Great Dr. John Piano Solos in Unlikely Places

“Oo-ee,” Ringo Starr. From the 1974 album Goodnight Vienna (the one with the Klaatu from Day the Earth Stood Still on the cover). Just heard this on the Beatles Radio online station, which sent me rushing to Google who played that intense keyboard solo, which led in turn to this list.

Chastity, original motion picture soundtrack. Rebennack co-composed incidental music for the 1969 film with Sonny Bono, who had written and produced the flick as a solo vehicle for his then-wife Cher. Lots of ominous chords and somber-sounding dramatic strings.

“Let It Loose,” The Rolling Stones, 1972.

“Working in a Coal Mine with Dolly Parton, Alan Toussaint and Irma Thomas.

“Mockingbird,” Carly Simon and James Taylor. (Dr. John’s playing is the only good thing about this otherwise egregious cover, which was unavoidable on AM radio in 1974).

Indian Blues, the multi-traditional jazz album by Donald Harrison Jr.

Rickie Lee Jones.

Aretha Franklin’s “Young, Gifted and Black” album.

Dolly Parton’s Heartbreaker album, 1978.

Willy Deville. The late great New York rocker used Dr. John on four of his albums between 1978 and 1995.

Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits. The “Love that chicken” jingle, which he also sings.

The very special theme song from Blossom, which he also sings.

The theme to the PBS series Curious George.

Two songs on Blues Brothers 2000, in an all-star band (The Lousiana Gator Boys) alongside B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Clarence Clemons, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Bo Diddley and many others.

Spiritualized, “Cop Shoot Cop.”

The Princess and the Frog, “Down in New Orleans,” written by Randy Newman.

“Let ‘Em In,” the Wings song, from the new Art of Paul McCartney tribute.

My personal favorite Dr. John/Mac Rebennack records:

Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack, for his version of Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You.”
In a Sentimental Mood, for his version of “Makin’ Whoopee!” with Ricke Lee Jones.
In the Right Place, for the title song and “Such a Night.”
Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit of Satch, for the strange cover of Brecht & Weill’s “Mack the Knife” and the frisky take on “Dippermouth Blues.”
Storm Warning: The Early Session of Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, from when he was primarily a session guitarist.

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