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My dad has been listening through some of his old CDs. It’s not easy finding older music on the radio. Our biggest oldies station recently decided to go all classic rock. One he’s been playing a lot is a best of Neil Diamond compilation, which includes the song “Cracklin’ Rosie”. One line in the song talks about a “store-bought woman” and I was wondering what the heck that meant. So I went to the internet for answers…and I’m not sure I got it.

I typed “store bought woman” into Google and the website Songfacts came up. I went to a similar site when I looked at Duran Duran’s “The Reflex”, a gibberish song that it turned out was about nothing since it was written while the band members were drunk off their backsides, and for some reason decided to record it anyway. Granted, it worked for them and it was a hit for them, but that’s some odd reasoning. “This song makes no sense and we aren’t a novelty band. Let’s release it anyway.” How long were they drunk? Actually, this fits better than you think since wine is the biggest translation of the line, but not the only one…because people like their naughty thoughts. Wait until this series gets to “Pass The Duche”.

So what does Cracklin’ Rosie sound like to you? Some of the respondents on Songfacts tried to go the sexual route, that Rosie was either a prostitute or blow-up doll. Then again that last one was based on the Jackson Brown song “Rosie”, so you’ll pardon me if I’m not accepting that one. It’s like trying to use “Major Tom (Coming Home)” to explain “Space Oddity”. Unless “Rosie” has nothing to do with “Cracklin’ Rosie”, in which case it’s more like using Philip Philip’s “Home” to explain “Coming Home”.

The going answer however is that Cracklin’ Rosie is a type of wine, possibly cheap wine. From the site:

“Cracklin’ Rosie” is a bottle of wine. Diamond got the idea for the song from a folk story of an Indian tribe in Northern Canada who had more men than women. He told David Wild at Rolling Stone: “On Saturday nights when they go out, the guys all get their girl; the guys without girls get a bottle of Cracklin’ Rosie, that’s their girl for the weekend.”

This seems to be confirmed in the comments as one of the posters mentions another interview. From the post by Phil from Victoria, Canada:

The following is a direct quote from what appears on the album “Love Songs” a compilation of Neil Diamond songs produced in 2002… I have it right in front of me, so if you don’t believe it, do your research!

“In DIAMOND, A BIOGRAPHY, Diamond is quoted as saying “Cracklin’ Rosie” is an interesting story. During an interview I had with a girl who was working with a newspaper in Canada, she told me that her parents were medical missionaries on the Indian reservations in northern Canada. And she began to tell me what their lives were like and what experiences they had. She told me that on one of the reservations there were more man than women, and come the weekends or holidays, a lot of men were out of luck – there weren’t enough girls to go around. And so they would go down to their general store, and they would buy a bottle of very inexpensive wine called Crackling RosÃ?. This wine became their woman for the weekend, and they called their woman “Cracklin’ Rosie”. And that’s what the song was about.” Phil. From British Columbia, Canada.”

The confirmation comes from Annie, from London, who claims to have been the one to do that interview. Not that it stopped people mind you. Even among the pro-wine explanation there were people trying to say it was about a hobo’s wine choice, while someone else claimed that Diamond has changed his story on other songs.

Personally, I go with the wine theory, whether it was Native Americans who couldn’t get a date or hobos looking to stay warm on the long trek. Not only is it in two actual interviews with Diamond but he doesn’t strike of pulling a “She Bop” like Cindi Lauper did. As other posters mentioned, the character in the song gets drunk and starts singing. I suppose someone thought prostitute because of “if it lasts for an hour that’s all right”, but I’m not sure how long you stay drunk on Crackling RosÀ. I tried wine once, and the short version is that it was such a huge mistake that I swore off alcohol altogether. Granted (I’m using that word a lot tonight) I was a kid with sensitive taste buds and they stored a very strong wine in a soda bottle, but I’m still not the guy to ask about the effects on wine. That stuff never made it down my throat.

What do you think? He’s talking about getting drunk or getting laid?


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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