The Guess Who, American Woman, and Burton Cummings in a glorious white suit

Burton Cummings from The Guess Who on The Midnight Special
(Image credit: The Midnight Special)

Another gem from classic rock's golden era has officially surfaced on The Midnight Special's YouTube channel. This time it's Canadian rockers The Guess Who, performing a version of their 1970 hit American Woman. The segment was actually filmed four years later and broadcast on March 20 1974, during a show hosted by the band. 

The Guess Who also played their 1969 single These Eyes and 1970 UK single Hand Me Down World on the show, as well as two songs from 1974's Road Food album, which would be released the following month: album opener Star Baby, which had come out as a single in February, and Clap For The Wolfman, a song celebrating pioneering DJ Wolfman Jack, The Midnight Special's regular announcer. The Wolfman would also join The Guess Who on tour that year.

Other performers on the show included David Essex, folk guitarist Leo Kottke, singer/songwriter Judi Pulver, Sha Na Na, Slade and Wishbone Ash.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of The Midnight Special performance of American Woman – which is brilliant – is frontman Burton Cummings, who has clearly decided to take his hosting duties very seriously indeed, and pulls out all the sartorial stops. Cummings appears in a glorious white suit with matching shoes (on These Eyes he also played a white grand piano), and looks part Burt Reynolds, part Swiss Tony, part Tony Clifton, and 100% magnificent. 

Cummings would go on to dissolve The Guess Who in 1975, but would subsequently enjoy a long and fruitful solo career, with 1978's Dream Of A Child album selling more than three million copies in Canada alone. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.