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Dan Auerbach: 5 Great Songs Where the First Line Is Also the Title

The Black Keys singer picks out his favorite tunes with this odd commonality, from the Beatles to Willie Nelson

Dan Auerbach On Songs Where The First Line Is Also The Title

Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach selects five of his favorite tunes that happen to begin with their titles.

Alysse Gafkjen

In February, Dan Auerbach is hitting the road with the Easy Eye Sound Revue featuring Robert Finley, Shannon Shaw, and special guests Shannon and the Clams. We recently caught up with the Black Keys singer-guitarist – whose latest solo LP, Waiting on a Song, came out last year – to discuss his five favorite songs where the first line is also the title, à la his own “Never in My Wildest Dreams.”

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Don Williams, “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good”

Don worked with this band for his whole recording career, just like Al Green. Those guys transformed Nashville. Nothing sounded like these records in Nashville when they came out. It was the first time anyone was playing conga drum instead of a drum kit. It’s a lot like “Love and Happiness” in that it’s so intimate and light and soulful. It gives those songs so much more depth and meaning. They feel more genuine.

When they were putting together Don Williams’ records, they worked for almost a year trying to come up with a sound. Allen Reynolds, the producer, told me they’d keep taking things away, breaking it down. The bassist doesn’t do walk-ups in the choruses. There’s no flair anywhere. They just bring it down to the bare bones and that’s what gave Don Williams his whole thing, when they stripped everything back. Allen told me that’s when he started to have success is when he stopped listening to the radio and stopped caring and tried to make something he believed in.

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Willie Nelson, “Blue Skies”

“Blue Skies” is just a good song off a really good record. It’s an old song, not really Willlie’s, but he did have a Number One hit. It’s crazy someone could take a Broadway song from the 1920s and have a Number One hit in the 1970s with it, an outlaw country guy. I still think that is is possible, though. A good song is a good song. If you have a good performance by someone with charisma it can reach the masses.

I’ve learned that when you stop listening to what everyone else is doing you create your own voice. Nobody typifies that like Willie Nelson. When he started he was signing like everyone else. At some point he was like “fuck it” and started singing like Willie Nelson and he’s been on the Mount Rushmore of country ever since.

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