Some of the longest concerts I ever attended were Hot Tuna performances at the Commack Arena located in the heart of Long Island, New York. Hot Tuna had a large audience on Long Island in the 1970s. Southern rock and music like The Grateful Dead was huge on Long Island. The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels, Neil Young were played on car radios and turntables consistently in the suburbs of Long Island in the 1970s. Of course, those bands were popular all across the country but many people do not realize they were actually also very popular in the suburbs of the North Eastern Cities of the United States.
Our top 10 Hot Tuna songs list takes a look at a band that was too often regarded just as an offshoot of the Jefferson Airplane. Yes, they were originally formed as a side band by Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady who were members of The Jefferson Airplane in the 1960s. They formed into something much more powerful than just a side band and have been together for 50 years. Hot Tuna was a legend in their own making. Hot Tuna delivered some of the most organic rock music of all time. Take a listen to these great Hot Tuna songs and you will understand what we are talking about.
# 10 – Highway Song
We open up our top 10 Hot Tuna songs list with a classic Hot Tuna track entitled “Highway Song.” This legendary song was released on the band’s third album entitled Burgers. The song was written by Jorma Kaukonen. The album featured Jorma Kaukonen on guitars and lead vocals, Jack Casady on bass and vocals, Papa John Creach on violin and vocals and Sammy Piazza on drums. The track “Highway Song,” also featured a guest appearance by David Crosby on vocals.
# 9 – I See The Light
Continuing with our top 10 Hot Tuna songs list we turn to the album The Phosphorescent Rat and the great track “I See The Light.” The album was released IN 1974. It was the band’s fourth album. It also marked a turning point in the band’s sound as the group began heading towards a more electric rock sound as opposed to their acoustic infused first three records.
# 8 – Angel Of Darkness
The song “Angel of Darkness,” is the most recent Hot Tuna song to make this top 10 Hot Tuna songs list. The song was released on the bands 2011 album Steady As She Goes. It was only the second studio album the band had released since 1976. It also had been 11 years since they released their last album in 1990 entitled Pair A Dice Found. “Angel of Darkness,” was the album’s opening track. The song was written by Larry Campbell and Jorma Kaukonen.
Larry Campbell also served as the album’s producer. Larry Campbell is a well respected musician in the business having toured with Bob Dylan for seven years. His experience working with artists such as Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow among many others brought a hist of experience and electricity to the Steady As She Goes album.
# 7 – Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
Continuing with our Top 10 Hot Tuna Songs list we present the legendary Hot Tuna song “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning.” The song was released on First Pull Up, Then Pull Down. It was the band’s second album. The record was released in 1971.
# 6 – Sunrise Dance with the Devil
One of our favorite Hot Tuna records was the great Hot Tuna album entitled Yellow Fever . The Yellow Fever album was released in 1975. The song “Sunrise Dance With The Devil,” was the closing track on the album’s A side. The song was written by Jorma Kaukonen.
# 5 – Know Your Rider
As we pass the halfway mark on this top 10 Hot Tuna songs list we turn once again to the band’s debut album entitled Hot Tuna. The song “Know Your Rider,” was the opening track on side two of the record. An old blues standard, Hot Tuna made this one their own.
# 4 – Hit Single #1
There is no better title for a song that will attract attention than labeling it a Hit Single. This geat track officially entitled “Hit Single # 1,” was released on the Hot Tuna album America’s Choice. The album was released in 1975.
# 3 – True Religion
The great Hot Tuna song “True Religion,” was the opening track to the band’s album entitled Burgers. This fantastic album was the band’s third release. The album was released in 1972. The song “True Religion,” was composed by Jorma Kaukonen. It was the album’s opening track. The album and song were both recorded in San Francisco.
# 2 – Hesitation Blues
“Hesitation Blues,” is one of Hot Tuna’s most popular songs. The song was released on their debut album in 1970. The beauty of how these two brilliant musicians combined blues, country and bluegrass into a sound of their own is on full display in this great track.
# 1 -TIE – Death Don’t Have No Mercy / Keep On Truckin
Well It don’t get more organic than this one. This haunting song defines the blues aspect of Hot Tuna in its most compelling form. It’s hard to listen too and soothing at the same time. The song was released on the band’s debut album entitled Hot Tuna. The album was released in 1970. The Hot Tuna song “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” was not an original composition by the band. The song was written by The Reverend Gary Davis who was a blind blues singer born in the south in 1896.
“Keep On Truckin,” was released on the Burgers album. The song was written by Bob Carleton. It’s about as classic Hot Tuna as one can get.