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  • Rich Kassirer

An ode to songs with dates in them

Updated: Jul 5, 2019


A video was posted of Bobbie Gentry’s classic “Ode to Billie Joe” on June 3rd, the date prominently mentioned in the song. It got us thinking… How many more songs are out there with dates in them? After scanning the Web for any such lists, it became apparent that many were vastly incomplete. With the help of Facebook friends, we compiled this list. We’re sure there are many more and we encourage you to send them to us so we can add them to rich@modernacoustic.com. But for now, here is what we’ve compiled.

JANUARY 2 – "Come on Christmas," Dwight Yoakum: "Keep me hidden safe, 'Til January's second day"

10 – “The Darkest Hour,” Arlo Guthrie: “It’s the tenth of January, And I still ain’t had no sleep” 17 – “Kristina She Don’t Know I Exist,” Streelight Manifesto: “1.17.98 has been a day that I’ve come to hate” 22 – “The Lady’s Got Potential,” Madonna: “It was January twenty-second, 1944, a night to remember, yeah, that’s for sure”

30 – "Clothes Line Saga," Bob Dylan: "It was January the thirtieth, And everybody was feelin' fine"


FEBRUARY 1 – "Cosmic Charlie," Grateful Dead: "Hung up waitin for a windy day, Kite on ice since the first of February"

19 – “Help Me Make It Through This Funky Day,” Greg Brown: “It look like February 19th and November 8th, They had an ugly little baby and they’re gonna call it Today”


MARCH 1 – "Casimir Pulaski Day," Sufjan Stevens: "On the 1st of March on the holiday, I thought I saw you breathing"

4 – “Radar,” Morphine: “If I am guilty so are you, it was March 4th, 1982”

10 – "Equator," Sparks: "Surely we set it for 3pm, surely we said it was march the 10th"

11 – "Poofter's Froth, Wyoming," Frank Zappa: "March Eleven Sixty-Seven, Take a letter, Ms. Abetter"

12 – "March 12, 1962," Mary Gauthier: "Hello, this is Mary, oh yeah, March 11, 1962" 21 – “Town With No Cheer,” Tom Waits: “Now it’s boilin’ in a miserable March 21st wrapped the hills in a blanket of Paterson’s curse”

28 – "Nothing Happened Today," Boomtown Rats: Today was Tuesday, And this is the date, March 28th"


APRIL 1 – “April Fools,” Rufus Wainwright: “Well, life’s a train that goes from February on, Day by day, But it’s making a stop on april first” 4 – “Pride (In the Name of Love),” U2: “Early morning April 4, shot rings out in the Memphis sky” 14 – “April 14, Part 1,” Gillian Welch: “Hey, hey, It was the fourteenth day of April” “God Moves on the Water,” Blind Willie Johnson: Year of nineteen hundred and twelve, April the fourteenth day, Great Titanic struck an iceberg” “Dust Storm Disaster,” Woody Guthrie: “On the 14th day of April of 1935, There struck the worst of dust storms that ever filled the sky” 15 – “One More Summer,” The Rainmakers: “My Genie got married to a CPA, April fifteenth is her wedding day” 23 – “Lorraine,” Lori McKenna: “Judy Garland, Carnegie Hall, Sunday April twenty third” 29 – “April 29, 1992 (Miami),” Sublime: “April 26th, 1992, There was a riot on streets, tell me where were you”


MAY 1 – “May 1, 1990,” Adrien Belew: “May 1, 1990, something changed inside me” “First of May,” Bee Gees: “Our love will never die come first of May.” 3 – “Vanzetti’s Letter,” Woody Guthrie: “The year is nineteen twenty-seven, the day is the third day of May, The town is the city called Boston, our address this dark Dedham jail”

4 – "Student Demonstration Time," the Beach Boys: "America was stunned on May 4, 1970, When rally turned to riot up at Kent State University" 5 – “Isis, Bob Dylan: “I married Isis on the fifth day of May”

7 – "You Don't Even Know Me," Al Stewart: "All right I took you to the Hendrix concert, On the seventh day of May" 10 – “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” The Band: “By May the 10th, Richmond had fell”

19 – "I've Known No War," the Who: "On the nineteenth day, Of a spring day in May" 21 – “21st of May,” Nickel Creek: “Hallelujah, the 21st of May.” “Great King Rat,” Queen: “Born on the twenty first of May, Died syphillis forty four on his birthday” 24 – “Revenge of the Vera Gemini,” Blue Oyster Cult: “On the 24th of May, I’ll gather up your reins”


JUNE 3 – “Ode to Billie Joe,” Bobbie Gentry: “It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day”

"Desiree," Neil Diamond: "It was the third of June, On that younger day"

"The Loner," Ian Hunter/Mick Ronson: "I was born, On the 3rd of june-hard labor-gemini moon"

"Framed," Alex Harvey: "He said "Where were you on the third of June 1963?" 6 – “Convoy,” C.W. McCall: “Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June In a Kenworth pullin’ logs” 12 – “Ghost World,” Aimee Mann: “Twelfth of June, a gibbous moon, Was this the longest day? 14 – “Karma’s Payment,” Modest Mouse. “I drove my car on June 14th, I drove it right on down the street” 30 – “Charles Guiteau,” Kelly Harrell: “On the thirtieth day of June, To die I was condemned”

31 – "The Thirty First of June," Petula Clark: "Your love will come on soon, Its as far away as the thirty-first of June"


JULY 2 – "Riot in Cell Block #9," The Robins: "On July the second, 1953, I was servin' time for armed robbery"

4 – “Born on the Bayou,” Credence Clearwater Revival: “I can remember the fourth of July runnin’ through the backwood bare.” “4th of July,” Dave Alvin: “Hey baby, it’s the 4th of July.” “Jack Straw,” Grateful Dead: “Leaving Texas, fourth day of July” “Saturday in the Park,” Chicago: “Saturday in the park, I think it was the Fourth of July” “Night Ride Home,” Joni Mitchell: “There comes a night like this, Like some surrealist, Invented this 4th of July” “4th of July,” Aimee Mann: “Today’s the fourth of July, Another June has gone by” “4th of July,” Soundgarden: “And I thought it was the end, And I thought it was the 4th of July” “Fourth of July,” Mariah Carey: “It was twilight, On the fourth of July” “Cuckoo,” traditional folk song: “And she never warble cuckoo till the fourth day of July” “Walkin’ the Dog,” Rufus Thomas: “Jumped so high he touched the sky, Never got back till the Fourth of July” “New York , New York,” Ryan Adams: “Well, I shuffled through the city on the 4th of July”

“Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold,” Lone Bellow: “You wear your faded old dress, The night of the 4th of July"

“Fourth of July,” Fallout Boy: “Where the bridges I have burned never really led home, On the fourth of July”

“Firework,” Katy Perry: “Just own the night, Like the Fourth of July”

“Yankee Rose,” David Lee Roth: “Watch, the sparks will fly, Fire cracking on the Fourth of July”

“Fourth of July,” Pete Droge: “On the Fourth of July, See the sparks in the sky”

“Born on the Fourth of July,” Tom Paxton: “I was born on the fourth of July No one more loyal than I”

“The Great Compromise,” John Prine: “And she was born on the fourth of July”

“Fourth of July,” Sufjan Stevens: “Oh, could I be the sky on the Fourth of July?”

“I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” George M. Cohan: “A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam,

Born on the Fourth of July” 5 – “Harrisburg,” Josh Ritter: “Romero got married on the 5th of July” “Fifth of July,” Eddie From Ohio: It’s the fifth of july, feeling independent” 12 – “July 12, 1939,” Charlie Rich: “July the 12 sho’ was a scorcher” 13  – “July 13, 1985,” John Wesley Harding: “July 13th 1985 was the day we watched Live Aid/The Global Jukebox came alive”

"Yell Help," Elton John: "I wish it wasn't the thirteenth of July, yell help"

29 – "Marie Provost," Nick Lowe: "In the cheap hotel up, On Hollywood West July 29"


AUGUST 1 – “I Live With It Everyday,” Barenaked Ladies: “On August first, nineteen-eighty-one, I cycled to Scott’s house with a BB gun”

"The First Day of August," Carole King: "On the first day in August, I want to wake up by your side"

"Rainmaker," Nilsson: "First day in August, Last rain was in May" 3 – “Ben’s My Friend,” Sun Kil Moon: “I woke this morning, August 3rd, It’s pretty slow and uneventful summer” 5 – “Who Killed Marilyn?,” The Misfits: “5:25 August fifth, 1962/Found her lying on her chest” 8 – “August 8th,” NOFX: “Birds sing there’s not a cloud in the sky, yeah August 8th is a beautiful day” 14 – “Friday Night, August 14th,” Funkadelic: “Friday night, August the 14th, Old lady luck smiled down on me”

16 – "Mr. Turnkey," Zagar & Evans: "Mr. Turnkey, it's ten pm in Wichita Falls , August sixteen, nineteen-sixty-nine and I'm in some bar" 28 – “August 28th,” Chris Pureka: “August 28th and the rain slid in, like a brooding lullaby”


SEPTEMBER 1 – “I’ll Meet You in Poland Baby,” Foetus: Today is the first of September” 3 – “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” Temptations: “It was the third of September, That day I’ll always remember, yes I will” 12 – “Frank Mills,” from the “Hair” soundtrack: “Met a boy called Frank Mills, On September twelfth right here” 17 – “Fiddler’s Green,” The Tragically Hip: “September seventeen, For a girl I know it’s Mother’s Day” “Somebody Might Wave Back,” The Waterboys: “I look at my watch, Says September 17” 21 – “September,” Earth Wind & Fire: “Do you remember, The twenty-first night of September?”


OCTOBER 2 – “The Family Reserve,” Lyle Lovett: “But it was my Uncle Eugene, He died on October the second 1981” 31 – “The New Style,” Beastie Boys: “You wanna know why – because I’m October 31st – that is my date of birth”


NOVEMBER 2 – “On Ballets and Barricades,” Ramshackle Glory: “So vote November 2nd if it seems right to you” 3 – “On Ballets and Barricades,” Ramshackle Glory: “Just tell me what we’re gonna do on November 3rd” 5 – “Remember,” John Lennon: “No, no, remember, remember, The fifth of November”

"Beautiful Day," the Levellers: "It was the fifth of November, when time it went back" 8 – “Help Me Make It Through This Funky Day,” Greg Brown: It look like February 19th and November 8th, They had an ugly little baby and they’re gonna call it Today”

"8th of November," Big and Rich: "On the eighth of November the angels were crying, As they carried his brothers away" 14 – “Things in My Life,” Men Without Hats: “Was it here or yesterday, Or wasn’t it the fourteenth of November”


DECEMBER 1 – “Sweet Baby James,” James Taylor: “Now the first of December was covered with snow”

"Sister Rosa," Neville Brothers: "December 1, 1955, Our freedom movement came alive" 7 – “Eyeball Kid,” Tom Waits: “So on the 7th of Dec. 1949, They got what, They’d been wishing for” 24 – “December 25th,” Rosie Gaines: “December 24th the whole world is at war” “White Christmas,” The Carpenters: “But it’s December the 24th and I’m longing to be up north” 25 – “December 25th,” Rosie Gaines: “December 25th it’s Christmas one day” 26 – “December 25th,” Rosie Gaines: “December 26th now we proceed with our war”

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