Friday on My Mind: Songs About Luck

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind, our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around a common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News. It’s St. Patrick’s Day this upcoming Sunday so we’re looking at songs about luck.

Ireland has observed the religious holiday of St. Patrick’s Day for the last 1,000 years every March 17th, which is said to be the day that Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick passed away back on 461 AD which was unlucky. Oddly enough, it turns out that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish, but born in Wales of Scottish ancestry, but was very lucky to be named an Irish saint. When St. Patrick was 16, he was brought to Ireland as a kidnapped slave. He eventually escaped Ireland, but returned after having become an ordained bishop and is now recognized as having brought about Christianity to the country upon his return. This is part of why St. Patrick is celebrated. It is also said that he performed certain miracles such as driving serpents out of Ireland, even though science can prove that post-glacial Ireland never really had any snakes at all. What a lucky dude! He was able to remove an animal from a country where that animal didn’t exist. Another St. Patrick myth or misconception concerns the whole green thing which also connects back to a legend that St. Patrick used a shamrock in order to teach the trinity, but in actuality he himself never wore green, but blue. I wish I could sit him down at an Irish bar, while wearing my green pants and explain to him what we’ve done in his name. We’d probably both need to be to loaded for me to explain it all and for him to even believe it. Anyway, shamrocks, as legend has it, are considered to bring about luck, which is where that tradition comes into play in St. Patrick’s Day tradition. All of this is part of why people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, both as a way of paying tribute to Ireland, as well as bringing about good luck especially on St. Patrick’s Day. It was Irish children who began the tradition of pinching people who didn’t wear green. Which is why Irish children are hated all over the world. And now here a few favorite songs about luck…

Loverboy – Lucky Ones

From the pride of Calgary, Canada, the first video this week is from the one and only Loverboy. Formed in 1980, the band was born out of the ashes of a few other bands, which you may or may not remember including Streetheart and Moxy. These band names also sound like every club that competed in the tournament during Karate Kid. Their biggest hits include “Working for the Weekend”, “Loving Every Minute of It”, and “Hot Girls in Love”. But here is one of their lesser known gems, “Lucky Ones”. One common thread among all of their videos always rings true; watching front man Mike Reno always makes you want to take a shower immediately after watching them.

Frank Sinatra – Luck Be a Lady

One of the most quintessential songs about luck is the Frank Loesser song “Luck Be a Lady” from the 1950 Broadway Musical Guys and Dolls. Marlon Brando performed the song as the gambling lead character Sky Masterson in the film version of the stage play, which also starred Frank Sinatra. The tune later became one of Sinatra’s signature songs. So this song is associated with Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. That’s one lucky (and manly) song! Here is footage of Sinatra killing this song with a full orchestra back in 1966.

Social Distortion – Bad Luck

The first single from the Fullerton, California, band’s fourth album, Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell, which was released in February of 1992. The album ended up becoming their highest charting record when it hit #2 on the Modern Rock music charts. “Bad Luck’ makes reference to all types of bad luck superstitions that people believe in such as black cats and the number 13.

Honorable Mentions:

Verve – Lucky Man

“Lucky Man” is one of the many strong tracks off of The Verve’s seminal and third album, Urban Hymns. The single was released in November of 1997 and focuses on the idea of luck more from the standpoint of appreciation of what one has in life. In an interview conducted with Q Magazine back in October 2006, Bono of U2 said that “Lucky Man” was a song that he had wished he had written. In response, The Verve front man Richard Ashcroft said something snotty, took some drugs, and then broke up the band for the 15th time.

Radiohead – Lucky

Found on 1997’s OK Computer, but originally released in 1995 on a compilation called Help: A Charity Album For the Children of Bosnia. Other artists that contributed to the album performed cover versions of songs, but Radiohead opted to write an original song. While critics praised this, the band admitted that the decision was made because they believed that they were really lousy at performing covers, which I would disagree with, especially if you’ve ever heard their cover of New Order’s “Ceremony”. “Lucky” was released as a single from the comp, but failed to really sell. This song also marked the beginnings of what was to become OK Computer and was the first time that Nigel Godrich was credited as being a Radiohead co-producer. Following the release of this single, Godrich worked with the band on all subsequent Radiohead releases. Lucky him!

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