Music and Cigars, when you say those two words, most people will think jazz. Because of the old image of a smoky jazz bar. But that’s not where we are going with this story. We are going to talk about cigars in music.
There are songs about anything. And because of that, also about things people consume and enjoy. Whether it is marihuana (legalize it – Peter Tosh), cigarettes (smoking in the boys’ room – Motley Crue), Alcohol (tequila – The Champs) or both (cigarettes & alcohol – Oasis). And of course also about cigars.
Swisher Sweets & hip-hop
In 2008, a rapper from Georgia used the name Mista Swissher Sweet. And got sued by Swisher International. The rapper’s name was too close to their brand Swisher Sweets, plus he used the company’s logo on his website. The rapper changed his name, took his website down but it’s unclear if Swisher International ever got the 100.000 dollars they claimed.
Now recently, Kxng Crooked released a song called Soul. In that song, he gives a shout to Drew Estate and the Undercrown Shady cigars. The irony is, that Drew Estate is now owned by Swisher International. So from filing a lawsuit against one rapper, they get shout outs from another and make a cigar for a third.
A few weeks ago, we wrote an article about that cigar insurance myth. It’s an urban legend that’s been going around for a long long time. A lawyer supposedly insured his cigars against fire, then claimed them after smoking. They were lost in a series of small fires. He won the lawsuit that the insurance company filed. Yet got arrested for 24 counts of arson. Country music star Brad Paisley wrote a song about that.
Well I’m a sucker for fine Cuban cigarsBrad Paisley – The cigar song
The problem is I can’t afford ’em
But last year I went and got myself a whole box
And just to be safe I insured ’em
I took out a policy against fire and theft
And then I hurried home
With a fifty-cent lighter I sat on my back steps
And I smoked ’em one by one
Two weeks later I went to see that insurance man
And I handed in my claim
With a straight
faceI told him that through a series of small fires
They’d all gone up in flames
They reviewed my case and they had no choice
But to pay me for what I’d done
And I took that check and bought a whole new box
And I smoked ’em one by one
Two weeks later this detective shows up
Tells me that company’s pressin’ charges
One speedy trial later they locked me up
On twenty-four separate counts of arson
And now I sit and I stare at a blank brick wall
Lookin’ back on what I’ve done
To pass the time I’ve got some ten-cent cigars
And I smoke ’em one by one
Yeah, I smoke ’em one by one
He’s not the first country star to mention cigars. Legend Johnny Cash sang about smoking big cigars in his song Folsom Prison Blues. And his rendition of the song Cocaine Blues inspired Crowned Heads Jon Huber to create a line of cigars. The song can be found on the At Folsom Prison album. The cigar is Jericho Hill. And all sizes have a name with a reference to the Cocaine Blues story. Crowned Heads has more cigars with references to music, but that’s for part 2.
Sinatra, Avo, and Jay Z
Frank Sinatra didn’t sing about cigars. But he loved them. And he asked Felipe Gregorio to make a Frank Sinatra cigars. His one and only condition was that the cigars had to be made on the Dominican Republic. Felipe Gregorio didn’t have a factory there, so Sinatra said “open one”. But that’s not his only cigar connection. He heard a demo of a song called ‘broken guitar’. He loved the song but didn’t like the lyrics. So his writers changed the lyrics. ‘Strangers in the night’ was born. The music was written by Avo Uvezian. Indeed, that Avo.
The Beirut born Uvezian was a professional musician. He came to the USA at age 21 with the help of the Shah of Iran. Uvezian was his personal pianist. In 1983, after complaining about the price of a Cuban cigar in Switzerland, a friend convinced him to create his own. When Uvezian met Henke Kelner on the Dominican Republic, Avo Cigars was born.
In more recent years, Eminem’s Shady Records worked with Drew Estate on the Undercrown Shady cigars. And rapper Jay Z teamed up with General Cigars for a Dominican Cohiba cigar. That is the Cohiba Comador
Cigars in song lyrics
AU2 – Elevation
star litup like a cigar
Strung out like a guitar
Maybe you could educate my mind
Explain all these controls
I can’t sing but I’ve got
The goal is elevation.
From 9’sNas – Hero
barettasand moving raw
chillinin winecellars sticksin humidors
That’s what I call mature
Champagne for breakfast and a Sherman in my hand
Peach top, Peach tails, never
Must have been a dream I don’t believe where I’ve been
Come on, let’s do it again
Do you…you, feel like I do?Peter Frampton – Do you feel like we do
Do you…you, feel like I…
Third boxcar, midnight train, destination, Bangor, Maine.Roger Miller – King of the roads
Old worn out clothes and shoes,
don’t pay nounion dues,
I smoke old stogies I have found short, but not too big around
I’m a man of means by no means, king of the road.
Playin’ forBoston – Rock & Roll band
weekin Rhode Island
A man came to the stage one night
He smoked a big cigar, drove a Cadillac car
And said boys, I think this band’s outta sight
Oh, sign a record company contract
You know I’ve got great expectations
When I hear you on the car radio you’re gonna be a sensation
A small cigar can change the worldJethro Tull – A small cigar
I know, I’ve done it frequently at parties
Where I’ve won all the guests’ attention
With my generosity and suave gentlemanly bearing
Driving in my car, smoking my cigar,Cream – N.S.U.
The only time I’m happy’s when I play my guitar.
Singing in my yacht, what a lot I got,
Happiness is something that just cannot be bought.
said thou shalt not fuck with raw me, or heJay Z – Squeeze 1st
Face a thousand deaths from Mr. Shawn Correy
Carter, rap harder like I’m part of a cult
Like Cuban cigar maker ‘
ceptI’m hard to smoke
There are many more songs with cigars. If you know one, drop it in the comments for a music and cigars part 2. Now, after writing this piece and listening to all these songs I’m going to take advice from Roger Waters. For one of his Pink Floyd masterpieces he wrote
Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar,Pink Floyd – Have a cigar
You’re gonna go far,
You’re gonna fly high,
You’re never gonna die,
You’re gonna make it if you try
And I’m going to have that cigar now. While listening to some tunes. Music and cigars