Three for Free: Seattle Songs

Welcome to a new Shelf Talk series, Three For Free, in which we highlight three songs from the Freegal* collection for you to download and enjoy!

I thought I’d kick this series off with a few songs about Seattle. From Perry Como to Nirvana, many artists have sung odes to our fair city. Here’s a few lesser-known gems that you probably haven’t heard before. Check ‘em out!

  1. “Black Ball Ferry Line” – Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters, 1951 (in Freegal, search “Song” for “black ball ferry line”). Listen to this catchy little tune, written back when the Black Ball Line operated most of Seattle’s ferries, and you’ll be convinced that there’s nothing more fun than a ferry ride around the Puget Sound! My favorite part is the ferry boat roll call, in which they name-check the Kalakala (pictured above), queen of the Black Ball fleet.
  2.  “The Last One to Leave Seattle” – Waylon Jennings, 1973 (search “Song” for “last one to leave Seattle”).  Although the chorus is a sly nod to the most infamous billboard in Seattle history, Jennings’ mournful song blames Seattle’s honky-tonks, not its economic woes, for stealing his baby and breaking his heart.  
  3. “The Emerald City” – Kid Sensation, 1992 (click on Advanced Search, enter “Kid Sensation” under “Artist” and “The Emerald City” under “Song”). These days, the Seattle hip-hop scene has serious national cred, but back in 1992 it was viewed with slightly more skepticism. Kid Sensation, the “lady killer” in Sir Mix-A-Lot’s classic “Posse On Broadway,” defends his city’s rep in this old school jam.  

What are your favorite Seattle songs? Tell us in the comments! (Bonus points if you can find them in Freegal!)

*Freegal is a downloadable music service that offers access to approximately 3 million songs, including the Sony Music catalog. The collection changes daily and covers thousands of artists on over 10,000 labels with music that originates in over 60 countries. Library cardholders can download up to three songs a week on their computer, flash drive or mobile device (via the Freegal app). There is no software to download and song files can be transferred to multiple devices, burned to disc and never expire. You must have a Seattle Public Library card and PIN in order to access the service.

This entry was posted in CULTURE, local history, LOCAL INTEREST, MUSIC and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Three for Free: Seattle Songs

  1. David W says:

    When I was a kid, we used to have a see-thru yellow vinyl 45 of Stan Boreson singing “I Love Seattle.” (VERY hard to find). And as a public transit guy, I like Joe Metro

  2. BrassyMomma says:

    Yay Kalakala!

  3. Bruce Greeley says:

    Jessica Williams – “Chief Seattle Blues”!
    Tom Waits – “Small Change got rained on with his own .38” includes these lines:
    “[while] the cops are telling jokes about some whorehouse in Seattle…”

  4. David Lasky says:

    Robyn Hitchcock’s “Viva Sea-Tac!”

  5. Hannah says:

    “Aurora Bridge” by the Young Fresh Fellows (YAY! It’s in Freegal!) and “Belltown Ramble” by Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3, which mentions the Crocodile, Two Bells, and a certain pink rotating elephant.

  6. Megan Coughlin says:

    “Slick Watts” by the Blue Scholars…sadly not in Freegal.

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