Thursday, February 07, 2008

songs of the century

The Recording Industry of America Association , the National Endowment for the Arts, Scholastic, and AOL@School put together a Songs of The Century, the twentieth century that is, list. For the top ten they chose

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," Andrews Sisters
7. "West Side Story" (album), original Broadway cast
8. "Take Me out to the Ball Game," Billy Murray
9. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," Righteous Brothers
10. "The Entertainer," Scott Joplin

A varied landscape, more Americana and folk based than I'd have expected. They are all enduring songs, ones which have become part of the fabric of life not only America but in many parts of the world.

My list would be different, of course, and it'd vary depending on whether I was choosing something for others to listen to, as these people were, or choosing songs that resonate for me personally. In the first catergory, there'd have to be some Robert Johnson, some Johnny Cash (and Rosanne, too), at least one Elvis song (In the Ghetto might be my pick there), at least one Robert Burns piece, a couple from the Celtic traditions (Raglan Road, The Farthest Wave, Caledonia, Song for Ireland all possibilities), a Carter Family song, some bluegrass, and at least one from the Mexican American borderlands too. And who could forget Bob Dylan?

The personal list, and some thoughts on great songs of 2007, subjects for future writings. What's on your list?

and speaking of great songs, Gretchen Peters has written more than a few, Independence Day, Chill of an Early Fall, On a Bus to Saint Cloud among them. She's just been named Artist of the year at FolkWax, a large popular web site devoted to folk music. Read what I think about her most recent album, Burnt Toast & Offerings, here.

to give you a clue. Burnt Toast & Offerings was among my choices for best album of 2007. to see what else made the list, look here.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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