Song contest: win a book

May 23, 2016 • 8:15 am

Here’s another song contest. To win, you have to name all of the songs (and artists) that mention the following items (mostly foods, but not all of them). Every song was at least a minor hit, and all are rock and roll (no rap or folk). The winner gets an autographed copy of the new paperback edition of Faith Versus Fact, and if you get the bonus question, you can have a cat drawn in.

I will also ask you to refrain from Googling, please. Some of these songs have been mentioned on this site, and I am looking for people who know their rock lyrics. And if you’re an early riser in the U.S., you are rewarded by having extra time to answer.

I am the final arbiter of the winner, but the first one who answers them correctly (to my satisfaction) wins. The deadline: 5 pm Chicago time TODAY. Only one set of guesses per reader, and they must be in a single comment.

Which songs have these words in them? (Note: the word must be exact; for instances, you can’t use a song that has the word “owls” as an answer for “owl”. 


barley (you must name TWO different songs mentioning the grain)

french fries





Bonus word (for a cat drawing). 


67 thoughts on “Song contest: win a book


    I immediately could think of four songs. Now I will piss away the rest of the day trying to think of more.

  2. This is what I have –
    pineapple – Beach Boy Blues by Elvis Presley

    barley – Fields of Gold by Sting,
    John Barleycorn Must Die by Traffic
    If barleycorn is disallowed, Dead Can Dance covered the Irish fold song The Wind That Shakes the Barley

    french fries – Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters

    omelette – California by Wilson Phillips

    mushroom [ White Rabbit – first by the Great Society with Grace Slick, later she recorded it again with the Jefferson Airplane

    owl – The Owl and the Pussycat from the Barbra Streisand movie

    decal – Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore by John Prine

    Jew – They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore
    by Kinky Friedman

    1. Most of those songs I have never heard of – apart from John Barleycorn which is of course a folksong!


      Can anyone name a song with Darwin and evolution in?! There is at least one…

        1. I do know that California was done by Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. I found it amusing to give credit to the Wilson Phillips cover.

      1. I know that Darwin and evolution are mention in The Arrogant Worms song “If I Were a Monkey”…not sure if you had another one in mind.

    2. Barleycorn is disallowed, and the Irish fold song was not a rock and roll hit.

      “California’ was by Joni Mitchell.

      The Owl and the Pussycat, if it was a song, wasn’t a rock and roll hit.

      The word is “Jew”, not “Jews.”

  3. Well, you have defeated me. I couldn’t think of any song with omelette, mushroom or a second one for barley. Here is what I came up with for the others . . .
    –“Strobe Light” by the B-52’s has the lyric
    “then i’m gonna kiss your pineapple!”
    –“John Barleycorn Must Die” Traffic
    –“Do Fries Go With That Shake” George Clinton
    –“Owls and Flowers” by Belbury Poly . . . this is an instrumental, so owl is just in the title.
    –“Lick My Decals Off, Baby” by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
    –“Jewish Princess” by Frank Zappa

      1. “Owl” in Chelsea morning is good. That’s not the song i was thinking of. It does have the word “owl light” in it, but if it’s one word and not two, it doesn’t win.

        There’s another one.

  4. I failed miserably I’m afraid.

    Is John Barleycorn must die by Traffic the same song that was done by Jethro Tull?

    The word ‘Decals’ appears in ‘The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota’ by Weird Al Yankovich.

  5. No idea. Though Rush has an owl on one of their albums (Fly by Night) and Geddy Lee was a son of Jewish refugees who survived Polish concentration camps.

  6. Mind is fried today, so I’ll only go for the bonus:

    I patronised the tables at the Monte Carlo hell
    Till they hadn’t got a sou for a Christian or a Jew
    The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo

    Omelette the rest go.

  7. Pineapple:

    Beach boy blues – Elvis Presley (Sid Tepper – Roy Bennett)

    Barley 1: Wind That Shakes the Barley – Robert Dwyer Joyce

    Barley 2: The scarecrow – Pink Floyd

    French Fries: If French Fries Were Fat Free – Alan Jackson

    Omelette: California – Joni Mitchell

    Mushroom: I did it – Dave Mathews band

    Owl: The Owl song – Luke Temple

    Decal: Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore – John Prine

    And Jew, I assume no anti-Semitic ones will do cause that was a disturbing search.

    Jew: Chanunak Song – Adam Sandler

  8. Can I try again?

    pineapple – Beach Boy Blues by Elvis Presley

    barley – Fields of Gold by Sting,
    Scarecrow by Pink Floyd

    french fries – Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters

    omelette – California by Joni Mitchell

    mushroom – White Rabbit – first by the Great Society with Grace Slick, later she recorded it again with the Jefferson Airplane

    owl – Let the Night Fall by The Band

    decal – Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore by John Prine

    Jew – Pieces of You by Jewel


        How could you? Granted you did not get to Chicago until 1996. He was not around town much by then. One of the greatest pleasures of being a college student in Chicago in the 1970s was being able to see Prine, Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc, et al on just about any night.

        Funny story about Prine – he got his first review from Roger Ebert.

        And it does not matter if Flag Decal was not a hit – it is the best song ever written with the word decal in it.

        1. Even if it meant winning your book, I would not put What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? by R.E.M. ahead of Prine.

  9. “Wildfire” by Michael Montgomery was a pretty big hit around 1975 or so and had the line “Been a hoot owl howlin by my window now for six nights in a row.” I don’t think it’s rock and roll by any stretch of the imagination, though.

  10. No one said “Pineapple Princess” by Annette Funicello.
    Dan Bern has a song “Jew from Kentucky” (very funny)

  11. Good post. Thanks, Jerry.
    I don’t have much, but there’s a Clash song (Clampdown) that has a line “Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?”

    Good song, good album (London Calling).

  12. The only songs I can think of with the word “Jew” is the South Park song “A Lonely Jew at Christmas” and Adam Sandler’s “Chanakah song” (the one and only piece of comedy by Sandler which I really really like) which I’m pretty sure don’t count.

    There’s also the Spamalot song “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway [If you don’t have any Jews]” which only has the plural.

    I think I’m pretty good at rock lyrics, but I’m lost here.

    (As much as I don’t generally like Adam Sandler, I LOVE the line
    “Paul Newman’s half Jewish, Goldie Hawn’s half too
    Put them together, what a fine lookin’ Jew”.)

  13. At least, I think, I got owl…

    It’s gotta be Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, right?

    “Back to the howling old owl in the woods,hunting the horny back toad…”

    Um…was Ballet For A Rainy Day, by XTC a hit? “Pineapple wet heads watch new hairdos crumble as scenery sunlight shifts away…”

  14. I have a complete list, but honestly I couldn’t do it without some searching. But one I knew, which I throw in the ring so that maybe someone can win this. 🙂

    Bobby Day – Rockin’ Robin
    The wise old owl, the big black crow

  15. I’m stumped on all counts. Couldn’t name a one — this might as well be a quiz on epigenetics; and not even a booby prize for the completely clueless. Don’t know most of the songs that have been mentioned. Guess I’m just not that hip; but as for most of the rock music I’m familiar with, the lyrics take a back seat to the delivery, more often than not making the words virtually unintelligible to me, and I just remember errant phrases, though that impediment has never dampened my enthusiasm; or perhaps I’ve been too stoned and into the musical groove to care.

  16. Well, Jerry has ruined my day. A bit weird when you walk around saying dadadada omelette dadada – trying to figure out dadada.

    I think most of the answers are in this thread. Not sure what the second barley song is. Fields of Gold is obvious. I don’t think Jerry wants a Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd song. The Grateful Dead use barley in Let It Grow from their Wake of the Flood album. But I would not call it a hit – just something they would play for 20-30 minutes in concert.

    It just occurred to me that the decal song is probably Be True to Your School by the Beach Boys.

    Less than 4 hours to go – get your entries in.

  17. The only song I can think of is savoy truffle which contains the lyrics pineapple hearts. Lucky for me I have a signed first edition of FVF sans un chat. But I’d love to have un chat in my copy!!

  18. Jew

    Ride ‘m Jew Boy by Kinky Friedman. “Jew” also occurs in Leonard Cohen’s Last Year’s Man (“There’s a Jew’s harp on the table, there’s a crayon in his hand.”

      1. Well, Joni Mitchell is hardly any more rock than Cohen.

        Cohen also uses the word “Jew” in his wonderful song “The Future”:

        You don’t know me from the wind
        you never will, you never did
        I’m the little Jew
        who wrote the Bible
        I’ve seen the nations rise and fall
        I’ve heard their stories, heard them all
        but love’s the only engine of survival
        Your servant here, he has been told
        to say it clear, to say it cold:
        It’s over, it ain’t going
        any further
        And now the wheels of heaven stop
        you feel the devil’s riding crop
        Get ready for the future:
        it is murder

  19. ‘Pineapple’ – Black Lace: Agadoo
    ‘Barley’ – Sting: Fields of Gold & Sixpence None the Richer: Kiss Me
    ‘Mushroom’ – Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit
    ‘Omelettes’ – Joni Mitchell: California
    ‘Owl’ – Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    ‘Decal’ – Beach Boys: Be True to Your School
    ‘Jew’ – Michael Jackson: They Don’t Care About Us

  20. I know the the time is up, but it’s a holiday Monday here in Canada and my weekend “company” just left and then I checked your page. Reading through the comments, it seems no one has identified the “Jew” reference properly. I think it’s from the Amy Winehouse song “Me & Mr. Jones”: “Side from Sammy you’re my best black Jew”.

  21. Too late for me to spend enough time to think about these, but “decal” has to be Beach Boys “Be true to your school”.

  22. The contest is officially CLOSED. I will peruse the entries this evening.

    Good then, I did use search engines since this music is more my parent’s generation, and hence I didn’t run. (“I will also ask you to refrain from Googling, please. Some of these songs have been mentioned on this site, and I am looking for people who know their rock lyrics.”)

    1. pineapple
    2. barley (2x)
    3. french fries
    4. omelettes
    5. mushroom
    6. owl
    7. decal

    1. Elvis Presley – Beach Boy Blues
    Now I’m a kissing cousin to a ripe pineapple

    2a. Rory Gallagher – Barley and Grape Rag
    I’m mixing the barley with the grape again

    2b. Grateful Dead – Let It Grow
    Seasons round, the bushels of corn and the barley meal

    2c. Alison Krauss – 9 to 5
    Barley gettin by, it’s all takin and no givin

    2d. The Kinks – Alcohol
    Barley wine pink gin

    2e. Fairport Convention – Polly on the Shore
    Farewell, my family and my friends, likewise my barley too

    2f. Duke Ellington – Alabamy Home
    I’ll feed the chicks, and mix some barley with their corn

    2g. Pink Floyd – Scarecrow
    He stood in a field where barley grows

    3. The Drifters, Rolling Stones etc – Under the Boardwalk
    And french fries they sell.

    4. Joni Mitchell – California
    He cooked good omelettes and stews.

    5a. Reunion – Life is a Rock
    Mushroom omlett, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it
    (was a hit, but technically more pop than rock)

    5b. Strawberry Alarm Clock – Rainy Day MushroomPillow
    (Rock yes, and in your generally direction but not really rock and roll)

    6. Bobby Day – Rockin’ Robin
    The wise old owl, the big black crow

    7. The Beach Boys – Be True to Your School
    I got my decal in back

    Bonus Jew:
    Amy Winehouse – Me & Mr. Jones
    Side from Sammy you’re my best black Jew

    Thin Lizzy – Clifton Grange Hotel
    Old Lou the Jew

  23. Trigger alert! This may offend some people.

    The word “Jew” occurs in the Beatles’ 1967 song “Baby, You’re A Rich Man.” Listen closely when the group sings “Baby you’re a rich man too” the last time. Lennon clearly sings “Baby you’re a rich fat Jew.” Some people say he’s saying “fag Jew,” a slur at their manager, Brian Epstein, who was gay, but I hear “fat.” Lennon seemed to find the word “Jew” funny. In the mid-60s, he wrote two books of humorous short stories and often dropped the word into his writing.

    1. It’s unlikely to have been “fag” because it is hardly ever used as a derogatory term for gay people in the UK now and would have been almost unheard of in the 60s.

  24. Doug, I believe you may be thinking of “I Am the Walrus”, of the same album, but, in either case, that’s absurd; it’s not actually “in the lyrics”…it’s clearly GWAR’s version of “Sammy”. Although not a huge success here, it was a major hit in Japan (nice try, Amy).
    As much as I loved finding out about “Agadoo” (Thanks, Max)…“Pineapple Princess”, Steve is, correctly, the only TRUE, major, “rock, and/or roll” hit! (Annette Funicello–need I say more?).
    And then “french fries”, folks? I think you’re all way off. Dock o’ the Bay is da ‘blues’. Its Pop Will Eat Itself’s “Def Con One”, obviously…it mentions the most famous fries several times! (Hello?)
    Scrambled eggs, I can’t really speak to myself, however I’m leaning towards NEGATIVELAND’s “Perfect Scrambled Eggs”, (even though I know PCC(e) is a major Joni Mitchell fan, I just don’t think that “California” was all that big a hit that I know of). Which brings me to my one and only “true evolutionarily styled” question. Professor, should you happen to know, regarding the “owls”; if it really is Elton John; do howling old owls actually hunt horny back toads? And if so…
    How many horny back toads would a howling old owl hunt, if a howling old owl could hunt horny back toads?

  25. Having found it frustrating how difficult I found this contest, I have composed just about the worst piece of poetry I have ever written and composed the following pop lyrics (which uses ‘barley’ twice per above).

    I gotta woman
    She cooks so fine
    Her mushroom omelettes
    make me happy to dine.

    Serve ’em with French fries
    and I hoot like an owl.
    Only dish missing
    is tasty waterfowl.

    Now we opened up a diner
    with a cute little name
    Got it printed on a decal
    to spread abroad our fame.

    Here come Phil on his Harley
    He’s as hungry as a horse
    Here’s folks runnin through the barley
    Just to eat here, of course.

    Now we opened up in Hawaiii
    So we got pineapple omelette too.
    We got some lox and bagel
    So bring around a Jew.

    We’re goin’ round the world now
    Got our vittles everywhere
    We got your chow mein and your barley,
    we got everybody’s fare.

    (with apologies to all hard-working poets everywhere).

  26. I just remembered Elton Jon Yellow Brick Road –
    “back to the howling old owl in the woods, hunting the horny black toad…”

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