Wednesday, August 4, 2010

And when the smoke cleared...

Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette
Puff, puff, puff and if you smoke yourself to death
Tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate
That you hates to make him wait
But you just gotta have another cigarette

If they were writing songs like this back in 1947 why has it been such a struggle to create a smoke-free society?  Wisconsin didn't impose its smoking ban until this summer. Wisconsin, which adopted its state motto "Forward" back in 1851, took until 2010 to become the 27th state to outlaw smoking in its workplaces.  Is is possible that 23 states still allow smoking in restaurants and bars?

Merle Travis helped revive Tex Williams' career by writing "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette)," which ruled the Billboard country chart on this day in 1947.  It took a while, but here is what the New York Times wrote about Williams in its Oct. 13, 1985 edition:
Country-western songwriter and entertainer Sollie "Tex" Williams, a heavy smoker best known for his tune, "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette," died after a year-long battle with cancer, his daughter said. . . . Her father, who was diagnosed a year ago as having cancer, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, dropping to about a pack a day before he died. "He tried to quit, but he couldn't," she said.


  1. Jim you find catty-wampus ways to recall and celebrate music from all walks ... from all eras, involving no small amount of research and verification. Tho' a former long-time smoker myself - and one who is still tolerant of those who do - it surprises me that smoking in public places is still allowed by so many states. Always feeling like a pariah, long before the laws and public pressure began to change, quitting (for the 1,116th time) was the most difficult thing I ever did. The trick? Cold turkey and the admonition from my daughter on her 21st birthday that "Dad, if you don't quit now we won't have many more days like this." And I remember that song from WLCY radio in Tampa!

  2. Most of us fired 'em up at one point or another and we, too, are tolerant of others who smoke. I quit years ago after they turned a 10 x 12 room off a newsroom into a smoking lounge where they made us go to do the deed. They put one computer in there so we could still get our work done and they even installed a smoke eater. But those thoughtful accessories weren't nearly enough: I once counted 22 writers and editors in that tiny room! Not long after that I went cold turkey (with the help of a store-size jar of Atomic Fireballs.)

  3. I totally agree with you about the smokin thing, so glad they went non smokin here in Wisconsin July 5th. Nice to not smell like an ashtry when you leave a place. Being an x smoker's hard, but when you weigh out the health risks it causes, I too went cold turkey, right after my last birthday, and it is getting to the one year mark. Besides......those nasty things stink!!!!!!!! and Wayne I bet you put a smile on that daughters face when u finally quit, way to go.....I'm proud of anyone who can kick that nasty habit!

  4. I rode by the old WLCY studio on Gandy Boulevard today. THen I took my daughter to the dog track -where I didn't even think about having a cigarette.