Friday Five: Matadors

Juli Thanki | December 16th, 2011

Get your red capes ready, because we’re celebrating the figure that’s captivated Ernest Hemingway, Carmen aficionados, and these five artists.

5. Sylvia – “The Matador”

Damn if this disco-flavored 1981 single isn’t catchy—cheesy cheering audience and all—which is maybe why it was the first music video that aired on CMT back when CMT still showed music videos.

 

4. Elvis Presley – “The Bullfighter Was a Lady”

As far as Elvis movies go, the 1963 film Fun in Acapulco is no Blue Hawaii, which was totally Presley’s Citizen Kane, but it’s got a few entertaining songs, including “El Toro” and this one about a bull, Pedro,  who falls in creepy, cross-species love with his opponent inside the ring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfZdoCzIuUg

 

3. Billy Walker – “Viva la Matador!”

Walker’s joined by The Crickets on this fun little rock ‘n’ roll tune. The life of a famous bullfighter, with its ornate, sparkly suits, cheering spectators and adoring women, sounds a bit like country music stardom, just with a greater chance of being gored and/or disfigured.

 

2. Gretchen Peters – “The Matador”

This song from Peters’ upcoming album Hello Cruel World perfectly describes the violent beauty of the centuries old ritual of bullfighting: “He’s beautiful when he’s in the ring/The devil howls, the angels sing/Sparks fly from his fingertips/Words like birds fly from his lips.”

 

1. Johnny Cash – “The Matador”

This single went to #2 for Cash in 1963. It’s all about a guy whose girl, Anita, is watching the fight from the stands with her new man. But the bullfighter vows to put on a fantastic show to remind Anita he’s still the greatest matador. Girls love it when you kill things in front of them. Just…not their cat.

  1. Barry Mazor
    December 16, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I would like to mention and add Garland Jeffreys’ “Matador”:

    ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSSqcuuDZoU

  2. Barry Mazor
    December 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Obviously, that should be:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSSqcuuDZoU

  3. Baron Lane
    December 16, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Nice list, but you omitted the excellent “The Matador” by The White Buffalo from the Sons of Anarchy Season 3 Finale – http://goo.gl/cFZIA

  4. Ken Morton, Jr.
    December 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    One of my favorite Charlie Daniels Band tracks is “El Toreador.” In that one, the bull gets revenge.

Tagged In This Article

// // // //

Current Discussion

  • Leeann Ward: Sheesh, Paul, that's a random/strange dig!
  • Jack Williams: After reading that New Yorker article, I canceled my pre-order of the Basement Tapes box set. I love Bob …
  • Leeann Ward: Wow! How terrible for Dixie Hall and Tom.
  • Ken Morton, Jr.: Another twisted collection of songs to put into the Friday Five Hall of Fame, Juli.
  • Arlene: I'd have included "Omie Wise." Doc Watson's is the version I'm familiar with but I think it's been recorded by …
  • luckyoldsun: I think the number one country murder ballad is "Frankie and Johnny"--by Jimmie. Also, how about "Delia's Gone" from Harry Belafonte …
  • Juli Thanki: Colloquial use of "fantastic" as a synonym for "excellent" dates back to the 1930s. And if it's good enough for …
  • Paul W Dennis: I think "Banks of The Ohio", "Miller's Cave" and "It's Nothing to Me" are far creepier than several of the …
  • Paul W Dennis: The Hight article is interesting, although I don't know that I would describe it as fantastic, but then I know …
  • Dana M: I'm actually excited to hear a new Reba album. As for the Alan Jackson tour, I hope he announces Canadian …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern