5 songs every Buffalonian should know
Somewhere, over the Erie Canal, it’s a wild weekend to know the name of a super freak. (Everybody
"Erie Canal Song" / Written by Thomas S. Allen / 1905
Generations of school children knew the words to this song before they understood that the Erie Canal was an integral part of their heritage. Also known as "15 Miles on the Erie Canal" or "15 Years on the Erie Canal," the song commemorated 100 years of life along the canal. Sing it with us: "I've got a mule, her name is Sal ..."
"Over the Rainbow" / Written by Harold Arlen / 1938
He was born Hyman Arluck in Buffalo, and the world might not remember his name, but it sure remembers the song he and lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg wrote in 1938 for the MGM film "The Wizard of Oz." The pair won the Academy Award for the unforgettable song that launched the career of Judy Garland.
"Wild Weekend" / The Rockin' Rebels / 1960
"Wild Weekend" was written by high school students Russ Hallett, Aldo Brozzetti and Jack Sinchaski. WKBW disc jockey Tom Shannon, who needed a theme song for his show at the time, contacted the group to do the piece. It was released on Shannon's Marlee Records label in 1960 but had only regional success. Two years later the track was re-issued on Swan Records and reached No. 8 on the national charts.
"Super Freak" / Rick James / 1981
The Buffalo-born James was already a known performer when his 1981 album "Give it to Me Baby" launched him to superstar status. "Super Freak" spent 10 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at No. 16. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song 477 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
"Name" / Goo Goo Dolls / 1995
This song and the album on which it was featured catapulted the Goos from alternative band to pop stars. In October 2012, "Name" was ranked 24 on Billboard's "Top 100 Pop Songs 1992-2012."