The Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts have released a list of the 365 “Songs of the Century”. Here are the top 25:
1 Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland
2 White Christmas - Bing Crosby
3 This Land Is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
4 Respect - Aretha Franklin
5 American Pie - Don McLean
6 Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - The Andrews Sisters
7 West Side Story - Original Cast
8 Take Me Out to the Ball Game - Billy Murray
9 You’ve Lost That Lovin Feelin - The Righteous Brothers
10 The Entertainer - Scott Joplin
11 In the Mood - Glenn Miller Orchestra
12 Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & The Comets
13 When the Saints Go Marching In - Louis Armstrong
14 You Are My Sunshine - Jimmie Davis
15 Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
16 Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
17 Take the ‘A’ Train - Duke Ellington Orchestra
18 Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
19 God Bless America - Kate Smith
20 Stars and Stripes Forever - Sousa’s Band
21 I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
22 Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
23 I Left My Heart in San Francisco - Tony Bennett
24 Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
25 Stand By Me - Ben E. King
And you know, it’s a pretty good list. Even the songs that don’t particularly grab me, I can understand why they’re there. But a few observations:
Not enough Gershwin. “Porgy and Bess” is at 97, and that’s all. I mean, how do you leave “Rhapsody in Blue” off this list? I noticed that the list is oriented around specific recordings, not just the songs, and maybe there’s no definitive recording of “Rhapsody in Blue”.
Jimi Hendrix barely makes the list at number 365 with “All Along the Watchtower”, should be higher.
“Whip It” by Devo should be on the list. The closest I can find (if such a concept even applies when talking about music) is “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads at number 257.
Something by the Velvet Underground and/or Iggy Pop should be on the list.
There’s no punk. Should be something by the Sex Pistols or the Ramones.
And if it were just me, I’d have found room for “Cocktails for Two” by Spike Jones.
But like I said, as these lists go this one’s not bad. There were some things left off, but I haven’t decided what I’d pull from the list to make room. Anybody else see any glaring problems (my officemate says there should be some Bob Marley), and if a radio station played this list, would you listen?