Thursday Inspiration #161 Spill the Wine

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word pearl, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Spill The Wine’, or by going with another song by Eric Burdon and War, or anything else that you think fits.  In April 1970, the funk band Eric Burdon and War released their first album Eric Burdon Declares “War”, which included this hit song ‘Spill the Wine’ that went to #3 in the US.  This was a group effort and the writing credit goes to all the members in this group, those being Eric Burdon who sings lead vocals, Papa Dee Allen on conga, Harold Brown drummer, Morris Dewayne “Bee Bee” Dickerson playing bass, and singing backing vocals, Lonnie Jordan on organ, Charles Miller tenor saxophone, Lee Oskar harmonica, and Howard E. Scott on guitar, and singing backing vocals.  Eric Burdon decided to call the band War in order to attract the attention of hippies who were anti-war.

The Animals decided to break up by June 1966 after they finished their tour, but they reformed as Eric Burdon and the Animals and Eric Burdon and The New Animals with different lineups playing throughout 1969 and sometimes without Eric Burdon.  In the Summer of 1969, Eric Burdon and his friend Lee Oskar met a band in LA called The Night Shift, who were backing the fledgling singer Deacon Jones a former Los Angeles Ram football player who was trying to have a Soul singing career.  Burdon and Oskar joined up with the Night Shift, and ended up recording with them as Eric Burdon and War.  War was a band that promoted a message of peace, harmony and tolerance that transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up.

Burdon was working on a tune about leaping gnomes waking up in a grassy field, and this song became the B-side to a song called ‘Magic Mountain’.  That was about a Californian mountain called Mount Tamalpais, a peak in Marin County outside of San Francisco that was frequented by hippies back in the days, that went there to hang out.  The DJ’s wouldn’t play ‘Magic Mountain’ because they assumed the lyrics were all about sex and drugs.  While War was recording in their session at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco, a bottle of wine was passed around and some of it was spilled into a console, so the group was moved into another studio.  The band members broke for lunch, while Burdon stretched out on the floor for a short nap and this song was born.

This song is believed to be influenced by drugs and you probably have to be pretty high to think of yourself as an overfed long haired leaping gnome that is going to be the star in a Hollywood movie.  Drummer Harold Brown, said that this song celebrates women, as all ladies are beautiful.  They are like flowers, which come in different varieties, they get older, they can be skinny, big, fat, some are voluptuous, but when you look at them, they are all beautiful, just like pearls.  Spilling wine became a ceremony for the band, and promoters would leave bottles of red California wine backstage for them.  Gnomes are thought to provide protection, especially if you have buried a treasure in the ground.  They are still used to watch over crops and livestock, and are often tucked into the rafters of a barn or placed in the garden.

There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones
Black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones
Out of the middle, came a lady
She whispered in my ear
Something crazy
She said…
Spill the wine, take that pearl

11 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration #161 Spill the Wine

  1. I wanted to know what pearl actually meant, so I looked it up. The easy meaning is that it’s a reference to the clitoris. Meh. The more interesting interpretation is that the whole song is about heroin, not wine. Pearl is pearl of the Orient, which is heroin. Wine is the blood that drips when you inject it. That makes more sense!

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    1. What an interesting comment and I could see the clitoris thing and also the drub influence, but I am thinking it is more of a hallucination drug than one that puts you to sleep.

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  2. It took a while for this one to grow on me…but grow it did. Now I love the song. I usually don’t like when singers talk through parts of a song…but I like this one.

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