10 Awesome Songs You Should Know

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

This list is going to run the gamut, from songs you’ve never heard of to songs that are absolute staples. Here are ten songs you should know the words to — for different reasons…

Buddy Holly:  True Love Ways 

Most people view Elvis Presley as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Wrong. It was Buddy Holly, who brought the music to the mainstream, wrote his own songs, and produced his own songs before his untimely death in a plane crash at the age of 22 in February of 1959.

If there was no Holly, The Beatles wouldn’t have existed. And this song is a clue as to what he might have accomplished had he lived a full life.

Key passage:

Just you know why
Why you and I
Will bye and bye
Know true love ways

Sometimes we’ll sigh,
sometimes we’ll cry
and we’ll know why just you and I know true love ways.

 

The Hollies: The Air That I Breathe

Most people don’t know who The Hollies are, but recognize lots of their songs, including Bus Stop and Long Cool Woman. The Air That I Breathe is obscure, but its rawness is amazing. And yes, the band named themselves after Buddy Holly.

Key passage:

Making love with you
Has left me peaceful, warm, and tired
What more could I ask
There’s nothing left to be desired
Peace came upon me and it leaves me weak
So sleep, silent angel, go to sleep

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Yes to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe

 

 

The Beatles: Yesterday

Yes, it’s the first one that everyone should know. This song was the first that featured only one Beatle — Paul McCartney. The initial lyrics came to him in a dream and the initial title was Scrambled Eggs. Seriously.

There are always regrets in life. And this song sums it up pretty succinctly.

Key passage:

Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

 Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

 

 

Bob Dylan: Like A Rolling Stone

When Dylan went electric, lots of his most ardent fans hated it. But if he hadn’t gone electric, we would’ve been deprived of this masterpiece — often recognized as the best song of all time.

Key passage:

You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel?
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

 

 

Harry Chapin: Taxi

The odds are that you have no idea who Harry Chapin is. I only know who he is because my mother is one of his biggest fans. His biggest hit, Cats In The Cradle, is one pretty much everyone knows. Taxi was a hit in the ’70s, but not the chart-topper Cats In The Cradle Was.

It’s a tale of what could have been but also a tale of realization.

Key passage:

Something about her was familiar
I could swear I’d seen her face before
But she said, “I’m sure you’re mistaken”
And she didn’t say anything more

It took a while, but she looked in the mirror
And she glanced at the license for my name
A smile seemed to come to her slowly
It was a sad smile, just the same

 

 

Righteous Brothers: Unchained Melody

If you’ve seen the movie Ghost, you know this song. You almost certainly know it even if you somehow haven’t seen Ghost. It’s simple and complex all at once and features one of the best vocals you’ll ever hear.

Key passage:

Oh, my, love, my darling I’ve hungered for
Your touch, a long lonely time
And time goes by, so slowly and time
Can do so much, are you still mine
I need your love,
I oh I need your love,
God speed your love to me.

 

Bob Dylan: Visions Of Johanna

Dylan is an absolute genius. And that genius is on full display on Visions Of Johanna, which features lyrics that are so amazing that it’s impossible to even fathom at times.

Key passage:

Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ‘lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place

 

 

The Eagles: Peaceful Easy Feeling

The Eagles are one of the best American bands of all-time, but they sometimes get a bad rap because their songs can be viewed as too simplistic. Guess what? Not every song needs to be deep or multifaceted, like Dylan’s are for instance. This one is pretty much perfect.

Key passage:

I like the way sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown
And I want to sleep with you in the desert night
With a million stars all around

I got a peaceful easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standin’
On the ground

 

 

Vampire Weekend: Hannah Hunt

Critics have a love/hate relationship with Vampire Weekend and to some, they’re an acquired taste. To me, they’re awesome. And their 2013 album Modern Vampires Of The City was an absolute masterpiece, with Hannah Hunt serving as one of the highlights.

Key passage:

A man of faith said
Hidden eyes could see what I was thinking
I just smiled and told him
That was only true of Hannah
And we glided on through Waverley and Lincoln

Our days were long our nights no longer
Count the seconds, watching hours
Though we live on the US dollar
You and me, we got our own sense of time

 

 

Derek and the Dominoes: Bell Bottom Blues

When people think Eric Clapton, they usually think Layla or Wonderful Tonight. This song, though, is Clapton at his most vulnerable. And it’s amazing.

Key passage:

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don’t want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

 

Want to hear all of these staples? We’ve put them all together for you in this playlist:

5 Musical Acts to See Before it’s Too Late

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

Even in the age of digital music, with pretty much every song a click away via Spotify, there’s nothing quite like live music, when the sound goes right through you as you scream every word. But if you’re a fan of classic rock, time might be running out for you to see some of your favorites before they stop touring and ride off into the sunset.

There are still dozens of stars from the ’60s and ’70s putting on concerts, but here are five acts you should be sure to see before it’s too late…

Paul McCartney
The former Beatle, who was the only member of the Fab Four who loved playing live all the way through the group’s time together, has been touring regularly since the mid-’70s.

At 74 years old, Paul McCartney’s stage presence and energy remains second-to-none. And if you’ve never seen him before, the little stories he tells between songs are, collectively, one of the highlights of the show.

If you see Sir Paul in concert, you’re guaranteed to get close to three hours of awesomeness, with him playing mostly his Beatles hits and solo hits while mixing in just a bit of his more obscure and/or newer stuff. And you might get a surprise, too, as fellow rock stars often show up to his shows to jam. Ringo Starr recently said he’d love to tour with McCartney, so don’t be surprised if he shows up to a show sometime soon.

Want to sing Let It Be with 50,000 people as McCartney sits behind the piano? This show is for you.

Currently on Tour? Yes, touring the U.S. through August, with four additional shows in California in October.

Bob Dylan
Full disclosure: I’m an enormous Bob Dylan fan but have yet to see him live. Why? Because friends who have seen him in concert have told me his shows are either vintage Dylan or total disasters.

My love for all things Dylan is so high that I haven’t yet been willing to risk attending a ‘bad’ show, thus skewing my image of him. But I’m probably being foolish and will most likely see him soon.

Dylan, 75, plays smaller venues these days, and his recent set lists have included only a few of his more popular songs. His show on July 17 included only three songs casual Dylan fans would know – She Belongs To Me, Tangled Up In Blue and Blowin’ In The Wind.

But is it worth the price of admission to hear vintage Dylan sing just one of those songs? I’d say yes.

Currently on Tour? No, but he has two dates at the ‘Desert Trip’ in California this October.

Billy Joel
I’ve seen Billy Joel twice – once at Madison Square Garden in the early-2000s and again at Shea Stadium during the Last Play at Shea in 2008. And both shows were life-changing.

If you’re from the New York area and dig classic rock, odds are that you love Billy Joel. And if you haven’t seen him yet, what are you waiting for?

Joel is 67 years old but his shows are still raucous, energy-filled affairs where he plays 25 or so songs (including legendary encores). And unlike the aforementioned Dylan, Joel gives the fans what they want, playing mostly his biggest hits.

Currently on Tour? Yes, this summer and fall in the U.S. and Europe, with shows each month at his residency at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger just turned 73 years old this week and the Stones – with guitarist Keith Richards understandably not having the playing chops he had in the early days – don’t rock quite as hard as they used to. But they’re still the Stones, one of the best bands ever. And as long as Jagger and Richards (who reportedly despise each other) are willing to play together, they’re worth seeing.

Like Dylan, I haven’t yet seen the Stones live, but they’re right at the top of my list.

As far as what to expect at a Stones show, it’ll be shorter than the ones McCartney and Joel put on (about 18 songs including the encore), but will be filled with hits. At a show this past March, they tore through classics such as Paint It Black, Honky Tonk Women, Gimme Shelter and Satisfaction.

Currently on Tour? Yes, the Stones have two shows in California and one in Las Vegas in October.

Bruce Springsteen
I saw The Boss at the old Meadowlands about ten years ago, before the place was torn down, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Springsteen is famous for his incredibly energetic, ridiculously long concerts, and he’s kept that legacy going even at the age of 66.

What makes Springsteen’s shows extra special is the continued presence of the E-Street Band, including drummer Max Weinberg and guitarists Steve Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren. The band absolutely wails while Springsteen does his thing, and it’s one of the most perfect combinations you’ll ever see.

Springsteen and the band will ordinarily play for three hours or more – they rocked out to 35 songs during their most recent concert, with hits mixed in with obscure tracks and some covers.

Currently on Tour? Yes, Springsteen is touring Europe right now, but will be heading back to the U.S. in August, with the first show in Jersey.

Not Only Your Mama’s Music: My Favorite Songs of Our Parents’ Generation

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Entertainment

Upon graduation from high school in 2007, I earned the senior superlative titled “Born in the Wrong Decade.” Perhaps my hippie skirts and peasant blouses had something to do with garnering such a distinction — but one of my long time claims to fame is the fact that I was raised on The Beatles, The Boss and The Piano Man.

Here are a few of my previous generation playlist picks — from their preteen years to their 20s.

Will You Love Me Tomorrow (1961)
Written by Carole King (who later went on to record a version) and her then husband Gerry Goffin, Will You Love Me Tomorrow is, of course, featured on the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. But listen to any “oldies” station long enough and you’ll hear it played. First recorded by the Shirelles, this classic earworm is a quintessential girl group anthem (complete with shoop-shoop backup vocals) of the ’60s—and they don’t make tracks like it anymore.

In My Life (1965)
It was difficult to pick just one Beatles track to include as part of this compilation. And I know you’re thinking of someone special you can share this song with as you read this text—that’s what it can evoke from you. The instrumental, music box-style bridge sounds like your childhood — and the comfort of that person whom you know you’ll never lose affection for.

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (1966)
Dusty Springfield, of Downtown and I Only Want To Be With You fame, produces this anthem that, if we millennials look through our archives of those who we truly loved but never had a chance with, we could relate to.

Gimme Shelter (1969)
My father loves Mick Jagger, so I didn’t have a prayer of not throwing a Stones track into this list — they’re engrained in me. I loved Gimme Shelter before I knew a) what the words were and b) what the words meant. And whether or not we choose to deal with reality, the lyrics are unfortunately relevant today.

Baba O’Riley (1971)
When I first heard Baba O’Riley, I actually thought the title of the song was — you guessed it — Teenage Wasteland. And I’ll be honest, I had to research the meaning behind the title for the purposes of this article. According to SongFacts.com, The Who named the song Baba O’Riley as a tribute to influential people from lead vocalist Pete Townshend’s life: his spiritual advisor, Meher Baba and a highly respected minimalist composer, Terry O’Riley. But it sounds like a victory anthem right at the intro, regardless of how it’s seemingly overused in movies, television and sports venues. There’s a reason for said overuse: it has everything — from guitar, to an incomparable drum solo, to fiddle, to exceptionally relatable lyrics.

Changes (1971)
Ah, David Bowie. It’s only been a few months and you’re sorely missed. Back when I thought it wasn’t “cool” to listen to older music, I still found my way to Changes, and not the Lindsay Lohan cover as part of a medley from Disney’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. The lyrics are simple — time may change me, but I can’t trace time — yet powerful.

Born to Run (1975)
I heard my first Bruce Springsteen record as a kid, but wasn’t impressed as I was, like many millennials at the time, still in my Spice Girls phase. But once I was into my high school years, I abandoned my facade of hoping to impress the 14-year-old “popular” set and finally admitted that The Boss produced pure magic. Born to Run was (and is) special, from the first chord through the last chance power drive. And it spoke to the spirit of a teenager who needed hope way better than any 2004 top-40 track ever could.

Vienna (1977)
This list is not exclusive to ‘happy’ or ‘positive’ tracks. If you’ve never felt the overwhelmingness described in Billy Joel’s Vienna, you’re lying to me. And even if you don’t know that you know this tear-jerker, recall the scene from 13 Going on 30 where Jennifer Garner crawls into bed with her parents after not speaking to them for years, but returns home because she’s managed to screw up her imaginary life. Vienna speaks to all generations, not just to our parents, not just to millennials, but to everyone who has ever ran home to Mom and Dad when you just needed to feel better.

Who are the artists you were raised on? Let us know! And if you’re a fan of these tracks, check out the Spotify playlist below: