But what WASN’T in the 500 that you would have included?
A brutal question. First off, it’s narrowed to the popular song, as opposed to tunes before 1930, so. definitionally, it’s lacking.
That said, the FIRST recording I thought of was Biko by Peter Gabriel, which, besides being a tremendous tribute, inspired a whole lot of activism. Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young was a response to a terrible event. For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield was definitely a huge part of the soundtrack of the 1960s
There was a dearth of country music; one Patsy Cline, two Hank Williams, two Johnny Cash one Dixie Chicks, one Kacey Musgraves, a couple of others. I was hoping for something from Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang, Garth Brooks. I might suggest Baby, Now Tha I Found You – Alison Krauss; Man Of Constant Sorrow – Foggy Mountain Boys; I Fall To Pieces – Patsy Cline; and Hurt – Johnny Cash, for instance.
Here are some more, hardly a definitive roster:
Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes. We CAN dig it.
Lady Marmalade – Labelle. Covered for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, but this is better.
Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins. Before Elvis.
Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison. For the growl alone.
Tempted – Squeeze. For the groan alone.
Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin
La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
The Twist – Chubby Checker. Twice went to #1. The Hank Ballard version is arguably better.
The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel. My favorite song by the duo.