Campaigns against cigarette smoking had been around since time immemorial. They grow with time as the increasing need to broaden everyone’s awareness of its adverse health effects arises. Most of these advocacies were directly centered on the effects that cigarette smoking had on human’s health. A lot of advertisements have been created and dispersed across various media in an attempt to discourage individuals from engaging in such vice.
Over seventy years ago, two creative artists used music to confront the inventor of the cigarette. Accordingly, Merle Travis and Tex Williams came together to write a song on this theme. They ended up with a tune they called “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette).” It was Williams who recorded the song’s original version in 1947. Being an occasional smoker, himself, Williams focused his concern on the addictive effect of cigarette on the nicotine slaves. That means, the singer had shunned from discussing the cigarette’s health-related consequences. Listen to Williams’ recording of the song below.
Details of the Song
In the song, the narrator presented two scenarios involving the characters with nicotine craving. One is a scene showing a tense poker game and another that portrays a date with a lovely lady. Both situations appeared interrupted due to a character wanting to smoke. There are instances in life where such a scenario could randomly occur. Someone’s need to satisfy their craving for a cigarette could easily disrupt an activity’s momentum. Hence, what’s supposed to be a perfect moment between two people was wasted due to the nicotine craving. That’s what the singer would like to point out at the very beginning of the song.
Now I’m a fellow with a heart of gold
With the ways of a gentleman I’ve been told
A kind of a fellow that wouldn’t even harm a flea
But if me and a certain character met
That guy that invented the cigarette
I’d murder that son of a gun in the first degree
Considered a Western novelty swing song, “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” incorporated Williams talking blues style. That approach is just fit for the song’s theme and message. This element, without a doubt, was a contributory factor to the song’s journey up the chart. The song eventually reached the highest spot of the country chart in 1947. For 16 non-consecutive weeks, it enjoyed the chart’s summit. Furthermore, “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” was named a No. 1 hit of August 1947. Apart from that, the song was a top hit on the Best Sellers in Stores list for six weeks. Various artists had since covered the song including Hank Thompson, Jimmy Dean, and Willie Nelson, among others. Some of the song’s covers also reached the country charts. Below is Jimmy Dean’s version.
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Jimmy Dean, Merle Travis, Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette), Tex Williams