Thursday, February 03, 2005

What's Going On?

Well they're out at last. The results of Norm's greatest rock 'n' roll songs that is. As you'd expect Norm has an analytical commentary to rival the best. So what are we to make of it all - well at least of the musical tastes of 230 (!) respondents. For the record, here was my list of ten favourites songs in roughly chronological order:
God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday)
Mack The Knife (Ella Fitzgerald)
A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
Four Women (Nina Simone)
Respect (Aretha Franklin)
(Sittin On) The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding)
The Partisan (Leonard Cohen)
The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel)
What's Going On (Marvin Gaye)
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Gil Scott-Heron)
And here's Norm's top ten (well eleven actually because of a tie) with votes in brackets:
01 - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones) [22]
02 - Sympathy For The Devil (The Rolling Stones) [19]
03 - Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys) [17]
04 - Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin) [16]
05= - Like A Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan) [15]
05= - All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix) [15]
07= - Yesterday (The Beatles) [14]
07= - Born To Run (Bruce Springsteen) [14]
07= - Layla (Derek and the Dominos) [14]
07= - The Weight (The Band) [14]
07= - Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who) [14]
Ummm, let's get this right: precisely none of my choices made the top ten.

So where did they feature in Norm's top not quite 100 (98 actually)? Otis Redding's
(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay was sitting uncomfortably at 43=; Aretha Franklin's Respect came in a disrespectful 64=, alongside Simon & Garfunkel's combative The Boxer and Marvin Gaye's unmatched What's Going On (Grapevine did marginally better). Well quite - what is going on? I fully expected Billie and Ella not to feature - great popular songs but too jazzy for the rock 'n' roll canon. But it was sad to see nothing by Sam Cooke, relatively little Motown or r'n'b despite their centrality to modern music including some of those bands who did feature, and no reggae or rap. If Norm can admonish the good voters for the absence of earlier songs (pre-Beatles) then I am going to do the same over black music in general. As he says, go listen to that stuff ...


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