Mississippi John Hurt loves his coffee. But not just any brand of coffee will do. It’s got to be Maxwell House. Just a spoonful of the coffee that’s “good to the last drop” will do him as much good as two or three cups of some other coffee. But what he’s really got in “Coffee Blues” are the “lovin’ blues.” His girl moved away. He needs to find her, so she can give him the “lovin’ spoonful” that he misses so much.
Music - Songs for Coffee Lovers
With coffee being such a big part of life, it's no wonder that coffee finds it way into so many songs. Can you sing and sip your coffee at the same time?
“The Coffee Song” is a novelty song that Frank Sinatra recorded in an uptempo, swing style. The song lampoons Brazil’s coffee surplus. Its theme is summarized in the line, “They've got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil” — billions of beans and zillions of tons of coffee. According to “The Coffee Song,” no beverages other than coffee are available in Brazil — no soda, no tea, no tomato juice.
In “Cup of Coffee” by alternative rock band Garbage, coffee has again worked its magic in love. Unfortunately, it’s black magic. A cup of coffee is the accompaniment to a breakup. “You tell me you don’t love me over a cup of coffee / And I just have to look away,” sings Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson. She admits she’s devastated. There are now “a million miles” between them.
“Black Coffee” is a woman’s lament about how lonesome and low she feels while she’s stuck at home, waiting for her man who is out “lovin’.” She hasn’t slept a wink. Instead, she can only “walk the floor and watch the door” as she waits for him with her “Sunday dreams” that she knows won’t come true. She smokes cigarettes to get by and pours herself black coffee to drown her regrets.
In Squeeze's “Black Coffee in Bed,” a song about moving on from a departed lover, coffee provides both a reminder of the old relationship and the promise of a new one. The singer is reminded of his former lover by a coffee cup stain on his notebook, but despite the hurt and anger that he feels, he tells her he’s “back on the beat” with “fire in my eyes.” He claims that he’ll miss nothing of her love, that the coffee stain on the notebook is all that remains “Of the memory of late nights / And coffee in bed.” And more than that, he says there will be a “stain on my notebook / For a new love tonight.”
“Java Jive” is a high-spirited ode to coffee in which the singer enthusiastically professes his love for “java” (and tea too, but it’s really about coffee). The love is mutual: “I love coffee, I love tea / I love the java jive and it loves me.” And it’s not just the coffee he loves: he also loves coffee’s “jive” — meaning foolish, playful talk in the jazz slang of the era, as well as a popular style of 1930s big band jazz.
In this poignant song from Bob Dylan’s 1976 album Desire, the narrator asks for “one more cup of coffee” before he leaves the gypsy girl he loves. He knows she doesn’t return his love and affection, but he yearns to prolong his time with her. Complaining that “your heart is like an ocean / Mysterious and dark,” and “Your loyalty is not to me / But to the stars above,” he tells her that he is leaving to go to the “valley below.”