of Liberty.
    He also shed light on his first trip into the US and in particular LA were they traveled to first to break in to the business south of the border. I found it fasinating to listen to him reveal his and the bands first (week)??? in LA as he explained they were taken in by none other than Jim Morrison and spent what he thinks was a week but he indicated the Mansion had all the windows blacked out and all they did was talk, play music, drink..."input your own activity here"....he said it was an incredible and frightning experience all at the same time. Morrison actually set them up with the people that went on to label them shortly there after. Bet you would'nt have ever thought there was a Door's connection in the Guess Who's past.
    Enjoy and God Bless.
  • Al from Nutley, NjIn fact, the Guess Who did tour the States as the song was released. I saw them in No. Dakota in Feb. 1970. The crowd loved this song. Always thought Burton Cummings was (and still is) one of the best singers in rock. Back when they hit it big, the band was very underrated, their reputation has grown over the years. Many of their hits have gained RIAA certifications for radio airplay. Now they tour as Bachman-Cummings and will be touring with some dates in the US this summer (2008).
  • Steve from Arnol, MdIt's a great pop song, period.

    Yes, the lyrics are not complimentary to Americans and to the US. Yes I'm a proud, loyal American (naturalized,) but this song is about 40 years old, so I can let the "war machine/ghetto scene" stuff go.
  • Ragnbull from Dallas, TxI don't know if this song is about the Statue of Liberty, the war, or whatever. I do know that after traveling all over South America and Asia this song is now my anthem. It is my ringtone on my cell phone and I am trying to put it on my horn on my car. I take the song very literal in what it says, "American woman, stay away from me". American women are ruined. They are fat, tattooed, lazy, difficult idiots for the most part. Feminism was brought to us by the Rockefeller family to destroy the family and increase the tax base in a soviet style takeover. Gloria Steinem was funded by the CIA to bring about this current state of disaster we are in now. Divorce is at over 50%, kids are raised by TV and McDonalds and now they are all fat and stupid. Men are disgusted, women are miserable because they are living a lie and their natural DNA is not being fulfilled. It's just nature baby, women are designed to have babies and raise and nurture them until the man can take over and teach them how to hunt and protect. It's a family thing, nowhere into it are tattoo's needed you tramps. Call me a women hater and you are not listening. Latina's and Asian gals are awesome. They are nurturing, loyal and feminine. Unlike these MTV, drunken, cussing floosies I see around here. So let me say in closing, "American woman, stay away from me. American woman, mama let me be, I gotta go, I gotta get away, I gotta go, I'm gonna fly away, I'm gonna leave you woman, I;m gonna leave you woman, bye bye, bye bye!!!
  • Gina from Raleigh, NcI remember reading the album cover (yep, the album) and it mentioned the Statue of Liberty being the american woman, and I interpreted it to mean they were saying the statue, meant to be a symbol of america and freedom, was becoming a symbol of America being a bully and browbeating the world into thinking that america was right--about the war, politics, etc.
  • Doug from Oakland, CaI was deeply involved in the so called "Sixties Revolution"but I still hated this song.
    What right do a bunch of Canadians have to self righteously sit up there and bash America when CANADA has done ITS share of contributing to the genocide of the Native American and despoiling of the environment?
    I smell rank hypocrisy here.
  • Flufferstuff from South Jersey, NjI am also an American woman, and prefer to be judged for who I am, rather than a continental-wide stereotype which cannot possibly work anyhow because America has too many varieties of culture and subculture . . .
    I do feel hurt when I hear this song, hoping everyone listening to it will think it is only political, not any kind of accurate judgment of me, and almost holding my breath as it plays through. (And there are a couple of other songs, too, that make me feel this way.:( )
    Maybe this song has something to do with the sharp anti-American sentiment American women experience as they travel through the rest of the world.
  • Brent from Canada, CanadaI had seen an interview in Canada with Cummings
    he said that the song was arrived at by him dating an american woman from Buffalo who chewed him up and spit him out he was used to Canadian women not the tough Newyorkers. The balance of the song came later about war machines being a note about America also he said his band didnt like the song and thought it may hurt their newly found American audience so he started singing it on stage but the band had no other choice than play along with him singing american woman the fans loved it .
  • Darrell from EugeneIt ain't American women that one needs to keep away, it's Canadian women. I have memorized everything about Karla Homolka (the serial killer from St. Catherine's, Ontario), and if she crosses my path, I will blow her head to shreds with .00 buck from my pump-action, double-barrel 6-gauge WWII-surplus Mossberg military shotgun for what she did to those three (possibly more) young girls.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaThis song is about WOMEN not foreign policy. The band is saying, basically, glad to be back in our home land, we want to see the women of our homeland who are the most beautiful in the world, yada yada. Stupid snipes about war machines are just there to make something rhyme, and reflect a bit of anti-vietnam sentiment. If you want a political protest song, go to Rage Against the Machine or something. There are no backwards messages or anything either. I suppose if you really were looking to be offended, you could find this song offensive. Either it goes right over the heads of Americans, or they have too much good sense to get their panties in a knot over something as stupid as this.

    Also, the guitar riff seems more than somewhat similar to "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin.
  • Randy from Fuquay Varina, NcContrary to the war theory, I think this song is about just what it says, american women. The brief mention of war machines and ghetto scenes are merely what come attached to an american woman. Bachman and I have the same sentiments in this regard, which is why I married an Indian woman.
  • P J from Okc, OkAmerican Woman gonna mess your mind!
    Great anti-vietnam song. This song was one of the songs at the "beginning of the end" of the sixties love movement.

  • Tom from Mishawaka, InAfter viewing the lyrics I always thought they said at the end of the song Goodbye American Ship but now the correct lyrics are Goodbye American Chick
  • Joe from Winnipeg, CanadaI'm surprised that this hasn't been mentioned (unless I missed it), but the "American Woman" in question here is the Statue of Liberty -- the whole song is about America itself (which other commentators have noted: "I don't need your war machines; I don't need your ghetto scenes"). But honestly, the biggest joke is that Americans think that this is some kind of compliment. They just like to be mentioned, I guess, the way "One Night in Bangkok" was initially quite popular in Thailand... for a brief while anyway.
  • Mike from Germantown, Md(Prologue)
    American woman gonna mess your mind
    American woman, she gonna mess your mind
    American woman gonna mess your mind
    American woman gonna mess your mind
    Say A,
    Say M,
    Say E,
    Say R,
    Say I,
    Say C,
    Say A,
    Say N,
    American woman gonna mess your mind
    American woman gonna mess your mind
    American woman gonna mess your mind
  • Warrinder from A Town, CanadaRandy Bachman didn't appear in the video, despite the fact that he wrote it and recorded it. Kurt Winter and Don McDougal are in the video.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoThey sing "Goodbye American sh*t" right at the very end, though it always gets faded out beforehand on the radio. In my sixth grade class, we were very excited to let it play all the way to the end during lunchtime when we were allowed to play records! Some of the vocals during the repeat and fade ending seem reminiscent of the same part of The Beatles' Come Together.
  • Richard from Lansing, MiOK, Burton has said many times how he had just come back from touring the states, and that the US girls were more forward, wilder and more game for anything.
    He was thinking Canadian Woman, you are fresher and purer, Canadian Woman I prefer you better. He wrote the lyrics and he should know what he was thinking about. The song was origninated at the Strung & Drum curling club in Hamilton, ON. The Guess Who took a break because Randy had broken a string. Burton was out trying to make a deal on some old 45's of which he is a fanatical collector. Heard the band start jamming, a blues type of thing, then they went into the 'Whole Lotta Love' riff. Burton came back on stage started looking at the fresh Canadian girls faces, and when Randy told him to sing something, American Woman came out. After the show, a member of the audience had recorded the concert and played it back for the guys. They confiscated the cassette and took it to the studio to expand on the tune.
    A lot of this is included on the liner notes for 'Track Record'.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, Scwarrrinder, listen to the lyrics. It's not about the vanity of American women. Or better, yet there is a section on this page where you can view the lyrics. There are clearly references to war machines, etc, etc.
  • Warrinder from A TownThis was the very first Canadian song to be a U.S. #1. Later that year they played at the white house but didn't play American Woman because it's about the vanity of american women, which seems to be lost on most of them.
  • Brian from La Mesa, CaI believe the line in the longer fade is "American chick".
  • Phil from San Ramon, CaThe Guess Who was one of my first and favorite albums as an early teen. I recently picked up a CD of their hits and noticed something different about this song. As I remember it, the 70's version faded out with the last words "American Bitch". The CD compilation I have clips that lyric off.
  • Bryon from Sandusky, OhThis is a great song and it is ironic that it made top seller in the U.S.A. because of all it's anti-American slogans, but many band in the U.S.A. were singing anti-american style music
  • Kevin from Canada, CanadaI met Randy bachman and he is a giant of a man. He towered over me and I am 6'2. He is very humble and generous. He is very religous. He has since lost half his body weight due to stomach procedure. He is a big star in Canada. American Woman is about how in Canada we prefer our women. They are cuter. Because they are almost all part Indian.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Scgreat song! I like it. Makes sense why it would be about the U.S. foreign policy and it's attitude toward Vietnam, and not about American women. I kind of noticed that during the song, when I first heard it.
  • Nessie from Sapporo, Japan"Due to the anti-American lyrics, the band was not allowed to play this when they performed at the White House for President Richard Nixon in 1970." Why would they pley for Nixon, then? This band actually is over-rated. Sorry guys.
  • Mgjghh from Hghfghfg, MtI happen to be an american woman myself, and this song is very offensive to our breed.
  • Jude from Los Angeles, CaI really like this song I like to dance to it like Felicy Shagwell in Austin Powers two I love this song!
  • Roy from London, EnglandRandy Bachman went on from this to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive, who had a big hit with "You Ain't Seen Nuthin' Yet".
  • Tom from The Far Corners Of The GlobeIt is 1:15 acoustic intro.
  • Rc from Kansas City, MoDuring the early 90's a radio announcer doing a special on the Guess Who reported that Burton Cummings was running late to a concert performance and the band created the riff on the spot to quiet the crowd. Cummings was reported to have entered during this riff and made up the lyrics as the band played. It was also reported that the only way the song was able to be reproduced was due to a concert go-er illegally taping the concert. The tape was confiscated and used to reproduce the notes and vocals.
    Randy, KCMO
  • Brian from La Mesa, CaThe line "I don't need your war machines/I don't need your ghetto scenes" makes the meaning of this song clear. I've never seen it used in its proper context in a film, only about, literally, an American woman. I've considered the Statue of Liberty thing before. But it doesn't have to be that specific. The line, "Colored Lights can hypnotize/Sparkle someone else's eyes." suggests that the US is like some women: enticing and beguiling, but hiding a more sinister side.
  • Ty from Niagara Falls, CanadaIt's really a shame that Bachman left the group...the Guess Who could have been the Canadian version of Zeppelin if they'd stayed together and put out more songs.
  • Tony from Westbury, NyIn a great book on the group by John Einarson he quotes songwriter Burton Cummings as saying that the "American Woman" in the title may allude, in part, to the Statue of Liberty.
  • Nick from Paramus, NjI haven't seen the movie in a while, but I'm pretty sure it was an old guy singing the song kareoke. Jim Carrey sings Somebody to Love.
  • Jared from Norwalk, OhA great song from a great band.
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