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Every Billboard Hot 100 Single 1970: #131: “American Woman”- The Guess Who- The highest debuting single the week of March 21, 1970.

  • Single: “American Woman”- The Guess Who
  • Record Company- RCA Victor
  • Genre: Rock
  • Written by Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Jim Kale and Garry Peterson
  • Time: 3:21
  • B-side: “No Sugar Tonight”
  • Album- American Woman
  • Grade: A
  • Peaked at #1 15 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

This single which went to #1- came about on stage- Randy Bachman was playing notes while tuning his guitar after replacing a broken string- and came up with the riff. It turned into a jam session with the band improvising the lyrics. The lyrics have been a subject of debate- some believing it was about American politics. Burton Cummings who wrote the lyrics decades later said “What was on my mind was that girls in the States seemed to get older quicker than our girls and that made them, well, dangerous. When I said ‘American woman, stay away from me,’ I really meant ‘Canadian woman, I prefer you.’ It was all a happy accident.” Bachman would also call it an anti-war protest song. In the summer of 1970 The Guess Who would play at the Nixon White House- First Lady Pat Nixon requested that the band not play “American Woman” since it was perceived as being anti- American.

After having a hit in 1965 with “Shakin’ All Over” #22- The Guess Who didn’t have another hit in the US until 1969- from 1969-74 they would have 12 more Top 40 hits- with “American Woman” being the only one to reach the #1 position. The b-side “No Sugar Tonight” would also make the charts.  Randy Bachman would leave the group in 1970 to form Bachman- Turner Overdrive.


  1. I liked the Guess Who a lot and “No Time” was actually the first single I ever bought in 1969 at the age of 13. I then bought the “American Woman” album in 1970. But I was also following Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes Young) at the time and it soon dawned on me that the Guess Who were a bit too AM Top-40 friendly. I’ll always remember the “American Women” album was displayed in the “underground” section at the local department store.

  2. I’ve always hated this song because it puts American women down. As if we don’t already have enough to contend with without being dissed for no reason. I hope he struck out with American women from the time he first opened his mouth to sing it.

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