SMOKE 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM
It's hard to imagine a single like "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" coming out today. Tex Williams' immortal novelty tune about the demon charms of lighting up continues to be the go-to cut when movies and television crack open a fresh pack. This week in 1947, "Smoke!" was the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit.
While Williams was the public face of the hit, it was largely composed by uber-picker Merle Travis. With striking images like St. Peter waiting at the pearly gates while the narrator has just one more puff, "Smoke!" is the best kind of social commentary, where one chuckles even as the truth behind the laughter pierces you. Laugh it up, all the way to grave, children…
Here's Tex doing his hit in what must be one of the earliest attempts at a music video.
This is a very clever compilation of vintage cigarette ads set to Asleep At The Wheels' rendition of "Smoke!"
For the uninitiated, here's a neat collage of Merle Travis pickin' with grinning grace.
And one more taste of Merle with the "Cannonball Rag." You'd think the man would at least have the courtesy to break a sweat so we know he's human!
Lastly, the first few minutes of Jason Reitman's fantastic Thank You For Smoking, which used "Smoke!" in the opening credits, followed by this gallows maypole the satirists skip nimbly around.