Our 10 Best: Food-Themed Pop Songs
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The answer to the third of the three questions in yesterday's teaser quiz was The Newbeats, whose song "Bread and Butter" easily made it onto either the 10 Best or Runners-Up lists, but which one? Listen to this Youtube clip and see if can figure out in which position it belongs.
In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's Duke Orsino refers to music as the "food of love," meaning, I suppose, that music, like a big dry log, can feed the flames of love. Of course, the reverse is true, too: Nothing engenders carnal thoughts like sexy music, which is why parents objected so strenuously to Elvis Presley's legendary performances on the Ed Sullivan Show. In fact, food is often used as metaphor for sex in pop song lyrics, allowing singers to surreptitiously voice sentiments that would be considered too sexual for the popular culture. As Peter, Paul, and Mary once sang, "How can I say it, unless I lay it between the lines?"
That's why three songs in Our 10 Best and its Runners-up involve peaches, which is the answer to the second question in our quiz. Halved and pit removed from the fuzzy interior, they're considered one of the best aphrodisiacs around, perhaps because of their resemblance to the female anatomy. Which was what the Allman Brothers had in mind when they named their album Eat A Peach, and The United States of America intoned, "I'd eat peaches everyday."
If peaches are sexual, candy is doubly so. As Sammy Davis Junior once sang (and Cibo Matto later rapped), "The candyman can, 'cause he's mixing it with love." And the Grateful Dead chimed in, "Pretty lady ain't got no friend till, the candyman comes around again, and again." Sugar and other sweeteners figure in at least three of our songs.
The Fork in the Road staff listened to hundreds of youtubes in an attempt to pick out our 10 faves. You won't find ballads like Molly Malone, about a squeamish Irish gal who sold cockles, "Alive, alive, oh!"--because we've restricted ourselves to songs written after 1900. Some of these numbers we chose may be unfamiliar--indeed we hope that's the case.
Turn the page to see the 15 Runners-Up.