A List Of My All-time Enduring, Savored Rock 'N Roll Songs Essay
My Personal Editorial Comments
Honestly, I consider it dangerous when we start using the term, “definitions,” and its first cousin, “define,” when we are writing about cars, celebrities, their talents, pretty women, and in this case, Rock and Roll Songs. It’s a crap shoot. Sometimes a music fad or wave will hit the beach (pardon the pun) and the castles are gone before we can say “shoo-ba-boop.”
When a person like me with no college diploma can see the dangers in letting our own dreams get in the way of objectivity, and “we, being ” the outsider,” label a band with a term such as: “so and so’s band’s defining moment was . . .,” something ends. Although we are hoping that “so and so’s band,” might build on this one moment, life and music (of all types) is not built upon one defining moment, but many moments. If it were, the amount of highly-talented bands from the late 1950’s through the entire 1960’s would be a mere handful of musicians and singers working their tails off to remain in our hand.
I am doing my piece differently than my hubber friend, Sherry Hewins, for I am not about copying her or anyone on HubPages. Being different has its advantages and nuances. Right?
I think it best for space and time, to run a photo of the band(s) of the 1960’s that gave me and my friends, few as they may be, a handful of different songs that stamped us for being alive in the middle to late 1960’s, when Rock was Rock–nasty, driven, up all night, fingers bleeding on guitar strings, cigarette smoke sending up smoke signals to airliners in flight and a few of “us” hanging frozen in time with every lyric that was slung from the lips of Jimi Hendrix, Denny Laine (Moody Blues), and Jim Morrison and many others in their shadows.
Laughable is all I can say at my present age for how my few friends and I acted as if the Hendrix’, Laine’s and Morrison’s fame depending on us sealing our obligatory loyalty throughout all of the vocal criticisms from “The Establishment,” which my mom and dad were charter members. And by us swearing a silent vow to love whatever songs Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane and those of this lowly station in society released would somehow and oh so mysteriously reward us with some high honor for suffering alongside of them. “That,” day, my friends of similar age, never came.
With working five days a week to gain funds to support ourselves and a mate and the life that we had been thrust into by our mindless march to “Of Pomp and Circumstance” to “Here Comes The Bride.” There we were. Young, unlearned citizens of adulthood and our marching, sign-carrying, and all-night jams with The Mothers of Invention now many light years away. Sad how this happens to some unassuming free-thinkers with almost every tick of the clock.
It seems almost unfair that we, the now-older people cannot retain that passion we once nurtured for “our” Rock Music letting it go hand-in-hand with paying our mortgages and membership fees to an organization that seemingly grows larger and wider with each passing year.
Each of us now-older, responsible adults has “that” secret lair in our homes that not even (our) trusted minister knows about. This place is not even known by our “Betty Lou Benjamin’s” the first girl we scored with on some buzzed prom night when no one dared turn back from the road of forbidden fruit. We sit now gazing with tear-drenched eyes listening to a round vinyl disks kept clean in a ragged edge jacket with colorful photos and artwork on the outside. We hold this with both hands close to our heart and let the outside world spin insanely wild while we are momentarily content to hear a handful of rebellious sounds in grooves kissed by a worn needle in our Sony turntable that would surely be laughed at by our children who now carry iPods with volumes of YouTube samplings of music that seems foreign to us.
The following list is “my” offering to you only if you are member of “our” generation who loved shabby clothing and shaggy hair. Now understand that these songs are not in any particular order. And then again, neither were “we” of this particular generation.
So here we are again for the first time. A List of My All-Time Enduring, Savored Rock ‘N Roll Songs.
Real Evidence That I Asked for Permission from hubber, Sherry Hewins
Writer’s note: Sherry Hewins, a fellow hubber, has a lot of fantastic hubs published on HubPages. One being “Ten Great Psychedelic Rock Albums,” and when I read it, I re-read it again and again because it spoke to me and the era when I was a young man. Hewins in my honest opinion, needs a huge pat on the back for her wonderful hubs. I asked her to write another hub along the same lines as her psychedelic rock albums and possibly use my suggestions that I emailed to her. She emailed back and said that I should write one of my own, so here it is. My take on the subject of Psychedelic Rock Music and Songs That We Loved. Thanks, Sherry. Kenneth
On Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 11:20 PM, Kenneth Avery (via HubPages) <[email protected]> wrote:
Kenneth Avery ([email protected]) kenneth avery on HubPages
has sent you this message.
(email address verified)
Sherry, (Hewins, on HubPages)
Nope. Not Joan Rivers. Sorry.
I wanted to approach you in this quiet, discreet manner to include these songs that I remembered AFTER I commented on your Terrific Psychedelic Rock Albums hub which I LOVED!
“Ride My Seesaw”–Moody Blues
“Knights in White Satin”–non-psychedelic, but dramatic
“Magic Bus”–The Who/noted music experts (e.g. Cameron Crowe, Rolling Stone) says this was this band’s first breakthrough “60’s hard rock” song.
“People Are Strange,” “Roadhouse,” “Love Me Two Times”—no wonder you love Jim Morrison for this was, next to Led Z., nasty, hard rock to the core.
“Whole Lotta Love”–Led Zeppelin
“Black Dog”–See above
“Move Over”–Janis Joplin (rest her sweet soul) and The Full Tilt Boogie Band
Note: I suggest you pull up YouTube and call up the above. You will love her moaning, groaning blues.
Well, that is it. I can hear your applause from way over here in northwest Alabama.
Thanks for reading this and now for me, back to more Abstract/Prose poetry.
After a break.
Your Friend for Life,
Sherry Hewins replied:
Kenneth, great suggestions. Why don’t YOU write a hub about them? I won’t mind at all, there is plenty enough to go around.
The Rooftop Singers (Best of album)
“Walk Right In” released in 1962 by this folk trio and stayed on the
charts for weeks. This song was a subtle departure from
traditional folk songs that most always carried a political message
in that this song was fun to sing and listen to with good friends.
Erik Darling, 12-string Martin Guitar · 1962 – 1967
Lynne Taylor, vocals · 1962 – 1964
Bill Svanoe, 12-string Martin Guitar · 1962 – 1967
Mindy Stuart, vocals · 1964 – 1967
Patricia Street, vocals · 1967 – 1967
*although there were at one time, five members of The Rooftop Singers,
only Eric Darling, Lynne Taylor and Bill Svanoe are recorded on
“Walk Right In”
Nino Tempo and April Stevens
“Deep Purple” (by brother and sister team, Nino Tempo, April Stevens)
released in 1963, but in the summer of 1967, I fell in love
with a girl a grade ahead of me and this was our song that I heard numerous
times over a 50,000 watt Top 40 AM station, WVOK “The Mighty 690”
out of Bessemer, Alabama. This radio station was considered “our” favorite
rock station of “our” generation in the early 60’s.
The Count Five
“Psychotic Reaction” released in 1966. The opening guitar riff was the
most-memorable part of this hit song for this band that was a bit
hit among American teenagers including my friends and I. Or is it me?
Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs (album)
“Bottle of Wine” released June 24, 1966. This was among the first departures of “Hillbilly Rock” to full-blown garage band rock, but it sold way over a million copies for Jimmy Gilmer and his band.
*this is NOT the extended version of this trademark song.
Bobby Fuller Four
“I Fought The Law” released in 1966 with “that” fast riff on lead electric guitar
with band all in suits, ties, and sharp-toed shoes. Notice in the video that the
dancers are doing “ancient” dances: “The Swim” “The Frug” and “The Jerk”
*this can be considered Rock Music’s infant steps.
Tommy James and The Shondells, Best of Tommy James/album
“(My Baby Does The) Hanky Panky.”
The only history that I could find to accompany the video (above) was the story about a young, eager Tommy James who was waiting to record a demo that one of his cool friends who (naturally) worked for a big record company and when James and band’s “Side A” was recorded on the 45-sized (small) records, James had to come up with a quick song to fill out the “Side B,” or as cool Rock DJ’s would say, the “flip side.”
So James sat down in the hallway from the recording studio and literally threw down the shabbily-written lyrics from “Hanky Panky,” on a brown paper bag that just happened to be laying there. Coincidence?
And the song was recorded with one take.
*Released in 1965 and is still memorable thanks in part to the late guitarist,
George Harrison’s opening guitar riff that all learning guitarists wants to
learn at one time or the other.
There is literally no list of the exact number of hungry lead guitarists who learned on “Day Tripper.” And George Harrison is not the only slick lead guitarist. Rock icons like Rick Derringer “Rock And Roll Hootchie Koo,” Johnny Winter “Good Morning, Little School girl,” and David Beck of The Yardbirds.
Donovan, Sunshine Superman (album)
“Sunshine Superman” released in the U.S. Sept. 1966. Another one
I loved that played over WVOK, Bessemer, Alabama in 1967.
Confidentially, this is one of those “I’m in love” songs when you’re pushing 13 years old when love is in your spirit pretty much like a flu virus multiplying into your bloodstream, but you don’t care.
Rock Music’s Growing Pains
Spencer Davis Group
“I’m a Man”
*The Spencer Davis Group are a British rock band formed in Birmingham (England) in 1963, by Spencer Davis with Steve Winwood and his brother, Muff Winwood. Their best known songs include the UK number ones “Somebody Help Me” and “Keep on Running” (both written by reggae musician Jackie Edwards), “I’m a Man” and “Gimme Some Lovin'”, which peaked at #2 in the UK, and #7 in the United States. Steve Winwood left in 1967 to form Traffic before joining Blind Faith, then forging a career as a solo artist. After releasing a few more singles, the band ceased activity in 1968. They briefly reunited from 1973 to 1974, and
Davis has since restarted a new group in 2006.
No matter where Steve Winwood appears, best-selling music is sure to materialize. Plus, he has been a key member of the Rock Music Royalty playing with the band, Blind Faith, which ex-Cream drummer, Ginger Baker was also the drummer. And Winwood’s soulful organ can be heardon Jimi Hendrix’ Electric Layland (double album) on the still-popular song, “Voodoo Chile,” extended live in-studio version.
A documentary stated a year ago that when this song was being produced, Hendrix abruptly stopped work on the Electric Ladyland album and grabbed his manager, Chas Chandler, to accompany him to vist some of New York’s finest clubs in The East Village. Upon entering one club, Hendrix spotted Jack Cassady (formerly of Jefferson Airplane), jamming with a group of unknown rockers and the next club, he secured Steve Winwood by simply asking him after his set was finished.The rest, thank God, is Rock Music history.
Paul Revere and The Raiders, featuring Mark Lindsay
“I Had a Dream” released 1967, my first year of junior high.
Notable fact: The late guitarist, Drake Levin, (August 17, 1946 – July 4, 2009 was best known for the opening riff on this song and other hits by The Raiders. You will also hear The Raiders organist, band co-founder, Paul Revere, trademark organ-playing.
Notable fact #2: Not so many years in the future of The Raiders, Drake Levin knew that he was growing weaker by the day when tours and songs were being devised. Long, sad story short: Drake succumbed of the intense pain due to cancer and after his touching wake was history, Paul Revere, Mark Lindsay and a lot of the former Raiders bandmates gave Drake such moving eulogies that the one video went instantly viral.
“Green Tambourine” by The Lemon Pipers
*released in 1968, this song was tagged “unusual,” and “only fit for drug heads,” by those of the older categories.
We of my generation might have acted like we understood this song, but it was the music that captivated us.
Personally, I resent not getting to attend WVOK’s “Shower of Stars” this 100,000 watt AM Rock Station in Bessemer, Alabama put on every summer. The Lemon Pipers were the headlining band. I had to stay home.
The Beatles, live performance.
Best song: (then)
“Hey, Jude” released in 1969.
*music began to take me out of the traditional garage band screaming “Down with The Establishment” brand of Rock to a softer, milder, but yet more musically-sensitive sound now generated by The Fab Four who had fathered the British Invashion to America February 7, 1964 by doing a live concert at Shea Stadium, N.Y. My few friends and I tried our best to impersonate Paul singing this song
and man, we really thought we had talent. 63 years later and I am living proof that dreams do not alwayscome true. But life doesn’t care. It just keeps scooting along without apology to anyone.
Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced
*I was first turned onto real Rock Music (60’s) in late fall of 1968. I was sitting trying to mind my own business in my last period study hall, but my focus was hampered by a beautiful, flirty girl named “Beverly,” who was a grade ahead of me and loved to wear short skirts everyday. No problem. She was far more interesting than my History assignment.
But the first notes of “Fire,” came to my ears from the campus grounds through the open study hall windows. I looked
to see my buddy, Randy Peace (his real name), who with his older brother, George, along with Jerry Roby, Loyd Wiginton, and Denny Vick, formed our first rock band: The Sounds of Time. (no jive, man) Randy was a rural high school celeb. This was true for our gorgeous cheerleaders had asked him to help design the car that our high school queen was going to ride in our Homecoming Parade the next day. My priorities suddenly went from lusting after “Beverly,” to finding out more about this guy, Jimi Hendrix and that amazing song, “Fire.” Sometimes even today I wonder what went with that gorgeous doll-of-a-girl “Beverly.”
The Who, Magic Bus
Other Who favorites that I loved: “Happy Jack,” “Pinball Wizard,” “My Generation,” and “Shakin’ All Over,” to skim off the top of Who personal favorites.
Why this video and text are here is very sentimental to me. I was 14, trying hard to be as good as any young guy in America could, and on Friday evenings, my dad hired me to help him mow grass. Uggghhh!
This “job” of mine was really thrown on me without me asking if I had another option. You see, my now-ex-brother-in-law, worked very hard at a local industry, 3M in Guin, Ala., (a real place), and also took care of 25 yards to keep mowed.
Enter my dad and myself. I was the one who loaded and unloaded two push mowers, mowed grass, sweated like a hog and resented my friends riding in cars past the yards where I was mowing–but I worked harder at keeping myself from being seen by these elite friends.
My first pay as a 14 year old, was $5.00 that he gave me for helping mow grass. I instantly went to our local Piggly Wiggly and spied an LP by The Who with this song. Oh, by the way, I still have it today.
Led Zeppelin, (second album)
“Whole Lotta Love”
“Living, Loving, (She’s Just a Woman)”
Note: I am very tired from cutting/pasting this hub. I am not dishonest. This and the video below are considered “Nasty Rock” the type of Rock that unpretentious and doesn’t care what you think.
But maybe LZ was doing some kind of reverse mind thing and what their press agents tagged them as “Nasty Rock” musicians, got them at the top of every musical list in the country.
Yeah. That was what happened.
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin 4
“Stairway to Heaven”
This video/song goes hand-in-LP with the one above. Special late night note: those who love Zeppelin will be jump started in memory banks when they see “Stairway to Heaven,” arguably one of the finest Rock songs ever. But with that being said, this very beautiful song was dubbed as satanic due to people who did have turntables with a “N” selection that meant Neutral, could play the LP backwards and hear satan talk about how good the owner of this LP looked and how the owner of the LP would be able to walk on barbwire fences in the nude. None of that was ever proven.
Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland (double album)
Voodoo Chile, studio version, 15 minutes in length. Guest musicians: Steve Winwood; Jack Cassady, Buddy Miles along with Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding.
If rumors were fuel, then somewhere a mystical grain mill is grinding out juicy rumors about Jimi Hendrix’s death being faked due to the high stresses of his personal and financial life which can be linked to the pitfalls with Elvis. Presley, not Costello.
Who knows? Who cares? I answered no and no one on both questions. But I would love it if Hendrix is really alive living under an assumed name somewhere in Peoria, Illinois. Wouldn’t that be a buzz?
Best song: “Ride My Seesaw.”
Do you remember the guy in the top of my hub? Oh, you can remember looking at the top of this hub. He is smiling so huge. I guess it is because he is wealthy and can sleep until Doomsday, but he is Denny Laine. He was with Moody Blues when they released this song.
The Doors, Very Best of The Doors
“People Are Strange”
“Love Me Two Times”
Now that this hub is nearing an end, I should ask you this very poignant question: Was (the now late) Jim Morrison a poet or just a good singer? If you can convince me of which one he was, I will personally write a lengthy hub about you and your hobbies.
I am serious.
Rolling Stones, 1969, Sticky Fingers (album)
*this was the comeback hit for The Stones for their popularity had waned
during the euphoria toward The Beatles and things (at this time) were, according
to some music industry sources, looking grim for Mick, Keith, Charlie, Bill, and Cliff.
This song has “that” very distinguishable fast strumming riff by Keith Richards
that is still said today to be the best song released by the Stones. Of course this
is always going to be argued by Stones fans and non-fans alike.
I suppose that at this point, you must be thinking that I hired someone off the street to do my editing for me. Nope.
Cream, Disraeli Gears
“Sunshine of Your Love” released in 1969 and hit the top of the charts almost
immediately. A young Eric Clapton, lead guitar, Jack Bruce, bass, and Ginger Baker, drums,made up this super-group, Cream and this band was the first to bear the title of super-group.
If another threesome Rock Band could go as far as The Fab Four, it would be Cream first and second, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Cream was solid in lyrics and sound thanks to Jack Bruce’s down-tuned bass lines and of course, Clapton could play guitar asleep. Ginger Baker looked at ease behind his drums.
Need I go any further to beg people to agree with me on this point?
Super Session–Al Kooper, Stephen Stills, Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles
“Season of The Witch” released in 1968 and was the song that broke new ground for non-weed users and weed users alike. I have (hopefully still) a female friend, Vicky, who did weed in our junior year of high school and our senior year with her drug-loving-but-musically-gifted boyfriend, the now late, Al Wynn. Her older brother, Boody, and I chatted over five years ago and this one song came up. “We played that thing to death,” was his remark. He was right.
With Al Kooper, producer, arrangements along with Stephen Stills of now disbanded Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, joined Electric Flag’s lead guitarist and fouder, Mike Bloomfield who was so neurotic in live concerts he did not sleep for days and during the recording of the album: “The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper” he had to be sedated to sleep.
Early sixties Rock icon, Donovan, “Sunshine Superman” had a version of this song on his album “Sunshine Superman,” which eclipsed the remainder of Donovan’s recordings.
No one can really determine what the meaning of the lyrics mean. My point in 2016 is: Some songs and music I think were just created to be enjoyed, not dissected.
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Deja Vu” released in 1970
*”Woodstock” written by super-elite folkster, Joni Mitchell, and recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young: David Crosby—Stephen Stills; Graham Nash and Neil Young, who recorded this album and in my opinion currently in 2016, remains as this group’s best offering of the foursome’s sadly, short-lived career.
The song has no hidden political or social message except to get the older generation (back then) to know that it was slightly possible for 750,000 (estimated) young people to gather on Bethel, N.Y. pork farmer, Max Yasgur’s huge pasture to put on the biggest outdoor music festival with the record crowd numbers being published in Guinness Book of World Records. I would go into the sad back facts, but I do not think you would stick with the rest of my piece. They are not that interesting anyway. Just some text about the record companies and concert promoters losing “their butts” on the entire project.
Cream, Final Performance at Royal Albert Hall, 1968
“Crossroads,” above, extended live version.
*This song deals with the deal that blues guitar legend, Robert Johnson, allegedly made with the devil to give him his soul if he, the devil, would allow him, Johnson, to find “the lost chord,” and experience fame, fortune and success that came from guitaring.. But it is not long until Johnson realizes just what a liar the devil can be and really is by coming early to collect on the deal a little while before Johnson’s fame and fortune can start materializing.
*I personally felt it fitting to close out this hub with one of Rock Music’s best bands: Cream with their final performace at Royal Albert Hall, London. Why Cream was breaking up is not easy to discern. My guess is that Eric Clapton had felt some “creative growing pains” with co-writing duties with bassist, Jack Bruce on most of Cream’s songs and felt it was time to set out on his on. Clapton, as all guitarist lovers know, did more than just “set out on his own,” but made a great name and place in Rock Music for himself.
Clapton loved the freedom of being able to play/record with different people than just laying down tracks with Bruce and (Ginger) Baker, one of Rock’s most prolific drummers.
Clapton had numerous solo hits such as: “I Shot The Sheriff,” “You Look So Beautiful Tonight,” “Cocaine,” and many others.
Today in my life, when I am rumaging through YouTube or stuck with having to watch VH1, and a documentary pops up about Eric Clapton, I feel a twinge of resentment for his part in the disbanding of the first super-group, Cream.
Good night, Cleveland, Ohio: Home of The Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame 1100 E 9th St, 44114
First and foremost, a sincere thanks to Sherry Hewins, for allowing me to do this hub about Rock songs, not to be confused with her hub about “Psychedelic Rock Songs,” which I still love. Thanks again, Sherry.
to Iron Butterfly and “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” the song that covered the entire “A” side of the LP (see? I did remember that Rock DJ slang) and the drum solo that ignited a number of young drummers who practiced (hidden in their dad’s garage) until their hands bled. I would have been a drummer, but my dad did not own or want to own a garage. Can you say, mystery?
CCR and John Fogerty’s LP, “Born on The Bayou,” with the hit, “Green River.” I loved that song. Especially when I was talking to one of my buddies or female classmates who I used to get “shot down” a lot for asking them for dates. Can you say, mystery?
Band of Gypsys, the live LP from Fillmore East, or was it West? Right now, I do not know or care to do the research. All that I know is that this LP was the last recorded by Jimi Hendrix and his new pals, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox with their song, “Who Knows?” which is also a lengthy offering, but a great offering.
are just that. Reflections. A time of when we all start on that scary journey called life and even the sometimes-dangerous decisions we made in our pre-teen years and even in adulthood. These and these songs are the songs that I grew up from and with.
And just think. This hub is the most-worded hub of my six-year career on HubPages and I am very happy to be a part of such an illustrious website.
And just think again. The people of these videos are all super-talented musicians, writers, and thinkers and none of them even know that I exist.
I guess that is a good thing.