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  • What's the Best Song-The 1950s

       December 04, 2005

    "Rhapsody in Blue" won the pre-1940s music poll (yay!), so now we're ready to move on to the 1950s. This is probably my favorite collection of songs. The top five songs from Acclaimed Music are all good choices. As for my own choices, I had some painful cuts to make and I regret that Muddy Waters' "Got My Mojo Working", Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes", "Who Do You Love", by Bo Diddley, "Sh-Boom" by The Chords and Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight" weren't included.

    Speaking of songs not on the list, based on some comments in the previous poll, there will be two additional categories in the finals: the Beatles will have their own poll and I'll do a final category of songs that people think I should have included in one of the polls. So, if you don't like what you see below, let me know about it ;-).

    Click here to place your vote.
    (opens in new window)

    Update: The polls are closed! "Johnny B. Goode" was the winner and will advance to the final round.

    For more information and previous results in our Greatest Song competition, click here.

    Posted by at December 4, 2005 04:27 PM

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    #  December 4th, 2005 4:42 PM      james
    it's nice that you want to give waylon top billing and all, but i think the group is more properly identified as "buddy holly & the crickets."  
    #  December 4th, 2005 4:44 PM      james
    let me start off the complaining: the only song on this list that i think even deserves to be in the top ten is johnny b goode.

    hank williams was more responsible for the birth of rock & roll than elvis was, and most of his music was made in the 50s. yet no hank. wtf is that?

    and wasnt great balls of fire a way more popular & more influential song than whole lotta shakin?

    #  December 4th, 2005 4:52 PM      james
    in really not understanding how this vote thing works. "In the final round of this tally, your vote counted for:

    I Put A Spell On You-Screamin' Jay Hawkins"

    I ranked that second from the LAST. in other words, it wsa ranked ninth. thats just dumb.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 4:53 PM      kris
    I wouldn't have had any Hank Williams song in my top 15 for the 1950s

    As for Jerry Lee Lewis, it's personal preference as I like Whole Lotta Shakin' better. I figure that's my right. I thought I had to put a JLL song on the list, even though I'd really rather have Got My Mojo Working before anything from him or Summertime Blues.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 4:54 PM      kris
    Don't worry about the voting now, it'll all change as we get more votes  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:01 PM      james
    so your choices for the songs on the list arent based on sales charts or historical influence, we're pretty much just picking from your favorites list?

    ive heard of people advocating this crazy voting style as an "election reform." wow would THAT be messed up.... i think david duke would have won in 2004.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:03 PM      kris
    no-as I said earlier, I use the top 5 from the Acclaimed Music critics list, then, at least 4 out of the other 5 are still in that critics list somewhere. I give myself one wildcard although I don't even think I've used one yet.

    This is hardly my favorites list. You think I'd have Tutti Frutti or Heartbreak Hotel? Give me a break.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:12 PM      james
    i dont know why anyone would put either of those songs on the list either. they were almost insignificant. (and elvis didn't write heartbreak hotel, which still bugs me, as you know.)

    meanwhile, very significant songs by folks like like hank williams or conway twitty (who still this day still holds the record for most #1 singles) aren't even mentioned.

    where's the bb king? " From 1951 to 1985, King appeared on Billboard's R&B charts an amazing 74 times."

    where's the mingus?

    i dont know who these acclaimed critics are, but they certainly don't know their musical history.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:14 PM      james
    i was wondering why you didn't put "i walk the line" on the list, and i just figured that it must have been a 60s song. but no, "i walk the line" is listed on that list at #12, while folsom prison is at #24. why would you skip "i walk the line?" that has to be, by far, cash's greatest hit.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:15 PM      james
    bill hailey should have definitely made it too. i'd have "rock around the clock"
    in my top 5 for sure.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:23 PM      kris
    I like Folsom Prison Blues better. At some point it just gets down to personal preference.

    Rock Around the Clock was, I think, #6 on the critics list. I don't really care for it, hence the fact it's not on my list. Sorry.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:27 PM      kris
    It's not evident yet, but as we progress further into this you'll see that it's not simply a "let's vote on Kris' favorite songs" contest. I'm making sure that the lists reflect some of the more important trends of the decade, not just what I like.

    But, if it comes down to two songs by any given artist, of course I'm going to pick the song I like better.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:49 PM      james
    right, but by not including rock around the clock you're not evidencing an understanding of how groundbreaking it a song it was. when that song was released, it was a country song, and bill haley was a country artist. "rock around the clock" needs to be on the list, just like "friends in low places" will need to in the 90's be and "all my rowdy friends" will need to be in the 80's. those three songs were each resposible for shaping musical genres for the next 10 years.

    mi sure that your 90's list will include "smells like teen spirit," and properly so, as that song, while not the first of its kind, was the first huge megahit crossover of its kind, making seattle grunge the de-fact standard of "hip" music for the next 10 years.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:54 PM      kris
    i have 5 songs for the 1980s, and I'm just telling you right now that "All My Rowdy Friends" is not one of them. no chance  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:55 PM      james
    wow, that acclaimed list doens't even have michael jackson's "rock with you" listed. (70s). that song was also one of the most influential in musical history. it was mj's first solo hit single, and was a move away from motown style music and disco music. it blended a smooth jazz sound with traditional motown music & disco resulting in one of the first "pop" songs ever. (launching the entire 1980's genre, and making white people listen to black music


    #  December 4th, 2005 5:57 PM      kris
    rock with you sucks

    i would, however, consider "don't stop till you get enough"  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:57 PM      james
    "all my rowdy friends" is probably one of the top 5 hits of all time as far as sales go, and you're not going to include it. that makes no sense at all.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 5:58 PM      james
    in honor of richard pryor's birthday, i think your lists need a "none of the above" choice.

    #  December 4th, 2005 6:02 PM      kris
    you've seen the top five on the critics list. in addition to those i have:

    -Sweet Child O'Mine
    -Pride or Sunday Bloody Sunday
    -Hungry Like The Wolf OR Come On Eileen (80s new wave needs some love)
    -Alex Chilton-if you're all about influential, then you can't deny the Replacements a place

    Other songs I'm considering:

    -something by Madonna-I'd probably pick Into the Groove or Like A Virgin
    -Town Called Malice
    -Walk This Way
    -Tainted Love
    -Personal Jesus
    -So. Central Rain

    I just don't see where "All My Rowdy Friends" belongs on the list more than any of those
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:03 PM      james
    on waylon's box set "destiny's child" he does a version of "rave on." heh, 2 versions of it actually.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:04 PM      kris
    the 80s critics list is tough to deal with because it makes 80s music sound so serious. there's no sense of how FUN so many 80s songs were.

    plus, it galls me to have to represent the Police with "Every Breath You Take". The Police were funny and joyful except for that one damn song (and "Invisible Sun", which is much better)  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:05 PM      james
    i disagree with all proposed songs, including the list from acclaimed, except for 2 of them.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:06 PM      kris
    Why don't you list what your list would be so I can mercilessly pick it apart  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:07 PM      james
    that list is insane. it puts both new order and joy division in the top 6. please. clearly, the list is acclaimed by goths and other various weirdos who lie around wanting to slit their wrists all day long while complaining about jocks.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:08 PM      james
    im pretty certain that ive named at least 10 songs that i would have included on various lists. pick away.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:09 PM      kris
    for the 80s all you've said is that "All My Rowdy Friends" should be on it and that everything else sucks. that's hardly helpful  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:21 PM      james
    ok, for the 80's, id consider, in no particular order
    1) all my rowdy friends
    2) hungry like the wolf
    3) sunday bloody sunday, or probably more likely pride. (is pride 80's or 90's?)
    4) beat it
    5) when doves cry
    6) i suppose run dmc's walk this way, though i have reservations about that one.
    7) word up by cameo,
    8) like a virgin or material girl. wait, is like a virgin 80's or 90's?
    9) tear the roof off the sucka - parliament. (actually, i think that's 70's.)
    10) maybe on the road again, i'd have to think about it

    as far as country goes, i'd want to include some kenny rogers, loretta lynn, outlaw, etc, but i think a lot of that started in the 70's. i'd have to look at some dates.

    maybe some bob marley, lionel richie
    definitely billy joel
    springsteen - born in the USA
    was queen still making music?

    oh, as far as just rocking songs - frankie goes to hollywood!  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:23 PM      kris
    with all of your bitching, our lists are NOT that different  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:26 PM      james
    im not bitching about the 80's. my bitching is mostly about your current list.

    (i added more to the above post, btw)  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:27 PM      kris
    eh, i'm very comfortable with my 50s list. after this it'll get horrible  
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:28 PM      james
    i cant imagine it getting much worse.
    #  December 4th, 2005 6:32 PM      kris
    it's so sweet that you would think that  
    #  December 4th, 2005 10:41 PM      BVBigBro
    The 80's list in particular is crippled by the horrible critics choices. Peter Gabriel In Your Eyes should be on the list. Marley belongs in the 70's, where he should have one or two songs in the top 10.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 10:44 PM      kris
    Yeah, In Your Eyes should be on the list. Thanks for reminding me.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 11:30 PM      james
    why in the world should "in your eyes" be on the list? it made it to a measley #26 on the US charts.

    youre trying to say that in the ten years of the 80's, a song that spent just a few weeks even in the top 100 should be on the list?

    even other songs from the same album went much higher, eg sledgehmmer #1, big time #8.

    in any event, it was a forgettable album.

    or is there some great musical genius of peter gabriel that the whole world sees that im unaware of?  
    #  December 4th, 2005 11:35 PM      kris
    Why are you so caught up in where a song is on the charts? that's not the only way to evaluate songs.

    Now, "In Your Eyes" is way more popular than anything else on that album, movies and weddings have seen to it.

    And yes, Peter Gabriel is a great musical genius. Hell, I'd love to have almost anything from the self-titled CD with "And Through The Wire", "Games Without Frontiers", "Family Snapshot", "The Intruder" and "Biko" on it. If we were polling on albums, it'd definitely make the 80s list.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 11:35 PM      Daddy
    You won't put DMC's "Walk this Way" on any list. Anywhere.

    That's an order.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 11:40 PM      kris
    Actually, I think "In Your Eyes" would have an excellent chance of WINNING the 80s poll.

    As for "Walk This Way", it's a groundbreaking song signaling the merger of rock and rap.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 11:42 PM      james
    i hate to inform you that billboard charts track the popularity of songs. the tastes and opinions of the general public often differ with the overall opinion of your clan. i know it's hard to believe, but it's true.  
    #  December 4th, 2005 11:43 PM      james
    im sure that multi platinum artists like michael jackson and hank jr and sitting around right now saying "man, if only i had written 'in your eyes!'"
    #  December 4th, 2005 11:47 PM      kris
    billboard tracks the popularity at one moment in time. it doesn't account for songs that have lasting popularity, like "In Your Eyes".

    Any songwriter would be proud to have written the song, not only for its artistic quality but also for its popularity  
    #  December 5th, 2005 8:06 AM      BVBigBro
    If we're going by Billboard, the list will get even worse. I believe the top hit of 1969, according to Billboard, is by the Archies.  
    #  December 5th, 2005 3:55 PM      james
    A suggestion for the 60's (mp3)
    #  December 5th, 2005 4:00 PM      Laura
    I love that song. It was the wedding march for my friend's son's wedding.  
    #  December 5th, 2005 9:07 PM      kris
    I like that song too, although it always makes me think of Pleasantville now. But, don't be mad if it's not on the list. I'm deciding between that and the following for the final 60s slot: Crazy, The Way You Look Tonight, Proud Mary, Gimme Some Lovin', Suspicious Minds, My Girl, Brown Eyed Girl, For What It's Worth, Somebody To Love, Born To Be Wild & Ring of Fire.  
    #  December 5th, 2005 10:31 PM      james
    the way you look tonight sucks. it doesnt belong on a top 1000 list. my girl sucks too. you're picking so many songs that have no musical significance whatsoever.

    i'll tell you how significant "gimme some lovin" is - ive never heard it, and probably never will.

    you have to pick something from the beach boys' pet sounds. id say good vibrations - that album marked a huge change in direction of 60's music.

    and what about creeque alley'? havent you any idea about backgrounds of the mama's and papas?

    #  December 5th, 2005 10:35 PM      james
    oh, wiat, i just thought of what "gimme some lovin" is. ive heard it, it's just oh so forgettable.  
    #  December 5th, 2005 10:37 PM      kris
    those are the songs competing for one spot on the list-i think the rest of the list is pretty solid.  
    #  December 5th, 2005 10:43 PM      james
    oh. gotcha. in that case, i'd nominate creeque alley, if not already on the list. if it is, i'd do good vibrations.

    from your list, i think "crazy" was the most groundbreaking song. it was written by willie nelson, and it made patsy cline a superdupermegastar.  
    #  December 5th, 2005 11:25 PM      mbrlr
    My my. Where to begin? The list isn't that bad, although those aren't the ones I'd pick.

    Let's see...New Order and Joy Division were good bands. Not favorites of mine, but very good bands.

    "Tutti Frutti" and "Heartbreak Hotel" weren't bad songs, even if they weren't quite what those of us who grew up on the Beatles and Stones came to expect of rock.

    The Jam were the best band to come out of Punk/New Wave, although no one ever noticed on this side of the Atlantic, but you have to acknowledge (of course) the Clash and the Sex Pistols. The bands from the US early punk era (predates London by a couple of years) also need to be acknowledged. New York Dolls or the MC5, anyone?

    Big Star? If you liked the song about Alex Chilton, listen to his music. I named my youngest son after him, man, even if I had to maneuver a bit so my wife didn't realize it at first.

    Early rock was a mix --- that was its beauty. Why was Bill Haley more legitimate, even if not quite as good, as Buddy Holly in your eyes? Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley (get the early, early Sun records collection that was put out a few years ago and contains the demos; it's incredible), Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochrane, Little Richard, all of them...they were all in that mix and that was its beauty. It was an incredible period where the lines between the genres could still be crossed and things just worked. Ever heard the country stuff Ray Charles did a bit later ('62 or earlier)? Incredible.

    And "Gimme Some Lovin'" was *NOT* forgettable. That's damn near heresy and I'm coming close to favoring the death penalty for that one, and that goes against everything I believe. That song was the Spencer Davis Group, but the guy behind it was also the vocalist, 17-year old Steve Winwood and he was incredible. He later formed Traffic and Blind Faith and worked solo and was just about as incredible there. Sheesh.

    Sales mean *nothing* when it comes to rock, though, or any music. Sometimes, as with the Beatles and the Stones, it's legitimate. But the Velvet Underground, perhaps the most influential band of the '60s w/every album a classic, sold zilch.

    And Peter Gabriel's a very talented guy. Not quite as talented as others I'd rank a bit higher (see Alex Chilton), but a very talented fellow.  



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