Saturday, January 2, 2010

Singing About Cigarettes

Several days ago, while driving on one of our holiday excursions (this one to the Philadelphia area) I tuned into a classic rock station and soon Bob Seeger was pouring out of the speakers. It was indeed a classic, a song called Turn the Page, about the weariness of touring life on the road. I’m too lazy to look up the lyrics here, but one of the lines is about how “You smoke the day's last cigarette.”


For some reason that lyric struck me as odd. Not odd that people smoke. Just odd that people sing about it.


I grew up in a smoking household, and while I have never smoked myself, I do understand addictions. Nevertheless, I still find it an utterly foreign concept to me that tobacco can be such a normal part of one’s life that (if you are a musician) you write it into your songs and actually sing about cigarettes and smoking. Over the years I have noted other such examples in music, that I thought at the time, hey, another song with smoking in it. You probably can supply some cases.


Then yesterday I was perusing the Jan 2010 issue of Runner’s World, and featured on the inside back cover they typically profile a celebrity runner. This month it was Alanis Morissette, now a 35 year old singer/actress. And one who has sung about cigarettes at least twice:


     Ironic: “A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break….”

     Hand in Pocket: “I’ve got one hand in my pocket. And the other is flicking a cigarette.”


Alanis is looking pretty buff, and in the interview speaks of a healthy lifestyle. I’m happy to see she’s a runner and probably doesn’t sing about smoking anymore.

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