The Intersection

i-86e2b1f3c6ed9715ab8abba9d7773600-scorpions.jpgLast Saturday night, party animals that we are, some friends and I went on Rhapsody and searched for pop songs that mention “hurricanes.” Sweet Jesus, there were a lot of them. And a large percentage used “eye of a hurricane” as a bad love metaphor.

So we were inspired to make a hurricane music soundtrack, which we’ll be playing today at my D.C.-based party for Storm World. For pop culture mavens (like Sheril), here are the songs, beginning with the classic “The Hurricane” by Bob Dylan–which, of course, isn’t really about a hurricane, and which is the best song of the bunch IMHO. After the jump, I’ve included some lyrical selections, chosen mostly for their incredible badness:

Hurricane, Bob Dylan

(And She Said) Take Me Now, Justin Timberlake

Eye Of The Hurricane, Blue Oyster Cult

Hurricane, Joan Osborne

Hurricane Eye, Paul Simon

One Of The Survivors, The Kinks

Hurricane, Bette Midler

Hurricane, Bush

Sky Is Falling, Blackalicious

Rock You Like A Hurricane, Scorpions

Lost And Found, The Kinks

Pancake, Tori Amos

The Word “Hurricane,” Air

Hurricane, Lisa Loeb

Rain, KISS

Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More, The Allman Brothers Band

Hurricane Years, Alice Cooper

Strength To Endure, The Ramones

Cannibals, Mark Knopfler

When You Were Young, The Killers

Life Goes On, The Kinks

Otis Redding, Sara Evans

Savannah Fare You Well, Jimmy Buffett

(Hurricane) The Formal Weather Pattern, Something Corporate

All Hands, Blues Traveler

Lost In The Flood, Bruce Springsteen

Feels Like Rain, Buddy Guy

Novacane, Beck

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (…R.E.M.)

And now some lyrics. We turn to Justin Timberlake:

I’m like a hurricane

Just coasting along

You better grab me girl

I hope you take me now

Huh? On to….The Kinks:

Waiting for the hurricane

To hit New York City

Somebody said it’s hit the bay

This is the nitty gritty

Such effortless rhyming. And here’s Neil Young:

You are like a hurricane

There’s calm in your eye.

And I’m gettin’ blown away

To somewhere safer

where the feeling stays.

I want to love you but

I’m getting blown away.

See? I told you these lyrics were bad. Still, I don’t think Young is quite as unabashedly awful as the classic from the Scorpions:

It’s early morning

The sun comes out

Last night was shaking

And pretty loud

My cat is purring

And scratches my skin

So what is wrong

With another sin

The bitch is hungry

She needs to tell

So give her inches

And feed her well

More days to come

New places to go

I’ve got to leave

It’s time for a show

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane

What can you say about a song like that? Better not to, I think.

On to the most meteorologically explicit lyrics, from Air:

The word hurricane is the name given to natures strongest storm.
A hurricane occurs when high pressure and low pressure masses of air come in contact with one another.

There is often a significant difference in temperature between the two masses.
One mass is warm, while the other is cold.
The warmer air rises, and the cooler air falls.
Likewise, the low pressure area slides down the sides of the high pressure area.

They swirl in and around one another, creating the beginnings of the storm.

This just so happens to be spectacularly, totally wrong. Air doesn’t know the difference between hurricanes and extratropical cyclones. I’ve been complaining about bad hurricane metaphors, but bad hurricane facts are even worse.

I’ll leave you with something kind of profound, in its simplicity, one again from the Kinks:

Tornado, cyclone and hurricane

Can batter the houses with the thunder and rain.

Blizzards can blow; the waves hit the shore,

But the people recover and come back for more.


  1. #1 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    July 27, 2007

    How about the ’06 cover of the Skids The Saints Are Coming by Green Day and U2? It earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group.

    There is a house in New Orleans
    they call the Rising Sun
    And it’s been a house to many a poor boy
    and God, I know I’m one

    I cried to my daddy on the telephone
    how long now?
    Until the clouds unroll and you come down on the light wind
    will the shadows still remain since your descent
    your descent

    I cried to my daddy on the telephone
    How long now
    Until the clouds unroll and you come home
    The line went
    But the shadows still remain since your descent
    Your descent

    Ho, Cha, Hey

    The saints are coming
    The saints are coming

    I say no matter how I try
    I realize there’s no reply

    The saints are coming
    The saints are coming

    A drowning sorrow floods the deepest grief
    How long now
    Until a weather change condemns belief
    How long now
    When the night watchman is in the fleet
    What’s wrong now?

  2. #2 Chris Mooney
    July 27, 2007

    Ah…but it doesn’t mention “hurricane”…and was therefore missed by our search.

  3. #3 Kit Stolz
    July 27, 2007

    Might want to add Led Zeppelin’s version of the classic blues song “When the Levee Breaks,” which doesn’t mention hurricanes directly, but it’s about a New Orleans flood…and you know it rocks.

    If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
    If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
    When The Levee Breaks
    I’ll have no place to stay.

    Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
    Lord, mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
    Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,
    Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

    Don’t it make you feel bad
    When you’re tryin’ to find your way home,
    You don’t know which way to go?
    If you’re goin’ down South
    They go no work to do,
    If you don’t know about Chicago.

    Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
    Now, cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
    When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.

  4. #4 Joe Shelby
    July 27, 2007

    You missed one that *really* describes a hurricane: Mike Oldfield’s Five Miles Out (based on a true story of him trying to land a plane in a heavy storm). From 1982.

    What do you do when your falling you’ve got 30 degrees and your stalling out
    And its 24 miles to the beacon there’s a crack in the sky and the warnings out

    Don’t take that dive again
    Push through that band of rain

    Five miles out
    Just hold your heading true
    Got to get your finest out
    Your number 1 anticipating you

    Climbing out
    Just hold your heading true
    Got to get your finest out
    Your number 1 anticipating you

    [ spoken, through vocoder to sound like radio ]
    Mayday, Mayday, Mayday
    Calling all stations
    This is Golf Mike Oscar Victor Juliet
    In great difficulty

    The traffic controller is calling
    Victor Juliet your identity
    I have lost in the violet storm
    Communicate or squawk emergency

    Don’t take that dive again
    Push through that band of rain

    Lost in Static 18
    And the storm is closing in now
    Automatic 18 – Got to push through – Trapped in living hell

    Your a prisoner of the dark sky
    The propeller blades are still
    And the evil eye of the hurricane’s
    Coming in now for the kill

    Our hope’s with you – Rider in the blue

    Welcome’s waiting, We’re anticipating
    You’ll be celebrating, when you’re down, and breaking

    Climbing out – climbing climbing
    Five miles out – climbing climbing

    Five miles out
    Just hold your heading true
    Got to get your finest out
    Climbing Climbing

    [ repeats through fade out ]

  5. #5 Rien
    July 27, 2007

    Hm, I agree in principle, except that Neil Young is a genius even when he is bad–just look at his output from the eighties (Trans, anyone?).

  6. #6 Wes
    July 27, 2007

    A couple more for ya.

    Beastie Boys’ “Sure Shot” includes the lyric:

    Hurricane will cross fade on your ass and bust your ear drums

    And there’s also John Fogerty, “Walking in a Hurricane”:

    I’ll go walkin’ in a hurricane
    I’ll come crawlin’ in a drivin’ rain
    I’ll keep searchin’ ’til I go insane
    I got to have your love

  7. #7 Edward Furey
    July 27, 2007

    To bad you couldn’t get Johnny and the Hurricanes, an instrumental rock group from the late 50s and early 60s, whose big hit, “Red River Rock” still turns up every now and then on oldies radio.

  8. #8 Dano
    July 27, 2007

    My surefire hangover helper: aspirin _while_ you’re drinking, Chris. When your body metabolizes alcohol, it takes an OH group to do it. Aspirin is a good replacement.

    I have goobery botany stories behind aspirin too, but for another time. Enjoy the party sir.



  9. #9 Seth
    July 27, 2007

    Adding one to the list:

    “Dollar Day for New Orleans (Katrina Klap)”
    by Mos Def

    Listen homie, It’s dollar day in New Orleans,
    It’s where there water everywhere and people dead in the street (eet eets),
    And Mr. President he ’bout that cash,
    He got a policy for handlin’ the bruthas and trash,
    And if you poor you black,
    I laugh a laugh, they won’t give when you ask,
    You betta off on crack, dead or in jail, or with a gun in Iraq,
    And it’s as simple as that,
    No opinion my man it’s mathematical fact,
    Listen, a million poor since 2004,
    And they got illions and killions to waste on the War,
    And make you question what the taxes is for,
    Or the cost to reinforce the broke levee wall,
    Tell the boss he shouldn’t be the boss anymore

  10. #10 david
    July 28, 2007


    Have you listened to Young’s Like a Hurricane or just read the lyrics? It’s not only a great song but perhaps his best ever. It’s the song that made me a Neil fan over 25 years ago.

  11. #11 Chris Mooney
    July 29, 2007

    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    David–I admit the Neil Young song is much better listened to than read.

    Let me add another song, “Betsy,” from my fav New Orleans singer-songwriter Mike West:

    news reports said she was on her way

    and dad thought it a good idea to stay

    to see if she was worth all the fuss

    at 11 o’clock the wind just died

    and everybody on our block breathed a sigh

    of relief, thinkin’ she wasn’t gonna visit us

    mama even sent us all to bed

    me cursing her under my breath

    mama sayin’ “boy get in back and don’t you cuss”

    by midnight i was fast asleep

    lyin’ next to my sister lisa

    sleeping the sleep of the just

    then i heard the devil knockin’ on my window
    mama said “babe it’s only wind blowin'”
    i heard death rattling chains
    mama said “babe it’s only rain”
    i heard the gates of hell swing open
    mama said “babe that’s a screen door broken”
    i heard the devil knockin’ again
    next i knew we had a hurricane
    Betsy was a mean old lady, yeah she was
    meaner than my old man
    or my old man’s mama was
    well i thought i could take a beating, i thought could
    but betsy, that old lady whipped us good

    the next day was a hell of a sight
    no tellin’ how many died
    the water in our street ran four feet deep
    folks tried to save their automobiles
    lived for their cars and died by the wheel
    drowning in their drivers seats
    so next time that lady comes to town
    i tell you baby i ain’t hangin’ round
    you can catch my tail lights on the I10 heading west

    when i hear the devil knockin on my window
    don’t tell me its only wind blowin…

  12. #12 Len Gutman
    July 30, 2007

    You also missed Eye of the Hurricane by The Alarm. The album includes the title track and the song Rain in the Summertime. Here are some lyrics from Eye of the Hurricane:

    Love forsaken man, love forsaken land
    For god’s sake don’t look back
    Into the crucifix night
    The storm of a cross
    I live to love again and again
    All my life

    Oh eye of the hurricane
    I walk away in the wind and the rain
    Into the eye of the hurricane
    Face to face

    The view from the hill looks bleak from where i stand
    The waters are come in unto my soul
    I can’t cry no more my eyes are bone dry sore
    There’s a river of tears flowing down to the sea

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