Sun Spin: Smoke That Cigarette


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.

[Published on: 8/17/08]

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Flat5 Sun 8/17/2008 10:43PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


cool jambase. thanks for this little tidbit of nostalgia

C00lmike Mon 8/18/2008 12:19AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I really should quit

kirkbrew starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/18/2008 06:59AM
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I dig that music vid!

Thank You for Smoking is a great movie.

Dangerous drug. Kills more people than all other drugs combined. Freakin' crazy, but it will never be illegal because the government is hooked on the taxes. But reefer is illegal?

HoodooVoodoo starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/18/2008 10:35AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"Warning...The Surgeon General Warns...Cigarette smoking is dangerous...dangerous...hazard to your health....Does that mean anything to ya?"

PooDolla Mon 8/18/2008 10:48AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Thanks mom.

makesensetome starstarstar Mon 8/18/2008 11:45AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up! ........ dont give up the fight

dreadyknowsbest starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/18/2008 02:20PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Im having a fit just watching this......Nico-teen

cameroncox Tue 8/19/2008 08:28AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


for those interested in quitting: i used prescription "Chantix." i havent had a cig in a few months and have NO desire to have another one anytime soon. its working thus far. however, it is a "fuck w/ your head" type of drug. just how if you do X or coke on a regular basis it'll mess with your brain chemistry, chantix does the same sort of thing. i'm off chantix now and havent smoked yet. so, for me, being crazy for a few months is def worth living a lot more years and being in much better health. here's the official website:|166373525|0

River starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/25/2008 12:10AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


check out rumpke mountain boys, they do a great version of this song