of New Orleans
CRESCENT CITY CLASSICS
(SPECIAL MILLENNIUM EDITION)
Best New Orleans Song of the
"New Orleans Ladies"
"Do You Know What It Means
to Miss New Orleans?"
"They All Ask'd for
OUR PICKS: At first,
nobody wanted to record our readers' choice for the best
New Orleans song of the century. Leon Medica, the tune's
co-writer and producer, recalls that he and Hoyt Garrick had
composed the tune for a French musician named Dick Rivers, who
was looking for some New Orleans-themed material. Rivers passed
on it, and when Medica took the song to his own band, LeRoux,
lead singer Jeff Pollard wasn't interested either. But the
band played it live, and audience response was overwhelming;
when LeRoux recorded the song, it went to No. 1 for about a
month in the Southeast region and scored on charts around the
country. Currently, Medica is producing a new album for Cajun
Rocker Wayne Toups, and a French version of "New Orleans
Ladies" is in the mix.
Readers chose "Do You
Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" for second and
the Meters' homage to the Audubon Zoo, "They All Ask'd
for You," as third.
We decided on "Do You Know
What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" as the century's
best. Written by Eddie DeLange and Louis Alter, the unforgettable
song debuted in the very forgettable movie "New Orleans,"
and became a signature piece for Louis Armstrong. Its wistful
melody and plaintive lyrics provide the perfect counterpoint
to the town's usual musical party. For second place, we
chose "Iko-Iko," a Mardi Gras Indian chant that has
traveled the world in versions by the Dixie Cups, the Neville
Brothers, the Grateful Dead and Cyndi Lauper. Third place was
tricky: "Walkin' to New Orleans?" "Big Chief?" "My
Darlin' New Orleans?" Anything by Professor Longhair
or James Booker? In the end, we want to be in that number, so
we have to go with "When the Saints Go Marchin' In."
The spiritual has come to symbolize everything about the city
from its pro football team to the spiritual faith of its citizens.