Our top 10 Michael Franks songs list takes a look at one of the most unique musical voices and composers of the past 50 years. The 1970s era was a breeding ground for a handful of artists that merged multiple styles of music into their own individual sounds. Bands like Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan all utilized elements of rock, jazz and R&B. Michael Franks did the same thing. However the difference between Michael Franks and those other brilliant artists was Michael Franks songs were more prone to be covered than songs from Chicago or Blood Sweat & Tears and even Steely Dan . That’s nothing against those bands, they are three of the greatest bands of all time. However, Michael Franks songs were just more prone to be covered in the same way that songs by artists and composers such as Laura Nyro and Carole King were. Simply put, Michael Franks was a brilliant artist and songwriter.
Michael Franks first album was released in 1973 on an independent label. However, it wasn’t until 1976 when Michael Franks released the album The Art of Tea that he became well-known. From that point on a very consistent basis, Michael Franks would release close to 20 studio albums filled with songs of substance, brilliance and wit. The best musicians in the world loved to work with Michael Franks. Legendary jazz musicians from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s can be found on every Michael Franks album. Michael Franks has delivered a legendary catalog of albums that has defined the art of songwriting, performance and production in the studio.
Below is just a sampling of some great Michael Franks songs. As on all our top 10 lists, these articles are designed to turn people on to music that they might not be aware of. We hope we are successful with this one because Michael Franks is one of the best ever.
# 10 – As Long As We’re Both Together
We open up our top 10 Michael Franks songs list with the great song “As Long As We’re Both Together.” This one will stand as the most recent Michael Franks song to make this list. “As Long As We’re Both Together,” was released on Michael Franks most recent album as of this writing in 2020 entitled The Music In My Head. The album was released in 2018. This great Bossa Nova song opened up the record. The album featured an extraordinary list of fabulous legendary Jazz musicians including Eric Marienthal, Jimmy Haslip, Bob Mintzer and so many more.
# 9 – Mr. Smooth
Michael Franks said what was on his mind with his one. The song’s great chorus is one to remember as Franks scatting takes it back into the verse. The song was released on Michael Franks’ album Barefoot on the Beach. It would be Michael Franks only album release on Windham Hill records. The album was released in 1999. Once again, Michael Frank’s recruited some of the greatest jazz musicians in the business to play on the album. brilliant artists such as John Patitucci, Will Lee, Steve Gadd, The Breckers Brothers, Jimmy Haslip, Dave Samuels and many others.
# 8 – The Dream
The great Michael Franks song “The Dream,” ws written by Michael Franks and three members of the jazz fusion band the Yellowjackets. The band included Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip and Marc Russo. This great recording which also featured the Yellowjackets was released on the album Dragonfly Summer. The album was released in 1993.
# 7- When the Cookie Jar Is Empty
Michael Franks’ cool song “When the Cookie Jar Is Empty,” was released on the album Burchfield Nines. The album Burchfield Nines was released in 1978. The record also featured the legendary saxophonist Ernie Watts. Michael Franks hired a rhythm section to die for on the album with Will Lee on bass, Steve Gadd on drums and John Tropea on guitar.
# 6 – Born With The Moon In Virgo
While this may not be one of Michael Frank’s most popular songs, it’s one of the most smoking tracks he ever released. The song “Born With The Moon In Virgo,” is an epic six minute rock meets jazz piece released as the final track on Michael Franks debut album entitled Michael Franks. The record was released in 1973. It was reissued in 1983 under a new title labeled Previously Unavailable.
The track “Born With The Moon In Virgo,” features a great horn section led by Tom Scott and some ripping guitar work by Tommy Tedesco. Anyone who heard this in 1973 would have assumed easily that Michael Franks would become one of the most gifted and original artists of the Classic Rock Era.
# 5 – Popsicle Toes
Continuing with our top 10 Michael Franks songs list we turn to the album that for many of us was the first time we ever heard of Michael Franks. Michael Franks great record The Art Of Tea was released in 1976. It was Michael Franks first album on a major label. We could fill this entire list with every song from this phenomenal record. “Popsicle Toes,” was probably the most popular song released on the album. How could you not love a song with the title “Popsicle Toes,” at a time when the Pentax camera rule the world.
# 4 – Antonio’s Song (The Rainbow)
Michael Franks “Antonio’s Song (The Rainbow),” is just one of those songs that grabs you within the first couple of seconds. The songs opening groove and musical arrangement is just so addictive within a few seconds. One of the best sounding Michael Franks songs ever recorded.
# 3 – The Lady Wants To Know
As we arrive into the top three section of our top 10 Michael Franks songs list we present three of his most well-known songs. The classy Michael Franks song “The Lady Wants To Know,” was released on his album Sleeping Gypsy. The song “The Lady Wants To Know,” was written by Michael Franks. It was the album’s opening track.
Like many of the great Steely Dan records of the the 1970s, Michael Franks 1977 album Sleeping Gypsy featured legendary studio musician such as Larry Carlton on guitar, Joe Sample of the Crusaders on keys, and the phenomenal talents of Michael Brecker and David Sanborn on saxophone.
# 2 -The Camera Never Lies
If there was one artist that had a great knack for a song titles it was Michael Franks. From “Popsicle Toes,” to “The Camera Never Lies,” Michael Franks wit never stopped. The song “The Camera Never Lies,” was released on the album The Camera Never Lies. The album was released in 1987. As we have seen on every Michael Franks album,the guest list of musicians was off the charts. I don’t even know where to start on this one because there are just so many incredible musicians who played on this record. They were not just instrumentalists. The album also featured Art Garfunkel and Patti Austin on backing vocals. Two of the most superior vocalists of all time.
# 1 – Your Secret’s Safe with Me
It was tough to choose a song to place in the number one spot on a top 10 Michael Franks songs list because the man has written so many incredible pieces of music throughout his career. In the end we decided to go with his most successful commercial single. Michael Franks song “Your Secret’s Safe with Me,” was released on the album Skin Dive. The album was released in 1985.