How The Guess Who Wrote 'American Woman' By Accident (Lyrics, Meaning) 

By | May 7, 2020

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The band on the sleeve of the 'American Woman' and 'No Sugar Tonight' single. Source:

"American Woman" by The Guess Who might seem like an anthem praising the ladies of the 50 states... maybe an heir to the Beach Boys' "California Girls." But take a look at the lyrics and the band's explanation of the meaning, and you'll find it's anything but complimentary. For these Canadian rockers, "American Woman" was a critique of the seductive but dangerous women across their homeland's southern border, and what's more, the American womanin the song is actually a metaphor for the United States and all its domestic and foreign turmoil. 

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A Canadian motley crew (discogs)

Music works in funny ways. People hear what they want to hear even if the artist’s message goes against their beliefs. Perhaps the most famous example is John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Most people believe the beautifully written song urges people to put their differences aside. However, Lennon himself called the song, “virtually the Communist manifesto." Likewise, the genesis of “American Woman” by The Guess Who goes against the common perception of the song.

“American Woman” was a happy accident, inspired by an overzealous border agent, a broken guitar string, and an impromptu concert in a Canadian curling ring. That might make “American Woman” by The Guess Who the most serendipitous song ever made!