we live in a yellow submarine, we drink red red wine, and we sing the blues
August 21, 2007 5:44 PM   Subscribe

suggest some fun, upbeat, likeable songs that mention specific colours?

i'm doing a gallery/science fair type exhibit about how humans perceive colour, and as a sort of running gag, i wanted to play about 1.5 hr's worth of songs that prominently mention the names of various colours in their lyrics. the audience is smart, savvy people age 25-60. the mood i want is happy, sunny, bright, energetic, playful yet professional, and fun.

some songs i have so far that i think will suit the mode:
yellow submarine (beatles)
the blues are still blue (belle & sebastian)
99 red balloons (nena)
brown eyed girl (who's that by, james taylor? i forget, but i have it)
what a wonderful world (louis armstrong)

more suggestions would be so helpful!
thanks, hive!
posted by twistofrhyme to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. Jones (Counting Crows) prominently mentions grey.
posted by dbolll at 5:49 PM on August 21, 2007

Pink, by Aerosmith
Blue, by Eiffel 65
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:49 PM on August 21, 2007

The song "Sixtyten" by Boards of Canada mentions the color Orange a lot.
posted by tehloki at 5:50 PM on August 21, 2007

Hehe, I would have mentioned Blue by Eiffel 65 as well, but I wasn't sure whether or not it was too dancy for a science exhibit.
posted by tehloki at 5:50 PM on August 21, 2007

Coldplay: Yellow
REM: Orange Crush
Prince: Purple Rain
New Order: Blue Monday (Although its hardly mentioned in the song)
posted by gergtreble at 5:51 PM on August 21, 2007

White Lines, by Grandmaster Flash
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:51 PM on August 21, 2007

I suppose Yellow by Coldplay isn't considered upbeat. What about Big Yellow Taxi?
posted by HotPatatta at 5:53 PM on August 21, 2007

Little Pink Houses
posted by HotPatatta at 5:55 PM on August 21, 2007

Red Dragon Tattoo - Fountains of Wayne
posted by awegz at 5:56 PM on August 21, 2007

patty larkin's "inside your painting" mentions cadmium yellow. it also rhymes "harmonica" with "erotica."

"brown eyed girl" is van morrison.

alexi murdoch has two songs about color: "orange sky" and "blue mind."

"don't turn my brown eyes blue" by someone or other.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:57 PM on August 21, 2007

Mellow Yellow - Donovan
posted by raildr at 5:59 PM on August 21, 2007

UB40: Red Red Wine
AC~DC: Back In Black
posted by gergtreble at 6:00 PM on August 21, 2007

Scarlet Begonias - Grateful Dead
Silver Rainbow - Genesis
Red Rain - Peter Gabriel
Red Barchetta - Rush
Black Cow - Steely Dan
(okay, some are less upbeat than others.)
posted by Daily Alice at 6:02 PM on August 21, 2007

Karma Chameleon - Boy George.
posted by sien at 6:09 PM on August 21, 2007

Pink Moon by Nick Drake
posted by subatomiczoo at 6:10 PM on August 21, 2007

Pretty in Pink - Psychadelic Furs
Black is Black - Los Lobos
Pretty Pink Houses - John Cougar Mellencamp
White Wedding - Billy Idol
Tall Cool Woman in a Red Dress - Hollies
Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis
Red Rubber Ball - Cyrkle
Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini - uh...some guy
Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
Ebony and Ivory - Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
posted by iconomy at 6:13 PM on August 21, 2007

Best answer: Go to allmusic.com and plug different color names into the search field. Be sure to search "songs" from the dropdown next to the search field.
posted by rhizome at 6:20 PM on August 21, 2007

Kodachrome, by Paul Simon, mentions the greens of summer a couple times.
posted by diamondsky at 6:22 PM on August 21, 2007

"She's a Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones.
posted by ROTFL at 6:25 PM on August 21, 2007

"Reno Dakota," from the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs awesomely specifies Pantone 292 as being the exact shade of blue you're making me.

Now I'm wondering if there are any lyrics that cite hex RGB values.
posted by mumkin at 6:25 PM on August 21, 2007

Grace Kelly by Mika
posted by awesomebrad at 6:37 PM on August 21, 2007

I'm in love with a big blue frog - Peter, Paul & Mary
posted by belladonna at 6:38 PM on August 21, 2007

Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Dishwalla - Counting Blue Cars
Billy Idol - White Wedding
Cadillac Voodoo Choir - Red Dress
posted by softlord at 6:41 PM on August 21, 2007

"Blonde Over Blue" and "Shades of Grey" by Billy Joel.
posted by christinetheslp at 6:41 PM on August 21, 2007

get whitey - zappa
brown moses - zappa
pound for a brown - zappa
a pound for a brown on the bus - zappa
the orange county lumber truck - zappa
mr green genes - zappa
son of mr green genes - zappa
peaches en ragalia - zappa
white person - zappa
a little green rosetta - zappa
the purple lagoon - zappa
the blue light - zappa
little green scratchy sweaters & courduroy ponce - zappa
bobby brown goes down - zappa
let's make the water turn black - zappa
brown shoes don't make it - zappa
peaches III - zappa
black napkins - zappa
pink napkins - zappa
champagne lecture - zappa
the purple lagoon - zappa
don't eat the yellow snow - zappa
the black page - zappa
posted by okbye at 6:52 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

True Blue - Bright Eyes
posted by jlowen at 6:52 PM on August 21, 2007

Sugar and Gold by The Blue Up?
posted by oflinkey at 7:00 PM on August 21, 2007

Playing Ken Nordine's entire Colors album would be overkill, but maybe you could throw one track into the mix. I adore "Azure" and have used it in normal playlists.
posted by QueSeraSera at 7:03 PM on August 21, 2007

"Electric Blue" by Icehouse. C'mon, EVERYONE loves the 80s.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 7:04 PM on August 21, 2007

"Wear Your Love Like Heaven" mentions a number of colors, and you could use Donovan's original or Sarah McLachlan's cover. Also from the Donovan catalog, "Mellow Yellow" is all about saffron.

"Behind Blue Eyes" by the Who, also any number of the millions of "blues" songs that specifically reference the color.

Sammy ('the red rocker') Hagar's "Marching to Mars" mentions "on a rainbow bridge, it don't seem so far"

Kraftwerk has "Neon Lights".
posted by Myself at 7:04 PM on August 21, 2007

Puce rocks too
posted by QueSeraSera at 7:05 PM on August 21, 2007

Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra comes immediately to my mind. It's funky and very upbeat/catchy.
posted by nelleish at 7:05 PM on August 21, 2007

Best answer: Whiter shade of pale by Procol Harum
Black or White by Micheal Jackson
White Flag by Dido
White Wedding by Billy Idol
White Teeth by Beautiful South

Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree by K T Tunstall

Fade to Grey by Visage

Little Blue by Beautiful South (although I think they might have covered someone else)
Mr Blue Sky by ELO

A Red Letter Day by Pet Shop Boys
Red and Black from Les Miserables

Golden Brown by the Stranglers

Gold in them Hills (the Coldplay version is good, it's on their B-side album, maybe too downbeat for you)
Gold by Spandau Ballet

The Light is Always Green by the Housemartins

A multicolour one:
Joseph's amazing coat

And some that don't mention specific colours but have colours as a theme:
True Colors by Cindi Lauper
Dreaming in Colour by Art of Noise
Colour the World by Sash!
posted by kg at 7:06 PM on August 21, 2007

Love's "She Comes in Colors" is fantastic for a colorful playlist.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:27 PM on August 21, 2007

Most of the ones that came to mind were already mentioned, but...

Scarlet Begonias - Jimmy Buffett has a cover of it that is much more, well, Jimmy Buffett

Touch of Gray - Grateful Dead

Paint it Black - Rolling Stones

Tangled up in Blue - Maybe the Indigo Girls cover over the Dylan original

Yellow Taxi - Matt Costa
posted by imbri at 7:55 PM on August 21, 2007

posted by signal at 7:57 PM on August 21, 2007

We've mentioned Donovan, but not his song "Colors". He mentions yellow, blue and green.
posted by zoey08 at 8:04 PM on August 21, 2007

"Gray or Blue" by Jaymay
"Touch of Gray" by Greatful Dead
"Green Eyes" by Coldplay
"Leaves of Green" by Simon & Garfunkle
"Brown Sugar" Rolling Stones
"Black" by Pete Yorn
"Orange Peel" by Luna
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:09 PM on August 21, 2007

Best answer: Blue Orchid - White Stripes (bonus for the band name!)
Have You Ever Had it Blue - The Style Council
Blue Spark - X

Red Sails - David Bowie
Red Money - David Bowie
I See Red - Split Enz
Little Red Light - Fountains of Wayne (GREAT song - I think this one would go over especially well for your purposes)

Pretty Green - The Jam
Sprosten Green - The Charlatans
Greenman - XTC

Indigo Eyes - Peter Murphy

Pink Bullets - The Shins
Pretty in Pink - The Psychedelic Furs
Pink on White Walls - Paul Weller
Pink Flag - Wire

Golden Years - David Bowie
The Golden State - John Doe (fantastic tune off his brand-new album)
Fools Gold - The Stone Roses
Diamonds and Gold - Tom Waits

Look for the Silver Lining - Chet Baker
Silver Shifter - Tsar
Maxwell's Silver Hammer - The Beatles

Black and White Boy - Crowded House
Black Coffee in Bed - Squeeze
Big Black Mariah - Tom Waits
Under the Big Black Sun - X
Pot Kettle Black - Wilco
Black Mirror - The Arcade Fire
Black Mirroor - Spaceheads (same title, very different songs)

White Riot - The Clash
White Man in Hammersmith Palais - The Clash
White City - The Pogues
White Moon - White Stripes
White Girl - X

Candy Apple Grey - Husker Du
Grey Day - Madness
posted by scody at 8:16 PM on August 21, 2007

Colours - Hot Chip
posted by hip_plumber at 8:26 PM on August 21, 2007

"Homo Rainbow" by Ween
posted by erikgrande at 9:05 PM on August 21, 2007

I'm so old, but has anyone mentioned Cyndi Lauper's True Colors yet?
Knights in White Satin by the Moody Blues (two colors in one!)
Devil with the Blue Dress on by I forget
Simon and Garfunkel's Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (Scarborough Fair?) mentions "deep forest green."
posted by misha at 9:17 PM on August 21, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green
Rainbow Connection (muppets)
posted by misha at 9:18 PM on August 21, 2007

"The Village Green Preservation Society" by the Kinks deserves to be heard more often.
"The Moon is Blue" by Colourbox, for the two-in-one.
posted by mumkin at 9:23 PM on August 21, 2007

The Colorful Ventures (instrumentals, but someone's bound to get it)
Colours - Donovan (yellow, green, and blue)
Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair - Nina Simone
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes - Elvis Costello
Red Dress - Half Japanese (and blue and white)
Blue Moon of Kentucky - Bill Monroe
Brown-Eyed Handsome Man - Wanda Jackson
The Fields Have Turned Brown - The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys
When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again - Wiley Walker & Gene Sullivan
Yellow Sarong - Yo La Tengo
White Light/White Heat - Velvet Underground
Pale Blue Eyes - Velvet Underground
Big White Cloud - John Cale
White Horse - Laid Back (very repetitive)
Heaven in a Black Leather Jacket - The 6ths
Black - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Black Dog, Friendly Dog - The Tinklers (also white and red, if memory serves)
Black Cab - Jens Lekman
Man in Black - Johnny Cash
posted by hydrophonic at 10:45 PM on August 21, 2007

Best answer: I listed what came to mind for me when I thought of songs that reference color (minus the ones that have already been mentioned). Not all of them are appropriate for your purpose. I just got so caught up in thinking about this...very fun!

Black Man - Stevie Wonder
Black Orchid - Stevie Wonder
Black Queen - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Blackbird - The Beatles
Queen in the Black - Stevie Wonder

Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison
Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley (and Porky the Pig...)
Blue Eyed Baby - Leona Naess
Blue Eyes - Elton John
Clear Blue Skies - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Flame Turns Blue - David Gray

Brown Skin - India.Arie

Ebony Eyes - Stevie Wonder

Golden - Jill Scott
Golden Lady - Stevie Wonder

Geek in the Pink - Jason Mraz
Pink Triangle - Weezer

Red Light Special - TLC
The Woman in Red - Stevie Wonder

Silver Bells - traditional

White Ladder - David Gray

[multiple colors]

Babylon - David Gray
Flowers Are Red - Harry Chapin
Sealion Woman - Feist
posted by splendid animal at 1:37 AM on August 22, 2007

Elliott Smith - Bled White.

And of course I will nth Mr. Blue Sky by ELO.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:47 AM on August 22, 2007

From a page on my site where I list my favorite colorful songs:

Songs About Rainbows

The Rainbow Connection by Kermit The Frog, but I find Sarah McLachlan's version more relaxing ;)
The Neverending Story Theme by Limahl
Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland (I like Eva Cassidy's version)
Rainbow by Mariah Carey
Light A Rainbow by Tukan
Color Everywhere by Deana Carter
Testify To Love by Avalon (Wynonna has also recorded it)
Seven Wonders by Fleetwood Mac
Rainbows In The Night by David Meece
Rainbow In The Sky by Starsplash
Rainbow To The Stars by Dune
Like A Rainbow by After Eternity
When The Rainbow Comes by Shawn Colvin
Follow My Rainbow by Sheena Easton from the Fern Gully soundtrack

And of course, the entire Rainbow Brite soundtrack. ;)

I'm aware of many more Rainbow songs, but these are the ones I like best.
Other songs about colors
Colors of Love from the Sailor Moon Soundtrack
Color My World by Petula Clark (I love the remix by Christian group Sierra)
Colors of the Wind from the Pocahontas soundtrack
posted by IndigoRain at 4:01 AM on August 22, 2007

Best answer: Okay, now that I'm home and can paw through the collection, here's what looks good:

Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
Blue On Black (Kenny Wayne Shepherd band)
Black and White (Sarah McLachlan)
White Sail (Cowboy Junkies)
Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin, instrumental)
The Red and the Black (Blue Oyster Cult)
Forever in Blue Jeans (Neil Diamond)
Red Rain (Peter Gabriel)
Red Rubber Ball (Simon & Garfunkel)
Leaves that are Green (ibid.)
Orange Crush (REM)
the Pink Panther's theme (Henry Mancini, instrumental)
Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry)
Black Magic Woman (Santana)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
Black No. 1 (Type O Negative)
Greensleeves (traditional folk song)
Gold Fever (Paint Your Wagon soundtrack)
Crimson and Clover (Joan Jett)
Grey Ice Water (Modest Mouse)
Gold Rush Brides (10,000 Maniacs)
Maxwell's Silver Hammer (Beatles)
Blueberry Hill (Chuck Berry)
Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young)
Caramel (Suzanne Vega)
Suicide Blonde (INXS)
Alleluia (Dar Williams ("technicolor"))
Black Velvet (Alannah Myles)
Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
Chrome Plated Heart (Melissa Etheridge)
Any Colour You Like (Pink Floyd, instrumental)
Black Dove (Tori Amos)
Birdhouse in Your Soul (They Might Be Giants ("bluebird of friendliness"))
Little Fluffy Clouds (The Orb ("the sunsets were purple and red and yellow"))
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Downtown (Petula Clark ("where all the lights are bright"))

My folks contribute the following:

red sails in the sunset
red river valley
judy blue eyes (CSN)
don't make my brown eyes blue (crystal..)
one eyed one horned flying purple people eater
green hills of home
green grass of earth
how green was my valley
White Boys Black Boys ("Hair" soundtrack)

and I keep thinking of the "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" theme, which was simultaneously expressed as colors.
posted by Myself at 5:21 AM on August 22, 2007

I always wished there were a grown-up version of "All My Colors" by Ralph's World as it's a lovely, upbeat song, but the cloying kids in it, ugh.
posted by Gucky at 8:02 AM on August 22, 2007

Bouncy: "Temptation" by New Order.

Oh you've got green eyes, oh you've got blue eyes, oh you've got grey eyes...
posted by moonlet at 9:48 AM on August 22, 2007

Absolutely perfect: "Spectrum Song" from Disney's Wonderful World of Color. (Red yellow green red blue blue blue red purple green yellow orange red, red!)

Also in the running:
"Red Rubber Ball" -- the Cyrkle
"Somewhere That's Green" -- from Little Shop of Horrors
"The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" -- Simon & Garfunkel
"Blue Moon" -- the Marcels
"Lavender Blue" -- hopefully Burl Ives
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2007

Response by poster: so many best answers- thank you so much!

the final playlist:

1. Purple Rain / Prince 4:11
2. Yellow Submarine / The Beatles 2:37
3. Karma Chameleon / Culture Club 4:14
4. Brown Eyed Girl / Van Morrison 3:03
5. The Blues Are Still Blue / Belle & Sebastian 4:08
6. 99 Luft Balloons / Nena 3:56
7. Back To Black / Amy Winehouse 4:02
8. Goldfinger / Shirley Bassey 2:49
9. Blue Suede Shoes / Elvis Presley 1:59
10. It's Not Easy Being Green / Muppets 2:18
11. A-Tisket A-Tasket / Ella Fitzgerald 2:39
12. Brown Sugar / The Rolling Stones 3:49
13. Orange Crush / R E M 3:51
14. What A Wonderful World / Louis Armstrong 2:20
15. Ebony And Ivory / Jackson & McCartney 3:42
16. Red Red Wine / UB40 5:20
17. She's Like a Rainbow / The Rolling Stones 4:13
18. Yellow Polka Dot Bikini / Bobby Vinton 2:22
19. Misty Blue / Etta James 5:39
20. True Color / Cyndi Lauper 3:44
21. Bye Bye Blackbird / Martha Wainwright 3:37

thanks again for all your help!
posted by twistofrhyme at 10:30 AM on September 8, 2007

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