Friday Five: Songs About Change

Juli Thanki | June 19th, 2009

This Friday we’re talking about change. No, not the buzzword that got so much attention during last November’s election, but those little metal discs under your sofa cushions and in your pockets. You can’t get much for under a buck these days; even downloading these tracks will set you back a few bills. But they’re worth it.

  • The Wilkinsons - Nothing But Love 5. “26 Cents” – The Wilkinsons
    Remember this Canadian family band? Debut single “26 Cents” was also their most successful song in the U.S., reaching #3 in 1998. It told the story of a young girl striking out on her own, relying on the comfort of the two coins her mama gave her: “a penny for her thoughts and a quarter for the call.” Sorry, there’s something in my eye…
  • David Davis - Two Dimes and a Nickel 4. “Two Dimes and A Nickel” – David Davis & The Warrior River Boys
    Whiskey and gambling lead John Hardy to kill a man over 25 cents. What goes around comes around, though, in this bluegrass tune: the end of the song finds him on the gallows. Justice sure is speedy in country music!
  • Gin Palace Jesters - Honky Tonk Fool 3. “Nashville Penny” – The Gin Palace Jesters
    Chicago’s best (fronted by “Pennsylvania Dave” Sisson, natch) deliver some chin-up advice on this infectious honkytonker: “If one grain of sand started the Sahara/One penny’s the beginning of a million dollar dream.”
  • Wynn Stewart - The Best of Wynn Stewart 2. “Heartaches For A Dime” – Wynn Stewart
    One of the Bakersfield Sound’s pioneers shines on this Harlan Howard-penned tune. In Stewart’s day, a phone call only cost ten cents, leading to this heartbreaker: “I called you on the phone to say I love you/And that I’d stop by for you at nine/My heart broke when you said it’s all over/That someone else would take up all your time.” Wynn’s right: that IS an awful lot of heartaches for a dime.
  • Travis Tritt - Greatest Hits 1. “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” – Travis Tritt
    If it were written today, this 1991 hit would probably be called “Twitter At Someone Who Gives A Crap.” Pay phones—when you can find them—no longer cost 25 cents a call, but this song is still one of Tritt’s best.
  1. Sam G.
    June 19, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Robbie Fulks, “(I Love) Nickels and Dimes”: Spare change amounts to a bunch of 5-cent kisses from his girl. No word on what a quarter gets you.

  2. Rick
    June 19, 2009 at 10:53 am

    How about Nanci Griffith’s “Love at the Five and Dime”? One of my favorite coin lyrics comes from the old bluegrass song “If I Lose” where it goes “If I lose a hundred dollars while I’m trying to win a dime, my baby she’s got money all the time!” (lol)

  3. Paul W Dennis
    June 19, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Del Reeves – “One Dime At A Time”

    Jimmie Rodgers – “Desert Blues” aka “Big Chief Buffalo Nickel” (Rick Nelson also recorded this song)

    Larry Gatlin “Penny Annie”

  4. Peter
    June 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Waylon Jennings/Billy Joe Shaver: “Old Five & Dimers Like Me”

  5. Jim Malec
    June 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    This was written by Juli, not me.

  6. Michael
    June 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I shudder to remember it, but Doug Stone’s “Addicted to a Dollar (That Ain’t Worth a Dime)”

  7. Brady Vercher
    June 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Ain’t but three things in this world that’s worth a solitary dime…

    The lines about change in “Strawberry Roan” always stood out to me as a kid.

    Guy Clark has “Nickel for the Fiddler” and “Indian Head Penny.” There’s the title track, “Dollars and Dimes,” from Owen Temple’s latest. A few more:

    Johnny Paycheck – “Down to My Last Dime”
    Hawkshaw Hawkins – “Put a Nickel in the Jukebox”
    Porter Wagoner – “One Dime for Wine”

  8. Rick
    June 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I assume Monica Passin’s (ie Li’l Mo) great honky tonk song “Twice The Lovin'” was written awhile back. The dead giveaway is the lyric “I’m gonna buy me a one way ticket, they only cost a dime. I’m goin’ where I can get twice the lovin’ baby in half the time”. (lol) The reference to “A stitch in time saves nine” seems to confirm this as an older song as well…

  9. Steve Harvey
    June 19, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I would’ve included Gary Allan’s ‘I Got A Quarter In My Pocket’.

  10. Matt B.
    June 20, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Redmon & Vale had a song called “If I Had A Nickel (One Thin Dime).”

    Carrie Underwood’s “Just A Dream” has the line about “Two Pence In her Shoe…”

  11. Lazeras
    June 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    There was a song that had these lyrics in it

    “I guess it’s true that love was all you wanted
    cause you’ve given it away like it’s extra change
    hoping it will end up in his pocket
    but he leaves you out like a penny in the rain”

Tagged In This Article

// // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Roger: Fabulous interview and fantastic new music that I will listen to over and over again.
  • Applejack: It's not just you, Andrew L. I just listened to the clips on Amazon, and the autotune effect is terrible.
  • Andrew L.: Is it just me or does Strait sound horribly autotuned on the clips for the new live album? I can't …
  • Juli Thanki: You'll get to hear it pretty soon: The Wall Street Journal is going to stream the album on their website …
  • Leeann Ward: Way to go to David Cantwell for getting a name drop! Great interview, Juli! Womack's new album is awesome! I've not always …
  • Jonathan Pappalardo: Great interview as always, Juli! The new album is fantastic. "Same Kind of Different" is my favorite cut although "Fly" is …
  • Dave D.: Good interview. Looking forward to the new record, and particularly interested in hearing her version of Brennen Leigh's "Sleeping with …
  • nm: I guess it's not surprising that a singer who gets her songs all over the place, the way Womack does, …
  • SunsetPark: As a Pennsylvanian to this day, thanks for the list. I haven't heard the Quecreek song and so can't …
  • Paul W Dennis: I would urge readers to check out the Billy Edd Wheeler salute on October 18, 2014. Billy Edd Wheeler is …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis
  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky