Top 10 Songs by The Guess Who

For decades, Canada’s rock gods The Guess Who have spun musical gold out of stunning lyrics and moving riffs. Purveyors of originality, the group may not have been the most commercially successful act of their heyday, but their hits have been some of the most enduring in rock’s storied timeline.

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They blessed the ’60s and ’70s with an unparalleled sound that was intricate, but accessible. And they still keep that style alive and rocking today. Below are 10 examples of the band’s endless power and prowess.

[RELATED: Behind the Band Name: The Guess Who]

10. “Clap for the Wolfman”

The band’s 1974 hit “Clap for the Wolfman” was written as an homage to famed late-night disc jockey Wolfman Jack whose husky on-air voice can be heard throughout the original recording. Bright, dancing keys and smokey guitar riffs give the song a galloping groove.

9. “Share the Land”

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand / Maybe I’ll be there to share the land / That they’ll be givin’ away / When we all live together, we’re talkin’ ’bout together, now, they sing in the chorus of “Share the Land.”

From the 1970 album of the same name, the swelling song overflows with passion as the lyrics tell a story of hope for equality. It became an international success then and still holds up today.

8. “Undun”

The ominous and, at times, jarring “Undun” is a dizzying jazz-rock fusion, but a spellbinding listen all the same. The 1969 release reportedly tells the story of a psychedelic experience gone wrong.

7. “Shakin’ All Over”

It was the band’s cover of the Johnny Kidd & the Pirates tune, “Shakin’ All Over,” that prompted them to choose their band name.

They had originally been performing under the moniker Chad Allan and the Reflections, but Quality Records producer George Struth released the cover to Canadian radio stations as a work from “Guess Who?” in hopes that listeners would be intrigued by the mystery band. The name stuck and so did the song.

6. “Star Baby”

A racing, rollicking pop-rock hit “Star Baby” wasn’t a widespread success, but it is an essential number in the band’s repertoire as one of their fiery, foot-tapping grooves.

“One of our roadies was having an affair with Bonnie Bramlett [from the rock group Delaney and Bonnie], who was opening for us way back in the ‘70s,” former frontman Burton Cummings explained in a 2011 interview. “When I wrote it I was trying to see Bonnie through our roadie’s eyes and what he might say to her. It was finished really quickly. I wrote that in about 20 minutes.”

5. “No Time”

No time for a summer friend / No time for the love you send / Seasons change and so did I / You need not wonder why, they sing in the hit “No Time.”

A resolute farewell to a former lover, the song holds no punches, making it one of rock’s greatest breakup tunes.

4. “Laughing”

Appearing on their 1969 album, Canned Wheat, the mournful “Laughing” was a tune that came naturally for the band who reportedly wrote the song in minutes.

“We find that if we have to sit down and ponder, it doesn’t happen,” guitarist Randy Bachman once told The Edmonton Journal.

3. “No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature”

Two tunes that go seamlessly together, you’ll rarely hear “No Sugar Tonight” without “New Mother Nature” following right behind.

The iconic 1970 medley is probably the work The Guess Who is best known for and for good reason too. They are an incredible pairing of whimsical psych-rock and dark, guttural blues.

2. “These Eyes”

While a dramatic sidestep from their rock trademarks, the gently swaying ballad “These Eyes” was still a success for the band. The 1969 soul-driven pop hit graced the single digits on the charts and opened up a whole new sound to the band.

1. “American Woman”

American woman, stay away from me / American woman, mama, let me be / Don’t come a-hangin’ around my door / I don’t wanna see your face no more / I got more important things to do / Than spend my time growin’ old with you, plays the sneering “American Woman.”

The most essential of Guess Who tracks, “American Woman” is a thunderous anthem, but it’s far from the patriotic tune some may think.

“It’s basically an antiwar protest song saying, ‘We don’t want your war machines, we don’t want your ghetto scenes, stay away from me,'” Bachman said in an interview with Songfacts. He explained the song was virtually written onstage during a performance. They had been touring the U.S. as the Vietnam War was taking place overseas and the draft was calling young men to war.

“‘American Woman’ is not the woman on the street,” the guitarist continued. “It’s the Statue of Liberty and that poster of Uncle Sam with the stars and stripes top hat where he has a finger pointing to you, ‘Uncle Sam Wants You.’ That basically was our thought at the moment onstage when that song was written.”

. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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