Most awarded songs #13


Ritchie Valens

We’re so lucky to be able to listen to some of the most awarded songs #13. Maybe they’ve gotten Grammys and/or Oscars. Rolling Stone magazine, RIAA, ASCAP, CMA, NPR, and others have said good things about them.

30. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor. An anthem. In 2019, I listed it as one of the Songs that make me think about life. “In 2016, the Library of Congress deemed [it] to be ‘culturally, historically, or artistically significant’ and selected it for preservation in the National Recording Registry.”

29. Hotel California – The Eagles. “In the 2013 documentary, History of the Eagles, Don Henley reiterated: ‘On just about every album we made, there was some kind of commentary on the music business, and on American culture in general. The hotel itself could be taken as a metaphor not only for the myth-making of Southern California but for the myth-making that is the American Dream because it is a fine line between the American Dream and the American nightmare.'”

28. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel. I wrote about this here.

27.  The Message – Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five. I was very taken by this, that the newish genre in 1982 would address social commentary.

26. People Get Ready – The Impressions. Written by Curtis Mayfield, it’s a great freedom song, clearly written with the black church experience permeated in it. Heavily covered.

“I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend”

25. Fire And Rain – James Taylor. The singer has said that the song is in three parts, the suicide of his friend Suzanne, his struggle to overcome drug addiction and depression, and coming to grips with fame and fortune.

24. Soul Man – Sam and Dave. When I was younger I was a bit confused. The song was composed by Isaac Hayes and David Porter. Sam and Dave consisted of Samuel Moore and David Prater. Porter/Prater; OK, got it. Booker T. and the MGs played on the song. “Play it, Steve” refers to guitarist Steve Cropper. Hayes also played organ on the track.

23. Yesterday – The Beatles. My problem with Yesterday was that is that it seemed EVERYBODY covered it. Some of them are even good. I must have at least three dozen different versions.

22. Papper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang.  I bought this 12″ vinyl with the more familiar blue label, probably in 1980. It might be the first rap song I ever purchased.

21. La Bamba – Ritchie Valens. The song originated in Veracruz, Mexico. It was recorded in the late 1930s and several times afterward. Valens gave it a rock and roll feel. The song was a big hit in 1987 when Los Lobos covered it for the soundtrack of the movie La Bamba.

Sunday Stealing: Songs

NOT Constantinople

This week’s Sunday Stealing is right up my alley: Songs—links to all.


1. A song with a food name.

Lady Marmalade – LaBelle: “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”


2. A song with an animal in it.

A Horse With No Name – America. America played at my college in late 1971 or early 1972. The charge was fifty cents, but I didn’t go. Weeks later, the song was  #1 on the pop charts.


3. A song about a bird

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley. “Every little thing is gonna be all right.”


4. A song about a dog
Hey Bulldog – The Beatles. From the Yellow Submarine film

5. A song mentioning a cat

Cat Food – King Crimson. I sing it to my cats each time I feed them.


6. A song listing a character from Wizard of Oz

If I Only Had A Brain – Domini Forster. This was from a YouTube search.


7. A late-night driving song
Keep On Running – the Spencer Davis Group. This running song has a driving feel.
City of Brotherly Love
8. A song from a movie

Philadelphia – Neil Young. Bruce Springsteen received an Oscar for his song from the movie Philadelphia, entitled Streets of Philadelphia. But the Neil song, right at the end of the film, always gets me, and Springsteen intimated that he thought Neil’s song was better in his acceptance speech.

9.  A guilty pleasure song

Waterloo – ABBA. Truth to tell, I don’t believe in “guilty pleasure” music

10. A song about friends

Friends – Elton John. This could have been the movie song as well.

11. A song that is about summertime

Summertime Blues –  Eddie Cochran. WAY back in 2006, I wrote a blog post about a mixed CD I made about summer. I own at least three versions of this song, including Blue Cheer and The Who.

12. A song that needs to be played more on the radio

Love In Them There Hills – the Pointer Sisters. That said, I don’t listen much to music on the radio.

13. A song about drugs or alcohol

Demon Alcohol – the Kinks, from the great Muswell Hiillbillies album

14. A song you would sing at karaoke

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads. I picked their version because I couldn’t do Cousin Al justice.

15. A song from the year you were born
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) – The Four Lads. This was famously covered by They Might Be Giants.

A LOT of Christmas music

Queen of Christmas

lot of christmas songsI have a LOT of Christmas music, 100 LPs and CDs or more. This is why I rarely listen to the radio stations playing holiday music between Thanksgiving (and some even earlier) and December 25. With all the music available, why are so many stations limited to a few dozen recordings?

It’s not that I MIND them. But When my wife tunes in, I’ll hear the same song, often by the same artist, every three or four days. A lot of them are almost as old as I am. Understand I like a lot of them, but still.

Feliz Navidad – José Feliciano
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Burl Ives
Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Jackson 5
The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth – Bing Crosby/David Bowie
plus various cuts by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and more Bing

Not that I would ever complain about hearing songs from that Phil Spector album, such as:
Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane) – Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans
Frosty the Snowman – The Ronettes
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love

There are those “newer” songs if you want to call a quarter century “new”:  All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey. And speaking of Carey, her desire to trademark the term “Queen of Christmas” is pretentious and ill-advised. Darlene Love and Elizabeth Chan have raised serious objections, as they should.


Here’s a link from four years ago. Besides the part about Nowell We Sing Clear, there are some of my favorite pieces, including by Tom Petty, Julie Andrews, and Stevie Wonder.

Halloween songs, of a sort


Halloween not XmasI decided to pick some Halloween songs, mostly because I haven’t done so in years. The only criterion is that it has to be something I own in physical form, with the exception of the second Bach. That means no Disturbia by Rihanna or Bury A Friend by Billie Eilish.


Ghost Riders In The Sky -Sons of the Pioneers
Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra. OK, a bit of a cheat.


Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Picket
The Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley
Nature Trail To Hell – Weird Al When he reviewed all of the Weird Al tracks, SamuraiFrog/Aaron noted that this song is about a minute too long; fair assessment. 


Season Of The Witch – Donovan
Celtic Rock – Donovan

Classic rock

I Put A Spell On You – Creedence Clearwater Revival; I don’t think I have the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins version
People Are Strange – The Doors
Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones
Black Magic Woman  – Santana; I don’t have the Fleetwood Mac version
Boris The Spider – The Who


Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon; always reminds me of Raoul Vezina of Albany
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
Runnin’ With The Devil – Van Halen

Motown adjacent

Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell 


Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr. I read at the time that everyone was praising his new video, which he figured was one he had done weeks earlier. Nope, they rushed this one out.
Tubular Bells  Part 1, excerpt – Mike Oldfield. I’ve never seen The Exorcist
The Addams Family – Vic Mizzy
Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Get Bach

Two versions of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. One of my favorite chords of all time is at about 7:30
Virgil Fox 

Ten songs from the sixties

something’s happening here

Someone asked me to list ten songs from the sixties – the 1960s, I assume – that epitomize the decade. This is a ridiculous question, of course, but that never stopped me before.

1. The Twist – Chubby Checker. #1 in both 1960 and 1962. It represents all those dance crazes.

2. Runaround Sue – Dion (1961). A performer from a group, The Belmonts, goes solo.

3. The End Of The World – Skeeter Davis (1963). It went Top Four on all four Billboard charts, the ONLY song of the decade to do so. There have been several country songs that have crossed over, from Roger Miller to Glen Campbell to Jeannie C. Riley’s Harper Valley PTA.

4.  Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles (1964). I picked this specific song for two related reasons. This was the first single from their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night. And it was #1 when the group held the top five slots on the Billboard pop charts.

5.  Stop! In The Name Of Love – The Supremes (1965). Their fifth straight #1 hit, showing the group was no fluke. Also, the hand gestures were a bit of Motown choreography. The song was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland, who penned many hits for them, The Four Tops, and other artists.

6. Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds (1965). A folk-rock classic that also represents the songwriting of Bob Dylan.

What you want

7. Respect – Aretha Franklin (1967). It is an empowerment anthem and a song that was much more successful than the original, in this case, from Otis Redding. Good Lovin’ (Young Rascals), Go Now (The Moody Blues) – heck, here’s a whole list of artists pulling this off.

8. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield (1967). It is almost a sixties cliche in that it appeared on many of the era’s compilations. Springfield and the Byrds helped birth CSNY, one of the first of the so-called supergroups.

9. Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf (1968). There have been songs from movies that have appeared on the pop charts for a long time. But this is one of the first times someone took extant music and used it as the soundtrack, in this case, Easy Rider (1969). Subsequently, this has occurred in films from American Graffiti to American Hustle to every Tarantino flick.

10. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin (1969). The New Yardbirds morphed into a sound that helped define the NEXT decade.

But what about… Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones, the Ronettes, Cream? Perfectly good choices. Put them on YOUR list of ten.

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