First Hit #1: September 29, 1973
Some say write what you know, and Grand Funk Railroad knows mostly what it’s like to be a touring band. So, We’re an American Band is pretty much about the experience of being Grand Funk Railroad, both the good and the bad, that also functions as an advertisement for going out to see Grand Funk Railroad – “We’re coming to your town, we’ll help you party down” is a pretty concise sales pitch. It’s an effective ad too, because it’s actually pretty killer.
Two things push it over the edge. One, the crunchy guitar sound, which keeps things rocking and makes the song sound large and intimidating. It’s the kind of guitar that would make for a good live show. The second thing is the cowbell that introduces the song. Thanks to a Saturday Night Live sketch cowbell has become kind of a joke, but if used properly it just makes things sound tough, and it’s difficult to explain why. Here, the cowbell is attention grabbing and sets a tone that’s a bit different from most other songs on the radio. It’s a strong piece of music, and a pretty great track overall.