Hello everybody! I started a blog called A Song A Day which, amazingly, has a song every day.
I realized after I finished my list that I accidentally put the same song on it twice. I need one more song to include, but I’m out of ideas! So I thought of where I could ask for some ideas and came here. What do you recommend?
Here’s what the blog is about…
“This blog presents a song a day of music which has shaped the American culture. These are songs which every American would do well to recognize, though many of them are not themselves American songs. Ranging from folk to classical, serious to silly, religious to secular, past to present, they are songs which define the quintessential American experience. Inspired by my good friend B.G. who has frequently said to me, “I’ve never heard that one before!” this blog is for him and all others like him to come to recognize, and hopefully know and appreciate, the music that inspires America.”
(scanned through all my music looking for stuff that could really be said to either influence or reflect American culture outside the music scenes – so these are all serious suggestions!)
The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
The Velvet Underground - All Tomorrow’s Parties
Little Milton - The Blues is All Right
Tom Lehrer - National Brotherhood Week
Parliament - P-Funk
James Brown - It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World
Nirvana - Come As You Are
Dead Kennedys - California Über Alles
Alison Krauss - I’ll Fly Away
Blondie - Heart of Glass
DEVO - Freedom of Choice
Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime
Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show - The Ballad of Lucy Jordan
The Cramps - Goo Goo Muck
Ennio Morricone - theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Iggy Pop - The Passenger
The Pogues - Fairytale of New York
Grandmaster Flash - The Message
Public Enemy - Cold Lampin With Flavor
Blue Scholars - Ordinary Guys
David Bowie - Rebel Rebel
Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
Elvis Costello - Radio Radio
Jimi Hendrix - Star Spangled Banner
The Monks - Oh How To Do Now
Stray Cats - Stray Cat Strut
Aretha Franklin - Think
The Kinks - Lola
Janis Joplin - Down On Me
Yes! Exactly like that! I already have that one, but that’s what I mean. Some of the ones I’ve already posted are:
If I Had a Hammer
Theme from Rawhide
Son of a Preacher Man
It’s A Small World
Rhapsody in Blue
William Tell Overture
I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
Go Down Moses
Walk Like an Egyptian
They are songs you could walk up to most anyone and start singing and have the person say, “Oh yeah! I know that one!” They might not actually know all of it. More likely, they know the first several lines or the refrain. But I’m talking about those songs almost any American would immediately recognize. I’ve come up with 365 of them and my brain is fried! I was looking at operatic arias last night trying to find something. :o
“Think” and “Ring of Fire” are good contenders! I can hear them in my head just reading the titles. Any other thoughts?
Killer by Alice Cooper
Poison by Alice Cooper
Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
Always by Bon Jovi
Blaze of Glory by Bon Jovi
Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi
Heaven by Warrant
Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar
Take Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar
Thriller by Michael Jackson
Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson
Bad by…Michael Jackson
Dirty Diana by guess who, Michael Jackson
(I do apologize for so much of the little weirdy, but he did invent the music video)
Confusion: Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix by New Order
Sandstorm by DaRude
Enter Sandman by Metallica
Wolf and Man by Metallica
Unforgiven by Metallica
Minnie the Moocher, best as covered by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
"Theme from Back to the Future," best as covered by Vernian Process
Riddle of Steel/Riders of Doom from the soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian by Basil Poledouris
"Theme from Dragonheart"
And then there’s boatloads of Elvis, too.
Peace of Mind by Boston
The Prophet’s Song by Queen
The Wall by Kansas
The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
45 by Shinedown
Eminence Front by the Who
Tangerine by Led Zeppelin
Toccata & Fugue in D minor by Bach (yea)
Suite Madame Blue by Styx
I can’t claim to be sufficiently au fait with American culture, but I love Mirdath’s selection!
One of my alltime favourite records that seemed to sum up America for me in the 70s was One Nation under a Groove by Funkadelic (see also the Name that Tune thread). It was so joyful, chaotic, and well, funky!
I have Puttin’ on the Ritz already up there. Hound Dog will be. I thought about That’s Amore and bumped it for Tiny Bubbles. Do you think That’s Amore should take precedence over Tiny Bubbles?
I really thought about adding Michael Jackson. On one hand, he was a music icon. On the other, he’s known as a pedophile. Since I’m making it family friendly, I decided to not include him. Would those of you with children mind your children seeing Thriller or the Moon Walk?
I had Minnie the Moocher on the list. I found this Betty Boop video put to it. I felt torn but I cut it for not being family friendly. Do you think it is? I do have several Elvis songs. I don’t have the Back to the Future theme. I do have other themes, like Pink Panther and Rawhide. I don’t have much rock, so I’ll go through all those. Thank you!
I have Toccata & Fugue. I’m putting it on Good Friday. The Sound of Silence is a promising one, too! I have Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen. I’ll check out the rest. Thank you!
I have Ol’ Man River, but the others are great. Thanks!
Both great! Thanks! I have Swinging on a Star, but not Catch a Falling Star.
Any other suggestions or favorites from the lists above? Thank you all so much for the help!
No kids yet, but the Thriller music video is practically required viewing and I plan to make any future children watch it on Halloween as soon as they hit trick-or-treating age. If you cut out all musicians whose personal lives are, ah, problematic, you’re going to be left with precious few, and most all of those will suck.
I agree that I can’t eliminate all music whose musicians had troubled lives. There is a diffrence between Frank Sinatra, who has an image of wholesomeness, and Michael Jackson, who has an image of pervertedness. The difference is the scandal that could be caused by others seeing me promoting what they associate with sexual sin. Frank Sinatra’s life was full of sexual sins, but he isn’t associated with them in the way Michael Jackson is.
Do others disassociate Michael Jackson from the sexual abuse charges enough to where they would positively want their children viewing his videos like Mirdath?
Catherine, you call for songs the “every” American would recognize and you’ve received some great lists. Other posters confirm how good, say Hastrman’s list is. Granted it might be, but I love rock and roll music, and I don’t recognize half of what’s on his list. I couldn’t recognize a “Whitesnake” or “Metallica” song if I wanted to. Why, because the generations are different. For the under 40 crowd, Hastrman’s list is probably dead on. So, isn’t the problem a little generational?
My suggestion might be to identify songs that music afficianados would recognize by the first dozen notes. Songs like Hugo Montnegros, The Theme from the Good, the Bad, and The Ugly. (someone credited that to Ennico Morricone - might be the writer?) Or the Doors “Light my Fire” and “Riders on the Storm.” Or maybe Iron Butterflys Inna Gadda Davidda (sp? - and of course I want to meet anyone who can knows the words to IGD by heart). Buffalo Springfield’s, “For What its Worth” is the national anthem of the sixties. The Beatles "We Can Work it Out: is recognizable to anyone over 50 simply because it has no musical intro.
I could probably give you dozens from the 50’s and 60’s, but would they be immediately recognizable to the under 30 set?
And I hope TV show or commercials don’t count or someone is going to commit suicide because they heard the Oscar Meyer Weiner song, or the theme song to the Flintstones and committed suicide and they couldn’t get it out of their head. Then again…
Songs that have been covered numerous times by numerous artists should be good ones for your blog. Examples:
Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
Yesterday - The Beatles
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy BS& T
Proud Mary - CCR
One For MY Baby (and one more for the Road) Sinatra
My Way - Paul Anka/Frank Sinatra
Wind Beneath my Wings - Bette Midler
That looks closest to the list I’ve made. I have Mack the Knife. I think I have Yesterday. I can’t remember if I bumped it for another Beatles song. I might have done Yellow Submarine in its place. I have Proud Mary and Unchained Melody. I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t heard Wind Beneath My Wings by now! My Way and One for My Baby are both great.
I must admit that I don’t recognize 9/10 of the rock songs, but I figured there were some songs I don’t know that others do so I’m going to go listen to them and read about them. They’re still in the running. I think most young people would recognize Johnny Cash but many wouldn’t recognize Whitesnake. I might be wrong!
You know, another way might be to pick a lyric that is almost universal. I might say, Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin, and people may not recognize the song, but say the lyric, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” and everyone probably recongizes it.
Or, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die” People know the lyric, but might have trouble with "Folsum Prison Blues. Could be a fun little change of pace for your blog.
So, what other songs have great, unforgettable lyrics?
That’s how The Trolley Song made it in. Tell people that and they look confused. Sing, “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley…” and their eyes light up as they join in to say, “ding, ding, ding went the bell!” Then they start humming because they don’t know the rest!
I Fought the Law, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, A Tisket A Tasket, and Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two) all got on the list the same way. What other ones can you think of?
Well, it’s getting late so I’m going to cheat a little
The Little Drummer Boy
The Christmas Song
gotta be about a couple dozen more there.
One however that is a Christmas carol and people don’t realize it is
Go Tell it on the Mountain.
I Heard it through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye and the California Raisins)
Mr. Tambourine Man
Turn, Turn, Turn - The Byrds from Scripture
The Shadow of Your Smile
Play that Funky Music White Boy
Dock of the Bay
Try a Little Tenderness
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
She Loves You
Love Me Tender
Can’t Help Falling in Love
You’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin
Like a Rock
Old Time Rock n. Roll
Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rollin’ Stone”, and “Positively Fourth Street” are memorable. And the lyric, “I feel I’m knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” from the song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is another.
And of course one that won’t make your list, but has in it, In My Humble Opinion, the greatest song lyric ever.
(the lyric - "lookin’ back and longin’ for the freedom of my chains, and lyin’ in your lovin’ arms again…