Why is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Is the movie Swingers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy partially responsible for my moving to the west coast from NYC? It’s a long story…
What does Big Bad Voodoo Daddy mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Swingers was a big deal of a movie for my friends and I back in the day. You have to understand, the mid-‘90s was essentially pre-Internet. “Viral content” meant VHS tapes that got passed hand to hand in terms of “Dude, you’ve gotta see this flick,” if you can dig.
I didn’t see Swingers in the movie theater. It might have been my friend Jake, a guy usually hip to hip things, who sat me down to watch it for the first time. I was hooked right away. Even though the movie is inherently about LA (and a hilarious satire of life in LA for wannabe actors), we Gen X kids in New York could fundamentally relate to the comedic trials and romantic misadventures of Mikey (Jon Favreau), Trent (Vince Vaughn), and crew.
Music is really important to Swingers, of course: it’s packed with retro swinging songs and funk jams that gave it a super specific flavor that matches the breezily cool vibe of the characters in the movie. Two of the best songs on the Swingers soundtrack are Big Bad Voodoo Daddy tunes: “You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)” and “Go Daddy O.” And, unsurprisingly, those are the best songs on the self-titled Big Bad Voodoo Daddy album.
The band is both name checked and featured in the movie, too, as are a number of legendary Los Angeles haunts such as the Brown Derby (now shuttered) and the Dresden.
That’s Heather Graham as Lorraine out there on the dance floor with our now old groweds up boy, Mikey.
My good friend and future best man Adam and I embarked on a five-week road trip in the late ‘90s, my end funded in part by student loan money after I dropped out of my first bid at attending graduate school at Stony Brook University on Long Island.
When we arrived in Los Angeles, we didn’t have much of an agenda beyond, “Let’s go to the places that were in Swingers.” This seemed completely sane and normal to us at the time, of course. We hit the Dresden and were bitterly disappointed to have missed the legendary Marty and Elayne (also featured in Swingers) performing. Thankfully, I would catch them a few times in later years.
And we hit the Brown Derby, where Adam met a girl. Long story short: they began a tumultuous long distance relationship that would last close to a year or so. Before they broke up, Adam and I – for reasons that remain in some ways obfuscated in mystery – decided after a multi-hour conversation at the New Bel Aire Diner in Astoria, Queens that we would move to San Francisco. And (somehow) Adam’s girl (Katie) would end up moving up there from LA as well.
So move cross-country we did. Adam and Katie broke up after Adam and I trekked down from San Francisco to LA so that he could see her and (I guess?) help her make arrangements. We slept in my car in the San Fernando Valley for a few nights (fun!).
And now very long story somewhat longer: Adam, his friend from New York Felice, and I moved in together in Berkeley, up in the San Francisco Bay Area’s east bay. I met my now wife within a year, and Adam moved back to the east coast where he eventually met his own future wife.
Swingers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy really do play a small yet vital role in this story.
Here’s a final song from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the fun and jumping “Mr. Pinstripe Suit.”
(More) PERSONAL/Pop culture things that have something to do with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
My aforementioned wife and I caught Big Bad Voodoo Daddy live at Anaheim’s House of Blues sometime in the 2000s, and they were fantastic. I do wish I could have seen them at the Brown Derby at some point, however.
Some stats & info about Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? SoCal Bands, Pop Music, Retro Swing
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 2.5 out of 5 stars(!!)
- When was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy released? 1994
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #750 out of 1,000
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.