Friday, August 3, 2012

Top 500 Songs of the 1960s - Coming Soon

I think I'm very close to posting my top 500 songs of the 1960s.  Like my other best-of-the-decade lists for the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, it is a totally subjective list made by me and only me.  I do look at lots of other best of lists as I make these, mostly to be sure I haven't forgotten a song I already really like.  I also look at them as a guide to listen with fresh ears to some songs or to identify previously unheard music that I want to listen and consider for the first time.

I've had two rules with my lists for the other four decades, and those rules lasted for the posting of 1600 songs covering a 40 year span, and then.... the 60s did me in.  I just couldn't stick with my rules.  One rule is no more than one song by any artists in the top 40.  Spoiler alert - one artist shows up twice in my top 3 for the 1960s.  Having slots 41-50 filled with songs that should have been in the top 40 but got shut out by a silly rule just didn't seem right.  I don't know why it didn't bother me with other decades, but it didn't.

My other rule that I'm breaking is no more than one song per record.  The 60s actually have a whole lot more tracks that were only singles and never on a proper album, and that reduced the impact of the rule, but I still couldn't stick with it.  I granted myself about 20 exceptions.  I started out with a loose plan to grant myself 5, but I kept talking myself into more.  Even with the 20 exceptions some really great songs still got left off.

I have called my decision to break my rule the Stop Your Sobbin' decision.  As I discussed in a previous post about the Kinks best songs, my conflict about the one song per record rule really started getting to me when I contemplated the Kinks self-titled debut.  My favorite song on the record is Stop Your Sobbin', but You Really Got Me is also on the same record.  I didn't feel like I could make a sixties list without You Really Got Me, but I wasn't willing to jettison Stop Your Sobbin' given that I like it better.

Some other possible names for the decisions would be the Play with Fire decision (same record as Satisfaction) or the Embryonic Journey decision (same record as White Rabbit) or the I Fall to Pieces decision (same record as Crazy) or maybe the Dazed and Confused decision (same record as Good Times Bad Times).

A lot of the British Invasion bands did not release the same songs on the same albums in the US and the UK.  The Stop Your Sobbin' decision (aka the Strange Brew decision, aka the Kids Are Alright decision) also allowed me to be a bit more careless about whether or not I considered something to be on the same album or not, but I also tried to be careful when I could.  A lot of people think Revolution was on The Beatles (aka The White Album), but the single is different than Revolution 1 and not at all like Revolution 9, the two Revolution songs on the album.  The single though is the flipside of Hey Jude.  Therefore, I had to either leave out Hey Jude or Revolution or use one of my exceptions on a single.  I left out Hey Jude.  Na na na na-na na na, na-na na na, hey sue me.

The list is made now in my iTunes library.  I restrict these lists to music I own, but I also buy a lot of music in the process of making the lists.  For the serious list-making geek, a four-part interview about the making of the decades lists begins with this post and ends with this other post.  As soon as I post the 1960s list, I'll provide a link to it right here.  I just need to format it and post it in blogger now... and maybe fret a bit more about what I left off or which choices were a tad too idiosyncratic or which choices I ranked too high out of some sort of obligation to conform to the taste of music critics.  Music critics own the 60s like no other decade.  It was the decade when critically applauded music was actually popular, so they can really beat you over the head with how great you ought to think some things are.  Hopefully, I tuned out those other voices (except when they were right).

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