Peace, Love & Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry's Musical Pints

by Amanda Flinner

You know about Cherry Garcia, but here's a look at more Ben & Jerry's musical flavors, including concoctions inspired by Queen and Willie Nelson.

Ben & Jerry's musical legacy has come a long way since 1978, when the quirky creamery opened the doors to its first scoop shop in an abandoned gas station in Burlington, Vermont. A salvaged piano sat in the corner of the since-demolished location, a regular seat for local musician Don Rose, who entertained patrons waiting for their Mint Oreo Cookie cones (the first hit flavor). Nearly a decade later, the company launched its first music-inspired pint: "Cherry Garcia," in honor of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia.

Since then, Ben & Jerry's has churned out a collection of musical flavors with tributes to rock icons. Fitting the ice cream duo's pledge to make the "best possible ice cream in the nicest way possible," the company tips its spoon to socially conscious musicians with do-gooding resumes. Let's dig in to the maker's most memorable musical pints.
Cherry Garcia

"Cherry Garcia" has been one of Ben & Jerry's most popular flavors since its introduction in 1987, thanks to a sweet tip from an ice cream-loving Deadhead from Maine. The cherries-and-chocolate concoction was created after Jane Williamson sent a postcard to the company's headquarters in 1986, suggesting a flavor called "Cherry Garcia." Aside from getting a standing ovation at the next shareholder's meeting, Williamson was gifted with a year's supply of ice cream for her contribution.

As for the pint's namesake, Garcia was cool with the fruity tribute, saying, "At least they're not naming a motor oil after me."

Ben & Jerry's also set up shop at the iconic corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco, where the Grateful Dead settled in the summer of 1966.

Phish Food

Ben & Jerry's continued its foray into the music world by sponsoring the 1988 Newport Folk Festival and launching the One World, One Heart Festival in 1991 with free shows in Vermont, Chicago, and San Francisco. Phish didn't perform at either of those events, but the Vermont natives landed on the cover of Ben & Jerry's next musical pint: "Phish Food."

The flavor is a blend of chocolate ice cream with marshmallow and caramel swirls with fudge fish swimming throughout. The flavor was so popular it warranted a "freezer reprise" with donut pieces added to the mix.

In 2018, yet another Phish dish was launched: "It's Ice... Cream," a caramel malt ice cream with clusters of almonds and toffee. A portion of the proceeds from the Phish phlavors goes to the band's WaterWheel Foundation, which supports various non-profit organizations.

Just be thankful Ben & Jerry's didn't scoop a name from its original festival lineup, which featured Hot Tuna.

One Sweet Whirled

In 2002, Ben & Jerry's partnered with the Dave Matthews Band to fight climate change with the proceeds for the coffee-and-caramel-infused "One Sweet Whirled," named for the song "One Sweet World," going to

The short-lived pint took its last gasp in 2004 and was buried in the Flavor Graveyard, an actual ice cream cemetery on Ben & Jerry's factory grounds in Waterbury, Vermont, where granite headstones are inscribed with tongue-in-cheek epitaphs. "One Sweet Whirled" reads:

Working hand in hand with the band
Creating global warming awareness
We kinda forgot about the flavor, in all fairness.

Magic Brownies

It's not hard to imagine Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield noshing on magic brownies while devising their wacky confections; the progressive-minded duo even admitted the idea of weed ice cream was intriguing. But cannabis wasn't the secret behind their second DMB-inspired flavor. In fact, there wasn't much magic at all. Even after a failed resurrection attempt, the raspberry-and-brownie blend didn't enchant fans and was laid to rest in the Flavor Graveyard with the epitaph:

The first edition was "too vanilla,"
So we more or less remixed it.
The encore was raspberrier,
But not enough,
So we deep-sixed it.

Bohemian Raspberry

The Queen-inspired "Bohemian Raspberry," a spin on the band's 1975 masterpiece "Bohemian Rhapsody," sounds a lot like the original incarnation of "Magic Brownies," with fudge brownies and raspberry swirls blended into vanilla ice cream. But at least it has a cooler name and an even better tagline: "I see a little silhouetto of a tub." A crown-wearing cow even moos out the lyric, "Galileo, Galileo!" (although "scaramoooooche" would be more fitting).

The flavor was a UK exclusive and benefited the Mercury Phoenix Trust, which supports HIV/AIDS charities across the globe. The remaining members of Queen started the organization after Freddie Mercury's death from AIDS-related causes in 1991.

Willie Nelson's Country Peach Cobbler

Everyone knows Willie Nelson likes to get baked (and not just half baked), but does the country singer actually bake? If he does, a peach cobbler – probably with a hefty dose of bourbon – sounds about right. The flavor gurus at Ben & Jerry's whipped up a (booze-free) batch of the peachy ice cream with cinnamon-sugar shortbread pieces in honor of Nelson and his contributions to causes like Farm Aid. When he got the scoop on the potential pint, Nelson allegedly drawled, "Groovy."

Unfortunately, the flavor fell victim to a recall in 2008 after failing to list wheat as an ingredient and ended up in the Flavor Graveyard.

Imagine Whirled Peace

B&J's wanted its John Lennon-inspired pint, with swirls of toffee cookies and chocolate peace signs, to "enlighten your bellies and souls and make you ask what you can do to promote peace in your lives." The late Beatle was known for promoting peace through innovative protests – staging bed-ins and renting billboards for anti-war messages - and songs like "Imagine" and "Give Peace A Chance." To promote the flavor, Ben & Jerry's partnered with the John Lennon estate and the nonprofit organization Peace One Day to host a "Bed-in for Peace" in Times Square.

The creative creamery may have paid homage to another former Beatle, with "Bananas On The Rum" sounding similar to Band on The Run, the 1973 album by Paul McCartney's post-Beatles outfit Wings.

Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road

In 2008, Ben & Jerry's celebrated Elton John's first concert in Vermont with a limited batch of "Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road," a pun on his 1973 hit "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

Elton sampled the ice cream, a combination of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle, and white chocolate chunks, before the show at the Essex Junction Fairgrounds. Fans bid goodbye to the flavor shortly after, as it was only available at B&J's Vermont scoop shops. By popular demand, the batch was back the following summer in grocery stores nationwide.

All of the proceeds benefited the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

If I Had 1000000 Flavours

The current generation may recognize Barenaked Ladies for performing the theme to The Big Bang Theory, but back in 1992, the Canadian band was known for their first major release, "If I Had $1000000." Ben & Jerry's waited 17 years to honor the group, the first band from the Great White North to get their own flavor – or should we say flavour.

Despite the title's lofty promises, there are only four mix-ins in the chocolate-and-vanilla concoction: chocolate-covered toffee, white chocolate chunks, peanut butter cups, and chocolate-covered almonds. This one's a Canada exclusive and is best enjoyed after a nice Kraft Dinner.

Proceeds go to the ABC Canada Literacy Foundation.

Hazed & Confused

Nutella makes people do crazy things (see the "Nutella Riots" that hit France in 2018). But Ben & Jerry's has never been able to make their hazelnut-chocolate recipes work, including "Hazed & Confused," named for the Led Zeppelin song "Dazed and Confused" and the 1993 stoner comedy of the same name.

The dessert is a fusion of chocolate and hazelnut ice cream with a Nutella-like core. It lasted only a year, but was memorable for a controversy over the title. Angry parents lambasted Ben & Jerry's for making light of hazing, a dangerous college tradition that's caused more than few student deaths, even though "Hazed" was meant to play on the hazelnuts in the dessert. "Not a lot of words rhyme with 'hazelnut,'" said company spokesperson Sean Greenwood.

The company refused to change the name, which is now listed among "the dearly de-pinted."

One Love

Ben & Jerry's already paid tribute to the late reggae performer Bob Marley with "Satisfy My Bowl" a few years earlier. But the company partnered with the Marley family to honor the "One Love" singer with another flavor for the 36th anniversary of his death (and to support Jamaica's One Love Youth Camp). "One Love" is a banana ice cream with caramel swirls, graham crackers, and fudge peace signs. Again, there's nothing of the herbal persuasion in the mix. The ingredients might not scream Marley, but the ice cream maker insists it shares a common vision with the peace-loving singer.

"The words 'one love, one heart,' that touches everybody in every language," says says Ben & Jerry's board member Jeff Furman. "That's very connected to the kind of company we want to be. We don't do it through music, we do it through ice cream."

July 16, 2018

Further reading:
"Ice Cream Man" Songfacts
Dave Matthews Band songs

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