The 350 Jersey Songs series has given me ample opportunity to write about favorite songs of mine. But I’ve also done a lot of research for it, and found many Jersey-related songs I was previously unaware of.
With the series winding down — there are just 11 picks left — I thought I would take a moment to write about my favorite songs in the series that are new to me, and, I have to believe, new to most people who have been following the selections.
So here they are, my Top 10 350 Jersey Songs “finds,” in no particular order.
(To be considered for the list, by the way, a song has to be recorded by a Jersey artist, or about some aspect of the state, or recorded in the state. The last entry will be posted on Sept. 8. To see the complete list, click here.)
“Over on the Jersey Side,” Billy Murray
This 1909 recording proves that New Jersey jokes are nothing new. “The Statue of Liberty is near New Jersey/But the statue faces down the bay/It seems to look the other way,” Murray sings, among other disses.
A fast, fun garage-punk salute to the Shore.
“You’re a Friend of Mine,” Clarence Clemons and Billy Preston
I have heard the original hit version of the song, of course, featuring Clemons and Jackson Browne, but was unaware of this live duet, from the first tour by Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band, in 1989
“Hey Bartender,” John Belushi with The Allman Brothers Band
Another live find, this one from a 1979 concert at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic.
“Way Out West in Jersey,” cast of “One Touch of Venus”
Another insult song, this one written by Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash, of all people, for the 1943 Broadway musical, “One Touch of Venus”
“That’s Enough,” The Drinkard Singers
An amazing concert recording from 1957, showcasing the influential Newark-based gospel ensemble.
“Talking Yogi Talk,” John McCutcheon
Longtime Montclair resident Yogi Berra turned 90 in May, and to honor the occasion, I found this song, paying tribute to some of Berra’s head-spinning “Yogiisms.”
Gore, who died in February, is remembered most for her great ’60s pop hits, but had some fine moments as a recording artist more recently, too, including this slow-burning anthem from her 2005 album, Ever Since.
“Hasbrook Heights,” Dionne Warwick
The famed songwriting team of Burt Bacharach (who lived in Hasbrouck Heights briefly, yet misspelled the town’s name in the song title) and Hal David wrote this charmer, which was included on Bacharach’s self-titled album and covered by the pair’s favorite vocalist, Warwick, on her 1972 album, Dionne. It may remind some listeners of another song they wrote, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”
“Song for Jersey,” Joel Plaskett
Canadian singer-songwriter Plaskett wrote this goofy but warm stream-of-consciousness song before a post-Hurricane Sandy Light of Day Festival show in Asbury Park: “Walking through the darkest night/Searching for the Light of Day/If you want to take a left make sure you’ve got the right of way/Watching fuzzy TV/Working on a tune/Wrote one at the Belvedere/And played it at McLoone’s.”
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