Weekend Songs: The Edgar Winter Group, ‘Hangin’ Around’
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Classic rock is about heavy hooks, power chords and tight harmonies. But it’s also about letting loose and enjoying the good times. And there’s no better time for that than Friday evening, when we pick up our paycheck, punch out of work and enjoy a couple days of much-needed rest and relaxation.
Some weekends are made for making big plans, while others are meant for doing nothing at all — or as the Edgar Winter Group put it back in ’72, just ‘Hangin’ Around.’ The leadoff track from the band’s breakthrough album ‘They Only Come Out at Night,’ ‘Hangin’ Around’ was overshadowed by the record’s two big hits (‘Free Ride’ and the left-field instrumental smash ‘Frankenstein’), but it’s still one of the more effortlessly appealing songs in Winter’s catalog, and perfect for turning up while you’re aimlessly tooling around.
Recorded during a creative high point for the Edgar Winter Group, ‘They Only Come Out at Night’ found Winter working alongside an incredibly talented cast of characters that included longtime compatriot Rick Derringer as well as guitarist Ronnie Montrose and singer and multi-instrumentalist Dan Hartman, who’d go on to success as a producer, songwriter and solo artist. One of several writing or co-writing credits for Hartman on the album, ‘Hangin’ Around’ kicks the album off with a chiming twin lead guitar riff and a perfect opening line: “Drivin’ along with my radio on, feelin’ good.”
While it’s easy to interpret ‘Hangin’ Around’ as a mindless feel-good anthem, the lyrics hint at a warning for listeners who might be tempted to follow in the singer’s footsteps while he sleeps all day with nothing to do. “Thought I was cool / When I dropped out of school, it was great, yeah,” admits the second verse, “Could have gone crazy but I was too lazy to wait / So I’m drivin’ along, all alone.” It’s kind of an uninspired existence, but hey — that’s the price you have to pay if you want to spend all your time not seeing the world go by and not even having to try.
On the other hand, just hangin’ around for a weekend never hurt anyone, so this Friday, we’re raising a cold beverage in the Edgar Winter Group’s direction, in tribute to Hartman (who sadly passed away in 1994 at the too-young age of 43) and in honor of doing nothing at all. And while we don’t recommend simply hanging around for the rest of your work day, you can still get the weekend started a little bit early by scrolling up to the top of this post, hitting play on the video there, and feelin’ good while the clock ticks a few minutes closer to closing time.