“Sister Havana” by Urge Overkill on the Sunday Song Spotlight

Here’s a blast from the past for you 90s retro rockers! From their 1993 breakthrough album Saturation, it’s “Sister Havana” by Chicago’s Urge Overkill, and what a treat it is.  Did the Darkness rip off this riff for “Get Your Hands Off My Woman”?  Or were they at least inspired by it?  It’s that kind of drive.

With lyrics like, “I’m watchin’ you and Fidel Castro in the sand, assassin!” and “Girl, you got to roll, Sister Havana, Overthrow, Sister Havana,” I have to wonder if this song was banned in Cuba!  Singer Nash Kato seems to be urging (pun intended) a girl to assassinate Fidel Castro with lines like “Come around to my way of thinkin'”.  It’s a fun song from the days of yore when people didn’t get as worked up over some words.  Kato said, “We didn’t have any firm stance on America’s relationship with Cuba, but it sang well and sounded like a hook. There was no political commitment.”  He was right.

In fact the line “Come around to my way of thinkin'” was meant to be an invitation to would be fans hearing Urge for the first time on their major label debut.  Another fun fact was, when the band were first working on what would become “Sister Havana” in 1991, they were on tour with Nirvana since both bands were signed to Geffen.  At one soundcheck in Europe, Nirvana sat in with Urge Overkill as they hashed out the tune.  Nirvana had an impact on Urge Overkill who desired to write something simple that connected.

The music video is also a hoot, featuring the band getting parking tickets, cruising in a convertible, a swamp boat, and jamming.  Enjoy it below – “Sister Havana”.

Come around to my way of thinkin’
Don’t you want to, want to get along?
Everyday just like a vacation with you
When I’m watchin’ you and Fidel Castro in the sand, kissin’!
Girl, you got to roll
Sister Havana
Overthrow
Sister Havana
She’s comin’ on like a bicycle army
Everybody’s waitin’ for the man to come down from the tower
Every day is just like a vacation with you layin’ right here now
I’m watchin’ you and Fidel Castro in the sand, assassin!
Girl, you got to roll
Sister Havana
Overthrow
Sister Havana
Sister Havana
Sister Havana
Sister Havana
Sister Havana
I don’t care what they say, no!
(There’s no time to lose)
We could have a holiday, yeah
But there’s no time (there’s no time to lose)
For hesitation
There’s no time (there’s no time to lose)
No time for waitin’
There’s no time (there’s no time to lose)
So let’s take the time and get it on today
So girl, come on, you got to roll
Sister Havana
Overthrow
Sister Havana
Sister Havana (sister Havana)
Sister Havana (sister Havana)
Sister Havana
Come around to my way of thinkin’
Come around to my way of thinkin’
Come around to my way of thinkin’
Well, come around, sister

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