“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?)