Here in California, we know a thing or two about gold. Of course, there was the gold rush in 1848. Then there’s our seemingly endless fields of golden poppies (A.K.A. California poppies, the state flower). Plus, we have a near-daily show of golden skies at sunset. And the food here, as anyone who has visited will tell you, is also pure gold (if you’ve ever chomped into a California burrito you know what we’re talking about). While we’re at it, who could forget Huell Howser’s public television show, California's Gold, the human interest program featuring our state’s natural, cultural, and historical gems? We could keep going, but you get the point. The Golden State (which officially became our nickname in 1968) is a moniker well earned. Join us for a round of tunes in tribute to a great state, a heck of an element, and the standard by which most of the world’s currency was measured until recent decades.
Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx with “Gold Digger”
Finding gold in the wild doesn’t require a pickaxe—sometimes all you need is a pan, a river, and a free afternoon! There are plenty of places to hire a goldseeking guide, but you can have just as much luck on your own if you do a little research beforehand. Find out where gold has been found in the past (depending on where you live this could require some travel), or where rumoured lucky spots are, and go try it out!
Fleetwood Mac with “Gold Dust Woman”
Rumours, the album featuring Gold Dust Woman, is one of the best selling albums of all time, with over 40 million copies sold. Earning a Gold certification only takes 500,000 album sales, so using that unit of measurement Rumours has gone 80x Gold—not bad!
America with “Sister Golden Hair”
A pair of Knockarounds weighs about 0.15lbs, or about 2.4 ounces. This means a pure gold pair of Knocks would be valued at around $4,204. A human hair can hold up to 100 grams, or roughly 3.5 ounces (about $6,176 in gold). That means you could dangle a pair of our shades from one teeny strand of hair and still have room for almost $2,000 worth of gold before it snaps!
PNAU ft. Kira Divine and Marques Toliver with “Solid Gold”
We’ve done dozens of collaborations before, but some of the coolest came from our partnership with streetwear visionary and graphic designer Benny Gold. One was dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge (an iconic San Francisco structure located just a few miles from the once-open Benny Gold storefront), and another featured the Benny Gold signature fog camo pattern. Benny has since pressed pause on his brand, but he’s still pursuing his passion for visuals like the true artist he is. Best of luck, friend!
Sting with “Fields of Gold”
Barley, the gold to which Sting refers in this lovely track, may not seem like much more than a cereal grain, but that’s okay. You can do a lot with this cereal grain! There’s the soups, breads, and breakfast dishes to think about, but most importantly, barley is a main ingredient in many types of beer. In fact, the original Reinheitsgebot (Bavarian Beer Law) of 1516 specified that only three ingredients were to be permitted in the production of beer: water, barley, and hops. So yeah, maybe barley is just a humble grain, but let’s not forget its role as a building block of brew!
Kasey Musgraves with “Golden Hour”
Photographers famously love the “golden hour,” which is the period of time just after the sun has risen or just before it sets. The softer, redder light gives things a particularly pleasing glow, which makes for phenomenal picture-taking. It’s even possible, believe it or not, for people to enjoy this time of day without taking a snapshot—imagine that!
The Black Keys with “Gold on the Ceiling”
We know we talk about San Diego sunsets a lot around here, so we want to be careful not to run the subject into the ground. Just kidding, we’ll talk about these beauties all day and you’ll like it. With 266+ days of sunshine per year, and plenty of partly cloudy days to boot (which sometimes make for even better sunsets), we’re looking at an average of more than 5 sunsets per week. Pretty solid if you ask us.
David Bowie with “Golden Years”
If we’re measuring years where humans used metals, then every year is a golden year (that doesn’t really make a ton of sense but just play along). That’s because gold appears to be the first metal employed by people, with some instances of usage dating back to 5,000 B.C. Since native gold (meaning pure, elemental gold) was easy to find and shape, it paved the way for humans experimenting with metals and opened the doors to the Bronze Age. Neat!
Death Cab For Cutie with “Gold Rush”
Our neighbor to the north, San Francisco, has a somewhat misleadingly named football team. The 49ers were, of course, named after the prospectors who flooded California in 1849 after hearing there was gold to be found. However, the gold rush really started in January of 1848 when a man named James W. Marshall found gold at a mill he was building. Maybe if transportation had been a bit faster back then we would be calling them the 48ers. Eh, that just sounds weird though.
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris with “After the Gold Rush”
Back in the gold rush days, gold was worth about $20.67 per ounce. These days that same amount would cost you roughly $1,751. A dollar, back in 1848, would be worth about $34.63 today, so $20.67 in 1848 would be worth about $715.78 today. That means the value of gold has inflated at a rate more than double that of the USD since then, making gold a very solid investment back in the day. Kind of the “Apple stock” of the time, if you will.
Bonus: Pink Floyd with “Hey You”
Atomic number 79.