Black coffee! The 10 songs about black coffee on National Coffee Day!
Up until about ten years ago, coffee seemed to have its grip firmly around us. Just take the songs below, for example. You won't find any written in the past decade, which is a little sad, the death of coffee and all. Because no one is going to write a song about the energizing effects of a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. And energy drinks are no different, as mass-produced Red Bull doesn't have the same gravitas as freshly brewed coffee. That said, this list is the best list about coffee songs you'll find on the Internet, a mix of obscure, popular and one that's downright awful but you should hear it anyway.
10. "Black Coffee" by Everlast
It's been more than a decade since the former House of Pain MC was in the spotlight for 1998's Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, but "Black Coffee," off 2000's Eat Whitey's is a break-up song about a woman leaving a man "stone-cold sober, just like black coffee." Despite how uncool Everlast is, this song is worth your time, especially on this live version, if only for the jazz organist.
9. "Black Coffee in Bed" by Squeeze
This six-minute polished pop gem by UK band Squeeze was released in April 1982. Fun fact: Elvis Costello sings backing vocals.
8. "Kids on Coffee" by the Descendents
What's with the '80s SoCal punk bands and their odes to coffee? Released in 1986 on the Enjoy album, "Kids on the Coffee" by the Descendents (not to be confused with their other song, "Coffee Mug," released ten years later on Everything Sucks) is the band's tribute to their selected drug of choice:
"Doug is bouncing off the walls
"Ray is drooling big spit balls
"Bill is breaking large objects"
7. "The Coffee Song" by Frank Sinatra
This song is good for one listen and that's it. The now adorably xenophobic Frank Sinatra tells us why you can't get a cherry soda in Brazil, and if you disagree, the zombie Corpse of ol' blue eyes will punch you square in the jaw, mister. This song doesn't do much to dispel the notion that Frank Sinatra phoned-in his entire career. Wait for the end with Sinatra does his best Hispanic accent. For historical reference only.
6. "Racist Coffee" by Julian Smith
3.7 million YouTube views of this video is a testament to the fact that YouTube is the new originator of "ear worms," songs that get stuck in your head and won't go away. "Some only drink it white, some only drink it black, but we drink it both ways so we don't get flack" is just one of the ridiculous lines, but not as ridiculous as Smith's plea to "download this song on iTunes" at the end.
5. "Coffee Song" by Cream
Added as an extra track to the Swedish edition of 1966's Fresh Cream, "Coffee Song" was a bit of a bastard song to the band. Via Wikipedia:
The group didn't want "Coffee Song" to be issued at all, but a mono version was mixed and coupled with "Wrapping Paper" as a single. There were no plans at this stage to release it in stereo, so for the Swedish issue a crude stereo mix was used. This was made during the sessions in early August 1966 for instructive purpose - the whole track as basic mono is mixed far right and a solo guitar overdub far left. Never intended for release this mix was soon lost and for later stereo issues a new one was made.
4. "Black Coffee" by Black Flag
The perfect song for caffeine-fueled paranoia with a few dollops of misanthropy and anger on top. Released in 1984 on SST Records, it's the third studio album by Black Flag and well into the band's spiral down the rabbit hole of weird (and eventually beloved) discordant/jazz fusion punk. (The above video is actually a cover by Henry Rollins, not Black Flag, due to copyright claim by SST on YouTube.)
3. "Black Coffee" by Ella Fitzgerald
Published in 1948, another great song about one's tip-toeing into insanity during the late night and early morning hours, while drinking black coffee. The song got a little, um, cream when Peggy Lee recorded her version five years later in 1953. No matter which version (there are dozens out there but those are the two most recognizable) you like the best, it's the slowest song about coffee on this list.
2. "One More Cup of Coffee" by Bob Dylan
Released on 1976's Desire (the "Hurricane" album), "One More Cup of Coffee" deals with the a few themes, the most apparent being an upcoming journey that may not be all that pleasant, especially considering what the traveler is leaving behind. As with anything related to Dylan, there's been much written about this song.
1. "Cigarettes and Coffee" by Otis Redding
In the morning, coffee is the fuel for "coffee achievers" and other go-get-'em types with their poorly thought-out ideas and half-finished projects. But at night, coffee is the great leveler: tired after a long day, around a "quarter 'til 3" in the morning, it's the stuff that helps the ideas of the day come into focus, especially those of love and companionship. "I don't want no cream and sugar 'cause I got you now." Well done, Otis. Well done.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.