Saturday, October 18, 2008

OPINION: Classic Tracks of the 1960s and 1970s

Classic Rock - The Other Essentials by Wendy Pan

Ever since Rolling Stone, VH1, and the like began creating top classic rock song lists, debates among enthusiasts have raged in college dorm rooms, city bars and taverns, and in cars on cross-country road trips. Of course, we all are familiar with the usuals: the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."

However, there are tons of top classic rock songs from these same artists that are almost always ignored when these lists are compiled. Fans of these artists are certainly familiar with these songs, but the uninitiated might overlook them. The next time you and your friends are creating your own top-song list, include these gems to flex your musical knowledge muscle:

Rolling Stones, "Start Me Up": "Satisfaction" gets all the hype and has been named the number-one classic rock song by Rolling Stone magazine, but "Start Me Up" is a lot more fun and has had enjoyed longer staying power. Bursting onto the scene in 1981, this song quickly became a staple on classic rock radio, and the opening riff by Keith Richards is one of the most recognizable guitar parts in all of music.

Bob Dylan, "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues": Appearing on "Highway 61 Revisited," this classic Dylan tune is often overshadowed by the album's standout lead track, "Like a Rolling Stone." However, an argument could be made that this song is actually superior, and is a better example of Dylan's fusion of folk and rock. When Dylan sneers, "I don't have the strength to get up and take another shot, and my best friend, my doctor, won't even say what it is I've got," the weight of his exhaustion is nearly tangible.

Led Zeppelin, "Since I've Been Loving You": The band's "Whole Lotta Love" had defined the new heavy blues sound by the time "Stairway to Heaven" arrived. However, in between the release of those two songs, the band recorded "Since I've Been Loving You," which could be the blusiest song of their catalog. The first half of the song is rooted in Robert Johnson, but by the time the song ends, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page add their own signature screeches and solos.

Of course, all music lists are subject to the opinions of those creating them. And while a few songs are - and should be - always included among the top classic rock songs of all time, there are so many excellent songs to choose from, it seems narrow to think that there isn't room for more. Be sure to check out these songs from three of the top artists in rock music, and then branch out even further to discover even more tunes worthy of inclusion in anyone's rankings. And remember to have fun first; arguing over lists has its place, but don't forget to just enjoy the music as well.

Wendy Pan is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn more about
classic rock, please visit Oldies Music Site for current articles and discussions.

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