Hey, kids! I know you want even more of the most awarded songs #9. They’ve picked up Grammys and Oscars. They’ve been cited by Rolling Stone magazine, RIAA, ASCAP, CMA, and NPR. For all I know, maybe AARP.
70. I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Joan Jett heard The Arrows play their version on a UK TV show, a year after they recorded it in 1975. This I hadn’t heard: “She first recorded the song in 1979 with two of the Sex Pistols, Steve Jones and Paul Cook.” Then she re-recorded it with the Blackhearts two years later.
69. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty said that the song “speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself. It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.” Got that right.
68. Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette. It was a crossover hit, #1 country for three weeks in 1968. In early ’69, it went to #11 adult contemporary and even #19 pop. Lyle Lovett did a cover, which shows up at the end of the 1992 movie The Crying Game.
67. Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles. It was a Hoagy Carmichael song from 1930. Three decades later, Brother Ray had a #1 pop hit. In 1979, Ray Charles’s version was designated the official state song of the Peach State.
66. Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations. Dennis Edwards said in an interview that the long instrumental intro made him so angry that he barked out that first line, just the way producer Norman Whitfield wanted. This was the last of the Tempts’ four #1 pop hits.
A bad mother…
65. Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes. The movie Shaft had a black director, a primarily black cast, and music composed and performed by a black artist. In 1971, this was a BFD. The theme has entered the culture, from Sesame Street and The Simpsons to The Wire and The X-Files. “Damn right.”
64. I Can’t Stop Loving You – Ray Charles. The song was from a B-side by Don Gibson in 1958. Brother Ray’s take went to number one on the U.S. R and B (10 weeks!), pop (5 weeks), and Adult Contemporary (5 weeks) charts in 1962. It was a hit in the UK and Sweden too.
63. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley. His first hit on his new label RCA Victor in 1956. “Presley accepted [Mae Boren] Axton’s offer of a third of the royalties if he made the song his first single on his new label.”
62. The Thrill Is Gone – B.B. King. Roy Hawkins’ recording of the song got to #6 on the Billboard R and B chart in 1951. It was written by Hawkins and fellow West Coast blues musician Rick Darnell. But King’s version in 1970 went to #3 R and B, #15 pop, and became one of his signature songs.
61. Tom Dooley – The Kingston Trio. A lot Most of my father’s folk collection was of black musicians such as Leadbelly, Harry Belafonte, and Odetta. But surely the Kingston Trio was represented, for I recall hearing this song in my home. This is a murder ballad about the 1866 death of a woman named Laura Foster by a guy named Tom Dula, with a poem by Thomas Land written shortly thereafter. The first recording of the song was c. 1929.