Thursday December 22, 2011
Our favorite artists and musicians draw inspiration from all over: childhood memories, heartbreak, the plight of the angry suburban teenager, et al. But some artists aren't shy about singing about what's literally fueling them: food. Here's a heapin' handful of songs about food and restaurants.
Hank Williams is powerless to resist the temptation of Cajun food, "big fun" and the general debauchery of the Bayou. Who among us can stand in judgment?
Arlo Guthrie's 18-minute epic protest song is a Thanksgiving tradition on many radio stations. The monologue describes a real-life incident in which Guthrie was arrested for littering on Thanksgiving Day and is subsequently turned down by the draft board for his criminal record and attitude. Guthrie offers the following advice if you find yourself in this sort of situation: Demand to see the shrink and say, "You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant." Then walk out.
"Weird Al" Yankovic could perform a 2-hour set of songs about food alone and still likely have material left over. Often self-deprecating about how heavily he relied upon food early in his career, Weird Al scored big hits with the likes of "Eat it", "Fat", "I Love Rocky Road" and "Lasagna." In a recent interview, Al mentioned that he failed to clear the rights to a parody of Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" -- wait for it ... "Chicken Pot Pie." McCartney, an outspoken vegetarian, couldn't let it slide, though apparently he was quite cordial on the matter and offered any of his other material up for parody.
Suzanne Vega sings about the first real eatery on our list, Tom's Restaurant, a Brooklyn classic. Between choruses of "do-do-do-do", she describes a particularly eventful day consisting of reading her horoscope, drinking coffee and creepily watching other patrons and people out the window. Rest assured at the real Tom's Restaurant, the man behind the counter will never fill your coffee "only half-way" and gaze out the window before you can argue.
"She Don't Use Jelly"
Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips apparently knows some eccentric people. One friend wipes his nose with magazines, and a girl who reminds him of Cher often changes the color of her hair with tangerines. But the manic pixie dream girl whom the song is titled after has some strange dietary habits. She's kindly enough to make you breakfast, but you'd better be prepared for Vaseline on your toast.
Beck has his fair share of songs about food, from "Satan Gave Me a Taco" to "Peaches and Cream." In Debra, Beck drops a memorable restaurant reference while singing about romancing an employee of JC Penney with an afternoon in Glendale: "Like a fruit that's ripe for the pickin'/I wouldn't do you like that, Zankou Chicken." Zankou, of course, being a small chain of Armenian eateries in LA specializing in delicious rotisserie chicken with a tangy garlic sauce.
Keeping with the fast food chicken theme, The Aquabats sing about a lifetime of fried chicken addiction. Be it Roscoe's, Popeye's or Golden Basket, these ska-punk super heroes ladle on the gravy. In an ill-advised rap/dance breakdown, they encourage the audience to "do the popcorn chicken/do the KFC/do the buffalo wing."
"Bread and Butter"
The Newbeats smash hit of 1964, "Bread and Butter" tells the tale of a man with fairly simple tastes, and the woman who loves him enough to accommodate them. That is, until she runs off with a man willing to eat more than just two things.