Canadian Press A judge in British Columbia was told this week that Tim…
- Posted on Aug 6th 2010 3:00PM by Pat Pemberton
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"He didn't do my guitar solo, which is kind of the signature of the song," Bachman tells Spinner. "I was sent five versions of it and all five of them confused me."
Bachman wrote the song for his band the Guess Who in the late '60s. The rocking song featured a driving guitar paired up with throaty vocals by Burton Cummings, but when Kravitz covered the song for the movie 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me' in 1999, he recorded a much slower, softer tune.
"There were maybe 10 or 12 versions of 'American Woman' to that point by heavy metal bands from England, Switzerland and Germany," says Bachman, who is currently singing songs from the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive on tour with former bandmate Fred Turner. "They were trying to out-scream Burton Cummings and trying to out-shred me on guitar. Then when I heard Lenny Kravitz's and it wasn't trying to out-scream and out-shred, it was quite different."
After recording his cover, Kravitz sent it to 'Austin Powers' star Mike Myers, who eventually sent it to Bachman. Initially, Bachman didn't like it.
"Suddenly, my daughter, who at the time was 13 or 14, came home from school saying, 'Dad, all my girlfriends at school think you're so cool -- Lenny Kravitz has done your song and it's in 'Austin Powers'!' And I went, 'So he's really done something that's touched a younger generation.'"
At that point, Bachman says, he heard the song differently.
"He reinvented the song for himself, basically," Bachman says, noting that's the sign of a good cover. "You've got to get it, strip it down and make it your own. It's like moving into a house: You gotta kind of make some of the rooms your own -- you can't go with somebody else's decorations."
Based on the success of the song from the soundtrack, 'American Woman' was added as a bonus track to Kravitz's album '5' when it was reissued. The song would eventually earn Kravitz a Grammy. Around that time, he performed it with Bachman and the Guess Who at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto.
"I said to him, 'Why didn't you play my guitar line?'" Bachman remembers. "And he said, 'I couldn't get the sound. I couldn't get the tone.'"
While it didn't rock like the original, Bachman said it provided another chapter for his hit song.
"It reinstated its anthem-ness," he says.