I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing: 5 Songs About Coca-Cola
It's hot outside, folks. We're starting to think the Aztecs were onto something, and if we could find a virgin and a sharp knife we might see if a little human sacrifice would appease the hateful sun god. Until then, we'll have to settle for staying indoors and drinking many tall glasses of fizzy, delicious Coca-Cola.
Rocks Off loves Coca-Cola, and it's not unusual for us to consume an entire two liter bottle over the course of a day. We've grudgingly cut back since too much triggers acid reflux attacks that make Hell seem like a spa day. That's off today, though, as we raise a glass to the memory of Coca-Cola inventor John Pemberton, who died on this day in 1888.
Pemberton invented what eventually became America's favorite soda while searching for something to take the edge off of his crippling morphine addiction, a souvenir from being injured in the Civil War. Like a lot of things invented before the FDA, Coca-Cola was advertised as a tonic useful for...
Ladies, and all those whose sedentary employment causes nervous prostration, irregularities of the stomach, bowels and kidneys, who require a nerve tonic and a pure, delightful diffusible stimulant.
Temperance laws in Atlanta led to the eradication of the coca wine ingredient, and a non-alcoholic carbonated version became the drink we love today. For over 100 years people have been enjoying the tasty beverage and such a recognizable cultural icon is definitely going to make its way into a song or two. Here's just a few of the many songs that have name-dropped Pemberton's concoction.
Advertising jingles can live forever, and if you don't believe us you can walk up to any stranger and sing, "What walks downstairs?" and they'll finish the slinky song for you whether they've ever seen an actual commercial or not. It's hard to top Coca-Cola's jingle, though. Not only was the advertising campaign that utilized it highly successful, the New Seekers turned the jingle into a full-length song that omitted the soda reference and scored a major hit. Hell, Oasis lost a lawsuit over stealing from the tune for their song "Shakermaker." That is one hell of a jingle.
Yet another hit song utilizing the power of Pemberton's soda water. Mel Tillis didn't pen the tune, but he sang the hell out of it and continues to do so into the present at almost 80-years-old.
BestFest headliners Cake remain one of our all-time favorite bands. True, their never going to win any awards for having an eclectic style, but they do what they do very well. "Comfort Eagle" takes on one of the most prevalent aspects of Coca-Cola, namely that it has become as much a symbol of America as the Statue of Liberty or the flag itself. As usual, Cake deconstructs the modern American mindset perfectly.
Just to be clear, the lyric is "Johnny wants a brain. Johnny wants to suck on a COKE!" We understand if you heard Mr. Bowie say something different, because we thought that same thing for years. It would be perfectly in keeping with Bowie's image, but no, his fictional America is just thirsty for fizzy drink.
Rammstein rarely lets out anything but complete brilliance, and "Amerika" is no exception. Now, we're going off several fan translations here, but we think what Rammstein is going for here is comparing the mass influx of American marketing to the over-the-top propaganda of fascist regimes. Or maybe not. Maybe they think Coca-Cola and Wonderbras are so neato they deserved a song.
Ed. Note: These are fine choices, but we would like to put in a word for Pulp's "Common People," even though Coca-Cola is mentioned only in passing.
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