100 greatest songs part 1: January 1929 – January 1966

Ok, so I don’t know whether I’m already in the realm of repeating myself, but I’m going to do it anyway.  My second ever post was my 25 greatest songs of all time, counted down.  My next 5 posts will be my accounting of the 100 greatest songs of all time in chronological order.  Because I came into music in the last 20 years or so, my list is weighted toward the latter portion of the 20th century.  It seems as though the half way point is somewhere around 1980.  Anyway, here we go:

 

How can a poor man stand such times and live-  Blind Alfred Reed     Other than the fact that the monetary lines of this song are so outdated, this song could have been written about the 2008 financial meltdown, and it would have still been relevant to our lives today.

Strange fruit-  Billie Holiday     Protest songs are my bread and butter.  The idea that a jazz singer recorded a protest songs about hangings in the south and insisted that it be put onto record in the early 1930s earns my respect.

Where did you sleep last night?-  Leadbelly     Alright, so I got into this song, like many of my generation, because Nirvana covered it.  That doesn’t mean it’s not an amazing story.

Unforgettable-  Nat “King” Cole     An immortal classic from an icon of music.  Simple words are used to declaim how much he loves another.

That’ll be the day-  Buddy Holly     I’ve got this thing for Buddy Holly.  His music was way ahead of his time.  He got the potential of rock and roll before it became mainstream and recorded so many great songs in his short time as a performer.

Rock ‘n’ roll music-  Chuck Berry     Another pillar of early rock music from the early rock era.

I walk the line-  Johnny Cash     Simple lyrics that tell the subject of the song that they will behave in order to keep the love they have.

Stand by me-  Ben E. King     An immortal love song that has pretty much been covered in every genre of music.

Little boxes-  Malvina Reynolds     Yes, it’s the “Weeds” theme song, but more importantly, it protests against the rise of suburban areas where all the houses and cars and families look so alike that it’s hard to tell them apart.

Masters of war-  Bob Dylan     This song isn’t anti-American, it’s anti War

The times the are a-changin’-  Bob Dylan     The poet and bard of a generations most well known song

You don’t own me-  Lesley Gore     I beg a female fronted punk band to cover this song.  Please!!!

The ballad of William Worthy-  Phil Ochs     A protest song from the early days of the Cuban embargo and the red scare.

House of the rising sun-  The Animals     Not the first to record this song by a long shot, but the ones who did it best.

Like a rolling stone (Judas Heckle version)-  Bob Dylan     I’m one of those who is of the opinion that, when this song was recorded, Dylan was responding not to the Judas heckle, he was responding to a harder to hear heckler that said something along the lines of “i think you’re new music stinks and I won’t by your music any more” with the response of “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar”.

Yesterday-  The Beatles     The most covered song of all time.

Respect-  Aretha Franklin     Depending on how you listen to the lyrics of this song, it’s either a women’s empowerment anthem, or a song where she’s begging for “her propers” when he gets home.

My generation-  The Who     Any generation could have recorded this song and it would still speak to the trials and tribulations of their generation.

In my life-  The Beatles     Among all their classics, give this love song more respect than it already has.

Richard Cory-  Simon & Garfunkel     The folk rock version of an 1890’s song about money not buying you happiness.

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