Thursday, August 23, 2007

The 50 Music Project: Homestretch of the Sixties

XII. “We’re More Popular Than Jesus”

Depending on one's point of view, this was either the period of the Beatles’ greatest work, or the time when they evolved (or dissolved) into four separate entities from the true collaborative band that they began as. There is probably some truth to both opinions, and ultimately it doesn’t really matter, because during their last four years together, they produced an amazing body of work. They stretched themselves, and they stretched the boundaries of rock and roll beyond what any single artist or band had accomplished, or even contemplated. They truly were one of a kind.

Here, There And Everywhere
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
All You Need Is Love
Hey Jude
Come Together
Let It Be

XIII. Beyond the Summer of Love

This was one of the most fertile periods in rock history. And it was the time that “rock ‘n roll” began to evolve into something more accurately called “rock,” defined roughly by Robert Christgau as any music derived from the work and influence of the Beatles. In retrospect, this was when the first seeds of audience fragmentation were sown, as AM radio playlists tightened up, FM radio attracted an audience, and performers like Joni Mitchell and Simon & Garfunkel paved the way for the singer-songwriter boom that would commence in a few years.

Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
Light My Fire, The Doors
The Weight, The Band
The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel
I’m A Believer, The Monkees
Son of A Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield
Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf
Piece of My Heart, Big Brother and the Holding Company
In the Ghetto, Elvis Presley
Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield

Both Sides Now, Joni Mitchell. When I was in the 4th grade, one of our teachers (Mrs. Dotters was her name) organized a singing event where groups of kids sang popular songs of the day – and this was the song that my group sang. Alas, some numb-nut parent complained about our brains being poisoned by the devil’s music, and that put an end to that.

Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkel
Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash

XIV. The Greatest American Rock and Roll Band

Creedence Clearwater Revival was nothing less than a miracle. For a period of approximately 3 years, there literally was never a time that a Creedence song wasn’t in the top ten. And none of them were flukes – these were all absolutely classic rock ‘n roll songs, and completely different than most of what was hitting the airwaves at the time. Unlike most bands, who were following the example of the Beatles and moving towards a more “psychedelic” sound, Creedence was patently and transparently modeled on the sounds of Elvis and Buddy Holly, updated to sound absolutely modern and vital. It was a creative explosion that, aside from the likes of the Beatles and Stones, has never been matched.

Proud Mary
Bad Moon Rising
Down on the Corner
Green River
Fortunate Son
Up Around the Bend
Who’ll Stop the Rain?
Lookin’ Out My Back Door

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