Recently I rode my bike past a neighbor’s house and noticed an empty karaoke box with his trash can. I stopped to chat with him as he came out to get his paper, and I asked him about the karaoke machine. My kids had mentioned perhaps getting one for Christmas, but I wasn’t certain how often they would use it.
My neighbor told me that the enjoyment his kids got out of that thing was when he himself held the microphone. He mentioned that he thought he did a fair impression of Elvis, until the kids saw him karaoke to the King’s “Little Sister.”
For the rest of that bicycle trip that song was stuck in my head. Then I began to recall other songs with sister in their titles. Here is the list I ended up with.
10. “Dance Little Sister” by The Rolling Stones”: This song is certainly not the most clever by the Stones, but it has a great rhythm. The tune makes a perfect fit for the It’s Only Rock and Roll album.
9. “Sister Christian” by Nightranger: Most of the band’s stuff is too heavy for my taste, so I was surprised when I found out they were the artists who recorded this nice ballad.
8. “Oh Sister” by Bob Dylan: The Desire album is rife with songs such as this one. They all have an ethereal acoustic feel with a perfect tinge of Latin music.
7. “Sister Jack” by Spoon: The lyrics are enigmatic, as is true of many of Spoon’s songs. Still, the band’s words and music have a strong appeal, especially on the Gimme Fiction album.
6. “Sister Disco” by The Who: Pete Townshend’s chorus here says “Goodbye Sister Disco with your flashing trash lamps,” leaving one to assume he is saluting the end of that 70s music fad. The Who’s excellent album Who Are You? served as a shovel to help bury the corpse of disco in 1979.
5. “Sister Mary Elephant” by Cheech and Chong: It’s not exactly a song, but it was a very popular 45 record. The duo’s reenactment of a substitute in a high school classroom is hilarious, especially when she screams, “Class, class, Shut up!” It’s a little scary, though, that the classroom Cheech and Chong poked fun at remains basically unchanged over thirty years later.
4. “Sister Moonshine” by Supertramp: It’s not from Breakfast In America, which is why most people have not heard of this song. The tender vocals are supported by a friendly acoustic guitar riff, giving the song a stripped down feel that the band was to sacrifice for the success of Breakfast.
3. “Big Sister’s Clothes” by Elvis Costello: This is one of the many excellent tracks from Trust, Costello’s fifth album. The signature Costello pop is obvious, hinging on the keyboard work of Steve Nieve. Also evident is the play on words, so typical of Costello’s writing. My favorite pun here is, “She’s got eyes like saucers, oh you think she’s a dish.”
2. “Sail Away Sweet Sister” by Queen: Guitarist Brian May penned this sweet ballad, backed primarily by his acoustic. The song is to the Jazz album what May’s “’39” was to A Night at the Opera.
1. “Sister Golden Hair” by America: This 70s classic can still be heard almost daily on oldies stations. It’s appealing in many ways. The lyrics admit a fear of commitment. The chorus is extremely catchy, causing whoever hears it to hum “I keep on thinking about you, sister golden hair surprise” for the rest of that day. My favorite part of the song is the guitar riff that introduces the song. It’s great to hear, but it’s extremely difficult to master.