Banana Split For My Baby

Check out this month’s satisfying songs about food for more aural treats.

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Bo Diddley: “Bo Diddley” Play this track

I get that it’s all about the beat, but this is also Air Guitar 101. Where else can we form a band without instruments? I offer this as exhibit A. — John Stix

It’s got that Bo Diddley beat! —Rock Stamberg

T. Rex: “Jeepster” Play this track

Another song for the Air Guitar 101 band. This is exhibit B for the simple truth that tempo, rhythm, and feel are the foundations of great rock music. —JS

Marc Bolan and T. Rex are sadly overlooked these days. This is one of the best examples why that shouldn’t be. A classic. Really. —RS

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers: “Roadrunner” Play this track

The Air Guitar 101 band needed a third song. And this time the lead instrument is the drums. —JS

I heard this song on the radio back in 1975 and had to have it but couldn’t find a copy anywhere in those pre-Internet days. So, I wrote to the tiny Beserkley Records label in California and voila! the 45 single I received back from them is the audio source heard here. This is the original version of a great American rock ‘n roll anthem. —RS

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: “Change The Locks” Play this track

This rarely played hard-rocking take on Lucinda Williams’ tune falls firmly into the definitive Petty/Heartbreakers wheelhouse. Outstanding. —RS

Sex Pistols: “God Save The Queen” Play this track

This is what rock ‘n roll’s all about. Genius? —RS

Ry Cooder: “Crow Black Chicken” Play this track

A primo Ry Cooder track. It’s all there: His buoyant vocals, expertly evocative slide playing, authentic barrelhouse backing band – the works. I just love Ry Cooder’s music. —RS

Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five: “Beans And Cornbread” Play this track

This swinging tune sounds like a conversation between cartoon characters. —JS

Cream: “Falstaff Beer Commercial” Play this track

This is for real. Who knew Cream recorded an original song for an actual commercial? Not me … —RS

James Taylor: “Chili Dog” Play this track

From JT’s overlooked One Man Dog album, this sprightly tune is one of many short songs that comprised the record’s Abbey Road-like suites. —RS

Radio Commercials: “Chiquita Bananas – I’m A Chiquita Banana” Play this track

Louis Prima: “Banana Split For My Baby” Play this track

A story song that saunters through a scenario that begs you to hear it through. Listen at about 1:08 and you’ll hear he cracks himself up. I dedicate this one to my buddy Mike Connelly who loved humor in music and introduced me to Louis Prima. —JS

Luigi sings the truth. —RS

Prince: “Cold Coffee & Cocaine (Piano & A Microphone)Play this track

There is Prince the composer, Prince the performer, and Prince the guitarist. Now meet Prince the great gospel pianist. —JS

Argent: “Liar” Play this track

Minimalism, dynamics, and acoustic pianos are rarely used to greater effect than in this rock song. This one is special. —JS

Hot Tuna: “Water Song” Play this track

Hot Tuna in composed instrumental form. And it’s beautiful, too. —RS

The Allman Brothers Band: “Midnight Rider” Play this track

This comes right out of my “best performances” folder. The Allmans as CSN. —JS

Cheap Trick: “She’s Alright” Play this track

What a great rock ‘n ‘roll song and performance. They’ve still got it. —RS

Marc Shulman / Robert Palmer: “Funk / Looking For Clues” Play this track

Marc and Frank came to my Music Is People class at Edgemont High School. I asked them to play various styles of music without rehearsal. This is super funk with Marc on rhythm and Frank playing the lead lines. Thanks to my trusty old-school Nakamichi cassette deck I spliced in Robert Palmer doing one of his best tracks ever. —JS

The Staple Singers: “I’ll Take You There” Play this track

You can hear all the instruments separately and the simple mosaic they make together is gargantuan. Sly Stone did this too. “I’ll Take You There” gets those shoulders bopping and the hips swaying. The bass line at 1:51 is a melodic hook as good as any ever played on the instrument. And to top it off, this was a pop music number 1 Billboard hit in 1972. So yes, the music was better then and no, they don’t make them like they used too. —JS

The definition of soul music? Just may be. —RS

The Pretenders: “977” Play this track

Chrissie Hynde’s convincing vocal on this Lennon-esque beauty belies the song’s darker-than-dark lyrical underbelly. Rarely have beauty and shame been so marvelously entwined. Strong stuff indeed. —RS

Arcade Fire: “End Of The Empire II (Live SNL)” Play this track

I sat bolt upright when Arcade Fire pulled out this horn-enhanced rockin’ version of their song on SNL. I can’t get enough of this version. Absolutely stunning in a Rock of Ages kinda way. —RS