What's my favorite song? That's a tough question, and this playlist is my answer. I don't know that I could ever pick just one song. These are the cuts that I listen to, and that mean something to me. I have lots of memories and stories tied up with them, and I share a portion of those tales on this list. Surely you will recognize some of the tracks here, but probably you'll find some that you don't, and hopefully I can help you discover some good music. You might notice that some numbers are missing, including number 1, and that's because the linked videos are no longer available, so those songs have been removed from the list.
This page only includes a few recent bits. If you'd like to read some older ones, the previous link below will take you to the post before the last one, on my Blogspot runway, which has links to earlier writings. The Master List page has links to all of the playlist Blogspot articles. However, my earliest playlist rambles, before Song 185, only live on this website, since I didn't start posting on Blogspot until February of 2014.
(Sunday, 11/29/20) Song 540: Heartaches By The Number by Ray Price, written by Harlan Howard. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I got to know this hit and a bunch of additional country classics thanks to the extensive LP collection of the Ohio relatives that my family visited every summer in the 1950s, and every even-numbered summer in the 1960s. Like a lot of other songs, I soon learned the chorus on this one well enough that I could sing along with it as it spun on the turntable, and I would also occasionally vocalize it by myself during moments of isolation. Sadly, due to the current pandemic situation, way too many people these days have heartaches by the number and troubles by the score, though romantic entanglements have little if anything to do with the vast majority of the problems. The disease can easily make someone feel that they can't win, but hopefully the day people can stop counting their heartaches and troubles will not be the day the world will end.
(Sunday, 11/22/20) Song 539: Dance Tonight by Paul McCartney, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Similar to last week's post, I did not know this tune when it first came along in 2007, but a few weeks ago, one day I saw some music videos on Facebook that someone had sent me links for, and I liked a lot of what I saw and heard, including this one and the one from last week. Growing up as a Fab Four fan in the 1960s, I of course have an interest in any Paul music I haven't heard, and this ride definitely fits in quite well with his repertoire. As someone who also has a mandolin in my instrument collection, and has periodically cruised up and down its keyboard, I truly enjoyed the opening video sequence of the instrument delivery. Though I can't say when it might happen, I do hope that we can get beyond this pandemic situation at some point in the near future, and then everybody's gonna dance around, everybody's gonna hit the ground, everybody's gonna stamp their feet, everybody's gonna feel the beat, everybody's gonna jump and shout, everybody's gonna sing it out. I look forward to the moment when we can know that everybody's gonna dance tonight.
(Sunday, 11/15/20) Song 538: Turn Me Loose by Loverboy, written by Paul Dean and Mike Reno. You can find a YouTube video of it here. If this cut got my attention back in the era when it showed up in 1980, or any time thereafter, I honestly don't remember. About a month ago, someone on Facebook sent me a link to the YT video, and when I watched it, it really made my day. I truly enjoyed the entertaining old black and white movie clips, but I also genuinely relished the musical jaunt, and the way the band enlivens it themselves in their moving segments. As a musician, I feel like I'm here to please and sometimes I'm even on my knees, but of course, I gotta do it my way, even when I wanna fly, so anyone who ever tried to tie me down would need to Turn Me Loose.
(Sunday, 11/8/20) Song 537: He Was My Brother by Simon and Garfunkel, written by Paul Simon. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Not long after Sounds of Silence got everyone's attention around the beginning of our freshman year of HS, in the fall of 1965, my best friend got copies of the first 2 Simon and Garfunkel LPs, and when their next 2 albums came along, he quickly added them to his collection, so I got to know their music quite well during my HS phase. Whenever I would visit my buddy, he would play his S&G 33s while we hung out in his room. Listening to this cut, I figured that Paul had written the piece as a way to express solidarity with the brave souls fighting against racism in that era of the civil rights struggle, and I respected him for doing so. However, my research for this bit today taught me that Paul actually had been close friends with one of the three courageous activists killed by KKK-linked cops in Philadelphia, MS, in 1964, for the crime of trying to help enable African Americans to vote. At a point now where, a week after adding Won't Get Fooled Again to this playlist, we seem to have arrived at the Meet the new boss, same as the old boss moment, a certain low-level racist named Joe will soon replace a certain high-level racist named Donald, as one of the core plagues of our culture continues on with no end in sight. 56 years ago Andrew Goodman died so his brothers could be free, and yet, they still are not, and our latest election gives no indication of when, if ever, they could be.
(Sunday, 11/1/20) Song 536: Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who, written by Pete Townshend. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Election week seems like an appropriate time to add this cut to the list. When it first came along in the summer of 1971, I liked the sound of it, as it seemed to amplify my belief that My Generation (Song 474) had gotten hip to the political games which had given us the Vietnam War and other ridiculous BS, and we would not fall for it again. Then, the following year, as Rolling Stone described it, in a contest between Jekyll and Hyde, the country went apesh*t for Hyde. Over the decades, I've watched US politics grow more corrupt and less worker-friendly, as the rich continue to get richer and average citizens get screwed, while folks like Speaker Pelosi accrue a 9-figure net worth, partly as a reward for rigging the rules against genuine progressives like Bernie Sanders who support improvements for the lower 90 percent. The change, it had to come - we knew it all along, but in terms of the political landscape, the world looks just the same today (if not worse). Knowing the real story of the two evils facing off this week, I know what to expect (a lousy outcome either way), so I definitely Won't Get Fooled Again by the 2020 scam.
(Sunday, 10/25/20) Song 535: How Many Horses by Terry Kitchen, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Seven weeks after my previous personal friend song post, this week's entertaining opus comes from my pal Mr. Kitchen. It appears on his 2020 release Next Time We Meet and he put together a fun video to accompany it. I had not heard the cut until recently, but when I did get to listen to it, it quickly made me smile. During my youngest years, visits to my grandmother's parents' place a few miles away would occasionally include a ride in a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh, so I met the horses a few times, though I never had the possibility of mounting one myself, which certainly was a good thing, because if I had, I too would probably have ended up on the ground. I also savored the TV westerns that I got to watch growing up, but I basically understood that I had no experience riding in a saddle, so if I had tried to climb up the stirrups, I too might have had to ask the question How many horses must I fall off of?
(Sunday, 10/18/20) Song 534: You Should Have Seen The Way He Looked At Me by The Dixie Cups, written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. You can find a YouTube video of it here. At some point during the 1990s, I saw a clip of The Dixie Cups performing this track, and it immediately got my attention. I hadn't heard it back in 1964 when it came along as a followup to a pair of other well-known singles, and at the time, it barely made the top 40, in contrast to the other two hitting #1 and #12, but on first listen, I felt it deserved a lot more appreciation than what it got following its release. These days, in light of the current pandemic situation, it feels good to remember moments when there was starlight and moonlight and everything was right, since it sure does not seem that way now. On this cut, I also savor the coy lyrical reference to a special day when a person would wear something new, something old and borrowed and something blue - a particular day when both members of a couple would say I do.
(Sunday, 10/11/20) Song 533: Jump by Van Halen, written by Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Similar to last week, this week's choice came as a result of the sad news about Eddie's demise - he died on Tuesday, 10/6, of cancer - and it also marks the first appearance of Van Halen on the list. This 1984 hit soon became the quartet's most successful single, and it quickly got my attention not long after its release. The YT link here will take you to the official video for the cut, and during the MTV era when the crew put it together, many comparable segments hit the airwaves, showing a group performing a recording, although they are usually lip-synching and visually matching their recorded parts. No matter how good the record itself, such videos generally don't impress me that much, but on this one, I feel the 45 has a visual partner that grabs me as strongly as the audio. In light of Eddie's passing, I especially appreciate his entertaining animated moves. He actually crafted the foundational riff for the tune in 1981, and it took a few years for his bandmates to recognize the value of his inspired musical ramble, but when they did, once they got it on tape and let the public hear it, it really took off, so this seems like an apt way to memorialize him. Today we can be thankful that 36 years ago, he and his gang advised us to roll with the punches to get to what's real, which makes as much sense now as it did then, if not more so.
(Sunday, 10/4/20) Song 532: I Am Woman by Helen Reddy, written by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Due to the sad news of Ms. Reddy's demise this past Tuesday, it seemed like an appropriate moment to highlight her signature recording as the SotW, also marking her first appearance on this list. When the anthem came across the airwaves in a very high tide in the summer of 1972, I generally liked the tune, but, having grown up in a conventional humdrum patriarchal environment, I didn't necessarily go along with all of the hit's feminist assertions. It actually took me a couple of decades to comprehend the depth of the negative consequences of patriarchy and recognize the necessity of feminine equality. In fact, late in 1973, well over a year after this cut's chart run, I had a conversation with a fellow who claimed that in a relationship, part of the male duty was to control and discipline the female partner, to the point where you might have to hit her upside the head if she didn't follow orders. At the time, in my early 20s, I went through an unfolding process of defining my moral values, and it took a year or two before concluding that I did not agree with that male supremacist POV. However, I had to get to my late 30s before I clearly understood how women had truly been down there on the floor, and to share the hope that no one's ever going to keep them down again. The more they spread their loving arms across the land, the better it is for everyone.