Spin Doctors: “The Essential Ten”
You can never go wrong with Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong. As for the Two Princes? They’re always welcome but, hold on, we’ve got some other very cool friends to bring along to this party.
In celebration of the band headlining this year’s Brews & Barbecue we give you the ten Spin Doctors songs every rock fan should know.
What are you waiting for? Just go ahead now…
There’s a lot more to the Spin Doctors than amazingly catchy sing-along radio tunes and this deep track from 1991’s ‘Pocket Full of Kryptonite’ album is proof.
Singer Chris Barron’s voice slides effortlessly along a crazy cool drum beat from Aaron Comess while Mark White’s killer slap bass line leading into Eric Schenkman‘s fierce guitar solo at the 2:55 mark adds some real fire to this icy Spins deep track.
“Big Fat Funky Booty”
The funk is dripping all over this track from the Spin Doctors’ sophomore effort ‘Turn It Upside Down’. The band played this song live as far back as the late 80s. When it came time to lay it down on tape they were locked tightly into the groove.
Add this one to the list of great classic rock songs about marijuana. Whenever Chris Barron is feeling ragged and forlorn it’s Mary Jane who lifts his spirits real, um, real….What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yes, I know – HIGH. 😉
The original lineup of the Spin Doctors returned in 2005 with ‘Nice Talking To Me’, their first studio album in over a decade and it was everything a die-hard Spins fan could ask for. “Margarita” has that classic Spin Doctors magic – a killer hook with candy sweet harmonies.
“How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Him?)”
Singer Chris Barron’s long-time friend John Popper of Blues Traveler recently wrote about Barron in his autobiography. In it Popper calls Barron one of the best songwriters around and cites “How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Him?)” as a shining example of his ability to add clever lyrics to music with a real “hook”.
“[Chris] can come up with something catchy and brilliant in the same song,” wrote Popper. “He will write something about dishwashing detergent that will make you think”.
“If The River Was Whiskey”
There was a time when, if you searched hard enough, you could unearth a rare hard-core blues song recorded by the Spin Doctors. Some would show up as a b-side while others on a bootleg. That was until 2013. The band didn’t just dip their toes in the muddy waters, they dived in headfirst with an all-blues album ‘If The River Whiskey’. This title track is the highlight of a stellar album.
“Jimmy Olsen’s Blues”
You have to tip your hat to Chris Barron on this one. There are plenty of songs about Superman but how many are there about Jimmy Olsen?
This Spins classic is based on a true event involving a 19-year old Barron coming upon a pretty young woman who looked just like Lois Lane. Rather than imagining himself as the superhero with a cape ready to sweep her off her feet he put himself in the shoes of the nerdy photographer Jimmy Olsen. If only Jimmy had a super bad rock ‘n’ roll band behind him to save the day. Thankfully Chris Barron did.
“What Time Is It?”
According to the website spin-doctorsarchive.com this song dates back to the late 80s when the Spin Doctors played a gig in New York for a Columbia University fraternity. Sometime around 4:30 a.m. the band decided to improvise on the spot and come up with a song.
It’s likely the news was on the T.V. at the time Chris Barron started freestyling, hence the lyrics about a hopping mad Ayatollah, a damn jihad and heading back to old Bagdad. This song sounds downright funky no matter what time it is.
“Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”
This is the song that broke the Spin Doctors into the big time back in ’91. It’s a bit of sweet revenge for singer Chris Barron who wrote it about a stepmother he was not all that fond of.
After the single took off on radio the band’s record label Epic decided to make a video for MTV. It was nowhere to go but up for the single and the band after that.
By the way, nobody’s quite sure if Chris’s ex step-mom ever heard this song and, if so, whether it pissed her off. I hope it did too Chris.
The Spin Doctors biggest hit single was written by Chris Barron when he was just shy of 20. Most of the lyrics were inspired by his love of fantasy fiction books like The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit but it’s the band’s most recognizable lyric that came thanks to a friend of Barron’s named Mickett Wilder.
According to a SongFacts interview Barron said he had just reconnected with a girl he had a crush on in his middle school and high school days. Unsure of how his meeting would go with her Barron expressed his fears to Wilder who responded with some seize-the-moment words of encouragement including: “Just go ahead now”.