Forty years ago this spring, the Beatles announced they were breaking up. This anniversary made us think about popular music and storytelling, so we asked Red Roomers to blog last week about their favorite pop songs. We had an overwhelming response, and think a compilation of these songs would make a great iTunes playlist. What do you think of a party where the DJ plays:
"Mack the Knife," as suggested by Jim DeFilippi
"Gimme Shelter," as suggested by Cara M. Lorello and "Satisfaction (Can't Get No)," by Mary F. Burns
"Joy to the World" (Three Dog Night's song, not Isaac Watts's hymn) Page Lambert
"Where The Streets Have No Name" Robert J. Bullock
Pearl Jam's "Breathe" Len Boswell
"Nice Work if You Can Get It" Reynold Joseph Junker
"Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" Your own editor
"Me and Bobby McGee" Linda Morrison Spear
"Venus in Furs" John Parker Oughton
"Unchained Melody" Michael J. Olsen
...and the entire Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which led Mailrangam Venkataraman to poetic heights!
Two blogger' entries especially stood out for us this week:
Red Room member Sezin Koehler had never heard a Lady Gaga song and was one of those who derided her as a no-talent hack. Hearing YouTube sensation Greyson Chance's version of "Paparazzi," however, drove to take another look at the pop phenom. Sezin's entry, "Intertextuality and Irony in Lady Gaga's PAPARAZZI," might lead you to question what you think you know about mainstream pop music.
We loved member Jack Shakely's reminiscences of his time in a 1950s dance band. For an evocative trip back to a simpler era, don't miss "We're Number Five in Fort Worth."
These two will receive books by Red Room authors. Richie Unterberger's White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-by-Day is described by MOJO magazine "an impressive means to reflect on the conundrum of what could be the ultimate cult band...detailed and anecdote-packed." Ron Cabral's biography of Woodstock star Country Joe McDonald, Country Joe & Me, arose from Ron and Joe's friendship and from Ron's years managing San Francisco bands in the late 1960s.
Other blog entries we especially enjoyed:
- Marta K. Szabo remembers one song from Top of the Pops that made an impression on her as a child in "A Song to Live By."
- Any hook-filled ditty captures Jessica Barksdale Inclán's attention. Read "Savant of Beautiful Lines."
- Don McLean's "Vincent" has recurred again and again in the life and work of Jacquelyn Mitchard. Read "Starry, Starry Night."
- Since childhood, music has acted as a sort of "crawl space" for Shari Bence. Read how "John Lennon's 'Mind Games'" did that for her.
- Jennifer Gibbons's appreciation of Tracey Ullman's cover of "They Don't Know" made us want to sing in front of a mirror holding a hairbrush.
- Whenever accordionist-turned-author Blair Kilpatrick writes about music, we take notice. Her memory of "Coal Miner's Daughter" illustrates why.
You can read all the favorite pop song blog posts here. I hope you'll choose your favorite, and leave a comment letting the blogger know why you enjoyed it. See all of Red Room's past blog topics listed on here, and suggest a few more in the comments. Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room