Miley Cyrus, who released her album Bangerz this week featuring the hit song and video “Wrecking Ball,” isn’t the first artist to sing about balls in popular music. Hell, she isn’t even the first performer to sing about wrecking balls; Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen all beat her to the punch. But whether used as a noun, a verb or a turn of phrase, whether they be wrecking balls, balls of fire, crystal balls or the type of balls that men do their best to protect, balls figure prominently in a number of classic songs. So without further adieu, here are 10 of the biggest songs ever written about balls.
1. Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball” (2013)
Uber producers Dr. Luke and Cirkut crafted this powerful ballad for the former Disney star turned sensationalistic pop princess as a vehicle to display another side of the embattled artist. Like a metaphoric wrecking ball, the songs’ confessional lyrics, soaring melody and emotional delivery symbolically knock down our preconceptions about Cyrus, letting let us know there’s more to her than just being a Molly-chomping, twerk-addicted exhibitionist. And what better way to get that message across visually than by riding an actual wrecking ball buck naked and fellating a sledgehammer.
2. AC/DC “Big Balls” (1976)
It’s hard picking just one song about balls by Australia’s long reining cock rock kings as they’ve penned several over the years. While we applaud the women’s lib sentiment of “She’s Got Balls” and admire the evocative descriptiveness of “Got You By The Balls,” without a doubt their greatest song about balls is this chestnut from their 1976 LP Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Their song “Ballbreaker,” however, is not eligible for this list since technically it is not about balls but rather, the act of breaking them.
3. Jerry Lee Lewis, “Great Balls of Fire” (1957)
Whether he got the title from the movie Gone With The Wind or the Old Testament, The Killer got people talking with this Golden Oldie. Heck, he didn’t even have to talk about his actual balls to get ministers riled up down in the Bible Belt. But though Jerry Lee uses the phrase as an exclamation and not a noun, there’s no doubt that whoever he’s singing about has got him excited down there.
4. P!nk, “Crystal Ball” (2008)
Rabble rousing vocal powerhouse P!nk has said this tender number is her favorite song off 2008’s Funhouse. One might want to consult a crystal ball to see who the notoriously acerbic singer feuds with next after public tiffs with Christina Aguilera, among others.
5. The Breeders, “Cannonball” (1993)
Led by on-again off-again Pixies bassist Kim Deal, The Breeders went from grunge also-rans to one-hit wonders with this nonsensical but infectious 1993 hit. The lyrics make no sense and the only thing it has to do with cannons, balls or cannonballs is the repeated chorus but you know, it sure is catchy and the twin Deal sisters were almost kind of cute.
6. Accept, “Balls to The Wall” (1984)
Despite its title and the album of the same name’s ambiguously creepy cover, this balls out 1984 metal anthem from Germany’s Accept is actually….a human rights anthem? Apparently so according to guitarist Wolf Hoffmann who said “That’s really what ’Balls To The Wall’ is all about. ’One day the tortured will stand up and kick some ass!” I totally got that, didn’t you?
7. Eminem, “Medicine Ball” (2009)
A medicine ball is a large, heavy ball often used in physical rehab after an injury. The song “Medicine Ball” is one of the more over-the top and offensive songs from Em’s 2009’s record Relapse. Apparently the only medicine he was taking during the recording of the album was copious amounts of prescription sleeping pills for which he later went to rehab leading him to later rap “In fact, let’s be honest/ That last Relapse CD was ’ehh’”
8. The White Stripes, “Ball And Biscuit” (2003)
This 7-minute plus blues jam is a fan favorite and The White Stripes longest song. When Jack White sings “Let’s have a ball and a biscuit sugar / And take our sweet little time about it” he’s not talking about something that bounces nor is he talking about a dance though in a way I guess he’s singing about both.
9. Janis Joplin, “Ball ‘N’ Chain” (1968)
Originally recorded by blues belter Big Mama Thornton, this song became the signature tune for the freewheeling acid queen of the 1960’s Haight Ashbury music scene. In the song love is equated with bondage, specifically, the archaic practice of chaining prisoners to a heavy ball made of lead. Sadly, in life Joplin was chained to drug addiction leading to her untimely death in 1970.
10. The Temptations, “Ball Of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” (1970)
One of Motown’s greatest vocal groups, The Temptations pioneered psychedelic soul on this 1970 hit. While the song itself talked about the turbulent world of the late 1960s the title could just as easily been about The Tempts themselves as singer after singer left the band to form off-shoot groups and launch solo careers.