Matchbox Twenty is now an even more appropriate name for Rob Thomas’s rock band, given that it turned twenty this year. Formed in 1995, the group helped rescue traditional rock from the iron jaws of rap, grunge and boy bands that had dominated the pop landscape since the late 80s.
Along with Matchbox 20 were similar bands like Weezer, Fountains of Wayne, Third Eye Blind, and the Wallflowers, all releasing guitar based albums that flourished in the last half decade of the century. One of the best songs from the era was Matchbox Twenty’s “3 A.M,” one of the few hit songs to be named after a particular time of the day.
What is more common, however, is to start a song with an exact time, thereby immediately placing the listener in the moment of the lyrics. “3 A.M.” does not do that, but here are ten exact times that open songs and the name of the tune from which it came.
“Six a.m. Day after Christmas” from Brick by Ben Folds Five
The trio’s biggest hit about an abortion begins at a relatively wee hour and, although backed by a beautiful piano, proves to be really a downer for the Holidays.
“It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday” from Piano Man by Billy Joel
That time is half of a perfect setting, and the fact that it is in a bar tops it off.
“Half past nine, quarter to ten” from If I Could Talk I’d Tell You by the Lemonheads
Evan Dando and his post-grunge band use several times to open their best known single from the Cloth Button Car album.
“You come alive at quarter to three, make haste for a taste in the parking lot of misery” from Apothecary by Ambrosia
Joe Puerta’s song about teenage addiction is just one of the many excellent tunes on the Life Beyond L.A. album, which also spawned the single How much I Feel.
“It’s five o’clock in the morning, conversation got boring” from Five o’clock by T. Pain
The rapper uses a different, and no doubt less profane, adjective to describe any conversation that takes place that early in the morning.
“One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock rock” from Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets
Every hour is mentioned in this rock and roll classic, so it is only right that it begin with one o’clock.
“Well it’s two o’clock in the morning your time, and I’m sitting, thinking, wondering” from Two o’Clock by Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians
Those three activities mentioned in the opening line are pretty much what everyone does when they are awake early (or late).
“Well now it’s three o’clock in the morning and I can’t even close my eyes” from Three o’Clock by BB King
As a legend of the blues, it is perfectly fitting that he is sleeplesssly suffering in the middle of the night. Hopefully, Lucille was getting plenty of rest, though, on the guitar stand next to the bed.
“Well it was seven o’clock when she let me in” from Seven o’Clock by the Quireboys
The line tells you all you really need to know about the song, not by the time but by the verb “let.”
“It was early in the night about eight o’clock sharp” from Eight o’Clock by Olivia Ruiz
The singer should still be wide awake enough by that hour to know that eight o’clock “sharp” cannot be “about” eight o’clock.
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