Roy Orbison singing for the lonely

“Here’s another clue for you all, the Walrus was Paul…”

In the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and pretty much ever since, popular songwriters have reveled in the occasional practice of inserting references to other musical artists in the lyrics, delighting their listeners with sometimes cryptic, sometimes overt mentions of well-known colleagues in the rock music arena.

The Beatles never went so far as to mention other artists, but they referred back to themselves more than once.  On 1968’s “The White Album,” John Lennon used his nonsensical song from the previous year, “I Am the Walrus,” to make a tongue-in-cheek reference to Paul McCartney in the lyrics to “Glass Onion” (see quote above).

peter_paul_mary-i_dig_rock_and_roll_music_s_3When folk music started morphing into folk rock in the mid-’60s, folk artists like Peter, Paul and Mary found themselves waning somewhat in popularity.  The solution:  Paul Stookey collaborated with songwriters James Mason and Dave Dixon to write “I Dig Rock and Roll Music,” a whimsical tune that name-dropped several of the rising (and established) stars of the new genre, and the result was a comeback #9 hit for the trio:  “I dig The Mamas and The Papas at the Beat, Sunset Strip in L.A., they’ve got a good thing going when the words don’t get in the way…”  “I dig Donovan kind of in a dreamed out, tripped out way, his crystal images, hey, they tell you ’bout a brighter day…  And when The Beatles tell you they’ve got a word ‘love’ to sell you, they mean exactly what they say…”

arthur-conley-sweet-soul-music-atlantic-11Similarly, R&B singer Arthur Conley teamed up with Otis Redding in 1967 to rework the old Sam Cooke song “Yeah Man” with new lyrics that called out several of the hot soul singers of that period.  The result, “Sweet Soul Music,” was a #2 hit on the pop charts and a Top Ten hit in Europe:  “Spotlight on Lou Rawls, y’all… Spotlight on Sam & Dave, y’all… Spotlight on Wilson Pickett, now…  Spotlight on Otis Redding, now… Spotlight on James Brown, y’all, he’s the king of them all, y’all…”

220px-The_South's_Gonna_Do_It_-_Charlie_DanielsThe musical fraternity of artists from the American South have supported each other throughout their careers, perhaps never as overtly as on The Charlie Daniels Band’s 1975 anthem “The South’s Gonna Do It,” which references no less than eight groups from that region:   “Well, the train to Grinder’s Switch is runnin’ right on time, and them (Marshall) Tucker boys are cookin’ down in Caroline, people down in Florida can’t be still when ol’ Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s pickin’ down in Jacksonville, people down in Georgia come from near and far to hear Richard Betts pickin’ on that red guitar…  Elvin Bishop sittin’ on a bale of hay, he ain’t good lookin’, but he sure can play, and there’s ZZ Top, and you can’t forget that old brother (Wet) Willie‘s gettin’ soakin’ wet, and all the good people down in Tennessee are diggin’ Barefoot Jerry and C.D.B...”

THE_MAMAS_AND_THE_PAPAS_CREEQUE+ALLEY-604509The Mamas and The Papas chief songwriter John Phillips wrote the 1966 autobiographical song “Creeque Alley” that told the background story of how he, Michelle Phillips, Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot all used to hang out (and perform) with artists who later went on to greater fame in other bands.  Six verses of lyrics delve back to when they sang in Greenwich Village clubs and eventually worked their way to Los Angeles:  (John) Sebastian and Zal (Yanovsky) formed the (Lovin’) Spoonful, Michelle, John, and Denny gettin’ very tuneful, (Roger) McGuinn and (Barry) McGuire just a-catchin’ fire in L.A., you know where that’s at…”

Unknown-74In “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” Billy Joel’s #1 hit from 1989, he assembled a virtual grocery list of celebrities and events that marked the years from roughly 1950 to the late 1980s.  He didn’t comment on them, he just rattled them off, like a CNN feed line across the bottom of the TV screen.  A few of these were fellow musicians:  “Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland…”  Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, space monkey, Mafia…”  Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo…”  Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion…”

Don_McLean_-_American_Pie_(album)_CoverartAmerican Pie,” one of the biggest hits of 1971-72, famously chronicles the development of rock and roll from its mid-’50s infancy through the end of the ’60s.  Most of McLean’s lyrics use code words to identify the artists he’s singling out — “the jester” (Bob Dylan), “the king” (Elvis Presley), “the players” (The Rolling Stones) and “the marching band” (The Beatles).  Perhaps most easily identifiable was his allusion to Mick Jagger in the phrase “Jack Flash sat on a candlestick,” and the reference to The Byrds and their hit single in this line:  “Helter skelter in the summer swelter, the birds flew off to the fallout shelter, eight miles high and falling fast…”

the-righteous-brothers-rock-and-roll-heaven-paraiso-del-rock-and-roll-capitolBy the mid-’70s, rock music had already lost several of its stars to untimely deaths, so the time was ripe for a song like “Rock ‘n Roll Heaven,” which calls out the names and hits of four fallen stars.  Just before  The Righteous Brothers recorded it, songwriters Alan O’Day and Johnny Stevenson added a final verse to include two additional deaths, and the song ended up a #3 hit in the summer of 1974:  Jimi (Hendrix) gave us rainbows, and Janis (Joplin) took a piece of our hearts, and Otis (Redding) brought us all to the dock of a bay., sing a song to light my fire, remember Jim (Morrison) that way…”  “Remember bad bad Leroy Brown, hey, Jimmy (Croce) touched us with that song, time won’t change a friend we came to know, and Bobby (Darin) gave us ‘Mack the Knife,’ well, look out, he’s back in town….”

stevie_wonder-sir_duke_s_1One of Stevie Wonder’s biggest hits of the ’70s was “Sir Duke,” which came from the multi-platinum LP “Songs in the Key of Life.”  Wonder was a huge fan of Big Band music and its legends, and the track’s lyrics pay homage to Duke Ellington and four more of his peers from that period:  “But here are some of music’s pioneers that time will not allow us to forget, for there’s (Count) Basie, (Glenn) Miller, Satchmo (Louis Armstrong), and the king of all, Sir Duke, and with a voice like Ella (Fitzgerald) ringing out, there’s no way the band can lose…”

HollandCoverThe Beach Boys were on both ends of the name-dropping bandwagon.  In 1973 for their “Holland” LP, they wrote a suite called “California Saga,” in which they mentioned a stalwart hqdefault-19of the outdoor festival scene: “Have you ever been to a festival, the Big Sur congregation, where Country Joe (McDonald) will do his show, and he’d sing about liberty…”  Soon after, Neil Young referenced California’s favorite sons in his song “Long May You Run,” recorded by The Stills-Young Band in 1976:  “Maybe The Beach Boys have got you now, with those waves singing ‘Caroline,’ (oh Caroline No)…”

220px-The_Royal_Scam_album_coverSteely Dan name-checked two artists in two different songs in their catalog.  First, in the track “Everything You Did” from the 1976 LP “The Royal Scam,” the lyrics outline an argument between a warring husband and wife.  One of them offers R-2600245-1374933046-1601.jpega suggestion to keep others from eavesdropping on their conversation:  “Turn up The Eagles, the neighbors are listening…”  Then on “Gaucho” in 1980, the big hit single “Hey Nineteen” offers lyrics that illustrate the challenges of dating someone considerably younger who may not be familiar with your favorite artists:  “Hey Nineteen, that’s ‘Retha Franklin, she don’t remember the Queen of Soul, it’s hard times befallen The Soul Survivors, she thinks I’m crazy but I’m just growing old…”

Dvk88njW0AAk-WJThe Dutch rock band Golden Earring has had a long history of success in their native Netherlands, but their big moment on US airwaves came with the 1973 Top Ten hit “Radar Love,” a classic tune about a guy who’s always on the road, and dying to get home to his lady.  To drive the point home, the lyrics refer to a long-ago romantic hit by a long-forgotten female vocalist who used to top the charts:  “The radio is playing some forgotten song, Brenda Lee‘s comin’ on strong…”

Unknown-72Soft rock crooner Stephen Bishop enjoyed success in the ’70s and ’80s with hits like “It Might Be You” (from the “Tootsie” film soundtrack) and “Save It For a Rainy Day,” but his biggest chart hit was the 1976 tearjerker “On and On,” which referenced Ol’ Blue Eyes himself in the second verse:  “Poor ol’ Jimmy sits alone in the moonlight, saw his woman kiss another man, so he takes a ladder, steals the stars from the sky, puts on (Frank) Sinatra and starts to cry…”

4ac225c45ac0719eabaf8d7e62bac261British rockers Deep Purple were scheduled to perform at a venue in Montreux, Switzerland, which was to be recorded for a live album, but at a concert held there the previous night, a reckless fan accidentally started a fire.  Deep Purple turned that story into their 1973 signature song, “Smoke on the Water,” and the lyrics called out the band that had been performing:  “We all came out to Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline to make records with a mobile, we didn’t have much time, Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around, but some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground…”

Unknown-73Don Brewer, the drummer for Grand Funk Railroad,  came up with the song “We’re An American Band” and they got studio wizard Todd Rundgren to produce it, resulting in a #1 US hit that broadened the band’s audience.  The lyrics relate the ups and downs of life on the road, where their time spent offstage was sometimes spent in the company of other artists:  “Up all night with Freddie King, I got to tell you, poker’s his thing, booze and ladies keep me right as long as we can make it to the show tonight, we’re an American band…”

511Iw4aV0ALIn 1972, British rockers Mott the Hoople were about to hang it up due to lack of commercial success.  They got a big lift from David Bowie, who penned “All the Young Dudes” for them to record, and it ended up becoming one of the anthems of the glam rock movement on both sides of the Atlantic.  Two references to other artists show up in the lyrics:  “Television man is crazy saying we’re juvenile delinquent wrecks, oh man, I need TV when I’ve got T. Rex…”  “And my brother’s back at home with his Beatles and his Stones, we never got off on that revolution stuff, what a drag, too many snags…”

Club_at_the_end_of_the_streetElton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin finally got around to referencing another musician on Elton’s 1989 LP “Sleeping With the Past,” which contains songs meant to reflect the style of 1960s R&B.  On the Motown-inspired “Club at the End of the Street,” which leveled off at #28 on the U.S. singles chart, Taupin described the atmosphere you might find in smaller tucked-away venues:  “From the alleyways where the catwalks gently sway, you hear the sound of Otis (Redding) and the voice of Marvin Gaye, in this smoky room, there’s a jukebox plays all night, and we can dance real close beneath the pulse of a neon light…”

lynyrd-skynyrd_sweet-home-alabama_21In the early ’70s, when Neil Young wrote a couple of songs (“Southern Man,” “Alabama”) taking the South to task for its racist history, Lynyrd Skynyrd took exception and wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” in defense of their homeland.  Their lyrics came right out and mentioned Young not once but three times in one verse:  “Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her, well, I heard ol’ Neil put her down, well, I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow…”

51IsE5BzGDL._SS500In 1983, for his LP “Hearts and Bones,” Paul Simon wrote the song “The Late Great Johnny Ace,” which used the name of the often neglected ’50s R&B singer to talk about the night John Lennon was shot:  “On a cold December evening, I was walking through the Christmastide, when a stranger came up and asked me if I’d heard John Lennon had died, and the two of us went to this bar, and we stayed to close the place, and every song we sang was for the late great Johnny Ace, yeah yeah yeah…”

hqdefault-20Back in 1980, when John Mellencamp was going by the name Johnny Cougar, he had his first chart success (#17) with “Ain’t Even Done With the Night,” his first attempt at writing a soul song.  The lyrics speak of the frustration and eager hormones involved in early romance, referencing one of the best singers from that genre:  “Well, our hearts beat like thunder, I don’t know why they don’t explode, you got your hands in my back pockets, and Sam Cooke‘s singin’ on the radio…”

hqdefault-21Thunder Road,” one of Bruce Springsteen’s most celebrated songs from his pivotal “Born to Run” album, tells the tale of a young man longing to break out of his dead-end existence and coax the target of his infatuation to join him on his journey of discovery.  He uses the name of a ’50s icon to push the point home:  Roy Orbison singing for the lonely, hey, that’s me, and I want you only, don’t turn me home again, I just can’t face myself alone again…”

Jackie-Wilson-SaidIn 1972, Van Morrison boldly kicked off his “Saint Dominic’s Preview” LP with “Jackie Wilson Said (“I’m in Heaven When You Smile),” an overt reference to the energetic R&B singer (and his debut single, “Reet Petite” from 1957).  The lyrics use Wilson’s name to start the song, but the rest of it is really just a joyous love tune:  Jackie Wilson said it was ‘Reet Petite,’ the kind of love you got knock me off my feet, let it all hang out, and you know I’m so wired up, don’t need no coffee in my cup, let it all hang out…”

This trend shows no signs of slowing down, either.  Barenaked Ladies had two songs on their 1992 debut LP called “Brian Wilson” and “Be My Yoko Ono.”  Then there’s Taylor Swift’s 2006 debut single “Tim McGraw,” followed not so coincidentally by Tim McGraw’s 2007 song “Kristofferson” and Eric Church with his 2011 country hit “Springsteen.”  Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera teamed up that same year with the #1 pop hit “Moves Like Jagger,” which focused on how the narrator claims he can mimic the famous singer’s stage presence:  “Look into my eyes and I’ll own you with them moves like (Mick) Jagger, I’ve got the moves like Jagger…”

09ff8cbd79868ca287deef0138df0675.1000x1000x1Even Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, two of the most celebrated songwriters of the past half-century, have not been averse to mentioning another artist by name.  Mitchell’s wonderfully playful “Barangrill” from 1972’s “For the Roses” album cites Unknown-75one of pop music’s icons from the ’40s and ’50s: “The guy at the gas pump, he’s got a lot of soul, he sings ‘Merry Christmas’ for you just like Nat King Cole…”  Dylan’s 2006 track “Thunder on the Mountain” makes a blatant reference to a relatively new singer he admired:  “I was thinking about Alicia Keys, couldn’t keep from crying, when she was born in Hell’s Kitchen, I was living down the line, I’m wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be, I been looking for her even clear through Tennessee…”


I’m gonna wait ’til the midnight hour

Last year, I put together a playlist of great songs with titles and/or lyrics about the morning time.  A friend whose profession as a tax accountant occasionally requires him to work the late shift suggested that I come up with a playlist of songs about midnight to Unknown-71help him endure the many hours burning the midnight oil, so I’ve done just that.

It’s a diverse group of 15 songs here, reaching back into the late ’40s and (among the honorable mentions) ahead into the late 1980s.  There are always more candidates to choose from in the 1990s and beyond, but as usual, I specialize in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s here at Hack’s Back Pages.

I hope you enjoy these tunes and their back stories.


“Midnight Special,” Johnny Rivers, 1965

hqdefault-18This traditional folk song about a passenger train called the Midnight Special is more than a century old, when prisoners in the American South would refer fondly to the Illinois Central train and “its ever-lovin’ light” that might someday take them to freedom.  Blues legend Lead Belly recorded a version in 1934, and early rockabilly singer Paul Evans achieved the song’s highest chart success in 1960.  Many rock fans may know Johnny Rivers’ 1965 rendition, which peaked at #20, and others may be more familiar with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s cover from 1971, which was used as the theme to the Midnight Special TV music showcase in the ’70s.

“Midnight Rambler,” The Rolling Stones, 1969

41B95VAQ5BLThis violent track from the Stones’ 1969 LP “Let It Bleed” refers to the grisly deeds of Albert DeSalvo, the ’60s serial killer better known as The Boston Strangler.  Curiously, Mick Jagger and Richards wrote the song while on vacation in a picturesque town in Italy earlier that year.  “Why we should write such a dark song while in a beautiful, sunny place, I don’t know,” Jagger said.  The original studio version is plenty great, but the in-concert rendition from the 1970 live album “Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!” is considered the definitive one, so that’s the one you’ll hear on the Spotify playlist.

“Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria Muldaur, 1973

413C1RCP90LThe Puerto Rican girl born Maria Grazia Rosa Domenica D’Amato grew up in New York City and became a part of the Sixties music scene in Greenwich Village, singing behind Bob Dylan, John Sebastian and others.  She joined the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and later was an integral part of the Jerry Garcia Band, a side project of the Grateful Dead’s guitarist.  Muldaur had her one and only hit with songwriter David Nichtern’s “Midnight at the Oasis,” which reached #6 in the spring of 1974 and was nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy.  At 76, she still performs occasionally.

“Midnight Confessions,” The Grassroots, 1968

61sQNoHEN9LWith bassist Rob Grill on lead vocals, The Grassroots first took hold in 1967 with the psychedelic folk hit single “Let’s Live for Today.” When follow-ups failed, Dunhill Records mogul Lou Adler resumed the reins and steered the band in a more horns-oriented direction, a year or two before Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago popularized horns-dominant rock.  The first attempt was the million-selling “Midnight Confessions,” written by Lou Josie and first recorded by the Ever-Green Blues.  Its lyrics are about a man who has a secret crush on a married woman, so he keeps his midnight confessions to himself.

“Midnight Wind,” John Stewart, 1979

c9643030e27d5baf42e1b2a436e67a98A veteran singer-songwriter from his folkie days with The Kingston Trio, Stewart also wrote The Monkees’ 1967 #1 hit “Daydream Believer.”  In 1979, he collaborated with Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who took a break from their recording sessions for Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” double album.  Buckingham produced and played guitar and Nicks added vocals to several tracks on Stewart’s “Bombs Away Dream Babies” LP, most notably the #5 hit “Gold” and the fantastic tune “Midnight Wind.”  The album doesn’t seem to be available on Spotify, but a later re-recording by Stewart offers a satisfying alternative to the original.

“In the Midnight Hour,” Wilson Pickett, 1965

51SwOoG2ZGL._SX355_Pickett was one of the gritty soul singers signed to Stax/Volt Records, Memphis’s answer to Detroit’s Motown label.  “In the Midnight Hour,” the tune that became Pickett’s signature song, was written in 1964 by Pickett and Stax session guitarist Steve Cropper during a session in the infamous Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated four years later.  The tune reached #1 on the R&B charts and peaked at #21 on the pop charts, and was later covered by such artists such as The Young Rascals, Mitch Ryder, Archie Bell & The Drells, Tom Jones and Bryan Ferry.

“Midnight Rider,” The Allman Brothers Band, 1970

Allman-Brothers-Band-Idlewild-SouthOrganist-vocalist Gregg Allman wrote many of the band’s finest early songs, most notably “Whipping Post” and “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” from their debut LP, and the haunting “Midnight Rider,” which appears on the group’s 1970 second album “Idlewild South.”  The tune became a popular favorite and a regular of the Allman Brothers in-concert repertoire, and later, when Gregg Allman went out on a solo tour in 1973, he performed a rearranged version that ended up on his “Laid Back” solo debut LP and even charted as a #19 hit single that year.

“Midnight Train to Georgia,” Gladys Knight and The Pips, 1973

midnight-trainSongwriter Jim Weatherly, a friend of actor Lee Majors, called him one evening to hear that his wife, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, was “leaving on a midnight plane to Houston.”  Weatherly liked the sound of that phrase and used it as the title for his soon-to-be-famous song.  By the time it was presented to Gladys Knight as a great choice for her next single, the plane had been replaced by a train, and the destination had changed from Houston to Georgia.  The song went on to reach #1 on both the pop charts and R&B charts in the fall of 1973, won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance.

“Midnight Cowboy,” John Barry, 1969

R-1097409-1443930393-7930.jpegBarry is one of the more accomplished film score composers of the 20th Century, responsible for the first dozen James Bond movies as well as Oscar nominees like “Born Free,” “Out of Africa” and “Dances With Wolves,” among many others.  The languid, melancholy melody he came up with for 1969’s Best Picture winner “Midnight Cowboy” is especially effective, thanks in no small part to the warm harmonica solo by the legendary Toots Thielemans.  A rendition by piano duo Ferrante and Teicher did better on the charts, but I think the original is far superior.

“South City Midnight Lady,” The Doobie Brothers, 1973

The-Captain-and-Me-2In its original incarnation, The Doobies were a rough-and-tumble biker bar band from San Jose, churning out serious boogie tunes by Tom Johnston like “China Grove,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “Listen to the Music” and “Jesus is Just Alright.”  The more melodious, understated songs in the group’s repertoire were provided by second guitarist/vocalist Pat Simmons, gems like “Toulouse Street,” “Clear as the Driven Snow” and the shimmering “South City Midnight Lady.”  This track from 1973’s “The Captain and Me” includes some sweet pedal-steel work by eventual full-time Doobie Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

“Midwest Midnight,” Michael Stanley Band, 1977

0001265787Cleveland’s own Michael Stanley Band is perhaps the best example of an excellent rock band that should’ve made it big but didn’t.  Between 1974 and 1984, they bounced from Epic to Arista to EMI America, writing and recording so many great songs and touring relentlessly, but MSB never achieved the well-deserved chart success their fans think they should have.  On their 1977 live LP “Stagepass,” you can find the only version of the great rocker “Midwest Midnight,” which tells Stanley’s tale of listening to music late at night as a teen and dreaming about a career as a rock musician.

“Midnite Cruiser,” Steely Dan, 1972

220px-Cant_buy_a_tcant_buy_a_thrillFrom the pop craftwork of “Pretzel Logic” and “Katy Lied” to the jazzier arrangements on “Aja” and “Gaucho,” Steely Dan’s seven superlative albums were essentially a soundtrack to the styles and moods of the ’70s.  Their later work sold better, but when I’m asked which album is my favorite, I keep coming back to their remarkable debut, “Can’t Buy a Thrill.”  Beyond the radio hits “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years” are irresistible tracks like “Kings,” “Dirty Work,” “Only a Fool Would Say That,” “Brooklyn” and the quirky “Midnite Cruiser,” the only Dan tune featuring original drummer Jim Hodder on vocals.

“‘Round Midnight,” Thelonious Monk, 1947

s-l300-7Monk, one of the two or three finest jazz pianists in music history, wrote this marvelous song in 1944, performing it in clubs for years before finally recording it in 1947.  It went on to become the most recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician; many covers exist but Miles Davis’s rendition in 1955 is worth seeking out.  Later on, torch singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Linda Ronstadt let the world know the song came with a great set of sad lyrics as well (also by Monk):  “It begins to tell ’round midnight, midnight, I do pretty well till after sundown, supper time I’m feelin’ sad, but it really gets bad ’round midnight…”

“Midnight Moodies,” Joe Walsh, 1973

walsh02-2Walsh got his start as guitarist, singer and songwriter for Cleveland’s The James Gang, then embarked on a solo career in 1972.  Perhaps my favorite track from Walsh’s masterpiece album “The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get” is this mesmerizing instrumental piece.  Piano, guitar, bass, drums and flute combine to create a compelling piece that features multiple moods and styles in only 3:39.  Walsh’s LP was a big seller thanks to the huge hit single “Rocky Mountain Way,” but I urge you to listen to the rest of the album, starting with this track, “Dreams,” “Meadows” and “Wolf.”

 “After Midnight,” Eric Clapton, 1970

Eric_Clapton_Album_CoverIn the wake of Cream’s breakup and then the short-lived Blind Faith, Clapton chose to finally stick his toe in solo waters with the self-titled debut LP in the summer of 1970.  He recruited friends like Stephen Stills, Leon Russell, Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett and his bandmates from Derek and the Dominos to work on blues, soul and rock tunes like “Let It Rain,” “Blues Power,” “Easy Now” and “Bottle of Red Wine.” The album’s best known track was J. J. Cale’s blues shuffle “After Midnight,” which Eric and company cut in an uptempo arrangement.  For the Spotify playlist, I chose to feature an alternate take that prominently features a horn section.


Honorable mention:

Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968;  “Midnight Man,” The James Gang, 1971;  “It’s Midnight,” Elvis Presley, 1975;  “Minutes to Midnight,” Midnight Oil, 1984;  “Saturday at Midnight,” Cheap Trick, 1982;  “Midnight Flyer,” The Eagles, 1974;  “Moanin’ at Midnight,” Howlin’ Wolf, 1958;  “Midnight Blue,” Lou Gramm, 1987;  “Rockin’ at Midnight,” The Honeydrippers, 1984;  “Isn’t It Midnight,” Fleetwood Mac, 1987;   “Rockin’ After Midnight,” Marvin Gaye, 1982;  “Midnight Wind,” Charlie Daniels Band, 1977;  “Fire at Midnight,” Jethro Tull, 1977.

The playlist on Spotify includes the 15 featured selection, a couple of alternate versions and the 13 honorable mention tracks.