Friday, 6 April 2012

A Decade In The Life

Here's an interesting list: the Rolling Stone Top Ten Songs Of The Sixties

Good list, and I guess all pretty much predictable. You quickly see that we have the usual, expected suspects, and they each get one tune (except The Beatles and Stones, who get two, and that's fair).

Here's the list:
1. Like A Rolling Stone - Dylan
2. A Day In The Life - The Beatles
3. Satisfaction - Stones
4. Gimme Shelter - Stones
5. My Generation -The Who
6. Light My Fire - The Doors
7. Hey Jude - The Beatles
8. Whole Lotta Love - Zeppelin
9. All Along The Watchtower - Hendrix
10. God Only Knows - Beach Boys

No point in debating relative placement. They are all wonderful songs (except God Only Knows, and, and, well only He does).

You could have pretty much guaranteed which groups would have been represented. What's interesting is which songs got selected. Satisfaction? Watchtower? Whole Lotta Love? Zero surprise factor.

Gimme Shelter? Nice, especially since it came so late. But it certainly captured the downer mood that undid the Woodstock high and kicked us into the 70's.

My Generation? Classic Rock radio revisionism. No one listened to this song when it first came out. OK, they did, and it was respected, but it wasn't as big or influential at the time as I Can See For Miles or Pinball Wizard.

Hey Jude? Sure. #1 for a zillion weeks. A Day In The Life? Nice. Trippy. Best representation of The Fab at their psychedelic best. But She Loves You started everything. And tunes like Day Tripper summed up what set them apart from everyone, why everything else was second best.

Like A Rolling Stone? If you asked me to pick one song that best represented the 60's I might just pick this one. But it feels like more revisionism to me. Ya, there's the legendary booing at Newport and all that, but it didn't get played much (at least initially). Sure, it marked Dylan's transition from folk to rock, but in the end it feels arbitrary. Blowing In The Wind or The Times They Are A Changing are better representations of what was happening at the time.

So, the thing is this was a reader's poll. And it's the voice of the people and the people are never wrong. The real thing is, how much have we all been manipulated by what we constantly hear, by what we're told to remember?

If you had done a poll on January 1, 1970, you probably would have got the same artists. Not sure you would have got the same songs.

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