It’s been scientifically proven that one out of five people in the United States have either secretly or publicly air-guitared to the Guess Who’s ‘American Woman.’ Okay, that’s a lie, the research only applies to the Lenny Kravitz cover. But you know it probably could be proven, if anybody had time for that.
The best Guess Who song (Now, this HAS been scientifically proven. Okay no.) is ‘No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature.’ Which just happens to be the B Side to ‘American Woman.’ Love that folky acoustic intro that, around the 45 second mark, gets its gentle ass kicked by the chorus and Randy Bachman’s guitar.
And you got to show respect to a song telling you that a new Mother Nature is here to divide and conquer. Is she now? I think so, people. Deny it all you want. The Splendid Lady is coming for us all.
The Guess Who started out like a lot of rock bands in the ’60’s – doing covers and scrambling for the top of the charts with all the other British Invaders. Except these guys were from Canada, so they could get away with writing a snarky song like ‘American Woman’ and then have it reach the #1 Billboard spot in America in 1970 – the first Canadian group ever to do so. Whether it was meant to be truly anti-American or sexist, Pat Nixon requested that the boys skip that one when the band played a concert for the White House that year.
After forming as The Silvertones in 1958, the band wasn’t entirely successful outside of Canada right away – they had a string of hits, as well as personnel and name changes (The Silvertones, The Reflections, The Expressions, The Winnipegans (just kidding on that last one), then released a cover of ’Shakin’ All Over’ in 1965, under the name ‘Guess Who?’ – a record company ploy to fool music buyers into thinking they were getting some kind of Brit supergroup recording. Then the band officially became the Guess Who (and got rid of the question mark). And then they STILL ended up broke and in debt after a UK promotional tour.
Did the Guess Who give up? Hells no. Their producer, Jack Richardson, mortgaged his house to pay for their next album’s recording session. That album was Wheatfield Soul, with the top ten hit ‘These Eyes.’ The band went on to have three more Top 40 songs – before the lead guitarist Randy Bachman became a Mormon, broke off from the group and started a band called Brave Belt, which would eventually morph into Bachman Turner Overdrive.
Is the Guess Who one of the best rock bands ever? Errr…not really. But they put out some killer songs. I’d call that a win. And they’re still on tour. Bachman also hosts a pretty sweet old school radio show on CBC called Vinyl Tap.
I’ve been listening to the Guess Who a lot lately (you probably got that) and reading about failure. Everybody fails, everybody makes mistakes. It’s the best way to be successful.
That’s not always easy to accept – maybe it’s shouldn’t be. We’re human beings, capable of making important decisions every single day about how we treat other human beings, and how we treat this planet, which is our only home.
Mistakes are gonna happen. They have already happened – and there’s no UNDO button. There’s only NEXT. Keep going.
The best thing to do is OWN IT. And don’t let it kill your spirit.
If we don’t fail, and don’t make mistakes, then what do have to learn? I have a lot to learn. I’m good with that. NEVER GIVE UP.