Bottle of Wine

Album: Bottle of Wine (1967)
Charted: 9

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written by singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Paxton, whose other credits include "The Ballad of Spiro Agnew" and "The Last Thing on My Mind" (the latter a Top 10 country hit for Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton). It's a tale of an extremely poor man who can't overcome his addiction to wine and even considers asking people to buy him wine or asking people to tell other people to do so. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • Tom Paxton wrote this song and released the original recording on his 1965 album Ain't That News. He started performing the song the previous year around Greenwich Village, which was a folk music hotbed.
  • This is a big singalong song; when Paxton performed it he would start with the chorus and have the audience sing it back to him:

    Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine
    When you gonna let me get sober
    Leave me along, let me go home
    Let me go home and start over
  • The Fireballs are best known for their 1963 puppy love hit "Sugar Shack." They followed it up with the equally anodyne "Daisy Petal Pickin'," but then fell out of favor. Group leader Jimmy Gilmer took an interest in folk music and often went to Greenwich Village to see the performers. He learned "Bottle Of Wine" and recorded it with The Fireballs, giving them their last significant hit, as the song climbed to #9 in the US.
  • Paxton's original version contains two verses The Fireballs left out:

    Little hotel, older than Hell
    Cold and as dark as a mine
    Blanket so thin, I lie there and grin
    Buy me little bottle of wine


    and

    Teacher must teach, and the preacher must preach
    Miner must dig in the mine
    I ride the rods, trusting in God
    And hugging my bottle of wine

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyHere's some obscure trivia:
    On September 10th 1897, the first documented DWI occurred when London, England cab driver George Smith was arrested after he slammed his taxi into the side of a building...
    He was fined 25 shillings...
    And seventy years later on December 24th, 1967 the Fireballs' "Bottle of Wine" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #100…
    {See next two posts below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 25th 1968, "Bottle of Wine" by the Fireballs peaked at #9 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on December 24th, 1967 at position #100 and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100.
    In 1967, the year it entered the Top 100, three other records with 'wine' in its title also charted; "Summer Wine" by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood (reached #49) and "Little Old Wine Drinker, Me" by Dean Martin (peaked #38) and a version by Robert Mitchum (reached #96).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 16th 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified; it prohibited the sale or transportation of alcoholic beverages in the U.S.A.
    (Was repealed by the 21st Amendment in December 1933)...
    On December 24th, 1967 "Bottle of Wine" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 25th, 1968 it peaked at #9 (for 1 week) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Sarah Brightman

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Adam Young of Owl City

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Band Names

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson

Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSongwriter Interviews

Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."