Some thoughts the song “Spill The Wine” by Eric Burdon and War, featured on the album Eric Burdon Declares “War,” which came out the same year as their other collaborative album, The Black-Man’s Burdon.
When I was a kid, this song only seemed to come on when I was deep in the throes of night, or sleep, or perhaps madness.
Some “interesting” facts about “Spill The Wine” via songfacts:
- This song features a harmonica, flute, and conga drums.
- This is widely believed to be about, or at least heavily influenced by drugs. According to Brown, this song celebrates women: “All ladies are beautiful. You’ve got to look at them. God, I believe, put all of us here and made us all different so we could be like the flowers, you know. Like women. I look at them as beautiful flowers. Even when they get older, the flowers and so on, and that’s what it really boils down to, they can be skinny, big, fat, I’ve seen some fine voluptuous women. And then I’ve seen some that are skinny, and if you look at them, they could be beautiful, depending on personality and stuff.”
- Jimi Hendrix‘ former girlfriend sang backup. Hendrix was managed by Animal’s bass player Chas Chandler.
- The lady speaking Spanish in the background was Eric Burdon’s girlfriend. Says Brown: “We went back there and we put up a little tent, candlelight, and some wine back there. They were behind there, and Eric was doing things to her and making her talk.”
- This was used in the movie Boogie Nights as part of a pool party scene with the porn stars.
- The Isley Brothers covered this in 1971 on their album Givin’ It All Back.
And that sounds a little something like this:
As a kid, I had the radio on a lot. This was when the radio was better, mind you, and I kept it around like a secret lover or some kind of invisible friend. I’d cheat on it a lot with CDs and tapes and vinyl, a lot, but many a night I spent seized in a radio daze, or I’d listen to it while getting ready for school or for work or a dance or a date or something.
One of the many species classified under the larger phylum “alternarock.”
For most of high school it was the “alternative rock” station for me, but I did flirt a year there with the “alternative rock” station that was slightly harder, which basically meant that I had to put up with a lot of bullshit like “mandatory Metallica” and following up a band like Kittie or Jane’s Addiction with AC/DC. How sad is it that I can’t remember the good songs I got in return from that station? I just remember they played “Bound For The Floor” a lot.
Rewinding the tape back to somewhere in my much younger years when I was a stupid little shit who’d read, daydream, ponder, fascinate, and shit along with the radio, you should probably know I kept floating back and forth between classic rock and Motown. Those were my bag back then.
Hence all of my old school music knowledge/anecdotes being about things like Keith Moon’s addiction to horse tranquilizers or waxing nostalgic about Berry Gordy’s sex habits.
The Who’s “Who Are You?” was about Keith’s tendency to pass on street corners during drug binges only to be discovered by police the next day who assumed he was dead.
Anyway. I remember the Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun” and I knew War’s “Cisco Kid” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” The radio loved those songs. And then I heard this song one night, “Spill The Wine,” and it was late at night as my father were driving around, lost in the Hollywood hills, high above the world. It was a mash up by two artists I liked before I knew what a mash up. I was tired, my eyes were heavy, and this song started dictating images to me as I looked down at the world, and I would get lost in the idylls of walking through the set of a Hollywood movie that was packed with mountain kings and a harem of women and wine spilt all about. And I was easily swept away in the mystical and engimatic nature of the song, which everyone assumes the song refers to drugs, which it does in a way, but you have to remember that the prizely grown native drug of California will always be sex, and the song enthusiastically endorses going after that pearl as many times as you can get it. If I had actually known what a clitoris was back when I was a kid, well…