I love numbers — like batting averages … mile times … populations of small Indiana towns … calories in a cookie (or two or five) … and on and on.
I love music, too, although one of my friends once said I never got out of the ‘60s with my musical appreciation. I dispute that — at least a little. I made it at least as far as the early ‘70s before embracing country many years later.
So I’m combining my love for both. I’m sharing 10 of my favorite songs that have numbers in their titles. If you would want to send me some of yours, that would be great — maybe songs that go beyond ‘60s rock and country.
I know Taylor Swift has a song out there called “Fifteen,” and I probably would be pretty cool if I knew it, but I don’t.
Of course, almost all of us will think of “The 12 Days of Christmas” as a great example. I could also include “We Three Kings” but I tend to remember its juvenile version from my boyhood — “We three kings of orient are/Tried to smoke a rubber cigar/It was loaded and exploded” and on and on.
OK, on to my list:
“One” (is the loneliest number) by Three Dog Night — You not only get a number in the title but also in the name of the band — one of the all-time great names for any musical group. The name supposedly came from Aboriginal Australians, when on cold nights they would sleep while embracing a dingo, a wild dog. On colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and, if the night was freezing, it was a “three dog night.” Cool. I mean, warm.
“It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston — They sang this love song even better than Rod Stewart and Tina Turner did. One can have a dream, baby/Two can make a dream so real/One can talk about being in love/Two can see how it really feels.
“Five More Minutes” by Scottie McCreery — I guess I need at least one somewhat current song — and a country one to boot. McCreery won American Idol as a 17-year-old while looking like he was 12 and singing like he was Sinatra.
“Eight Days a Week” by the Beatles — A chauffeur actually came up with that title when Paul McCartney told him during their conversation that he really had his nose to the grindstone. “Oh working hard,” the chauffeur supposedly said. “Working eight days a week.” Sounds like me when I was sports editor of the Tribune.
“Eight Miles High” by the Byrds — Some critics say this song was the first bona fide psychedelic rock song and a part of the counterculture era. Geez, I just thought it was about a plane ride with a really cool opening.
“Love Potion No. 9” by The Searchers — I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink/I didn’t know if it was day or night/I started kissin’ everything in sight/But when I kissed a cop down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine/He broke my little bottle of Love Potion No. 9
“19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones — I remember when the Stones played this song on The Ed Sullivan Show. I figured Mick Jagger would run out of gas before he hit 30. Yeah, right. “19th Nervous Breakdown” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, not able to overtake “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Barry Sadler.
“24 Hours from Tulsa” by Gene Pitney — I loved this guy and his songs. By the way, we’re about 12 hours from Tulsa (our first stop on the way to Tucson). My favorite Pitney tune? “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” (And in the movie, it was John Wayne, not Jimmy Stewart, who shot Liberty Valance, played by Lee Marvin.)
“Twenty-Five Miles” by Edwin Starr — This would be a good song for people training for a marathon as Starr counts down the miles. Twenty-five miles from home, girl/My feet are hurting mighty bad/Now, I’ve been walking for three days and two lonely nights/You know that I’m mighty mad, huh.
“96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians —They were pretty much a one-hit wonder but this song rose to No. 1 on the charts during my senior year in high school. I still think of a certain girl when I hear that song. Nope, she didn’t give me a look, but no tears from me. Just a few sniffles.
That’s 10. Send me some of your favorite songs with numbers in it. Hey, it should be as simple as “1-2-3” (by Lem Barry 1965).
Contact Bill at: [email protected]