Growing up, just about everybody had his or her favorite songs, whether it was rock ’n roll, country and western, blues, pop, swing (either the big-band style or the Bob Wills variety), soul, or something else — we all had our most appreciated and distinct patterns of music.
What I find interesting is that this music is filled with emotions and memories from days gone by. You can hear certain songs that you’ve not heard in years (if not decades) and you’re automatically taken back to a specific place, time and situation.
If we are serious about our music, and most of us are, we tend to categorize our preferred tunes by decades (or even decade sub-divisions).
For example, music from the 1960s can be easily divided into at least two eras — pre-Beatles and post-Beatles. Although the Fab Four was a functioning band for only a little more than a dozen years, their influence in music and many other segments of our society live on to this day ... and, probably will for many more years to come.
Even the Beatles sub-division can be dissected even further. There are the Liverpool Days, Hamburg Days, pre- and post-Ed Sullivan Days, the Psychedelic Days. And then these times can be reduce even more, such as the pre- and post-Yoko Years.
But I digress.
I look at this reminiscing through time with music as a form of therapy; something that can be beneficial just by retracing steps from long ago. For example, start making a list of your favorite songs from any time period. You don’t need to keep it to just one genre of music; let the list be as varied as are your musical tastes.
For me, I opted to return to the sounds of the 1960s, primarily the first half of the decade for my list. Having literally grown up on a college campus between the ages of five and 11, I learned much about the records of that time period from the students. Hanging out at the snack bar in the Student Union building was a beloved hobby of mine. Music was always playing on the juke box.
For whatever reasons and with much deliberation, I narrowed my field down to the best 30 songs. To me, these are the top 30 “magic” songs in my young life; songs that still captivate my emotions and bring back precious memories.
They are listed in no particular order, and they’re not necessarily my 30 favorite songs. But, rather, songs that have special memories for me.
This was a hard task for me; my list originally had more than 100 entries. Picking the final 30 was a labor of love, but also a painful task.
But, here we go.
1. “Hey, Baby” (Bruce Channel). I put this one in here primarily because it was the first 45-RMP record I ever bought.
2. “Pretty Woman” (Roy Orbison). Roy was the “Boss” before there was Bruce Springsteen; a haunting voice. The song also taught me how to growl — grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
3./3a. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves Me” (Beatles). These two songs represent my appreciation for their music and the innocent times they represented.
4. “Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Doo” (Manfred Mann). Catchy tune that’s easily song-locked. Was this the precursor to the Beatles’ “Ob-la-di Ob-la-da?”
5. “Locomotion” (Little Eva). Great up-tempo beat, this song has an interesting back-story. The song was later covered by Grand Funk Railroad and, later, by Australian singer Kylie Minogue.
6. “My Girl” (Temptations). One of my first dips into what we called Soul Music.
7. “Spirit in the Sky” (Norman Greenbaum). Awesome rhythm with an overtone of Western religion.
8. “Because” (Dave Clark Five). Slow, emotional; holds plenty of personal feelings for me.
9. “Bristol Stomp” (Dovells). Lively; at one time, I could repeat all of the lyrics without messing up.
10. “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh-Camp Granada” (Allan Sherman). Humor is in the schadenfreude for Sherman as he describes a completely miserable time at summer camp (“and they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining”).
11. “Good Vibrations” (Beach Boys). This takes me back to when my brother and I cruised around in Mom and Dad’s new Galaxie 500.
12. “Travelin’ Man” (Ricky Nelson). Prime example of Nelson’s upbeat, echo-chamber sound.
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