Number One Song For 12 May 1970: ‘American Woman’

by Norm Gregory on May 12, 2014

in 1970, KJR, KJR-FM, KZOK, Music

The number one song on the Billboard Top Singles chart on May 12 1970 was by The Guess Who.

This is the album version of American Woman which I played at KZOK in the mid ’70s (and later in the mid ’90s at KJR-FM). The single version was giant when I was at KJR-AM in the early ’70s.

From my show prep notes.

American Woman is title track from their 3rd album in 1970. In 1999 a new version by Lenny Kravitz showed up on the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack.

The group was formed in Winnipeg in the early ’60s.

Randy Bachman leaves group after the American Woman album is recorded, in the summer of 1970. Burton Cummings takes over the group. Group disbands the group in summer of ’75.

September 13th, 1975, the original members of the Guess Who, fronted by Burton Cummings, performed together for the last time in Montreal.


The American Woman origins took the form of a live jam at a curling rink concert in Waterloo, Ontario. The Canadian band was rushing into the second set and began improvising a rhythm to liven up the crowd. Burton Cummings, the lead singer, began improvising lyrics to fit the music. They liked what they had played and noticed a kid with a cassette recorder making a bootleg copy and asked him for the tape. The subsequent studio recording features the original almost completely unchanged; only a few lines were added.

Shortly after its release, The Guess Who were invited to play at the White House. Because of its supposed anti-American lyrics, Pat Nixon asked that they not play American Woman.

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