A lot of folks in my baby boomer generation threw a humongous hissy fit when it was reported that some Kayne West fans professed not knowing who Paul McCartney is. Now, maybe it’s true that it was all a poor “joke”. Or maybe the fans saying it was a joke are just trying to spin a PR fiasco so they don’t look like popular music history idiots.
But even if many of West’s fans didn’t know who McCartney is, it doesn’t bother me a bit. After all, I didn’t even know West is a singer until I read about the McCartney brouhaha. The only thing I knew about West is that he abused his wife. I didn’t give much though to his profession and if it was mentioned in the news about the abuse case then I quickly forgot.
And why should I know about West being a singer? If I listen to the radio, it’s the “oldies” channel. Same for my CD collection. I couldn’t name a band from the 90’s or later if my life depended on it.
So why should today’s younger folks be expected to know about the music of my generation? I doubt it’d mean much to them anyway.
There are websites listing songs from each decade which assert your children “must” know. All very subjective, of course. Here’s one such list, and I‘ve bolded the ones I agree with:
1. Hey Jude (Beatles)
2. Respect Aretha Franklin)
3. Light My Fire (Doors)
4. My Generation (Who)
5. I Fought The Law (Bobby Fuller)
6. Sounds of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)
7. Knights in White Satin (Moody Blues)
8. Stand By Me (Ben E. King)
9. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
10. Under the Boardwalk (Drifters)
11. Son of A Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield)
12. Shop Around (The Miracles)
13. Dancing in the Street (Martha & the Vandellas)
14. Where Did Our Love Go (Supremes)
15 Barbara Ann (Beach Boys)
16. Georgia on My Mind (Ray Charles)
17. House of the Rising Sun (Animals)
18. Aquarius (Fifth Dimension)
19. Come Together (Beatles)
20. I Got You Babe (Sonny and Cher)
Now, this list is supposedly based on what songs were the “life of the party” in the ‘60s. Really?
The first thing that strikes me is who’s NOT on the list. Not a single song by the Rolling Stones!? Certainly, “Satisfaction” was one of the top party songs in my era. And I suspect that most folks never heard “Stand By Me” until it was the title song in a “coming of age” film by the same name decades later. That’s when I heard it.
You may have noticed that I agree with only 1o of the 20 songs in the list. Enquiring minds may be asking: so what 10 songs would I include to replace the ones I don’t agree with?
Well, combing my musical memory for10 “must know” songs would take too long, so I’ll propose only three. And, since the young folks reading this may be unaware of the song, I’ll include a video. I know I’ll enjoy hearing it!
One of the more influential 60’s American bands was Jefferson Airplane (who have modernized their name to Jefferson Starship). I’m going to give you a “twofer” because I’m undecided whether the song should be “Somebody to Love’ or “White Rabbit” and I was lucky to find both in one video of their 1967 appearance on American Bandstand.
When asked what the hallmark of the 60’s was, most folks would say it was the various political protests, including the Viet Nam War, civil rights, etc. And of course that carried over into music. So I don’t understand why the list fails to include either or both of the decade’s top “protest” singers: Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
Now when you mention Bob Dylan, his “signature” song is “Blowing in the Wind.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video of that which I liked. So, I’m using a video of another classic “The Times They Are A ’Changing.”
And as a “freebie”, I’m throwing in Chimes of Freedom” with Joan Baez.
Finally, if “party song’ is the criterion for inclusion on the list, I don’t see how you can leave off the top British dance music band of the 60’s and my favorite “pop” band: The Dave Clark Five.
Which of their many hits to choose is tough, but I’ll go with “Do You Love Me”
What one to three songs not on the list of 20 would you include?