The accidental origin of the hit song ‘American Woman’

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They’re too polite even to get Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll right., and “The song’s origins took the form of a live jam that emerged during a curling rink concert in Southern Ontario…” might qualify as the second most Canadian sentence ever (the most being that same sentence in both official languages, ending in an apology).


Could they really draft people at border crossings?

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I love the full blues intro that some of the classic rock stations now play.

Canada, a country at the time without a draft, drafting Canadians re-entering Canada to fight in a war Canada wasn’t in?

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Seems that permanent residents are potentially eligible for draft, and Bachman mentions in the video that they’d just gotten their green cards.


Guitar Nerd Trivia (though real guitar nerds probably already know this). The American Woman lead tone was created by Randy and Gar Gillies of Garnet Amplifier ‘fame’. Randy was looking for a particular saturated tone for his leads. I guess his first instrument was the violin and and wanted a thick cello tone for his guitar. He experimented with running two amps in series. Meaning he plugged the speaker output from one into the input stage of another! And it worked…briefly. Obviously Randy didn’t have a firm grasp on electronics and was regularly frying amps with his sonic experiments. Randy contacted Winnipeg Amp maker Gar Gillies and he made him THE HERZOG, which is essentially an amp (in the sense it had a pre-amp and output stage) but at manageable output power, to achieve his goal.

Also, The National Music Centre in Calgary Alberta has an extensive Garnet Collection as well as Randy’s American Woman Les Paul. Actually National Music Centre deserves it’s own post on boingboing.


I heard a story that they could not remember the song, but fortunately a fan had made a bootleg tape.

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American Woman was the first album I ever bought. And The Guess Who was the second concert I saw. At the Paramount in Seattle. They were awesome

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The story I was told (FWIW) is that the song was anti-Vietnam War, but that the “American woman” in question is the Statue of Liberty.

(I didn’t play the video (I’m in the waiting room at the vet), so I don’t know if this was mentioned. I didn’t bring a magazine and didn’t see one I liked.)


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