Mississippi River rolled onto The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist this week.
Paul Davis may have had bigger hits with the pop tunes I Go Crazy and ’65 Love Affair in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but Mississippi River resonates with the late singer-songwriter’s fans in his hometown of Meridian and across the state.
In Round 10, Mississippi River received 46 percent of the votes. Another native son, Mac McAnally, came in second with 31 percent of the votes cast for his song Back Where I Come From. Other runners-up were I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) by Howlin’ Wolfe, 12 percent, and Mississippi by the Charlie Daniels Band, 11 percent.
The Playlist salutes the significance of Mississippi music during our state’s bicentennial celebration. Songs selected in previous rounds of voting include Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore, Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley, Hello Darlin’ by Conway Twitty, Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette, Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett, Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry, The Thrill is Gone by B.B. King and Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson.
Next up, four new nominees, all featuring native Mississippians singing the blues, R&B, rock and country: Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters, I Wanna Be Down by Brandy, Misery Business by Paramore and Mississippi in July by Charlie Worsham
You can listen to the new entries and vote for your favorite on mississippitoday.org. You also can vote on our Twitter account. Every two weeks through the fall, a fresh ballot of four new nominees will be published.
To be nominated, songs must be about Mississippi or performed by Mississippi artists. All of the contenders were selected by Mississippi music experts, Mississippi Today and The ‘Sip magazine.
CONTENDERS IN ROUND 11
• Hoochie Coochie Man was first recorded by Issaquena County native Muddy Waters in 1954. The song, which was written by Vicksburg native Willie Dixon and is replete with references to hoodoo folk magic, became one of Waters’ most popular songs. It also helped secure Dixon as Chess Records’ chief songwriter. Waters was recorded in Mississippi by Alan Lomax, an American ethnomusicologist, for the Library of Congress in 1941. In 1943, he moved to Chicago to become a full-time professional musician, and his talent earned him the reputation as the father of modern Chicago blues. Hoochie Coochie Man is one of Waters’ first recordings with a full backing band. Numerous musicians have recorded Hoochie Coochie Man in a variety of styles over the years, making it one of the most interpreted Waters and Dixon songs.
• I Wanna Be Down, by McComb native Brandy Norwood (known professionally simply as Brandy), was the singer’s first single. It was released in 1994 on her self-titled debut album, which was certified quadruple platinum in the United States and sold 6 million copies worldwide. I Wanna Be Down spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart in the United States and reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 20 in Australia and New Zealand. A hip-hop remix with new vocals from rappers MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and Yo-Yo was released in 1995. Norwood, who also starred in the TV show Moesha, won a Grammy Award for her second album, Never Say Never. She continues to perform I Wanna Be Down in almost of all of her concerts. Her breakthrough song is also featured on the compilation album The Best of Brandy released in 2005.
• Paramore’s Misery Business is the rock band’s lead single from its second studio album, Riot!, which was released in 2007. The song, based on a phrase heard in the Stephen King-adapted psycho-thriller film Misery, peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 26 in January 2008, making it the band’s highest-charting single until Ain’t It Fun reached No. 10 in 2014. It also peaked at No. 3 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. On July 25, 2015, the song was certified triple-platinum in the United States and was the first of the band’s songs to have sold 3 million units. Paramore was formed in 2004 in Franklin, Tenn., and is fronted by Meridian native Hayley Williams. The band has received four Grammy Award nominations and won a Grammy for Best Rock Song for Ain’t It Fun in 2015.
• Charlie Worsham wrote Mississippi in July for a friend’s wedding. In the song, Worsham, who was born in Jackson and grew up in Grenada, describes the landscape of the Mississippi Delta. Mississippi in July also appeared on Worsham’s debut country album, Rubberband, in 2013. Worsham has toured with Taylor Swift and opened for country stars Miranda Lambert and Wade Bowen. Worsham’s second album, Beginning of Things, was released in April.