The Guess Who- American Woman

“American Woman” by The Guess Who is about a wild, crazy, psychotic American woman who drives you absolutely mad!!Haha, wrong….

In actuality this is one of the most misinterpreted songs. It is in fact about America’s imperialistic attitude towards the Vietnam war. The band itself is  Canadian and not in fact praising or giving out patriotic pride to any “American Woman”. They were the first Canadian rock band to achieve success in the US without leaving Canada. This song was released in 1970 and made the number 1 Billdboards hot 100 chart. They first performed this song in front of 150,000 people at the Seattle Pop Festival in 1969. The crowd went wild in the first thirty seconds of listening to the unheard song.

According to Words & Music magazine, Bachman, the guitar player for the band explained, “We were playing in a curling rink in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada), and I broke a string. I was up there alone, tuning up my E an B strings on an old Les Paul. I started playing that riff and in the audience, heads started turning. The band got up, and I said, ‘Keep playing this, I don’t want to forget it.’ When Burton had run out of solos, I yelled out, ‘Sing something!’ So out of the blue Burton just screamed, ‘American Woman, stay away from me!’ That was the song, the riff and Burton yelling that line over and over. ”

I have to be honest with everyone. When I first researched this song, I was a bit surprised with the results that I had discovered. I mean, it makes perfect sense now that I think about it. They shed light on  America’s thoughts on the world revolving around itself and enforcing their policies onto other Countries. From first listen, it’s hard to assume that this song means anything other than some rant about a woman. Many say that this song created a lot of controversy  and anti-American sentiments. In fact, they weren’t even allowed to perform this song for president Nixon when they were at the white house. (How tragic?)

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Ram Jam- Black Betty

Ram Jam is known as a one hit wonder band, recognized for their rendition of Leadbellys, “Black Betty”. They really made this song their own by taking the original few word, 59 second version and creating their own hit.

This version done by Ram jam is known to be a bit controversial. At the time it came out in the year 1977, it was believed to be about an Alabama black woman who had a child gone wild. Many civil rights activists including the NAACP tried to intervene saying this song was disrespectful to black women due to the harsh lyrics. But, despite all the controversy, the song reached number 18 on the singles chart in 1977 in the United States.

Since the band broke up, the lead singer, Myke Scavone resides in New Jersey and fronts his former teenage garage rock band called, “The Doughboys”.

It is understandable why these lyrics could have caused controversy at the time, however; from the bands perspective,  It is important to note the time period that this song was made in. It was the end of the Vietnam war and a time of free thought and expression. People wanted to live in harmony and promote peace amongst themselves. “Black Betty” was more so an exciting concept that this band tried to convey, in my opinion.

As for the meaning, there are many theories on what this song meant, but no definite answers. There are many theories about what or who “Black Betty” was. From a musket, to a woman, to a whip. I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure, but it doesn’t matter because this song just exudes a flavor of 70′s rock & roll that is undeniably irresistible.

Oasis- Wonderwall

Wonderwall, is a hit song by English Band, Oasis. The song is off their second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?  and was written by Noel Gallagher, the band’s guitarist and main songwriter. While it is popularly believed he wrote the song about his ex-girlfriend, Meg Mathews; Gallagher has said in interviews with BBC Radio in 2002 that the song was about an imaginary friend that was going to “save you from yourself”.

The concept of  “Wonderwall” is based on a ’60s film called Wonderwall. It is about a man who becomes infatuated with a woman, so he slowly carves out holes in his wall, to watch her through them. Some claim that “Wonderwall” means a strong sense of love and or infatuation that you have for someone, where you can hardly stop thinking about them. It’s about that one person who has a special place in your heart.

According to Urban dictionary a Wonderwall is  “a barrier which separates the mundane from the Transcendent Reality. A true Wonderwall will always have a crack, or a slit or an opening which allows anyone a glimpse of what lies beyond the Wonderwall.”

I’m hopeful of this definition of a “Wonderwall”. I believe that some, if lucky enough, have experienced this extraordinary feeling of infatuation for an individual not even being able to understand why we ourselves feel this undeniable connection.

* (When I hear this song: The word faith comes to mind. No matter my mood, how shitty of a day, this song just gives me that feeling deep down in the gutter of my soul that it’s all gonna work out, reinforcing that whatever is is that your looking for, you’ll find some day, that is, if you haven’t found it yet)…..After all, we all hope to find that one person that will one day be the wonderwall that will indeed save us…., right?