They say the color purple speaks to royalty, nobility, luxury, power and ambition.
In Kansas it’s the main color of Kansas State University. That’s the school that on football radio broadcasts, instead of out-of-town scores at halftime, they have interviews about their agriculture programs.
Not sure why, but I really like that.
Purple is not to be confused with violet, as I explained Sunday (“Purple Eyes, Burgers And Fries, To Go,” March 7). But you’ll find nevertheless, two violet songs on this list.
We’ll take the royalty theme for our bonus track but we’ll stand it on its head by choosing “King Of The Road,” by Roger Miller. Now there’s a king without pretention.
Now on to the purple (and violet) songs:
8 “Purple,” by Pop Evil. This is a little loud for me. What I’d like is a cover version by a band who would turn down the guitars and use more harmony. But I like this song of longing for a love lost. Sample lyric, “It only hurts when I’m sober.” Wow.
7 “Purple Sneakers,” by You Am I. Good sound here by the Australian band. Clever lyrics but not wise ones, including, “For every trouble you found there’s a drink to lose it and drown.” Released in 1995 from the album Hi Fi Way.
6 “Shy Violet” by Owl City. Owl City is a musical project by singer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Young. Beautiful song with good harmonies. Makes me think of Billy Joel’s songwriting advice, I heard somewhere. He emphasized elongating vowel sounds. There is a lot of that on this song.
5 “Purple Haze,” By The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Kissing the sky is a very 60s ambition that I would never speak against. In my purple search I found a tribute to Hendrix and this song by The Cure. The word iconic comes to mind when I think of this song and the singer. But for me, a little Hendrix goes a long way.
4 “Purple Passion” by Diana Boncheva. If you like violin, Diana Boncheva is someone you need to get to know. Purple Passion is an instrumental featuring her great work on violin in a pop setting. Boncheva is Bulgarian, but she lives in South Korea.
3 “Violet” by Savage Garden. This is love as a hostile takeover. It sounds more like marriage counseling than happily ever after. “The common sense is a game many people don’t like to play,” sings lead singer Darren Hayes. That much they got right. Based on the beat and the music, not the lyrics, this song has a high cool factor. It’s the sort of tune Michael Jackson would have wanted to plagiarize.
Quick sidetrack before the top two:
Thumbs up: “The Purple Bottle,” by Animal Collective. You know how you feel when you’re so much in love you don’t know how to act? This song captures that. It’s a drug song with love as the drug. This is stream of syllables, stream of thought. It’s a rollercoaster ride if rollercoasters could float.
Thumbs down: “Purple Rain,” by Prince. This is the song people would expect to see on a purple list. I just don’t like it. Give me “Little Red Corvette,” “1999” or “Raspberry Beret.” I find Purple Rain slow and screechy. Sorry, not sorry.
Bonus track: “King Of The Road,” by Roger Miller.
Now for the royal top two:
2 “Girl In The Purple Dress,” by Radiohead. This song is unreleased for some reason. As such, not sure why I’m able to get it on You Tube. Good sax solo. I would re-record the vocal to try to get more energy, turn it up so you can hear it, then release the song.
1 “Deep Purple” by Donnie and Marie Osmond. Not real big on spoken word middles of songs but I tolerate this one because I love the rest of the song. I also like the 60s version by Nino Tempo and April Stevens. Does my heart good to hear this tune. Takes me back to a place and time where I don’t mind lingering. What more can you ask?
Let me know in comments below if I missed your favorite songs with purple or violet in the title.