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Dave Elder's Favorite Songs Playlist

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.

-Dave

Recent Songs

(Sunday, 4/14/19) Song 455: Sympathy For The Devil by The Rolling Stones, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Not long after I began my freshman year at NU in the fall of 1969, I began to hear a lot more of The Rolling Stones than I had previously, thanks, primarily, to Hank Neuberger, who lived across the hall from me at Bobb Hall. Hank had a state-of-the-art stereo system, and an extensive LP collection. During that stretch, a large share of fans considered either The Beatles or The Rolling Stones to be at the top of the rock. In that discussion, Hank and I disagreed, and he even said to me at one point that the reason I put The Beatles at #1 was because I hadn't heard as much of the Stones' music as I had of the Fab Four. Over time, with him introducing me to so many truly impressive cuts, including this one (and all the rest of Beggars Banquet), he did succeed, by the end of our freshman year, in bringing me over to his side. Looking back, I would say that Mick and Co. were at the top of their game then, and John, Paul, George and Ringo weren't, but both bands deserved all the attention they got, regardless of which one the listener might rank as #1. The words on this track certainly do resonate today as much as they did 5 decades ago, introducing a man of wealth and taste who has been around for a long, long year and stole many a man's soul and faith - I think I recognize that face, and those horns.

(Sunday, 4/7/19) Song 454: Peggy Sue by Buddy Holly, written by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison and Norman Petty. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I first heard this hit on a night in the late summer of 1965, camping out with a friend on his front lawn and listening to his transistor radio. I know the time frame because of the other cuts we heard during that escapade - particularly Eve of Destruction (Song 146), which sounded scary, mainly because it seemed to quite accurately depict the then-current moment. That night, I did not know this piece was a golden oldie, but I really liked it a lot. When the early 1970s rolled around, and a 1950s RnR revival widened my knowledge and appreciation of the first generation rockers, I came to admire and respect Buddy Holly, especially for the impressive number of excellent recordings that he created in a very short career that ended with his sudden death at the age of 22. I acquired at least one LP of Holly hits, which of course included this classic. I also still clearly recall the lively scene in The Buddy Holly Story that features this tune - it's a spinner so rare and true that still, well over six decades after its release, how my heart yearns, and I want you, Peggy Sue.

(Sunday, 3/31/19) Song 453: Lives in the Balance by Jackson Browne, who also wrote the song. You can find a YouTube video of it here. A couple of years ago, I created a Spotify playlist called Dave Elder's Favorite Anti-war Songs (which you can hear by clicking on the title), mainly as a showcase for If I Was You, and recently I started asking people on Facebook for suggestions to add to that collection. Someone mentioned this cut, which is the title track for Jackson's 1986 release, and it grabbed me on the first spin. I had been a big Browne fan during the 1970s, often learning to sing and play his new material very soon after release dates, but I lost track of him during the 1980s, and this tune makes it clear to me that I have some catching up to do. Interestingly enough, I wrote If I Was You in reaction to Reagan's early moves to try to start an over-the-top war with Nicaragua, and Jackson evidently wrote this piece in reaction to Reagan's covert Contra war on Nicaragua, though, as the YT video makes quite clear, the words here could well apply to W's Iraq invasion, like other times where a government lies to a people and a country is drifting to war. So, knowing that they sell us our clothes and our cars, they sell us everything from youth to religion the same time they sell us our wars, like Mr. Browne, I too want to know who the men in the shadows are and I want to hear somebody asking them why they can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are but they're never the ones to fight or to die.

(Sunday, 3/24/19) Song 452: Kicks by Paul Revere & The Raiders, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When this 45 came along, in the spring near the end of our HS freshman year, it became an instant favorite for me and my friend Brian Johnson. We had started talking about having a band together, and his mother had already gotten him an electric guitar and small amp. Not long after, my mother bought me an acoustic guitar. I remember this track being one of the two cuts that Brian and I discussed playing - the other being Day Tripper - though maybe there were more we considered that I don't recall. Given my family's disdain for the devil's music and the immoral behavior it generally seemed to promote, ranging from promiscuous love/sex to wanton alcohol/drug usage, I felt pleased that the words on this hit did not cross those lines, but rather, offered advice about drugs that sounded quite sensible to me at the time. Of course, decades of personal interactions have since taught me that many of my fellow human beings have much deeper and more complex reasons for seeking chemical assistance - it's not about needing to fill the emptiness inside, finding a little piece of paradise, bringing someone peace of mind, or killing boredom with some Kicks. While the message here might sound simplistic and moralistic to me these days, I don't let it dampen my enjoyment of a very engaging musical spin.

(Sunday, 3/17/19) Song 451: Build a Bridge from Both Sides 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 track comes courtesy of my good friend Terry Kitchen, having appeared on his 2009 CD Summer to Snowflakes. A couple of years ago, when creating a Spotify playlist called Me and My Songwriter Friends (which you can hear by clicking on the title), in the process, I combed through friends' recordings on Spotify, finding some very good stuff I hadn't heard before, and I mixed the shiny new gems with some familiar favorites as the playlist took shape. I would rank this tune as one of the best new discoveries from that undertaking, and as timely as the lyrics might have been at the records' release, they have an even stronger resonance a decade later. Indeed, the only way to make it across the great divide is to build a bridge from both sides, and not a barrier.

(Sunday, 3/10/19) Song 450: Centerfold by The J. Geils Band, written by Seth Justman. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When this hit came along in the fall of 1981, it made a big splash, and I heard it a lot, without really making any effort to do so. A fun tune, and musically alluring, it also stirred some annoyance in me over the moralistic POV expressed in the words, though I never let THAT interfere with my pleasure in the record. However, it did strike me as hypocritical that the singer who enjoys perusing centerfolds would feel revulsion when discovering revealing photographs of a personal acquaintance. In fact, I had, a decade earlier, told my female companion of the time that I thought her attractive enough to grace top girly mags like Playboy and Penthouse, and that I would feel honored (and NOT disgusted) if she ever showed up on their pages. While To see her in that negligee Is really just too much for one fellow, it would never make my blood run cold. It's OK, though - I understand This ain't no Never-Never Land, so I can enjoy the ride without having to agree with every turn that the lyrics might make.

(Sunday, 3/3/19) Song 449: War Pigs by Black Sabbath, written by Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. You can find a dynamic YouTube video of it here. Not long after I finished the final version of my If I Was You song video, and got it uploaded to YouTube (click on the title and you can watch that video), I started doing posts on Facebook to try to spread the word about it. Then in early 2017, I created a Spotify playlist called Dave Elder's Favorite Anti-war Songs, which you can hear by clicking on the title. A couple of months ago, in response to one of my Facebook posts, someone suggested that I check out this Black Sabbath cut that I'd never heard before. When I finally got around to it, about a month ago, not only did it have me hooked on the first spin, but I also found the video quite impressive. I have called the If I Was You video the second-best anti-war song video of all time, and I have another very particular song video that I would nominate for first place, but now I have to admit that the matter has gotten a bit more complicated. For those of us who oppose war, though, more anti-war song videos will always be a good thing, even if it means more competition. If you check out the Spotify playlist, you will probably notice that this track now appears there, as it has very quickly become a genuine favorite, with lyrics that paint a very clear picture of the Evil minds that plot destruction while making war just for fun/Treating people just like pawns in chess. I can't say when their judgement day comes, but I hope that some of the rest of us will survive it and carry on in a more peaceful and cooperative future.

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