American Woman" by The Guess Who

The History of "American Woman" by The Guess Who

"American Woman" was released by Canadian rock band The Guess Who in 1970. The song was written by lead guitarist Randy Bachman, lead singer Burton Cummings, drummer Garry Peterson, and bassist Jim Kale. It quickly became a hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and remains one of the band's most well-known and loved songs to this day.

Lyrics and Meaning

The lyrics of "American Woman" are full of political and social commentary. Some interpret the song as a critique of American imperialism and war, with lines like "I don't want your war machines, I don't need your ghetto scenes". The chorus, with its repeated refrain of "American woman, stay away from me" has been interpreted as a rejection of American values and way of life. However, the interpretation of the lyrics is somewhat ambiguous, and could also be interpreted as a commentary on the power dynamics between men and women, or a rejection of societal pressures to conform.

Regardless of its exact meaning, "American Woman" was a powerful statement and resonated with audiences across the globe. Its message of anti-war and anti-imperialism were especially poignant at the time, as the United States was heavily involved in the Vietnam War, and protests against the war were becoming increasingly common.

Musical Style

Musically, "American Woman" is a hard-rocking masterpiece. The opening riff, with its gritty guitar sound and pounding drums, is instantly recognizable and sets the tone for the entire song. The vocal performances are powerful and emotive, with Burton Cummings' raw, soulful voice perfectly complementing the hard-hitting instrumental backing.

The song's production is also noteworthy. Released at a time when many rock recordings were beginning to become more polished and clean-sounding, "American Woman" retains a raw, gritty feel that perfectly captures the rebellious, anti-establishment spirit of the times.

Legacy and Impact

"American Woman" has had a lasting impact on popular culture. It has been covered by dozens of artists, including Lenny Kravitz, who had a hit with his cover version in the 1990s. The song has also been used in numerous films, television shows, and commercials, cementing its place in the cultural zeitgeist.

But perhaps more important than its lasting impact on popular culture is the message of "American Woman." The song's bold, unapologetic stance against war, imperialism, and societal pressure to conform remain as relevant today as they were in 1970. As such, the song continues to inspire and resonate with audiences across the globe, and serves as a testament to the power of music to effect social and political change.


"American Woman" by The Guess Who is a true classic of rock and roll. Its powerful lyrics, hard-hitting instrumental backing, and raw, unpolished production have ensured its enduring popularity and impact. But beyond its musical qualities, the song's message of rebellion and resistance remains just as important today as it did over 50 years ago. It is a true testament to the power of music to effect change, and a timeless reminder of the need to stand up against oppression and injustice.