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Has there ever been a popular song about Wilmington?

Ben Steelman

David DonderoWe ran this question by the folks at the public library and by a few local DJs, and they couldn’t think of one.

Myrtle Beach pops up in song lyrics occasionally, said program director Brian Sims of WWQQ and The Wave, because of the shag-dancing connection. Tex Craddock recorded a song “Carolina Beach,” which was later covered by Da Howlies. Wilmington, however, hasn’t been as lucky.

The best we could come with is a song called “Going Back to Wilmington” by David Dondero, the guitarist, songwriter and former lead singer for the band Sunbrain. According to features editor and music maven John Staton, the tune has received some airplay on campus radio stations.

“Going Back to Wilmington” appeared on Dondero’s 2003 LP, “The Transient” from Future Farmer Recordings.

Visit “The Transient” page to listen to “Coming Back to Wilmington.”

The folk-styled song includes lyrics about leaving one’s love in the skeleton at The Barbary Coast, the establishment at 116 S. Front St., Wilmington [Map this], which bills itself as Wilmington’s oldest bar. (The Barbary Coast was also featured, memorably, in the film “Blue Velvet.”)

Dondero, 41, was once hailed by National Public Radio‘s “All Songs Considered” series as one of the “best living songwriters” along with Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Born in Duluth, Minn., he currently lives in Austin, Texas, and Sunbrain was based in Clemson, S.C. As far as we can tell, though, Dondero was only a brief visitor in the Port City.

A local duo, the Del Zorros, wrote a number of Port City-related songs, including “The King of Wilmington,” that  popped up on YouTube.

Their song “Halfway to Heaven” includes a number of Wilmington street names.

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6 Responses to “ Has there ever been a popular song about Wilmington?”

  1. On February 6, 2011 at 7:50 am na wrote:

    Serious Litigation by Jah Works is about Wilmington, but it only mentions North Carolina rather than Wilmington

  2. On February 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm Sand Spur wrote:

    Elwood’s song ”Push” popular about 2000 or so mentions Delco and cruising the backwoods of the Green Swamp. The song got a lot of airplay nationally as I recall. Great song from a local artist, from Whiteville I think.

  3. On February 8, 2011 at 7:39 am guest5000 wrote:

    A local Wilmington band called Transistor 7 (mid-late 90s) recorded a CD in the late 90s. They have a song called “Wilmington” on that disk. It’s all about Wilmington. It was a regular tune in their set. I miss Transistor 7.

  4. On August 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm JT wrote:

    “Buzz”, by local country musician Jason Marks, mentions several popular spots in the Wilmington area.

  5. On November 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm Elizabeth wrote:

    “At the Beach” by the Avett Brothers is about Wrightsville Beach, right?

  6. On November 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    Don’t know, but it’s a nice song.

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