The Guess Who – American Woman Song Meaning

American Woman – The Guess Who | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 3 weeks); 1970

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

What do you do when you’re called Chad Allan & The Expressions, you’re releasing singles in your native country, and not getting any radio air play ’cause it’s 1965 and you’re not British? Well, the label honchos for this Canadian band said, “Hey, we’ll just change your name and make like you’re British!” So the record company came up with the bright idea of a name that-band contest and put “Guess Who?” on the label of Shakin’ All Over. Lo and behold, the disc jockeys thought that that was the group’s real name and that was that. With the addition of singer Burton Cummings and the departure of Allan, the classic Guess Who lineup was complete. The band’s anti-U.S. single, American Woman, became the GW’s third Top 10 single in 12 months. That year the Guess Who also played for President Nixon although First Lady Pat asked the group not to play its #1 hit.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Jack Richardson

Lyrics Written by:

  • Burton Cummings
  • Garry Peterson
  • Jim Kale
  • Randy Bachman


  • Won Juno Awards for Top Vocal Instrumental Group (1970 and 1971)
  • Recognized with BMI and SOCAN Classic awards