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Top 11 Songs from Bands Named After Food
Bread, Hot Chocolate, Cream, Vanilla Fudge, Hot Butter, and more — no, not your grocery list, our Top 11 Songs from Bands Named After Food.
“My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.”
— Orson Welles
- “8:05” by Moby Grape
Moby Grape got its name as the punchline of the joke, “What’s big and purple and lives in the ocean?” “8:05” was written by guitarist Jerry Miller and drummer Don Stevenson. It was a highlight of their self-titled 1967 debut album. “I wrote most of ‘8:05’ when I going across the Golden Gate Bridge,” Miller told Rock Cellar.
“I asked the toll guy what time it was and he said, ‘8:05.’ So halfway across the bridge I sang, ‘8:05, I think I’ll drive off this bridge.’ And I said, ‘It’s got a nice little melody so I think I’ll keep the melody and forget about the driving off the bridge.'”
“We got a guitar and it just turned into kind of a love song,” added Stevenson. “Jerry and I sing harmony on that song. That’s the Everly Brothers touch, you know?”
- “Every 1’s a Winner” by Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate was a British soul band fronted by vocalist Errol Brown. The band enjoyed its greatest success when it combined disco and rock to produce hits like “You Sexy Thing” and “Every 1’s a Winner.” Producer Mickie Most shortened their original name, Hot Chocolate Band, to The Hot Chocolate and then to Hot Chocolate.
“Every 1’s a Winner,” a No. 6 hit in 1978, features the fuzztone guitar work of Harvey Hinsley. “I came up with the riff,” Hinsley told Dig! “Basically, it’s a slow trill.
“I had just bought a Roland guitar synth—a GR-500. I didn’t really know what it was gonna do, and I plugged it in, and this raucous sound came out of it.”
- “Make It With You” by Bread
Bread came by its name after two members, driving around L.A., pulled up behind a Barbara Ann Bread truck at a stoplight.
Bread had many hits but its only number one single was 1970’s “Make It With You,” composed and sung by David Gates.
“I got goosebumps while I was writing that song,” Gates revealed in the liner notes of Retrospective. “I knew that I was onto something, that it was better than the run-of-the-mill song, but I had no idea that it would do as well as it did.
“I realized while I was writing the song that it was meant for just a solo vocal and that a string section was appropriate for it. I wanted a fairly barebones rhythm track, and we had a hard time getting it to work. I ultimately ended up going in with just Mike Botts, and he sat there playing drums while I played acoustic guitar to start the track off right. Then I added the bass and the electric guitar afterwards, because that was the only way I could control the emotional feel.”
- “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Humble Pie
Humble Pie was one of the first supergroups of the late 1960s, led by singer Steve Marriott of the Small Faces and Peter Frampton of the Herd. The band chose the name Humble Pie as a way to play down expectations in the wake of their publicity as superstars.
“I Don’t Need No Doctor” was written by Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Jo Armstead. Ashford released his own version in 1966 to little success. While Humble Pie only reached No. 73 with their take in 1973, classic rock radio made it one of their signature songs.
“I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Nick Ashford
“I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Humble Pie
- “Want Ads” by Honey Cone
Honey Cone was a trio of former backing singers led by Darlene Love’s sister, Edna Wright. Eddie Holland, who had recently left Motown with writing partners Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, signed the trio to Hot Wax Records. Holland named the group for a favorite flavor of ice cream.
The inspiration for “Want Ads” came from studio engineer Barney Perkins, who suggested someone should write about the classified section of the newspaper he was reading. Greg Perry, General Norman Johnson and Barney Perkins reworked a song in progress, “Stick Up,” and “Want Ads” was born.
“It was very positive,” Wright said of “Want Ads” on the BET series American Soul. “It was a girl that was just really tired of stupid. She was the kind of girl who knew how to say no, and knew how to reach for what she wanted.
“I always try to put out positive songs that reflect, that I can watch through this life and say, ‘Yeah, that was me. I’m proud of that.’ We have something that everybody should know. We have one mouth, and we have two ears. We should learn to hear and listen better and speak less, and then we’ll win what we’re going after.”
- “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers
The Lemon Pipers were originally a psychedelic rock band from Oxford, Ohio who signed with Buddah Records in 1967. When their debut single, “Turn Around and Take a Look” flopped, Buddah brought in Brill Building songwriters Paul Leka and Shelly Pinz to come up with a new approach. Pinz described her inspiration in Bar Chat.
“In early spring, 1966, while standing in front of the Brill Building I watched a man holding a tambourine begging for money. I wrote a poem about him and called the poem ‘Green Tambourine.’ I added it to my lyric collection.
“One night in June 1967, Paul and I sat at the piano until sunrise writing ‘Green Tambourine,’ which was then refused by five major music publishers until one day, Paul played it for the manager of a rock group from Ohio called the Lemon Pipers. He arranged the song and produced them and after the Lemon Pipers recorded it in February 1968, ‘Green Tambourine’ became a number one gold record. Sometimes I wonder what happened to the man in front of the Brill Building, holding a tambourine begging for money.”
With the success of “Green Tambourine,” Buddah pressured the Lemon Pipers to record more bubblegum tunes. The band knew if they refused, Buddah would drop them from the label. The band never came anywhere near the success of “Green Tambourine” and split up in 1969.
- “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge is known for its psychedelic, slowed-down covers of songs. The band was called the Pigeons before they took their name from the girlfriend of a singer in another band. It had been her nickname as a child because she loved ice cream.
The Supremes’ 1966 classic “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” was covered by Vanilla Fudge and reached No. 6 in 1967. Drummer Carmine Appice credited keyboardist Mark Stein and bassist Tim Bogert for the idea to cover the song in The Classic Rock Music Reporter.
“We used to slow songs down and listen to the lyrics and try to emulate what the lyrics were dictating. That one was a hurtin’ song; it had a lot of emotion in it.
“If you listen to ‘Hangin’ On” fast, by the Supremes, it sounds very happy, but the lyrics aren’t happy at all. If you lived through that situation, the lyrics are definitely not happy.”
- “Popcorn” by Hot Butter
“Popcorn” was one of the first hit songs to feature a Moog synthesizer. It was written and first recorded by Gershon Kingsley, an arranger and composer of music for film, television and musical theater. “I am glad I was born in Germany and partook of German culture,” Kingsley said in Reuters.
“Because whether you’re talking about Beethoven, Goethe or Wagner, it’s unique in the history of humankind. ‘Popcorn’ is a classical melody; it could easily be incorporated into a Bach piece. It’s so transparent — it’s like why you can’t change a Mozart melody. It took me five minutes. But I could never do it again.”
Gershon performed “Popcorn” with the First Moog Quartet. When the group broke up, member Stan Free recalled that “Popcorn” was a favorite at concerts. Free formed Hot Butter in 1972 with members of the First Moog Quartet. The catchy tune was a Top 10 hit that year and remains a staple of movies and video games.
- “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” by Sugarloaf
Denver-based Sugarloaf was named after a mountain outside Boulder, Colorado, where guitarist Bob Webber lived. Many mountains around the world are named Sugarloaf because they have the conical shape of a sugarloaf, the form in which refined sugar was sold until the late 19th century.
“Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” was a No. 9 hit in 1975. Co-written by lead singer Jerry Corbetta, the song was the band’s second hit after 1970’s “Green-Eyed Lady.”
Despite the success of “Green-Eyed Lady,” Sugarloaf was without a record label in 1974. CBS Records was one of the labels to turn them down. Signed by Claridge Records, “Don’t Call Us” recalled the band’s many failures to secure a deal. The song includes the sound of touch tones made while dialing a phone call. Fans figured out that the tones corresponded to CBS Records’ unlisted number, which was changed after the song became a hit.
- “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” by the Electric Prunes
The Electric Prunes were a garage rock band from L.A. whose only hit, “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” reached number 11 in 1967. The band was called Jim and the Lords when they recorded their first record, but they wanted to change their name before its release.
“The name Electric Prunes started off as a joke, sort of, but with every list of names, that name kept coming back in as a laugher,” singer James Lowe recalled in Terrascope. “And eventually it was so strong, I think I just beat everybody into submission. I said, ‘It’s the one thing everyone will remember. It’s not attractive, and there’s nothing sexy about it, but people won’t forget it.”
Lowe said that “Too Much to Dream” was one of five or six songs recorded at a session. “Of all of them, it seemed to have the most interesting arrangement and seemed to be the one that everybody responded to.
“It was on the charts for a long time, just muddling along on the lower end. But it kept building and building, and it finally got far enough off the ground that I got to quit my job, a glorious day. That enabled us to go on tour.
“From the time the record hit we were on the road for three years. Eventually, however, that became a detriment, because we never had enough time to rehearse. You’d wind up doing the same songs you’ve been doing.”
- “Badge” by Cream
For their final album, Goodbye, the members of Cream — bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Eric Clapton — decided each would contribute one studio track; the rest of the album would be live cuts. The band was named Cream because its members were already considered “the cream of the crop” of musicians.
Clapton said in Conversations with Eric Clapton that The Band’s debut album inspired him to pursue a new direction for his last song.
“I got the tapes of Music from Big Pink and I thought, well, this is what I want to play — not extended solos and maestro bullshit, but just good funky songs.”
Clapton turned to his friend George Harrison for help. Clapton had played on Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in September 1968, so Harrison was happy to help a month later. In his autobiography I Me Mine, Harrison described the creation of what’s been called Cream’s finest song.
“I co-wrote ‘Badge’ with Eric Clapton. The group Cream decided they were making one last album together and they all had to turn up on such and such a day with a new song each. Eric had some of the melody and I helped him finish the tune and then wrote the words.
“While writing the words we got to the middle part which I called the ‘bridge,’ so I put that on the paper with the words. Eric was sitting opposite me and he looked at the paper — upside down to him — and cracked up: He said, ‘what’s that — badge?’ and I said, ‘It’s bridge.’ So later Eric called the song ‘Badge.'”