Guess Who Frontman Explains Meaning Behind ‘American Woman’

The Guess Who frontman Burton Cummings has explained the story behind their classic hit song “American Woman.”

Speaking to the CBC on the 50th anniversary of the day “American Woman” topped the Billboard Hot 100, Cummings said that the song was “basically jammed on stage.”

The Guess Who were doing two shows at a curling rink called the Broom and Stone in Mississauga, Ontario. When Cummings couldn’t be found to start the second show, Randy Bachman started a repetitive riff to signal Cummings “to get the hell in and get on stage.”

“I ran in and jumped up on stage, and just started making stuff up out of my head — one of those Bob Dylan stream of consciousness moments where you just go with what’s coming out of your imagination. And I was more or less looking for things that rhyme. You know, colored lights can hypnotize, sparkle someone else’s eyes,” Cummings said.

Cummings added that a lot of people thought the song was political, but it was never political.

“I’ve heard Jim Kale explain the lyrics; he didn’t have anything to do with the lyrics. Neither did Bachman, really. But for some reason, these guys have started to say the American Woman was the Statue of Liberty. That’s just not true,” he added.

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