“American Woman” was recorded by The Guess Who and released on March 1970. The lyrics have become quite controversial especially since it has been misinterpreted several times. Some have deemed it as an attack against politics in the United States but the bassist, Jim Kale, said that wasn’t the case.
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.”
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One incredible fact about it is that this track was “written” spontaneously. The whole idea came as the band was playing on stage. The riff came about as Randy Bachman was tuning his guitar during a live show in Ontario. Garry Peterson then joined him as did Jim Kale and Burton Cummings.
“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.”
Thanks to a portable cassette recorder from a kid in the audience, they were able able to listen back to their ad-lib performance!