Top 11 Sugar Songs

Jul 22, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

When we blogged about how all different types of sugar can lead to tooth decay, there was one type of sugar we didn’t account for: the dulcet tunes that come from your iPhone. With Maroon 5’s Sugar climbing back up into the top 20, we can’t help indulging in our sweet tooth and looking at some of the best sugar songs ever written.

And since we’re going for a real sugar rush, these are all “sugar” songs, no candy, no cake, no honey (not even of the Tupelo variety).

#11. Sugar Town by Nancy Sinatra

In case you thought “These Boots Were Made for Walkin” was Nancy Sinatra’s cheesiest hit, you either forgot or were blissfully unaware of this little ditty. Dubbed as having “the worst lyrics in a top ten song,” Nancy Sinatra rode this one all the way to the top in January 1967. Of course, a lot of us are aware of this song primarily because of Zooey Deschanel’s 2009 cover for the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack. This song is partly redeemed by the fact that its writer claims it’s about dropping acid, which makes it at least metaphorically interesting.

#10. Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down by Fallout Boy

Pop punk, frat rockers, or emo pop, Fallout Boy has a spotty reputation, but this is a solid, angsty hit that held its own on the chart, coming up against some tough contenders in 2005. The use of sugar in this song is ironic, because this is a bitter tale of love gone very wrong (and maybe about to go wronger–hopefully that’s just a metaphorical gun, right?)

#9. Sugartime by McGuire Sisters

A marked contrast to Fallout Boy, nothing beats the McGuire Sisters for innocence. This trio of sisters from middle America singing about sugar in the morning, the evening, and suppertime is just the perfect slice of nostalgia. When people imagine the ideal America of our past, you can bet that the McGuire Sisters are part of the soundtrack. And it’s definitely not about dropping acid.

#8. Sugar Never Tasted So Good by The White Stripes

This neglected classic is from Jack & Meg White’s debut eponymous album. Along with accompanying low-production value video, “Never Tasted So Good” showcases the talent and heart of this duo long before they became superstars, and it demonstrates the power of stripped-down rock.

#7. Sugar Sugar by The Archies

Don’t let their cartoon video fool you: this 50s song by a group of studio musicians who were tired of playing second fiddle to an endless string of 1-hit wonders isn’t as innocent as it seems. Sure, it’s got a sweet coating, but underneath there’s a really desperate lustfulness in the line “like the summer sunshine pour your sweetness over me,” that probably influenced at least one other song on this list.

#6. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) by the Four Tops

This is a song that’s mostly just what it appears: a sweet ditty about the joy of love. Levi Stubbs gives his vocal cords a workout putting urgency and pleading into his tone and the other three Tops undergird it with some of the smoothest backing vocals of the decade. It’s one of Motown’s most enduring hits, and it’s a song that almost everybody knows and can find themselves dancing along to without even thinking about it.

#5. Sugar by Maroon 5

Speaking of another song that is just about what it is. This song focuses on the emotional and restorative aspects of love. A brief allusion to red velvet notwithstanding, this PG-pop tune is as sweet as its video about the band getting people dancing at weddings all across LA in December (especially when you compare it with #4). Whether some of the people starring in the video are actors or not, it’s still a fun video with a good premise. And with the tightly produced smooth pop sound, it’s no wonder this song has stayed on the charts as long as it has.

#4. Sugar (Gimme Some) by Trick Daddy ft. Lil’Kim & Cee-Lo

Explicit Material — The exact opposite of Maroon 5 is Trick Daddy’s cover of the Talking Heads tune “Sugar on My Tongue.” The original probably belongs on this list, too, but let’s let this revision stand for both. The Trick Daddy version is a little more explicit, but it takes its lush sensuality directly from the original. Trick Daddy’s rolling baritone is forceful, urgent, and driving, and with the looped backing vocals poured over the top, it’s like a confectionery fantasy. The version with Ludacris is good, too, but Lil’Kim brings a hot stickiness that’s hard to resist.

#3. I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl by Nina Simone

To show that the ladies can innuendo with the men we have Nina Simone’s soulful lament on love lost. Listening to the pleading in her smooth “coffee and cream” voice asking for us to put it in her bowl, it’s hard to believe there’s any man who wouldn’t give her as many spoonfuls as she wanted. Simone’s complex legacy is also being revived by the popularity of the stirring Netflix documentary on her life and music, which helps us appreciate what Simone was doing on stage and off.

#2. Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones

With Mick Jaggar’s slurred lyrics, there’re probably still a lot of people out there who don’t know what the song is really about. Of course, that’s understandable, because this bleeding edge rocker is kind of all over the place, referencing slavery, sex, rape, heroin, and more. More than 40 years on, it still has the power to scandalize.

#1. Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard

The top spot on this list undoubtedly has to go to Def Leppard. Most arena rock is weak and hasn’t held up over the years, but Def Leppard’s sugar rush of “love” hasn’t just held up, it’s grown better with age. The lyrics are a brilliant blend of metaphorical and literal allusions to sugar, ranging from the borderline nonsensical to the downright filthy. The driving guitars and drums aren’t complex, but they are effective, and the overlaying of some surprisingly nuanced vocal harmonics gives us texture.

So there you have it–the top 11 sugar songs. If you have a sweet tooth, you can indulge it with these songs all you want while cutting back on sugar. But if you find that you’ve engaged in the other kind of sugar a little too much and you need a dentist in Grapevine, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment at Grapevine Dental Care today.