Rum Is the Reason

Album: 35 MPH Town (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • This tropical-sounding tune finds Toby Keith explaining why pirates never ruled the world. He first revealed the song in September 2015 during a performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
  • Though Keith produced the rest of 35 MPH Town with longtime collaborator Bobby Pinson, he brought in Mac McAnally to co-produce this song. The steel-drummed tune features Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band, of which McAnally is a member. "The way it was written, the second you hear it even just on acoustic guitar, you know you have to have the steel drums," Keith explained. "It sends you to Key West pretty quick."
  • According to this song, the reason why pirates never ruled the world is they didn't get much done, preferring to go "numb from a bottle of dark rum." Other artists that have recorded tunes about rum include Procol Harum, The Andrews Sisters, Kenny Chesney and Brothers Osborne.
  • Here are some rum fun facts.

    During the mid-17th century in Haiti and the Dominican Republic a drink called "kill-devil" or "rumbullion" was being made by the distillation from sugar cane. Colonists only drank the rough spirits (which in time was referred to by its shortened name "rum") in the absence of anything better.

    The association of rum with the Royal Navy began in 1655, when the British fleet captured the island of Jamaica. With the availability of domestically produced rum, the British substituted the daily ration of liquor from French brandy to a half-a-pint of rum.

    In 1740 Admiral Edward Vernon ordered the rum to be diluted to prevent drunkenness. The drink became known as 'grog', after his nickname 'Old Grog', a reference to Vernon's fondness for wearing coats made of grogram cloth, a mix of silk and wool.

    The rum ration was issued daily at noon and 5pm or 6pm with a call of "Up spirits!"

    In the 1800s, rum was considered excellent for cleaning hair and strengthening its roots.

    More than 80 per cent of the world's rum comes from the Caribbean.

    Captain Morgan was a real pirate. He made a name for himself looting Spanish settlements in the 17th century.

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