Songs With Two Or More Flying Colors

by Kevin Burton

    A co-worker once told me she didn’t have a favorite color, she liked colors in combination. 

   She was an artist, so I get that. And I buy into variety being a spice of life, so why not with colors?  Displayed properly, colors bring out the best in each other.

   So here’s a countdown my friend would love, songs with two or more colors in the title. 

   The logo for this list is the girl with kaleidoscope eyes from John Lennon’s LSD song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”  For the bonus track I’ll go with “Over The Rainbow,” by Judy Garland. 

   That’s my choice because you have to love a song that jumps a whole octave within the same word (some-WHERE!). Also by putting a song from 1938 here, it will make my usual 60s and 70s stuff seem modern.

   Here we go then, multiple colors:

   8 ”Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue,” by Portugal. The Man. This band is now based in Portland but got its start in Wasilla, Alaska. Lead guitarist Erik Howk is probably related to some people I used to work with up there.  Small world, but what’s with the “I just wanna be evil” lyric? My former co-workers were definitely not evil.

   That period after Portugal in the band name is not an error. That’s how they spell it.  

   7   “Black Hands White Cotton,” by The Caboose. A song of hope and brotherhood born in the deep south on Stax Records in 1970.

   “The song’s uplifted message of racial harmony began to make inroads in radio markets, but Stax’s promotional staff was ill-equipped to deal with the pop market,” reads the Badcat Records website. “Without marketing support their initial successes quickly stalled out.”

   6 “Black and White Town,” by Doves. Sounds as if someone’s been listening to “Heat Wave” by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. That’s the groove that carries you from a longish intro into a musical complaint about boring satellite towns. Doves is an English band from Manchester.

   5 “White Lies Blue Eyes,” by Bullet. It sounds like a long lost Hollies track, but it’s not. It’s the only hit of the American band Bullet. The song rose to 28 on the hot 100. 

   Band member Roger Pontbriand went on to play with KC and The Sunshine Band and Wild Cherry.

   4   “Black and White,” by Three Dog Night. Just found out this is a cover of a song recorded by Pete Seeger, Sammy Davis Jr. and others, going back to the 1950s. Three Dog Night took the song to number one in 1972

 3 “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,“ by Crystal Gayle.  Even the rock and roll people were all about Crystal Gayle for a hot minute there in 1977 when this song came out.  Old-school crooning and those piano licks, it had to be a hit. Number one country, number two pop.  And what about that long, long hair?  

   Here’s a little sidetrack before the top two.  

   Thumbs down:   “Blondes In Black Cars,” by Autograph.  Brainless formula rock. “It’s like a picture from a magazine,” the song says. Exactly. It’s not real. Next!

   Thumbs up: “Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys,” by The Equals.  The Equals were a British pop and R&B group, one of the few racially integrated groups in the 60s. In their anti-Vietnam war song they sang of “One big world with just one people,” where “black skin blue eyed boys ain’t gonna fight no wars.” Band member Eddie Grant later took the song “Electric Avenue” to number 2 on both the US and UK charts. 

   Bonus track, “Over The Rainbow,” by Judy Garland.

   Now, a countrified top two:

2   “Black And White,” by Roseann Cash.  Articulate melancholy done right goes down like Campbell’s chicken soup, familiar and healing. “I have seen the rainbow and that’s why it all feels so gray” is her lyric that speaks to me.  Beginning of the intro sounds a little like “Close To You,” by The Carpenters.

1   “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” by Linda Ronstadt. This song was my first clue Ronstadt was anything other than a straight rocker.  I think of it as what Tom Petty once described as “the best of the country, the really swinging country.” You can sign me up for some of that!

   Did I miss your favorite multi-colored song?  Paint me a picture in comments below.

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