For Whom the Bell Tolls

Lila has a friend, Ross. I don’t know Ross. But Lila told me today that had a Facebook status the other day that said, “Every Breath You Take” needs cowbell!”

Interesting, considering I had my own cowbell conversation today. Namely that there seems to be a seemingly subconscious draw for men to songs that feature cowbell. Now, I often think more like a guy. So I considered this theory and realized, why yes, I actually do enjoy a little more cowbell from time to time. Of course, this is not my theory. It was provided by someone who I often have the pleasure of discussing the most eclectic and interesting things with. Side note – it makes my days far more enjoyable.

So, what is with the cowbell? Yes, there was that whole Will Ferrell SNL skit. Blue Öyster Cult and all that. And it was damn funny. But, does cowbell make a song better? I’m not sure. My favourite aforementioned theorist seemed to think so – pointing out his distaste for Red Hot Chili Peppers and confessing their newest release, The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie, has grown on him. Why? Cowbell.

Could this be the secret to music industry success? This little idiophone hand percussion instrument? Could it really be that easy?

Let’s examine the evidence. Our Top 5 “More Cowbell!” Songs:

#5 Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie

I know we mentioned it above. But I like the song, it’s like a fungus (read: it grows on you.. I know, I know.. it’s one of those nights) and it has some pretty damn wicked cowbell going on.

 #4 Knock on Wood – Satisfaction Soundtrack

Okay. Start laughing. I’ll tell you when to stop. This is the song that holds my earliest cowbell memory. It was the first song I thought of when discussing cowbell today. And it’s from a terrible, cheese-ridden 80s movie that Julia Roberts won’t even admit she was in. But it had a lot of music and featured girls in a band, living like summer camp and singing their guts out. It’s not really a wonder it struck a chord (ha, punny) when I was a tween.

Covering Eddie Floyd’s, Knock on Wood. I don’t even think these actresses sang. I have no idea who performed it. But it is sheer cowbell goodness.

 #3 The Dismemberment Plan – You are Invited

This is what happens when cowbell doesn’t have to be such an obvious part of the back beat and percussion. It’s there. That you have to really listen to hear it means you’re paying attention. Or just accept the fact the cowbell is there and enjoy it. It’s in your nature, right?

 #2 Hey Ladies – Beastie Boys

You know I love them. It had to be mentioned. Of course they used cowbell. And used it well. Who is surprised, really? Classic.

 #1 Blue Öyster Cult – Fear the Reaper

You know I had to. I’m even linking to the SNL skit instead of the actual song. Why? It’s damn funny and it’s my blog, so I can. Click the pic to watch More Cowbell goodness.








Okay, boys, hit us with it.  Does cowbell really make a song better? Ladies, go ask your men-folk what they think. In a completely unscientific Beat & Lyric-style study, we are curious to see if this theory has any merit.  Stay tuned.


About Betty Beat

Musical afficionado extraordinaire. View all posts by Betty Beat

One response to “For Whom the Bell Tolls

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