ANOTHER MUSICAL MUSING, 14 April 2023–“Smoke Used to Get Into Our Eyes”

After writing and posting my so-called “musical musings” for the past six or so years, I find myself searching my bookcases and trolling the internet in search of topics I haven’t touched on before.  I do revamp some of my earlier postings by adding new YouTubes and images as well as commentary on life in our trying times; but, every once in a while, I stumble across something a tad different that might be fun to share—sometimes questionable, sometimes off limits (to only a few, I hope), and, suffice it to say, sometimes just plain tacky.

So, friends and neighbors, be forewarned! 

Times being what they are, however, a bit of tacky might be just what we need.

So, gentle readers, here is a take on that once glamorous, now ugly habit of smoking and how tobacco seems to have permeated life and music over the decades. 

This is certainly not an endorsement of a nasty, unhealthy habit for the youth of America But, bear with me as I light up.  Tacky-tak-tak, here goes!

Needless to say, there are many, many songs about smoke and smoking. To make things simpler, however, I’m just going to focus on the most ubiquitous–cigarettes. And I’ll touch as little as possible on what might–by a few of you gentle readers out there–be considered as “recreational” puffing. Alas, increasingly prevalent in these modern times and in our Happy Valley!

So, click or tap on the triangle in the next image for our first musical puff!

Now let’s move on to something a bit more musically sophisticated, to say the least.

Tap or click on the triangle in the next image for this one. Not really about cigarettes but the quintessential “smoke” song. Who else but Fred, Ginger, and Jerome.

And there are a few dozen others out there. I don’t know about the music but the images are fun!

And then there are songs specifically about cigarettes,

Tap or click on the triangle in the next image to join in.

Here’s another.

Click or tap on the triangle in the next image to light this one up.

Or how about cigarettes the old fashioned way, the way my grandfathers did it. With “makins,” you can roll your own!


About a bit more than rolling cigarettes, but a good commentary on the fashions of the day. Click or tap on the triangle in the next image for a prurient peek-a-boo.

And, where would we be without John Wayne? I tread a bit close to the boundaries on this but, what would Willie Nelson say? Click or tap on the triangle in the next image anyway.

And then, there is the moralistic take on smoking, and a couple of other related things of which I–and I assume more than a few of us–have little or no objection.

This song is pure country but here it is by–of all folks–The Muppets. Click or tap on the triangle in the next image for a bit of puppety fun!

And, course, there are a few sheet music images of ladies puffing away and obviously not singing.

And, how about a musical cigarette pack! Probably sold for about 25 cents in those days.

Now we have to dig into the collection of ukulele photos to take a peek at some of the glamorous guys with their omnipresent cigarettes! As they say, “there’s something about a sailor!”

Landlubbers too!

And of course some of the big names of ukuleledom. Here’s Arthur Godfrey “making love, ukulele style.”

And, finally, a new use for a ukulele–a cigarette holder! He’s not called “Ukulele Ike” for nothing.

Fair warning: This little journey into the mix of tobacco and music is certainly not an endorsement of consuming tobacco products in any form.  Tobacco, smoking, and related songs are part of musical history but, unlike history, we don’t have to inhale. 

But the music sure was fun, so let me repeat a tune and make sure to leave you with a musical earworm! Click on the triangle in the next image for a good old-time banjo version of our first song by nonother than “Grampa Jones.”

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke in music land. So, stay safe, stay home, stay busy, stay viceless (sort of), and STAY TUNED!  

Author: NohoBanjo of Northampton and, now, Easthampton, Mass.

Hi friends, neighbors, and fellow strummers. These “musings” are based on my interest and study of Banjo and Ukulele history, lore, and music. My goal is to both educate and enlighten by sharing what I have learned within a broad musical and historical context—with honesty and, at times, a bit of humor. Needless to say, your thoughts and comments are, as always, welcome.

One thought on “ANOTHER MUSICAL MUSING, 14 April 2023–“Smoke Used to Get Into Our Eyes””

  1. I had a freshman roommate in college who started chain smoking, from never smoking before college, then she started eating in the dorm room, and putting the food wrappers, orange peels and greasy packages in the room wastebasket, with her added cigarette butts to warm her garbage collection in the room trashcan. The smell drove the other two of us out of the room, and we made a lot of friends with the others in the dorm who felt sorry for us. Needless to say, I was never tempted to smoke for the rest of my life!

    Thanks so much for the memories of those Fred Astaire dance numbers!


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