Sunday, May 15, 2011

(some of my) Favorite songs from the 60s

Ok finally a real blog!

It appears that my previous two test blogs both turned out'm gonna do an actual post. It's been a little while since my last posting for just a couple of reasons. 1. I'd been so frustrated with the presentation of the last two posts (I suspect blogger was having technical difficulties) that I wasn't motivated to come back and try again. But, i'm an optimist at heart so here we are. 2. Reason number the second, is because today's blog consists of twenty of my favorite songs from the 1960. And folks, that takes a lot of thinking about.

There are only two really obvious (ok, maybe three) picks on this list--but the rest come largely from tunes that are reminiscient of my childhood in Germany. My mom and Dad had a healthy sized collection of mixed tapes consisting larely of songs from the 1950s and 60s that they had recorded off the radio from the old nationally syndicated program, "Solid Gold Saturday Night."

I clearly recall rolling down the Autobahn on many a'weekend traversing between our little American community (Plittersdorf) and various destinations including airforce bases (where we bought most of our groceries) to a myriad of European travel spots such as Eurodisney, Amsterdam, and even Hitler's house (no, really); just to name a few. And always, along these drives that were illustrated by beautiful European countrysides fresh with lush vineyards and old Roman ruins, it could always be counted upon that our little mini-van (dubbed "lil red" by my dad) would be blasting all the best in American Oldies.

Sometimes we would rock the Weird Al Yankovic, but most of the time it was Oldies. And, that's how I grew up. Listening does Bob Seger put? OLD TIME ROCK AND ROLL...amid a backdrop of European magnificence. In my mind's eye, it was perfect. And I don't care to remember it any other way. So, without further rambling...I present for your reading and listening pleasure, my top twenty picks of the 1960s.

1. Homeward Bound--by Simon and Garfunkel
One of the heavier songs on this list, not only does it take me back to Europe, but it also will always remind me of my dad. Because everytime this song would come on (and still, even today, when we listen to it) dad will always begin to reminiss about his time in the army in Korea in 1969. For a soldier along way from home, far from his family and his girl--this is an awfully poignant track. It might be about touring with your band, initially...but songs can mean different things for different people. And dad, whenever he hears this song, just can't help but say, "Yeah David...that's my song." I could do an entire blog (and probably more) about all the stories my dad has told me over the years about this time in his life...but that's a tale for another day.

2. Make your own kind of music--by Mama Cass
Admittedly, this isn't one of the songs I really remember from our road trips in Europe. I've always liked the Mamas and the Papas...but it wasn't until season two of LOST, where this song is featured in the first episode when it began heavy rotation in the playlist that is my life. For the past 5 years it has been one of my favorites...period. And, I presume it shall remain that way until I depart this world. You left us too soon Ms. Cass. And in the words of Bob Dylan, "Mama, you been on my mind."

3. Summer Song--by Chad and Jeremy
Few songs put me in a state of wistful longing like this charming little tribute Summer's final days.

4. Another You--by The Seekers
I think I've said this before in a previous blog, but it bears repeating. This song could EASILY have featured somewhere on the LOST soundtrack; but it never did. Thats ok though, cause if I ever write a sweet novel and it gets turned into a film I will demand that it be placed somewhere within the run-time. It's simply too beautiful to sit dusty on musical history's enormous shelf to not be shared with the world.

5. Groovin, on a Sunday afternoon--by The Rascals
I'm a big fan of laid back, romantic ballads. Can you tell? ;) And incidentally, "groovin on a sunday afternoon" is LITERALLy what i'm doing at this precise moment.

6. Hey Jude--by The Beatles
Oh come on, you KNEW they were going to be on this list SOME WHERE. And what better song to post than one of the happiest songs ever? You can't be in a bad mood, listen to this gem, and at least feel a LITTLE better. :)

7. Never my love--by The Association
Yes. You've seen this song on my blog before. I won't make any apologies for that.

8. White Shade of Pale--by Procol Harum
Another choice, not necessarily stemming from my childhood in Germany, this one comes more from my time as a teenager growing up in Northern Virginia. A strange, lovely little tune. It will always have a soft spot in my heart as one of the songs that helped get me through my "awkward tweenage years." (p.s. would that I had the proper facial hair, I would SO grow a mustache like this guy)

9. Runaway--by Del Shannon
Because you can't mess with Del Shannon

10. Hang on Sloopy--by The McCoys

11. Just Like a Woman--by Bob Dylan
No brainer

12. Pleasant Valley Sunday--by The Monkees
The exact perfect song for today.

13. Fall to Pieces--by Patsy Cline
Because what would a good blog be without a little country? And Ms. Cline, she was the queen of it all. When am I gonna get my Patsy Cline biopic? Zoey Deschanel...i'm looking in your direction.

14. The Pied Piper--by Crispian St. Peters
I've been carrying a torch for this song for probably longer than I can remember. Lord only knows why. I still geek out to it when I think no one is looking. In fact, my parents still have an old audio-tape recording of me at 3 years old singing this quirky little gem. They love to play it whenever I bring friends home to visit...

15. Raindrops keep falling on my head--by B.J. Thomas
The break-down is my favorite part. :)

16. Unchain my heart--by Ray Charles
In the words of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, "WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!" Ray Charles is one of the coolest, most talented blokes to ever grace our world. And I am honored to have experienced his music. Sure, he had his problems...but then don't we all? Thank God we always have the music to fall back on and catch us.

17. I've been loving you too long--by Otis Redding
I love a song where you can hear every ounce of emotion pouring out from the singer's mouth into his or her work. Every bit of happiness and heartbreak. Every painful memory, every joyous love affair. Every glorious, obscene feeling that illustrates their love and their passion. And I don't think i've heard a song by Otis Redding yet, that doesn't strike each of these emotions squarely on the noggin. The Lord took this man too soon; but his music has been allowed to remain a positive force for all of us to bask in, and to learn from.

18. Good Lovin--by The Young Rascals
Cause even a blind man knows when the sun is shinin!

19. So happy together--by The Turtles
The mega feel good uber bombastic super love song that is the story of my life. And...yes...also the anthem for Golden Grahams cereal.

20. Light my Fire--by The Doors
Yeah, yeah yeah...I know. Cliche right? Overplayed right? Obviously. But that doesn't mean it's a bad song. There is a reason songs are overplayed. It's because when they first came out they crushed all the competition and in so doin made ever lasting icons of themselves to be cherished and listened to over and over and over again. And you know what? I'm ok with that. My cd/tape/record collection rests some where between one to two thousand albums of all different walks of musical styles. Because variety is the spice of life's great taco (what?). But I will always come back to my base. Sure, songs like "light my fire" might get old. But all you have to do is take a break from them, and when you revisit them, they embrace you like old friends. And anyway, GOTTA love that organ solo ;)

So in conclusion, I think it only fair to say that I owe Ma and Pa Banker a great deal. But one of the things I owe them specifically, is that at a very young age--they set the stage for my lifelong love of all walks of music with their rambling mix tapes of Oldies nostalgia. And to that, I say many, MANY thanks.

Stay tuned for next time, when we review my favorite sounds of the 70's.

Long days and pleasant nights my friends. And watch out for John Stamos.


  1. " And Don't You know that it's Just you/ Hey Jude, You'll Do/ the Movement you need is on your shoulder." Paul hated that line, but John begged him to keep it in, saying it was his favorite. Their were never better story editors than Lennon/McCartney!