They’d been defying the sniffy US rock media for years, with their million-selling albums and frequent visits to the singles chart. But as of 29 September 1973, no one could deny that Grand Funk really were the people’s group. It was all there in the title of the song that became the best-selling single in the land on that date, ‘We’re An American Band.’
The typically raucous 45 by the newly-restyled outfit, who lost the ‘Railroad’ from their title as of this single and album of the same name, hit the top four years to the week after their Hot 100 debut. That had been with ‘Time Machine,’ which climbed as high as No. 48, one of ten singles to peak below the top 20 for Grand Funk over the next three years.
‘We’re An American Band’ was written by drummer Don Brewer and produced, like all of the eponymous album, by Todd Rundgren. The LP itself had made its debut six weeks earlier, and was now sitting at No. 2, second only to the Allman Brothers Band’s Brothers and Sisters.
Rundgren, the Pennsylvanian artist-producer, was himself stepping beyond his album rock comfort zone and moving into the world of top 40 radio, with the previous year’s hit single ‘I Saw The Light’ and another on the way soon after Grand Funk’s triumph, with ‘Hello It’s Me.’ Now he watched with pride as ‘We’re An American Band’ made its steady ascent of the Billboard chart.
In its tenth week, the single climbed 2-1 to replace Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ at the summit for a week, before Cher’s ‘Half-Breed’ took over. Even more impressively, Grand Funk would be back in that position little more than seven months later, with their remake of Little Eva’s ‘The Loco-Motion.’
‘We’re An American Band’ is on the album of the same name, which can be bought here.
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