Even More Cowbell Songs
No, there’s no echo in here – just the sweet sounds of cowbell, cowbell, and more cowbell! Heck, why stop now when we’re on such a roll showcasing greatest cowbell-assisted songs in classic rock history, with our Top 10 Cowbell Songs and More Cowbell Songs lists? The answer is simple: we just can’t but cowbell. So drum roll please as we work our way through another 10 cowbell songs with Even More Cowbell Songs!
Deep Purple legend Ritchie Blackmore totally reinvented this morose Yardbirds song as a cowbell-driven juggernaut for his 1975 debut with new band Rainbow. And since Ronnie James Dio sat out this instrumental version so that Blackmore could improvise upon the main theme unimpeded, Gary Driscoll’s cowbell wound up taking center-stage as the song’s true ‘star.’
Let’s be honest, Bon Jovi were essentially taking a victory lap to celebrate the universal success of 1986’s ‘Slippery When Wet’ album with its somewhat inferior 1988 successor, ‘New Jersey.’ However, ‘Bad Medicine’ was one of the few new tracks to arguably equal the band’s recent mega-hits and perhaps it had that reliable sixth man to thank for this: the cowbell.
One of guitarist Brad Whitford’s best-known contributions to Aerosmith, ‘Last Child’ provided a welcome taste of laid-back blues amid the general full-throttle attack of 1976’s spectacular ‘Rocks’ album. And of course no piece of percussive equipment could have better augmented the song’s rootsy feel than Joey Kramer’s trusty old cowbell, making it a natural selection for our list of Even More Cowbell Songs. You play it, Joey!
Kiss’ first album was recorded on such a shoestring budget that it generally failed to do its songs justice – hence the band’s belated breakthrough thanks to their much-improved renditions on the ‘Alive!’ LP. Our choice here, the naively charming ‘Firehouse,’ wouldn’t enjoy quite the staying power of a ‘Deuce’ or ‘Black Diamond’ but it does have the cowbell, and has gone on to become a concert favorite.
Any drummer will tell you Steven Adler was the secret sauce on ‘Appetite for Destruction.’ Although he could never match Matt Sorum’s chops, his feel was something else, and the band’s later efforts undoubtedly suffered without it. But we digress. Our point is calling out Adler’s judicious use of cowbell (and that may be the first time ‘Steven Adler’ and ‘judicious’ have ever appeared in the same sentence) on the band’s ever-popular first LP nugget, ‘Nightrain.’
Many theories have been posited over the years for Badfinger’s criminally underrated, and ultimately tragic career trajectory, considering the band’s evident wealth of talent and early patronage by none other than The Beatles. But has anyone ever suggested that the problem may have been…not enough cowbell? We put it to you: Is it any coincidence that perhaps the band’s most memorable hit, ‘No Matter What,’ featured Mr. Cowbell? Just sayin,’ people, just sayin’.
How long has it been since we called out the cowbell’s indomitable sex appeal? Too long! And so our list of arrives at Pink Floyd’s backhanded tribute to accommodating groupies via ‘The Wall’s’ ‘Young Lust.’ A song that, lest you failed to notice while trying to digest Roger Waters’ mind-warping conceptual observations, most certainly contains a little cowbell courtesy of the oft-ignored Nick Mason. Well, you shall be overlooked no more, fine sir! And it’s all thanks to cowbell.
No stranger to the cowbell’s sensual powers, Lou Reed had already put our little metallic friend to good use on The Velvet Underground’s timeless ‘Sweet Jane’ (currently stashed away, pending the editorial green-light, for a Return of the Son of Even More Top 10 Cowbell Songs list!), but Lou had not applied it nearly as emphatically there as he later would on his solo staple, ‘Vicious.’ Can you feel the sting?
The Black Crowes transitioned from Faces-worshipping neophytes to genuine roots rockers on their stupendous third opus, ‘Amorica,’ and the masterfully written ‘Wiser Time’ sees the group both accepting and then sharing their southern rock heritage with ample doses of slide guitar, pedal steel and, yes, cowbell. No more need be said, really, this song is sheer cowbell perfection, if you ask us.
Shame on you for thinking we’d somehow snubbed Free’s greatest testimonial to the art of cowbell, ‘All Right Now’: a song that stands like a towering monument to authentic, no-fuss, stripped-down rock and roll in all its buck-naked glory. No, really, we were saving it all along – we swear! Oh, whatever! Feel free to let us know what other cowbell classics we may have missed while we take a break and think of, I don’t know, bongos, for a while. Phew…and that’ll do, cowbell.