Sweet City Woman

Album: Against the Grain (1971)
Charted: 8

Songfacts®:

  • "Sweet City Woman" was the only Top 40 hit for The Stampeders - however, they were far more successful in Canada, where this song hit #1 on the Canadian RPM, Canadian Country, and Canadian Adult Contemporary charts. They broke the Top-10 in Canada six more times, and the Top-40 many more times yet. This song gets considerable airplay in the US to this day. It is one of the few regularly-played Top-10 hits to have a banjo as its primary instrument.
  • The Stampeders hail from Calgary, Alberta, Canada starting out in 1964 with the name The Rebounds. After some milling about with lineup and name changes, they gelled into the trio of Rich Dodson, Ronnie King, and Kim Berly. Thanks to the interest of Canadian TV producer Mel Shaw, who managed the band, they got a few spots on variety TV shows. Their first break was "Carry Me," an acoustic number that scored #1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary and garnered the group their first gold single. Just before releasing Against the Grain, the group had managed to sign with Quality Records under the tutelage of producer Terry Brown.
  • This won for Best Single at the Juno Awards in 1972. The Junos are the Canadian version of the Grammy Awards.
  • Stampeders guitarist Rich Dodson wrote this song and played the distinctive banjo.
  • The Stampeders broke up in 1977, with Dodson starting his own label, Marigold Records. They reunited in 1992 to perform on Dini Petty Show, and continued to play together. In 1998, they released the album Sure Beats Working on Marigold. The group did have one other American hit: a novelty version of "Hit The Road Jack" featuring the DJ Wolfman Jack. It hit #40 in 1976.

Comments: 9

  • Paul from Chicago IllinoisIf my mind serves me correct this group was the opening act for Mountain. Had front row seats and for some reason I'll always remember one of the guitarist had some cool swash buckling boots on. Great seats cool show. Years later I was at a Mountain concert this was 2007 and seeing Corky Lang sitting on the patio asked him if indeed it was The Stampeders that opened for them. He thought for a second then said with a smile "could of been".
    I'll cut Corky some slack because 2007-1973=34 years
  • William from New Jersey, Usa I won this record on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, NJ. I wanted a different album but the guy running the wheel said with only one win I had to pick from a box, not any record on display in the stand. I chose this one because I liked the colors on the cover. 45 years later and I still have the record and still really like this song. I played it all the time for my kids when they were small - cause it just sounds like a happy tune.
  • Keith from DetroitWhen I was a kid I had the 45 of "Sweet City Woman." Now I'm almost 50 and I've been learning to play the banjo and this is a fun tune to learn and play. Thanks, Stampeders!
  • Kramo from Toronto, CanadaI really despise this song. It makes me want to hit things.
  • Phillip from Chevy Chase, MdI love Tim's colorful way of describing this delightful, infectious tune -- I NEVER tire of hearing it because it brings back pleasant memories from my youth. Toward the end of the summer of 1971, I was a teenager and, believe it or not, was looking forward to the start of the new school year. At the time, this song was being played frequently on the radio. My best friend and I had been riding our bikes around town one day and we were headed back home as dusk was setting in. We stopped near the high school that we would be attending in another year and started talking about expectations for the upcoming school year that would be starting the next week. We were both looking forward to our final year at junior high, and excited about what life would be like once we finally got to the big high school. The conversation morphed into a discussion of life in general. In the course of this conversation, though, we somehow started talking about this fun song -- we started singing it and imitating its key catch-phrase "Sweee--eeee--eeet, sweet city woman". We laughed about its novelty; but the fact of the matter is that we both very much loved the song and we both loved hanging out with each other. For me, the song and that one last hurrah of summer became inextricably linked.

    Every time I hear Sweet City Woman, I think of that one evening when my best friend and I could and did talk honestly and openly about our lives and our plans for the future. I don't recall ever having anymore heart-to-heart conversations with my friend after that -- school started, we got busy with our respective activities, and over time, we developed new friendships and interests, and gradually drifted apart. Once we got to high school, we never even saw each other, notwithstanding the fact that we lived right around the corner from each other. We took two very different life paths, which never seemed to cross anymore. As an adult, I never took the time to try to catch up with him again, and that is unfortunate because just a few years ago, he passed away quite suddenly. Though I will never have the chance to have another chat with this friend, I will always remember the fun times I had with him whenever I hear this song. So, I too give my thanks to The Stampeders for recording this simple, but very enjoyable song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny On August 8th 1971, "Sweet City Woman" by the Stampeders entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #83; and on October 17th, 1971 it peaked at #8 {for 1 week} and spent 14 weeks on the Top100...And on August 7th, 1971 it reached #1 {for 3 weeks} on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...The trio had two other Top 100 records; "Devil Woman" {peaked at #61 in 1972} and "Hit the Road Jack" with Wolfman Jack {reached #40 in 1976}.
  • Tim from Los Angeles, CaWell, first of all, it is UN-friggin'-believable that this song had only 2 comments! Seriously... I love a lot of different bands, and a lot of different types of music from a variety of countries; but, THIS SONG is one that I could listen to 5 or 10 times a day and still think, after 40 years, that it's as fresh and delicious and lovely as the first time I heard it. First, just take the music itself. If you could strip out the singing, and just listen to the rhythm, I dare anyone to try to get through the piece without tapping their feet on the floor, or tapping a finger or two against something. And then. take the lyrics... Two simple stanzas that are just flooded with delightful thoughts and a huge story, rolled into a tiny package. If THIS is the sort of material that the Canadian program restrictions helped to foster, then God bless Canadian bureaucracy! Stampeders, you guys have brought SO many smiles to SO many people over SO many years. I wish I could buy you all a drink, or a steak, or a rack of ribs, or a pair of Depends, man. THANK YOU for what you did, getting this tune to the world. Grateful, in America.
  • Jay from Embrun, OnI must agree with "Camille, Toronto," This song is by far my most favorite song of all time...I can't listen to it enough.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhYes! The banjo IS distinctive, it drives the song, it lifts the song from ordinary to something magical. It gives this tune a light, airy sound that is a pleasure to listen. The accompanying vocals are perfect. An excellent song.
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