Tuesday, March 31, 2009

5 Old Songs You Should Try

I get static from acquaintances sometimes because my music tastes tend to lean toward older stuff. In fact, I suspect some people might label my favorites "antediluvian", if only they knew what that word meant. But I feel like they're only cheating themselves. There are plenty of gems if they could only get over the fact that they pre-date their births.

I'm not down on current popular music as a rule, if only because that is an early warning sign that you are becoming an old codger. However, here is a list of 5 random songs over 25 years old that I would recommend to young whippersnappers, after I spray them with a hose and yell for them to get off my lawn.

"Gimme Shelter", The Rolling Stones - I'm not one of those people who buys into the Stones as "The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band Of All Time", though I'll admit they make a credible case for that label by sheer longevity. However, "Gimme Shelter" is an amazing, transcendent song, and it still excites me whenever it begins. And I'm not a Stones fan!

"My Cherie Amour", Stevie Wonder - Honestly, I could rattle off at least a dozen Stevie Wonder songs as timeless masterpieces, but I'll go with this one as it is a favorite of mine. Stevie Wonder is one of the true geniuses of music over the last 50 years, and he's still out there making music. Plus, he still has his dignity - a rare commodity in the music biz.

"Suffragette City", David Bowie - Like Stevie Wonder, the trick is only picking one for Bowie - a man so far ahead of his time that it was scary. This is my favorite song off the landmark album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, highlighted by some killer guitar work by Mick Ronson and memorable lyrics. Don't lean on me, man, 'cause you can't afford the ticket!

"Folsom Prison Blues", Johnny Cash - I think it is a testament to Cash's talent and influence that people who don't even care that much for country music consider themselves fans. And yes, I'd go with the live version from Folsom Prison itself, especially if it includes the opening with "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

"One Way Or Another", Blondie - Blondie managed the nigh-impossible feat of bridging the genres of punk, disco, and new wave without betraying any of them. And that's not even mentioning the fact that they scored the first ever #1 song with a rap interlude! (Wait, I just did...) This is a hard-driving song that is creepy when you think about it. Except you'll be too busy singing along to really think about it.

Do you have any musty old favorites you'd recommend to "the kids"?

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