Food is a necessity. As a result, it has a vital role in human culture, as shown by the incredible number of songs that mention it in one way or another.
Generally speaking, food isn’t being used in a literal sense. Instead, it stands in for a wide range of things, thus enabling more complex meanings than otherwise possible.
Here are 20 of our favorite songs with food in the title:
20. “My Bacon Roll” – Mark Knopfler
People have been eating bacon since ancient times. After all, it is cured meat, which could remain edible long after its fresh counterpart had spoiled for want of modern refrigeration.
However, the sheer enthusiasm for bacon is a more recent phenomenon that traces its roots to the 1990s. Unsurprisingly, Mark Knopfler’s “My Bacon Roll” comes from 2018. Supposedly, he overheard a man asking for the food item, so he decided to come up with a story for the incident before turning it into a song.
19. “Peaches” – The Presidents of the United States
Chris Ballew – the frontman of the Presidents of the United States – was inspired to write “Peaches” because of two incidents. First, he once overheard a homeless man muttering about eating peaches after moving to the countryside. Second, he once waited for a woman he was attracted to beneath a peach tree while on LSD. These two incidents explain much about the song’s lyrics.
18. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard
Historically speaking, Europe had limited access to sugar. As a result, it was a luxury product for those of means. That remained the case until the early 19th century when people started making sugar using sugar beets rather than sugarcane. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” isn’t the most subtle of songs. Still, it is extremely catchy, thus enabling it to stand as one of the most memorable rock songs of the late 1980s.
17. “Breakfast in America” – Supertramp
“Breakfast in America” had a somewhat old-fashioned sound even when it came out in the late 1970s. That paired well with its silly, sarcastic lyrics. For those unfamiliar, “Breakfast in America” tends to be interpreted as the perspective of a British teenager with no real understanding of the United States he admires so much.
16. “Ice Cream” – Sarah McLachlan
“Ice Cream” is a love song. Specifically, it sees the narrator singing about how her romantic relationship is better than ice cream and chocolate. That is quite a statement depending on how much she loves those things.
15. “Cherry Pie” – Warrant
Speaking of which, “Cherry Pie” is another song in much the same vein. However, it belongs to a very different genre, which makes sense because Warrant is glam metal rather than a mix of pop, rock, and adult contemporary music. “Cherry Pie” might not be the most sophisticated song ever penned. Fortunately, it has an infectious energy that more than makes up for that.
14. “Mayonaise” – Smashing Pumpkins
No one knows what “Mayonaise” means. It is possible that even Billy Corgan – the frontman of the Smashing Pumpkins – doesn’t know because he once claimed that he didn’t put much conscious thought into the song’s lyrics.
Despite this, countless listeners have connected with “Mayonaise,” thus resulting in a wide range of interpretations. Some people think it is about adolescence, while others suspect drug addiction or something similar. There are even those who think the lyrics might be autobiographical in some way.
13. “Pork and Beans” – Weezer
Reputedly, Weezer made “Pork and Beans” while irritated by record label executives’ insistence that the band put out something with more commercial potential. Amusingly, this song did and didn’t conform to those expectations. On the one hand, it shows a clear sense of disgruntlement at such notions; on the other hand, it became one of Weezer’s most successful songs ever released.
12. “Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)” – Tom Waits
This song is unusual because it isn’t using food as a metaphor. Instead, the mention of eggs and sausage is meant to give a sense of authenticity to a scene at a diner. It does a great job of describing everything effectively and efficiently, which is more than enough to earn it a place on this list.
11. “Soup Is Good Food” – Dead Kennedys
“Soup Is Good Food” is a much darker title than it sounds on initial consideration. In short, the song is about people being fired because of automation. That makes the titular line true, not so much because soup is tasty but because soup is cheap to make. In any case, “Soup Is Good Food” is one of those songs that promise to become more and more relevant for the foreseeable future.
A wide range of organizations continues to pour vast resources into AI and related technologies. Thanks to that, machines are steadily becoming more capable. There is a longstanding prediction that they will eventually be able to step in for a huge swathe of white-collar workers in the same way they have already done so for blue-collar workers.
10. “Rock Lobster” – The B-52’s
Strictly speaking, rock lobsters aren’t true lobsters. They look similar. However, rock lobsters belong to the family Palinuridae, while true lobsters belong to the family Homaridae.
Indeed, interested individuals should know that rock lobsters don’t have claws on their first four pairs of legs, thus making it much easier to distinguish them from their counterparts. People do eat these animals, which should be clear to anyone who has ever set foot in a seafood restaurant.
The lyrics of “Rock Lobster” aren’t particularly easy to interpret. Knowing that the song was inspired by a discotheque that had a slide show rather than a light show doesn’t change that one bit.
9. “One More Cup of Coffee” – Bob Dylan
“One More Cup of Coffee” is a song with an uncertain meaning that has been much speculated about. Some people think Bob Dylan penned it because of troubles in his then-marriage with Sara Lownds. Meanwhile, others are content to shrug their shoulders while opining that it is about venturing into the unknown. Whatever the case, “One More Cup of Coffee” remains much beloved.
8. “Honey” – Mariah Carey
As strange as it sounds, Mariah Carey didn’t always have creative control over her music output. Instead, she had to build up influence until she could take matters into her own hands. That happened in the late 1990s. “Honey” was one of the most pivotal moments in Carey’s career.
She didn’t abandon her previous style altogether. However, she made a clear movement toward hip-hop and R&B, as shown by her collaboration with Sean Combs and Q-Tip for the song. The result was sensational because the song debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, thus becoming the third of her singles to do so.
7. “Banana Pancakes” – Jack Johnson
What makes pancakes interesting is their remarkable variety. As a result, people are sure to be able to find something suitable for them, even if they have to come up with something new. Chances are good that interested individuals can guess “Banana Pancakes” is about a romantic relationship rather than a food item. To be exact, this is a pleasant song in which the narrator expresses the desire to spend more time with his significant other.
6. “Cinnamon Girl” – Neil Young
Spices were highly prized in medieval Europe. They were produced in far-off regions, meaning their costs reflected the challenges of moving them over such vast distances. For instance, true cinnamon was native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Thanks to that, merchants had to ship it to Egypt, where it would be further distributed throughout the Mediterranean. There were similar species. The issue is that those were also native to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that spices still suggest exoticism and excitement. Something showed to full effect in Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl.”
5. “Tequila Sunrise” – Eagles
People like alcohol. Due to that, a wide range of ingredients has been used for making the stuff. For instance, Mesoamerican cultures cooked the heart of the agave plant before fermenting the juices. Later, the Spanish introduced distillation, thus resulting in the production of tequila.
In the late 19th century, tequila manufacturers started exporting their products to the United States, which consumes more tequila than Mexico. “Tequila Sunrise” isn’t the happiest of songs ever penned.
That is because it is an expression of misery, which should be clear based on the lyrics. After all, if someone is getting hungover night after night, it seems safe to say that they might have an issue of some kind.
4. “Red Red Wine” – UB40
Technically, “Red Red Wine” is a Neil Diamond song. The funny thing is that most people wouldn’t know about that connection. Instead, the UB40 cover is the most famous version of the song, so much so that even Neil Diamond started singing it that way.
Funnier still, UB40 wasn’t aware of the origins of “Red Red Wine.” As the story goes, they thought it had been performed by a Jamaican artist named Negus Diamond, which might have influenced their decision to do a reggae-flavored cover.
3. “Tutti Frutti” – Little Richard
Tutti frutti can refer to a surprising number of things. Generally speaking, people will think of the ice cream flavor, which features vanilla as a base but mixes in various fruits. However, other snacks bear the name because it is used in different ways in different countries.
For example, it is a dish of dried fruits in sugar syrup in the Netherlands. In contrast, it is a fruit salad in Luxembourg. Luckily, the meaning of “Tutti Frutti” in a musical context is much less confusing. It refers to the Little Richard song the overwhelming majority of the time.
That is because it is one of the most influential songs ever released, as shown by how it introduced several elements of rock music as a whole.
2. “American Pie” – Don McLean
“American Pie” is one of the most famous folk-rock songs ever. It is strongly associated with a particular period of American history because it is based on Don McLean’s childhood. Despite this, “American Pie” continues to resonate with people because its sentiments of loss and nostalgia are universal. The times have changed, but the way we feel about our bygone years remains remarkably similar in significant respects.
1. “Strawberry Fields Forever” – The Beatles
Strawberries are surprisingly modern in some ways. People have been eating them since ancient times. Still, those were wild strawberries, which aren’t the same as their modern counterparts.
During the early modern era, Europeans transferred strawberries from the wilds to their gardens, thus kicking off the process of domestication. That said, “Strawberry Fields Forever” isn’t referring to a literal field full of strawberries.
It is well-known to be one of the songs that John Lennon wrote about places he knew in Liverpool. If people are curious, they can visit the real Strawberry Field, which was a children’s home run by the Salvation Army from the early 20th century to the early 21st century. Nowadays, it still sees some charitable use, though it has also opened its doors to Beatles fans as a visitor attraction.
We know there are plenty more…..
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