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The "ER": Songs To Add To The Letter For The Joker and The Boxer

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Bobby Bare Took a Different Approach About Winning On A Country Classic


My favorite radio segment this week really gave me food for thought, as they linked rock songs by a common thread. Called the Fox lunch box at WOFX in Cincinnati, the station played three classics with two word titles beginning with “the” and ending with “er.”

First up was “The Joker” by Steve Miller, followed by “The Letter.” The disc jockey chose the Joe Cocker version over the original by the Box Tops, finishing the set with Simon and Garfunkel's “The Boxer.”

The remainder of my lunch period I spent making a list of others that could have been chosen, including two by Billy Joel. His follow up single after the Piano Man album was “The Entertainer,” and also qualifying would have been the title track from The Stranger.

Here are fifteen more songs with two word titles starting with the definite article “the” and ending with “er.”

1. The Butcher by Radiohead

While yet to appear on an album, Thom Yorke and friends released this slice of musical beef as the b-side of “Supercollider.”

2. The Thresher by Phil Ochs

Instead of his usual satire directed at the Vietnam War, the folk singer here created a somber account of a wrecked ship that took many lives.

3. The Pretender by Jackson Browne

A few years before attaining Gold status with Running On Empty, the friend of the Eagles scored a hit with this album and the single “Here Come Those Tears Again.”

4. The Imposter by Elvis Costello

“He's got double vision when you want him double-jointed” quips the pun master on this track, making it a perfect fit for the frequent word play throughout Get Happy.

5. The River by Bruce Springsteen

Its title track was not the biggest hit, but this collection of songs was the most successful release from the Boss since Born To Run.

6. The Snooter by Travis Bretzer

Indie favorite Bretzer debuted with Bitter Suites, available only on cassette, which opened with this gem.

7. The Lockkeeper by John Gorka

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Writing in the Margins features these lines about an elderly couple looking back on their long, fulfilling marriage.

8. The Whistler by Jethro Tull

Actually he plays flute, but on this Songs From the Wood single Ian Anderson adopts the persona of the title character

9. The Wanderer by Dion and the Belmonts

“I'm the kind of guy who likes to roam around,” sings Dion in the opening of this standard, later reappearing in the Top Ten as covered by Eddie Rabbit.

10. The Loner by Neil Young

His self-titled solo debut demonstrates the Canadian folk-rocker's comfort without his two prior bands, and this single clearly proves it.

11. The Dealer by Stevie Nicks

Bella Donna, home of “Leather and Lace” and “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”, also holds this underappreciated track.

12. The Runner by Kings of Leon

In 2007 the alternative rock outfit gave us Because of the Times, a strong album because of the tracks like this one.

13. The Painter by Chris Deburgh

Years before he MTV made him a household with “don't Pay the Ferryman, the Brit rocker hit the charts in 1975 with this tune and the rest of Spanish Train and Other Stories

14. The Teacher by Paul Simon

Simon himself once said he would like to have been a teacher, a profession he wrote about on this track from You're the One.

15. The Winner by Bobby Bare

Good old country sarcasm highlights this classic, an unexpected take on the title.

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