by Kevin Burton
Orange is too bright to be ignored, too loud to be quiet. Orange has something to say, so listen up.
Orange may be the flyingest of all flying colors, so that’s where we land on our trip around the rainbow this week.
With apologies to the grape variety, “I Only Drink Tang,” by Sadiq & David has to be our orange bonus track. I can’t tell whether the song’s creators were spoofing disco funk, Tang, overblown advertising or all of the above. This song is an elixir.
Part of the message that accompanies the song on You Tube: “Feel the awesome funk of the Tang…let the orange ‘it-ness’ of Tang envelope your mind…believe in the sweet, fruity truth of Tang…”
With that bit of refreshment, let’s drink in the orange list:
8 “Prince of Orange,” by XTC. The lyrics say the Prince of Orange will die. That could very well be. The bridge reveals that he steals food.
But this song makes my list because there is an organ part that sounds like a radio station ID, for a station in the east with three call letters. You know, “du-du-du duh DUH. Could be WLS. Makes me laugh.
7 “Orange Crush,” by R.E.M. This is a Vietnam War song about the chemical Agent Orange and has nothing to do with the soft drink. Many didn’t pick up on this, according to www.songfacts.com.
“..most people completely misinterpreted the song including Top of the Pops host Simon Parkin, who remarked on camera ‘Mmm great on a summer’s day. That’s Orange Crush.’”
6 “The Power of Orange Knickers,” by Tori Amos. Got to love a song about orange underwear.
I imagine this being a very pleasant song to listen to in a medium-noisy restaurant, where you can appreciate the great music but not hear the lyrics.
The lyrics bring me down. “Can somebody tell me now who is this terrorist? Those girls that smile kindly, then rip your life to pieces.” It goes on from there, all pain, shame and secrecy.
5 “Orange Peel,” by Reuben Wilson. Hot instrumental by the New York-based jazz organist from his 1997 album “Organ Donor.” With a title like Orange Peel you wonder what the lyrics would be.
4 “Frozen Orange Juice,” by Peter Sarstedt. This song has a bright and blossoming melody just like “If I Needed Someone” by the Beatles, but with only a hint of the harmony. It must have been tough to be a British singer-songwriter in 1969, battling the Fab Four for radio play. But Sarstedt did get this tune up to number ten.
3 “Hello! Orange Sunshine,” by Judy and Mary. Fun and catchy Japanese-language song. This tune moves anyway, but that drummer has it practically airborne. The video shows the band rocking out in a field and riding around in a bright fuchsia truck.
I would break down the lyrics for you, but the only words in English are “hello orange sunshine” and the “one two, one two three!” that kicks off the song. Oh, and I did catch an “Oh yeah, yeah!” in there too. \
Short sidetrack before we hit the top two:
Thumbs up: “Orange,” by Passepied. Another Japanese import! Synthesized funk with intriguing tempo changes.
Thumbs down: “Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade),” by The Lemon Pipers. From the band that brought you the great song “Green Tambourine,” comes…..this. It’s supposed to be a 60s drug song but it comes out bubble gum. Ugh.
Bonus track: “I Only Drink Tang,” by Sadiq & David.
On to our top two:
2 “Orange Juice Blues,” by The Band. “Get right baby” says the singer to a woman he’s about to walk out on. It’s just a break-up song without much story to it but I’m liking those blues.
British music critic Barney Hoskyns praised “the rollicking R&B style of the performance.” Here, here.
1 “Orange Blossom Special,” by Tom Rigney and Flambeau. “Orange Blossom Special” is a bluegrass classic that everybody knows but I had never heard of. My wife played in her high school band. I heard some good versions, but I like the zydeco treatment by Rigney.
Be my guest, search the wide world and find me a better version and I’ll change my tune. Take your time. I’ll be here listening to Tom Rigney kill it on that electric violin.
Orange you glad you read this post? Let me know if I omitted your favorite orange song by mentioning it in comments below.