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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

I Get a Kick: Vices in Popular Song

On this show, we explore the times when songwriters wrote about their vices: drinking, smoking, or even chewing gum.

Peggy Lee’s “Black Coffee” by Sonny Burke and Paul Francis Webster was a hit for Decca Records in 1956.

A cocktail. A cigarette. One too many cups of coffee, perhaps. We all have our vices, and jazz musicians sometimes notoriously so. Sometimes these vices can be a terrible thing, sometimes they can be a beautiful thing (like that cup of coffee), and sometimes they can inspire a great song. On this program, we explore the songs written about some these often unsavory habits. We’ll hear songs about a life of drinking, and songs about specific cocktails, sung by Johnny Hartman, Nat King Cole, and more. We’ll hear Ivie Anderson with Duke Ellington perform a song about smoking, and we’ll even hear Ella Fitzgerald sing about an unusual vice: chewing gum.

Music Heard On This Episode

Mark Chilla

Mark Chilla, originally from Atlanta, GA, is the Production Director at WFIU, where he also hosts Ether Game and Afterglow. He studied music theory at Indiana University and taught various music theory courses at IU and Butler University. He enjoys film, woodworking, learning new instruments and the Beatles.

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