30 Day Music Challenge: Day 25

A song by an artist no longer living.

I’ve thought a little about this and it comes down to two: Elvis and Prince.

Now I can think of a bunch of artists I want to point to, but when I first started thinking about this day’s theme it was these two that came to my mind first.

I talked a little about my rationale for Elvis in my Day 23 post, where I could remember as a 7-year old hearing the news Elvis had died when I can’t remember much of that age. I am a bit of an EP fan, although not huge; I have an album called “The Top 10 Hits” and that’s pretty much all I need. Maybe “Viva Las Vegas” tossed in for good measure, but otherwise, I’m good with it. It’s just that he has pretty much hung around the outskirts of my life my entire life. Kind of the familiar stranger you see on the bus every day on your commute or at the coffee store that one day just inexplicably stops showing up.

Prince is a different vibe. I was never a big fan, although I have always adored “Purple Rain” and some other assorted songs along the way. “1999” and it’s hit songs were about as deep into the catalog as I got with him – a few random songs here and there, but really just the early/mid-1980’s stuff. When he died, however, he was hailed as a musical genius. I’m still not convinced that genius is quite the word, but he was supremely talented and I know he had an oversized impact on a lot of the people in my generation and for that, I have to recognize a certain affinity.

So, Elvis, you’ve gotten the nod twice from me in three days, both for having died, yet not having your music chosen. I’m sorry for that. Sometimes a mile wide and an inch deep just doesn’t do it.

Now, with that as lead up, there’s a dirth of video versions of Prince’s “Delirious” which is the song I wanted to highlight, so I’m going to provide a link to the audio.

Wisdom of Crowds Picks:

Suspicious Minds” Elvis Presley

“Miss Misery” Elliot Smith

Let’s Dance” David Bowie

More than A Feeling” Boston

The thrill is gone” BB King & Eric Clapton

Lawyers, Guns and Money” Warren Zevon

Imagine” John Lennon

All Along The Watchtower” Jimi Hendrix

Down in a Hole” Alice in Chains

One More Light Live” Linkin Park

Piece Of My Heart” Big Brother and the Holding Company

Space Oddity” David Bowie

Don’t Change” INXS

Georgia On My Mind “ Ray Charles

Ripple” Grateful Dead

Greatest Love Of All” Whitney Houston

At Last” Etta James


30 Day Music Challenge: Day 24

A song by a band you wish was still together.

I spent some time thinking about this. My first thought was “Blood and Roses” by The Smithereens…but they’re still together. So I guess I should be happy about that, but perhaps it just means that I really don’t care about them if they’re together as much as I did when I thought they had broken up. Which should cast doubt on anything I subsequently pick today: If I can pick a Smithereens song because I thought they were broken up, it means I wish they were still together, presumably because I miss their stuff…only to realize they’re still around, so I don’t really miss it as much as I thought.

So, I went back to a band I KNOW is long gone. The band I’m going with was essentially engineered into life, but unlike so many created bands, they changed everything. Malcolm McLaren, a visionary in his own right, saw the oncoming Punk scene, and harnessed it. Punk as a movement began as a rejection of the establishment at a time that (here in the US) the establishment represented involvement in Vietnam and Watergate. It was the rejection of the mainstream and glam rock. I suppose it was perfectly predictable that a band built on such anti-social principles would implode, but it would have been interesting to see just how the Sex Pistols would have evolved, how they would have behaved: would they continue to reject the establishment or would they become the establishment, like Green Day?

My pick is “Anarchy In The UK,” a song I to this day will blare while driving, only these days I’m driving a late model Swedish sedan…kind of a perfect exemplar of the reason you can’t remain anti-establishment for very long.

Wisdom of Crowds picks:

Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen

Love Ballad” LTD

Voodoo Child” Stevie Ray Vaughn

People of the Sun” Rage Against the Machine

“And I love her”  The Beatles

In The Evening” Led Zeppelin

 The Old Apartment” Barenaked Ladies

Queen Of The Reich” Queensryche

Brothers in Arms” Dire Straits

Songbird” Fleetwood Mac

Planetary (GO!)” My Chemical Romance



30 Day Music Challenge: Day 23

A song you think everybody should listen to.

There’s this one song by a band that no one has heard from again after this album was released that has always evoked meaning for me. Like I could see this magnetic traveling vagrant coming through town telling stories to kids on an early Autumn day. I remember it was a day like that in August 1977, when a then 7-year old learned from the radio news that Elvis Presley had died. I didn’t know who Elvis was, but it seemed like it was a big deal because it was all over the place that “the King of Rock and Roll” had died. I remember running outside where all the neighborhood kids were playing in the street to spread the news.

“A Salvation Army band played, and the children drunk lemonade, and the morning lasted all day…and through an open window came, like Sinatra in a younger day…”
That just says the start of Autumn to me. Crisp air, but not quite the first day of school – back when school didn’t start until after Labor Day. Kids out playing.

I can imagine going back to the winter of 1963 and just being so cold – perhaps it’s the Salvation Army being invoked in the opening verse, maybe just being a lifelong New Englander who knows what it feels like when it’s so cold that it feels like the world would freeze, or maybe the sound of the wind blowing through the air. Perhaps it’s just the thought of a cold winter, paired with the assassination of our young president – the world feeling so cold and dead, yet the promise of what’s to come with this little band out of Liverpool, England who would change rock music forever, like a little sapling growing out of the tundra. A promise that the world does go on.

“In winter 1963, it felt like the world would freeze, with John F Kennedy and the Beatles…”

Maybe it’s the music itself or the repetitive African chant “ah hey ma ma ma ma…” or just the feelings it evokes for me. I don’t know, I’ve just always loved this song.

Wisdom of Crowds picks:

Always on Your Side” Sheryl Crow

Let It Be” The Beatles

The Sounds of Silence” Simon & Garfunkel

L-O-V-E” Nat King Cole

Beloved Wife” Natalie Merchant

At This Point In My Life” Tracey Chapman

Elderly Woman Behind The Counter in a small town” Pearl Jam

The Greatest Love of All” Jane Olivor

30 Day Music Challenge: Day 22

A song that makes you move forward.

Back in the late 1990’s – early 2000’s both Mitsubishi and Mazda had some catchy tunes for their commercials: “Start the Commotion” in particular, but also “Zoom Zoom Zoom

(As an aside, all you eclipse lovers will appreciate this one)

I have to say though, when I’m kind of in a trough while running, this song brings me back up. It’s literally 180 BPM, perfect cadence for running.

So, Metallica it is. (NSFW)

Wisdom of Crowds Picks:

‘In my Life” The Beatles

“Let There Be Peace on Earth” Harlem Boys’ Choir

God Bless the U.S.A.” Lee Greenwood

“Sunny Afternoon”  The Kinks

Shut Up and Dance” Walk The Moon

Silence In The Snow” Trivium

“Black Widow” Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora

In A Big Country” Big Country


30 Day Music Challenge: Day 21

This is like the easiest one of the challenge thus far. This song is the reason my daughter Delaney is so named.

It’s a song about a father watching his little girl Delaney grow up…funny how that works out. Apparently there’s only so long you get to watch them grow up, before they’re grown up.

My advice to parents of young kids and teens? Stop worrying about where the time went and enjoy the time you have. It doesn’t last forever.

Wisdom of Crowds Picks:

Jessica” The Allman Brothers Band

Bette Davis Eyes” Kim Carnes

Walk Away Renee” The Left Banke

Hey Jane” Spiritualized

Alison” Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Layla” Derek & The Dominoes

Sweet Caroline” Neil Diamond

Sweet Melissa” The Allman Brothers Band

Jane Says” Jane’s Addiction

Gloria” U2

Doncha Know (Sky is Blue)” Alicia Keys





30 Day Music Challenge: Day 20

A song that has many meanings to you.

This requires a little bit of thought. I mean I’d love to be able to point to a song and say, “yes, this,” but I can’t.

I think that I’ll choose a song with one of my favorite double entendres of all time in it, “Words are cheap, but can turn out expensive, words like ‘conviction’ can turn into a sentence.”

Wisdom of Crowds Picks:

Kind and Generous” Natalie Merchant

Sweet Caroline “ Neil Diamond

Wicked” Indina Menzel and Kristin Chenowith

You Can Close Your Eyes” James Taylor

The Circle Game” Joni Mitchell

Magic Power” Triumph

Sweet Surrender” Sarah McLaughlin

Alison (My Aim Is True)” Elvis Costello & The Attractions

A Whiter Shade Of Pale” Procol Harum

Just A Girl” No Doubt



30 Day Music Challenge: Day 19

A song that makes you think about life.

You know, I figured this would be the hardest one for me to figure out. I wasn’t wrong. There’s a lot of music that speaks to me in ways that get me thinking about various aspects of life, and maybe that’s what is being sought here – just some music that makes one think about some vaguery of life.

From the first time I heard this song, it hit me. It’s not a particularly great song, but it has held meaning for me for almost 30 years. I remember telling my dad how important it was that I got to know him because of this song. I may not have ever have told him that had it not been for this simple pop song.

Wisdom of Crowds picks:

“What a Wonderful World “ Louis Armstrong

I Lived” One Republic

“In the Blood” John Mayer

No Ceiling” Eddie Vedder

Hurt” Johnny Cash

Oh Very Young” Cat Stevens

The Middle” Jimmy Eat World

Days Like This” Van Morrison

All About Soul” Billy Joel

Cats In The Cradle” Harry Chapin

Symphony No. 9 ~ Beethoven

The Captain & The Kid” Jimmy Buffett

Keep Your Head Up” Andy Grammer

Stairway To Heaven” Led Zeppelin

Best I Ever Had” The Swellers

Leader of the Band” Dan Fogelberg

The Dance” Garth Brooks

Man in the Mirror” Michael Jackson

Wash Away” Joe Purdy

Landslide” Fleetwood Mac