Let It Rock … But Don’t Spill The Wine!
Editor’s Note: Our L.A. correspondent Randy Fuller has written a post for his excellent wine blog Now and Zin on wine and rock and roll. He has graciously allowed us to reprint this post – and we’ve included links to some of the songs referenced in the copy. And at the end, we have added a few “bonus” songs of our own.)
One of my many joys in life is music. I love gathering mp3s of songs together in a thematic group and burning them to a CD. I use these CDs to pass the hour and a half or so each day I spend behind the wheel of the car.
Another of my many joys is wine, so it’s not too much of a stretch for me to assemble a compilation of songs about wine.
It’s difficult to find too many songs about wine that are actually about the wine. Most wine songs are lyrically concerned with over-imbibing: getting drunk on wine, staying high all the time, etc. I was certainly no saint in my younger days, but at this point in my life I try to promote only the responsible use of alcoholic beverages. Besides, I drink wine to enjoy the experience of the wine, not to get blasted.
Wine has a rather seedy image in some of the more well-known wine classics. The Tom Paxton song, “Bottle Of Wine,” deals with the trials and tribulations of panhandling for spare change in order to buy some fruit of the vine. Many other songs deal with the soft underbelly of the wine drinking populace, too. In “Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee,” also known as “Wine, Wine, Wine,” the singer has a nickel and only needs another dime to afford the desired bottle. You’d be hard-pressed to match that in today’s economy, even at 7-11.
Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Sangria Wine” is all about the camaraderie of wine – which is great – but his delivery gets more liquid as the song progresses. It ends up with a “slumped-in-the-lawn-chair” sort of feeling that isn’t exactly unpleasant, just maybe a little undesirable.
“Red, Red Wine” was penned by Neil Diamond in the 1960s and performed by a wide variety of singers since then. In it, the wine “goes to my head, makes me forget.” That’s touching, but most counselors will tell you it’s a bad idea to try and hide from your troubles in a bottle of wine. (Included here is the UB40 version of “Red, Red Wine” which was an international hit in 1983.)
In similar fashion, “Two More Bottles of Wine,” “Wine Do Yer Stuff” and a host of others deal with wine as a crutch or escape from reality.
“Spill The Wine,” the great 1970 hit by Eric Burdon and War, is about a dream where wine is involved. To me it always seemed like a dream induced by something harder than wine.
Lee Hazelwood’s “Summer Wine,“ which took him and Nancy Sinatra to the top 40 in the mid-’60s, is the flip side of that dream in “Spill The Wine.” There’s no happy ending, though. Eventually, the summer wine runs empty.
I prefer songs about wine made from grapes, so I’ll toss out “Sweet Cherry Wine,” “Elderberry Wine” and “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine.” Who needs wine made from old dogs, children and watermelons?
Here are some songs with at least a passing reference to wine either in the title or lyrics. Pick and choose and make a Wine Song CD of your own! I’d love to hear about any wine songs you like, in the comments.
“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel – While not entirely about wine, he does bookend his vignettes with references to ‘a bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rose instead.”
“Bad Chardonnay” by Graham Parker – About the touring life of a rock star, which in this case is filled with “cigarettes and bad chardonnay.”
“Killer Queen” – by Queen – “She keeps Moet et Chandon in a pretty cabinet.”
“Champagne Jam” by The Atlanta Rhythm Section – They don’t specify what type of Champagne in this one, but I’m guessing it’s actually sparkling wine.
“Hotel California” by The Eagles – “pink Champagne on ice” is the beverage of choice at this West Coast retreat.
“Champagne Supernova” by Oasis – “A Champagne supernova in the sky” sounds like a good reason to break out the bubbly.
“Old Red Wine” by The Who – I hear this was for The Who’s late bassist John Entwistle, who loved red wine.
“The Wino And I Know” by Jimmy Buffett – Ask not for whom the cork pops…
“Wine, Women An’ Song” by Whitesnake – Winemakers themselves these days, Whitesnake was not the first artist to sing a tribute to this holy trinity, and they won’t be the last.
YouTube: “Wine, Women An’ Song” by Whitesnake
A bonus selection of wine songs:
MP3: “Drinkin’ Wine” by Gene Simmons (not the Demon from KISS)