If you have spent an extended period of time working at one restaurant, you have probably grown accustomed to their soundtrack. Restaurants today have far more musical variety with Muzak and satellite radio. While you hear songs repeated now, it is far better than the endless loop of the same hour of music that most restaurants featured in past decades. Generally, you learn to tune the music out when it becomes stale. Some songs defy tuning out and become a reminder of exactly how many hours you have spent at the restaurant.
Other times it is not the songs fault at all. The song is simply the soundtrack to a restaurant you want to escape. It is like the birth date of an ex you wish you could forget. You have left them, but the date still serves as a trigger for memories you generally repress. A couple of songs on this list fall into that category, but out of courtesy to the restaurants I will not say which they are.
All the songs on this list also share a common trait. I like the artists who sang them. Each of these artists are on my ITunes. Each of these songs is in unchecked in my playlists. Memories sometimes need to be left off of your road trip playlist.
Without further rambling, here are the five songs that were ruined for me and the restaurants that I blame.
5) “And We Danced”
The Artist: The Hooters were the quintessential 80s bar rock band. Slightly less edgy than The Replacements and more poppy than XTC.
The Restaurant: Hooters
The Story: This song stood out like a sore thumb from the rest of their playlist. It was the newest song they played and inevitably lead someone to point out the randomness of a band called “The Hooters” being played at Hooters. This person obviously did not know that it “randomly” played every couple of hours.
4) Buona Sera
The Artist: Louie Prima is not a household name unless you were raised in a household that referred to marinara simply as “sauce.” Possibly the most underrated performer of the first half of the twentieth century. He is most commonly known as the musician who combined “Just a Gigolo” with “I Ain’t Got Nobody” or as the voice of King Louie in The Jungle Book when he sang, “I Wanna Be Like You.”
The Restaurant: Buca Di Beppo
The Story: If you have never been to a Buca Di Beppo, you might not know that they are generally slightly louder than the ball pit at your local Chuck E Cheese. There is no feeling like listening to a song that translates to “goodnight” while waiting for a table to stop camping so you can go home.
3) The Weight
The Artist: The Band was the name chosen by members of Bob Dylan’s backup band when they decided to release an album on their own. They are also known for hits such as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Up on Cripple Creek” or their classic concert film The Last Waltz which was directed by Martin Scorcese.
The Restaurant: McCormick and Schmick’s
The Story: I spent just under four years at McCormicks. After three years, a manager eagerly announced that the music was changing and that we had a new disk. This was universally applauded by the staff due to the fact that we would no longer have to hear this song every shift. It was on the new disk too. In four years, I do not think I went a shift without hearing this song at least once.
The Artist: Dean Martin is an American icon. Whether he was the straight man to Jerry Lewis or pallie to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin was the epitome of cool.
The Restaurant: Every Italian restaurant I ever worked at.
The Story: As I was compiling this list, I found myself singing this song aloud again. This is strange because I do not know a single word other than “volare”. It is all in Italian which makes it that much more annoying to have stuck in your head. Dean could really belt out this tune which made it often the only song you could hear over the guests at a restaurant on a busy night.
1) Blue Money
The Artist: Van Morrison . Brown Eyed Girl, Domino, Moondance, Wild Nights, Jackie Wilson Said, Gloria, Caravan, Crazy Love, Tupelo Honey, Into the Mystic, Have I Told You Lately, and the entire Astral Weeks album. In spite of that list, there are probably at least three classics I have left off. Van is the man.
The Restaurant: Shorty Small’s
The Story: Van Morrison might be my favorite artist on this list. I will literally flee a room this song is playing in. I spent less time at Shorty Small’s than any other restaurant I have ever worked. I suppose part of the reason was that it was a second job that I only worked lunches at. My five lunches a week did not add a hundred dollars a week to my wallet. The other reason was that this song was played at least once an hour, but the “doot doot” in the chorus played in my head continuously for longer than I kept the job. I will not even click the link to make sure I have the right version so I am just going to have to trust You Tube on this one.
Well there is my list. What is on yours? Everyone has at least one of these songs. Tell us the song and the restaurant. This could be a very fun game, but only if you play along.