*UPDATE* I’ve increased the original list of 8 to 12 to accommodate the amount of traffic I get from hungover people and the severity of their condition. As with all my lists, if you have a suggestion, it’s welcome! Be sure to leave it in the comments below, but please keep your contribution friendly. Have a great day, and good luck.
Also works well after a breakup. Works best if it’s Sunday morning. So put the coffee on and take a whiff of the bacon that is sizzling on the pan and crank up your computer speakers.
In no particular order…
1. Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues.
This was the first track off Tom’s legendary 3rd album, Small Change, first released in 1976, off David Geffen’s Asylum Records.
Or if you’re still drunk from the night before look for “The Piano Has Been Drinking“. Although Tom’s voice will undoubtedly remind you of the cigarettes and whiskey and God knows what else went down the hatch the night before, misery loves company so they say, and his voice is strangely soothing, cuz you know, he’s been there, where you are…probably a bunch more times than you have.
2. Nico – These Days.
Released off her album Chelsea Girl in 1967, through California based 4 Men With Beards Records.
Nico’s real name was Christa Päffgen. She was a German born, former model that hung with the Velvet Underground and ended up singing for them, eventually writing her own songs and releasing her own material. I actually heard this tune for the first time after seeing Wes Anderson‘s Royal Tenenbaums. (See it if you haven’t already- it’s a wonderful movie.) This song plays during the scene where brother and sister reunite after an extended leave of absense. It really is a beautiful choice of music for the scene, scroll below to see it.
3. Chet Baker – But Not For Me.
This tune is off Chet’s album Chet Baker Sings, first released in 1954 through Pacific Jazz Records.
Again, it was a movie that tipped me off to his music. I saw an amazing documentary film about Chet Baker’s life called “Let’s Get Lost” shot by Playboy photographer Bruce Weber. It is shot on film in black and white and is both sad and beautiful, not unlike the life and music of Chet Baker. This song has always been a favourite of mine, for it’s sheer positivity.
4. Janis Ian – Seventeen.
This was the second track off her seventh album, released in 1975 through Columbia Records.
NYC born Janis Ian, whose real name was Janis Eddy Fink.
I can’t remember where I was when I first heard this song. But wow does it ever have an impact. It’s one of those songs that affects you and transcends ethnicities, age or sex, I mean especially if you’ve ever been an outsider that didn’t fit in, in those horribly awkward teenage years.
5. Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime.
Summertime was originally a Gershwin tune from the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess.
Fitzgerald is a beautiful icon of early jazz, and I wish kids could learn about her in school today. There’s a reason she was known as the First Lady of Song.
6. Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit.
First recorded in 1939 on the Commodore label.
Billie’s real name was Eleanora Fagan Gough. She was originally from Philadelphia, and died in New York addicted to Heroin, like so many other Jazz greats. This track was originally a poem written by Abel Meeropol, a white, Jewish high school teacher from the Bronx. It’s a haunting ode to hate crimes and racism in America’s deep South.
7. David Bowie – Rock N Roll Suicide.
This was the final track off his legendary album Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars, released in 1972 through RCA.
A risk taker that bent the rules and was a true artist that defined innovation and art. There is a lot of great songs out there I love, but this one sticks out as an appropriate hangover tune. “Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road, but the day breaks instead so you hurry home”.
8. Simon & Garfunkle – Sound of Silence.
This tune was first written as an ode to JFK’s assassination in February of 1964. Released the following year through Columbia records.
We’ve heard it before lots, but it’s still a classic and remains so for a reason.
9. Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World.
This track was written by Bob Thiele AKA George Douglas and George David Weiss, before getting recorded by Armstrong and released in 1967.
If you are not moved in any way by this song, you are a robot or cyborg. Seriously man, you need help.
10. Otis Redding – Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.
Released in 1968 through Volt/Atco.
Redding wrote this song with his guitarist Steve Cropper. Tragically, only a few days after recording it in 1967, him and almost everyone in his band died in a plane crash.
Godammit, I wish I was sitting on a dock, on any bay right now. As long as it’s not windy. Or wavy. I don’t think my stomach could handle it.
11. Bill Withers – Lovely Day.
This tune was written by Withers and a dude that went by Skip Scarborough. Released in 77 through Columbia Records.
Holy crap, what a gorgeous song. One of those tracks that never seems to age, still seems really fresh.
12. Frank Sinatra – My Way.
Originally written by Paul Anka in 67, it got the old blue eyes treatment in 1968.
This is probably the song I want played at my funeral. And since every hangover brings me closer to it, might as well listen to it one more time. Although, I think I’d prefer the 1978 Sex Pistols’ version that day.
BONUS TRACK. NWA – Straight Outta Compton.
First released in 1988 through Eazy-E’s Ruthless record label.
What? You gonna stay on the couch feeling sorry for yourself all day? What would Eazy-E say? He’d probably whip your ass. So get up and live to fight another day, and make Eazy-E proud.
You may also want to check out:
Amazing Vintage Photographs of People Drinking in Bars
5 Moments of Musical Awesomeness at Midnight Special
4 Great Film Moments of Private Lives in Public Spaces – a poppressed feature