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Andy Whitman

50 for 40

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Inspired by this thread, I surveyed my iPod to put together a playlist of, for lack of a better term, my favorite songs of the past forty years. I ended up with 50, a nice round number. Why forty years? Because that pushes us back to 1970, intentionally skipping the '60s. We've all watched the VH1 Greatest Songs countdowns, and read the canonical Rolling Stone History of Rock. And I, for one, am tired of seeing lists dominated by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan. Don't get me wrong. I love those folks. But the 1970 barrier forces us to pass by most of the acknowledged classics.

A couple other caveats:

-- For lack of a better term, I focused on "pop" and "rock." I don't have any jazz, blues, country, or hip-hop here, and there's precious little soul. A broader list would certainly include those genres, but the list was tough enough for me to compile as it was.

-- It's a pretty white list, and it's a list dominated by Americans and Brits. I don't know precisely why that is. If I had ventured back to the fifties and sixties, there would have been a more representative sample of African American greats. And certainly if I had included jazz and blues it would have been more diverse. But as it is, it's a singer/songwriter list, with a smattering of punks and guitar slingers.

-- The '80's were not the greatest musical decade for me. That's just the way it is.

But here's what I ended up with. How about you?

1970s

Tired of Being Alone – Al Green

Every Picture Tells a Story – Rod Stewart

Percy’s Song – Fairport Convention

Baby Blue – Badfinger

The Last Time I Saw Richard – Joni Mitchell

Listen to the Lion – Van Morrison

September Gurls – Big Star

The Return of the Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris

Farther On – Jackson Browne

Place to Be – Nick Drake

Cortez the Killer – Neil Young

Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

God Save the Queen – The Sex Pistols

Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones

Heroes – David Bowie

Deacon Blues – Steely Dan

This Year’s Girl – Elvis Costello

Teenage Kicks – The Undertones

1980s

What I Like About You – The Romantics

Gloria – U2

A Million Miles Away -- The Plimsouls

April Fool’s Day Morn – Loudon Wainwright III

Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six – The Pogues

Bastards of the Young – The Replacements

1990s

There She Goes – The La’s

I Believe In You – Talk Talk

Chickamauga – Uncle Tupelo

Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead

Echoes Myron – Guided By Voices

1952 Vincent Black Lightning – Richard Thompson

The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave

The Lakes of Canada – The Innocence Mission

Star Sign – Teenage Fanclub

Moses – Patty Griffin

I Can’t Remember – Vigilantes of Love

Tired of Sex – Weezer

Fort Worth Blues – Steve Earle

Windfall – Son Volt

Holland, 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel

2000s

Don’t Let Me Go – Michael Penn

Fell In Love With a Girl – The White Stripes

One Great City! – The Weakerthans

Hate to Say I Told You So – The Hives

Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens

Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation – Joe Henry

Glenn Tipton – Sun Kil Moon

Hey Ya – Outkast

Glosoli – Sigur Ros

Stuck Between Stations – The Hold Steady

Edited by Andy Whitman

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Tired of the Great American Songbook, tired of the Beatles and Stones ... but not tired of Tired of Being Alone?

I guess we have to draw the line somewhere.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Tired of the Great American Songbook, tired of the Beatles and Stones ... but not tired of Tired of Being Alone?

I guess we have to draw the line somewhere.

That song is another primary reason why I drew the line at 1970. That song, of course, came out in 1970. And. It. Has. To. Be. On. This. List.

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Teenage Kicks – The Undertones

As early as they say that everything has been made in rock music, that nothing new can happen (and that was already the case in 1978), you have a band that comes with something like this. Was that new? No, it was just irresistible, so it's all about the hook, everyone can do it - and the Do It Yourself series from Rhino are a good starting point!

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"Tired of Sex" is from 1996 - just doing my part as a Weezer fan who hates most of what they've done since the turn of the century...

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I'm afraid that I'm gonna have to download from iTunes the 45/50 of these songs that I don't have. Call it Andy Whitman's Primer on Late 20th Century Pop/Rock. Git myself ejucated. Thanks.


So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

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Tried to play your game, Andy, but can't get shorter. I love too much each of them, for thousand reasons.

1970s

The Doors – Roadhouse Blues

John Lennon – Instant Karma !

Joni Mitchell – Willy

Loudon Wainwright III – Schooldays

The Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head

Karen Dalton – Something on Your Mind

John Lennon – Imagine

John Lennon – Jealous Guy

John Prine – Hello in There

Judee Sill – Crayon Angels

Janis Joplin – Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)

Randy Newman – God’s Song

Judee Sill – The Kiss

Van Morrison – Comfort You

Dory Previn – Atlantis

Dr Feelgood – She Does it Right

The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

Television – Venus de Milo

Mink DeVille – Little Girl

Mink DeVille – Cadillac Walk

Blondie – Denis

The B-52’s – Rock Lobster

Pretenders – Kid

Lio – Banana Split

1980s

Lio – Amoureux solitaires

Lucinda Williams – Sharp Cutting Wings

The Gun Club – Sex Beat

Christine Lavin – Summer Weddings

Loudon Wainwright III – Man’s World

Throwing Muses – Call Me

Throwing Muses – Cry Baby Cry

The Jesus & Mary Chain – April Skies

Talulah Gosh – Talulah Gosh

Pixies – Bone Machine

Niagara – Soleil d’hiver

Lucinda Williams - Side of the Road

Blaze Foley – Clay Pigeons

Pixies – Hey

James McMurtry – Song for a Deck Hand’s Daughter

1990s

Robin Holcomb – Yr Mother Called Them Farmhouses

Alain Bashung – Madame rêve

Iris DeMent – Our Town

Lucinda Williams – Sweet Old World

Lucinda Williams – Sidewalks of the City

Loudon Wainwright III – The Picture

Björk – Human Behaviour

Maria McKee – My Lonely Sad Eyes

Dar Williams – The Babysitter’s Here

Iris DeMent – Sweet Is the Melody

Iris DeMent – Childhood Memories

cub – New York City

Annie Gallup – Grandma’s Best China

Fred Eaglesmith – Good Enough

Steve Earle – Poor Boy

Joe Henry – Ohio Air Show Plane Crash

Patty Griffin – Moses

Amy Allison – Cheaters World

Greg Brown – China

Iris DeMent – Walkin’ Home

Lori Carson – Black Thumb

Joy Lynn White – Too Big for this Town

Ron Sexsmith – Strawberry Blonde

Dar Williams – Better Things

Lucinda Williams – Right in Time

Shaver – Live Forever

Amy Rigby – Dirty Bridge

John Cunningham – Imitation Time

John Cunningham – Quiet and Slow Time

Kelly Willis – What I Deserve

Wilco – She’s a Jar

Wilco – Pieholden Suite

Wilco – My Darling

June Carter Cash – Gatsby’s Restaurant

Danielle Howle – Lullabye

Ron Sexsmith – Still Time

Jenifer Jackson – Whole Wide World

Jenifer Jackson – Anything Can Happen

2000s

Steve Young – Little Birdie

Jill Sobule – Somewhere in New Mexico

Dar Williams – After All

Laura Cantrell – The Way It Is

Eleni Mandell - Pauline

Jenifer Jackson – Mercury, the Sun and Moon

David Mead - Elodie

Lucinda Williams – Lonely Girls

Neko Case – In California

Amy Allison – Shadow of a Man

Lynn Miles - Unravel

Patty Griffin – Making Pies

Paul Curreri – Bees

Laura Cantrell – Early Years

Amy Rigby – Don’t Ever Change

Devon Sproule – Plea for a Good Night’s Rest

Jill Sobule – Angel/Asshole

Patty Griffin – Top of the World

Sam Phillips – Reflecting Light

Ron Sexsmith – Dandelion Wine

Julie Doiron – Snow Falls in November

Jill Sobule - Jetpack

Ana Egge – Ways of Waiting

Lynn Miles - Night Drive

Niobe – None but One

Marissa Nadler - Sylvia

Mark Olson – Sandy Denny

Laura Marling – New Romantic

Lonely Drifter Karen – Grass Is Singing

Jolie Holland – Mexico City

St Vincent – The Strangers

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Sorry to be picky, but I think that Unhalfbricking was released in 1969, and Spirit of Eden in 1988, unless American release dates are different. Great list though!


It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents

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Lucinda Williams - Side of the Road

Robin Holcomb – Yr Mother Called Them Farmhouses

Lucinda Williams – Sweet Old World

Lucinda Williams – Sidewalks of the City

Iris DeMent – Sweet Is the Melody

Iris DeMent – Childhood Memories

Iris DeMent – Walkin’ Home

Lucinda Williams – Right in Time

Kelly Willis – What I Deserve

Lucinda Williams – Lonely Girls

Patty Griffin – Top of the World

I love these songs, Hugues! You've got me excited enough to want to go through this exercise myself. But ... ummmm ... I need to finish dinner and get to a movie. I'll be singing these songs in my head, though.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I gave this a try, and these are the songs that struck me as my favorites. Of course, I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch, and I would probably change some of these tomorrow, but here goes...

70s

Harry Chapin - Cat's in the Cradle

Elvis Costello - What's So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding?

Bob Dylan - Tangled Up in Blue

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On?

The Kinks - Celluloid Heroes

Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

Stevie Wonder - Living for the City

Yes - Heart of the Sunrise

Neil Young - Heart of Gold

80s

The Call - I Still Believe

Bruce Cockburn - Rumors of Glory

Big Country - In a Big Country

CSN - Southern Cross

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes

Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

Mike and the Mechanics - The Living Years

Prince - When Doves Cry

The Police - Every Breath You Take

REM - Radio Free Europe

77s - The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life

U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name

90s

Adam Again - River on Fire

Jann Arden - Insensitive

Arrested Development - Tennessee

Kate Bush - Rubberband Girl

Marc Cohn - Walking in Memphis

Cranberries - Linger

The Choir - Beautiful Scandalous Night

Daniel Amos - When Everyone Wore Hats

Mark Heard - Nod Over Coffee

Maria McKee - Life is Sweet

Marillion - Afraid of Sunlight

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Over the Rhine - If I'm Drowning

Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees

Sloan - Underwhelmed

Wilco - Shot in the Arm

Lucinda Williams - Can't Let Go

00s

Arcade Fire - No Cars Go

Nick Cave - There She Goes, My Beautiful World

Calexico - Two Silver Trees

Jennifer Daniels - Day to Live

Devotchka - Queen of the Surface Streets

Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations

Joe Henry - Tiny Voices

Ivy - Keep Moving

Sam Phillips - Reflecting Light

Sparks - As I Sit Down to Play the Organ at the Notre Dame Cathedral

The Swell Season - Falling Slowly

Edited by Crow

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Gloria – U2

This wouldn't be too far behind "These Are The Days" on my list. I prefer the live version on Under a Blood Red Sky.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Hey Christian, do you know that song? I couldn't live without, it's essential Lucinda. It's from a less known album called Happy Woman Blues, released through Smithonian Folkways in 1980. She was all here already. That voice alone is a thrill.

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I'm rather fond of "Bryte Side" by the Pernice Brothers, as far as pop songs go.


Everything that matters is invisible.

-- Robert Bresson

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I like Andy's list. I will be working on mine.

....as I watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, I kept thinking " I hate Winnipeg", probably not a good closing song though. I would have preferred to see the Weakerthans represent Canada over the crew singing in cherry pickers.


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Plato

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Was in the process of doing something similar at the moment. Had the idea of putting together my life in music, songs that have meaning, reminders of special events, landmark tracks in my life. Will probably take a while to put together. As I was born in 1967 it fits with this thread really well. Sonds from Fleetwood Mac-Albatross, the first piece of music I recognised as a baby (used to call it water every time it came on because the video had the waves of the sea on it.) to Ian Dury and the Blockheads-Hit me with your Rhythm Stick (my first 7" purchase.) to U2-New Years Day (first U2 record I really enjoyed as a young punk.) to Bruce Cockburn-In The Falling Dark (early Greenbelt and college days.) to M83-Lower Your Eyelids to die with the Sun (a recent love) and everywhere inbetween as I travel backwards and forwards in the music world. Will get on here sometime but it may not be soon, alot to go through!!!


If the world was my oyster I would never taste anything!!!

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Hey Christian, do you know that song?

I never bought Happy Woman Blues, but have considered it many times. Thanks for introducing me to that song.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Guest stu

Er, Andy, I'm sure it's just a little oversight, and I don't want to embarrass you if that's the case, but... there are no songs by The Smiths in your 80's section. Stephen Morrissey would be very unhappy if he could see this list, although thinking about it, it probably doesn't take all that much.

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