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, 2/5/23) Song 653: She Loves You by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. You can find a YouTube video of it here. When I began hearing my fellow junior high schoolmates use a certain insect term on Monday, February 10, 1964, it sounded strange to keep encountering that word on a cold mid-winter day. I seemed to have missed a consequential story and I didn't want to admit my lack of touch, but as the phenomenon continued, at some point that week I had to ask a buddy what was going on. He chuckled when he heard his supposedly smart friend pose such a question. Similar to around a third of the U.S. population, he had seen the Fab Four on Sunday night's Ed Sullivan Show and he told me a bit about those Beatles that everyone had been mentioning. When the next Sunday night arrived, my family gathered in the living room to watch Ed Sullivan instead of going to church. The mop top quartet soon hit the stage, and though I thought they looked a bit weird, they rocked my world as they performed this remarkable mover. Unlike my older brother, my parents and my grandparents, my younger brother and I quickly felt that seeing and hearing these Beatles can't be bad, and any time you had that privilege, you should be glad.
(Sunday, 1/29/23) Song 652: Going Down to Liverpool by the Bangles, written by Kimberley Rew. You can find an amusing YouTube video of it here. When the first LP by the Bangles started spinning in the spring of 1984, I resided in a 6-bedroom house in Berkeley, CA, which had become the home for a half dozen of us singer/songwriter types who had made a nearby pizza parlor our favorite hangout and performance arena. Having grown up in a lightly-patriarchal religious abode, even when I began my second independent adult decade, I sometimes still held onto bits of an inherited male supremacy ideology until I saw and heard such ideas contradicted by reality. I wondered if only guys could do hard rock, but then this female quartet proved to me that women could indeed hit a heavy beat, and I liked hearing them do that. As a clue about the musical ramble I intend to highlight next week, I'll admit that I do plan on going down to Liverpool, but not simply to do nothing - I want to share my fascination for a hit by that urban center's most famous four.
(Sunday, 1/22/23) Song 651: Guinnevere by Crosby, Stills and Nash, written by David Crosby. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Since the sad news about Mr. Crosby arrived a few days ago, I decided to add another one of his sparklers to this bunch - the one that he once said in a Rolling Stone interview ". . . might be my best song." Not long after the Byrds took off in 1965, they became my #2 group, just behind the Fab Four. Then, 4 years later, around the time I started my freshman year at N.U. and moved into a student dormitory, a supergroup trio that included a former Byrd got their harmonies riding the airwaves. Of course I relished their opener Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Song 566), but I also soon noticed, and quickly began appreciating, the third track on side one of their premier LP. I thought the tune had a very innovative cool-sounding melodic and timing approach, and that the chording sounded unique as well. I liked Mr. Crosby letting us know that Seagulls circle endlessly and since they do, that fact could give someone a reason to sing in silent harmony, understanding that as a result, he/she would be free.
(Sunday, 1/15/23) Song 650: One Vision by Queen, written by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. You can find an engaging YouTube video of it here. I lived in Berkeley, CA, back in the mid-1980s when this sounding arrived, and I don't recall exactly when it first caught my ears, but I did find its unique quality quite entertaining. In fact, it reminded me of some of my own personal keyboard rambles, which, other than Can't Catch the Train - a song from my 1985 cassette release Going My Way which will soon come around to CD form - I never got around to recording any of those other wild rides in a studio, and I still haven't yet done any of them. Queen got their inspiration for this excursion from Martin Luther King, Jr., and with today being his actual birthday - he would have been 94 had he made it to today - plus tomorrow being the holiday that honors him, tonight is the appropriate moment to feature this record. I still remember hearing the speech where he expressed having a dream that someday his children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. That was truly a dream of sweet illusion, a glimpse of hope and unity and visions of one sweet union. However, a cold wind blows and a dark rain falls, and I don't know if that dream can ever come true, but maybe at some point in the future we can really have One Vision.
(Sunday, 1/8/23) Song 649: Popsicles And Icicles by The Murmaids, written by David Gates. You can find a YouTube video of it here. This cool and tasty piece hit the menu shortly before the Beatles rocked my world in February of 1964, and once I started paying more attention to the radio because of the Fab Four, it probably crossed my radar soon after. I relished the way the female trio took the listeners along an appetizing lyrical word game. Growing up, I personally enjoyed having Popsicles whenever I could, and my working-class parents and grandparents could afford to offer me that kind of gift a lot more often than other more expensive fancier ones that a few of my middle-class friends regularly got to ingest which I didn't. In that era I frequently had fun during the chillier season playing with buddies in the outside piles of white stuff, which would sometimes get adorned with Icicles. Back then, very rarely did I wear fancy clothes but in the warmer months I did get to play baseball and then I could find a bit of heaven right before my eyes.
(Sunday, 1/1/23) Song 648: Stray Cat Strut by Stray Cats, written by Brian Setzer. You can find an entertaining YouTube video of it here. Happy Meow Year! Just like 3 of my last 5 blogs here, tonight marks the first appearance of this particular group in my favorite song gathering. Despite my admiration for felines, somehow it took well over 9 years before I got around to adding this striking mover to the collection. When it first arrived, I had gotten halfway through my third year at a very comfortable Oakland, CA, residence, but then when September rolled around, a room became available at a friend's home in Berkeley, so I soon had an address within a few blocks of the pizza place where the singer/songwriter circle I had joined hung out. Spending more time in Berkeley soon made it obvious to me how lots of stray cats (human ones, NOT felines) had made the city sidewalks their new living quarters, mainly due to POTUS Reagan having essentially ended federal funding of mental institutions. During that era, the word cat had become a slang reference to a guy, and as the 1990s unfolded, I started writing a song I originally titled It Takes a Jealous Cat, implying a human male's jealousy over a human female. As I plan to explain in a video about The Story Behind My Song One More Cat Tale, at some point in that decade, the title evolved into It Takes a Cat and became a melodic ramble about a real furry fellow, so it now enlivens my Purrfection CD single, and you can hear and see a YouTube lyric video of it by clicking on the title. Like other stray cats, I don't bother chasing mice around, but I also don't get my dinner from a garbage can, even when I strut right by with my tail in the air.
(Sunday, 12/25/22) Song 647: Heart On Ice by Judith Zweiman & the Answers, written by Judith Zweiman. You can find a YouTube video of it here. Seven weeks after my previous personal friend song post, this week's cool ride comes from another one of my Fast Folk colleagues, and it marks her first appearance in this series. I met her soon after I accepted the responsibility of handling the booking and acting as MC for a weekly early evening acoustic set at a lower Manhattan folk club in the fall of 1988. I recall seeing and hearing her and her musical partners doing a few performances during the stretch when I did that job, and I liked the sounds I heard coming from the stage, plus I soon enough had a copy of their cassette release that got a bunch of spins on my player. I had never heard this particular jaunt until recently, but as soon as I did, it became another one of my favorites. Back in the era when I did sometimes stretch with the all night shiners hanging out in the night cub scene, I personally never felt that I had to keep my heart on ice or chill my holy soul.
(Sunday, 12/18/22) Song 646: Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) by Elvis Presley, written by Aaron Schroeder and Claude Demetrius. You can find a YouTube video of it here. The last time I featured Elvis in this collection was 52 weeks ago, when I made Blue Christmas Song 594. Mr. Presley recorded this classic a few days before my sixth birthday, but I knew very little about him while growing up. My parents and grandparents opposed the devil's music and I assumed most of the rest of the older generation did as well, so I could not have imagined back then that my best friend's mother was a big fan of the Elvis guy - a fact that I only found out about in recent years, shortly before she died. I did see at least one or two performances by him on the Ed Sullivan Show, but what I witnessed didn't grab my ears the way the Fab Four had. However, when I left the fundamentalist nest and began my own life as an independent young adult, having the freedom to pursue an interest in RnR, I soon learned a lot more about the groundbreaking sounds Mr. Presley had sparked, and I came to understand why the Beatles had all named him as their primary inspiration. As I expanded my LP stack, I added a 33 that included this moving carol and then it became a regular part of the melodies that enlivened my holiday season. Personally, I also don't need a lot of presents to make my Christmas bright. You can go ahead and fill my sock with candy and a bright and shiny toy, since the Christmas tree is ready and the candles all aglow. Happy Merry, Merry Happy!
(Sunday, 12/11/22) Song 645: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, written by Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik. You can find a YouTube video of it here. About a year before this tough rumbler arrived in 1982, I had moved over to Berkeley, CA, after residing for 3 years in nearby Oakland. The 6-bedroom house where I rented a room had, a couple of years earlier, become the dwelling for a quintet that had originated from the singer/songwriter circle that I had hung out with, but then the band split up, and soon enough at least one member moved out, and I happily took up the available space. I liked living only a few blocks from the pizza joint basement performance arena where my creative friends routinely gathered. Most of them seemed to primarily have an interest in the folkie acoustic realm, but my housemate Bob Nichols, who had played bass for the home's band when he first moved in, did also share my appreciation for the heavier sounds of movers like this Survivor hit. As much as I rolled with this ride, though, I did not care for its connection to the film Rocky 3. I thought the first one of that series was OK, but it didn't thrill me, and I had no interest in the movie's followups. Now, 4 decades later, I personally have not lost my grip on the dreams of the past, and I know I must fight just to keep them alive, so I intend to do that.
(Sunday, 12/4/22) Song 644: Say You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac, written by Christine McVie. You can find a YouTube video of it here. I saw a TV segment featuring Fleetwood Mac in 1974 and while it didn't excite me, I had this impression that the group did have major potential, and when the Buckingham/Nicks duo joined the ensemble the following year, the band hit a whole new level, and justifiably so. I really relished the album they released that year, which included this gem, and as I acquired the 33 and paid more attention to the quintet, I also increased my appreciation of keyboard player Christine. This marks her third appearance among this collection as the singer and songwriter of prominent Fleetwood Mac tunes, with Over My Head being Song 341 and Songbird being Song 413. I decided to once again highlight the woman who had had a Perfect last name before marrying the band's bassist, mainly because of the sad news about her demise a few days ago. Evidently she was getting weaker, weaker every day, and she was not as strong as she used to be, but I doubt it was someone using her again that was the end of her.