join a gym – good music and you get to look like me!
Man, for fans of 70s music my gym is so good (if you’re keen enough to be there a little after 6am each day). They play song after song from said-decade, so many of them songs I’d all but forgotten about, like this week’s offering.
From 1973, We’re an American Band was Grand Funk Railroad’s first #1 single. It was followed up with Walk Like a Man, The Loco-Motion (also a #1), Some Kind of Wonderful (#3), and Bad Time (#4)
we loved ‘em, they hated ‘em
I can only speak for myself, but I loved Grand Funk Railroad but not everyone did. It became a bit of a frustration to the band that they were constantly panned by music critics. Not that they should have worried, audiences loved them and they constantly packed out arenas – some people refer to Grand Funk as America’s first true stadium band. In 1971, Grand Funk broke The Beatles‘ Shea Stadium attendance record, tickets selling out in just 72 hours – not bad in the pre-electronic ticketing era.
I reckon the name’s pretty cool too. It’s a play on words – the Grand Trunk Railroad is a railroad line that runs through the band’s home town of Flint, Michigan.
what happens on tour stays on tour?
The song’s lyrics are biographical. Don Brewer, the song’s composer explains some of the words:
“Up all night with Freddie King, I’ve got to tell you, poker’s his thing”:”
Freddie King was the opening act for us, the great Blues guitar player from Texas. It always struck me as funny that he would make his band play poker with him every night. We used to sit in on some of the poker games, and that’s where that line came from. His band, he’d pay them, and then he’d go win all the money back so they were broke and they’d have to keep playing for him – it was a great deal.
“four young chiquita’s in Omaha,”
That came from a situation where we checked into this hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, and there were four groupies in the lobby waiting to see the band. ‘four young chiquitas’ sounded a lot better than ‘four young groupies’ or ‘four young girls.’
“Sweet Sweet Connie was doing her act”
Is about Connie Hamzy, a famous groupie known as Sweet Connie. Some of her rumoured conquests include Brewer, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Huey Lewis, Alex and Eddie Van Halen, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, The Allman Brothers, both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, Neil Diamond, every male member of Fleetwood Mac, David Lee Roth, Sammy Haggar, all of ZZ Top, Gedde Lee, Buddy Rich, Don Henley and many, many others, and Bill Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas. This song made her famous, and in 2010 VH1 ran a special about her life. According to Hamzy, she didn’t have “the whole band,” as stated in the lyrics, but she came pretty close – Mark Farner was a holdout.
The band is still going strong, touring throughout the US with all but one of the original members (unfortunately, it’s the lead guitarist and singer). Another ex-member, Craig Frost, is the keyboardist for Bob Seager’s, Silver Bullet Band.
we’re an american band fax
- We’re an American Band was written by Grand Funk Railroad’s drummer Don Brewer and produced by the iconic Todd Rundgren.
- Don Brewer also took control of the lead vocals.
- Released on July 16, 1973, We’re an American Band hit #1 on the US singles chart in late 1973.
- We’re an American Band is autobiographical.
- We’re an American Band is #99 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.
- Like so many great rock songs, We’re an American Band has appeared on an episode of The Simpsons.
- Poison, Kid Rock and The Village People have all covered the song.
- We’re an American Band lyrics.
we’re an american band – grand funk railroad – 1973 – video
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