These are more of the most awarded songs #8. They’ve been touted by the Grammys, the Oscars, Rolling Stone magazine, RIAA, ASCAP, CMA, NPR, and all other sorts.
80. We Are Family – Sister Sledge. This song became the theme song for the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. The baseball team featured Dave Parker and the aging (at 39) Willie Stargell, referred to as Pops. They played the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series and the Bucs were down 3-1 to the Birds. Inexplicably, I made a small wager that the Pirates would win, first game 5, then game 6, which they did. But I didn’t bet on game 7 when the Pirates took the Series. This song was the first written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards for someone other than Chic.
79. Purple Rain – Prince and the Revolution. I saw the movie. Great tunes, including by The Time. The song was the last tune performed live by Prince.
78. Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf. On the Easy Rider soundtrack, of course. But it’s the hit from that first Steppenwolf album, which is my favorite of theirs.
77. I Want You Back – Jackson Five. Unashamedly, unironically, I loved the most of the songs from the group’s first two albums. This was the first hit. I liked singing along on the Jermaine parts, the second lead. Incidentally, the B-side, a cover of Who’s Loving You, is also great.
The music died
76. That’ll Be The Day – The Crickets. Buddy Holly wasn’t credited for contractual reasons. Regardless, given how young Holly was when he died, it’s astonishing what a force of nature he was.
75. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – The Shirelles. The Goffin/King song was the first by a black all-girl group to reach number one in the US pop charts in early 1961. Carole King later covered it on Tapestry.
74. Beat It – Michael Jackson. A rock song, featuring a guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen.
73. American Pie – Don McLean. Speaking of Buddy Holly, the line ‘the day the music died” of course refers to a plane crash on February 3, 1959. Holly, Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, and others were killed. The song was the source of much speculation about its meaning.
72. Maggie May – Rod Stewart. As much as any song, this song defined my freshman year in college, 1971-72, with the constant play on dorm record players of the Every Picture Tells A Story album.
71. I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles. There is a famous photo of The Beatles engaged in a pillow fight. It took place in a hotel in France after they heard that the song went #1 in the United States. A month later, the band was on Ed Sullivan. I saw the Harry Benson photo at the Albany Institute of History and Art, a part of a show called The Beatles: Now and Then in early 2003. There was a complementary exhibition, THE BEATLES: Community Stories, in which I participated.