LISTENING PROJECT: THE HEART OF ROCK AND SOUL: DAVE MARSH’S 1001 GREATEST SINGLES EVER

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#950- “You Left The Water Running”- Otis Redding. 1976: Stone: Did Not Make Pop Chart: I have always thought a lot on this question. There have been so many early deaths in music over the decades, if they had lived what more would they have accomplished? Otis Redding was only twenty-six when he was killed in a plane crash. He had already accomplished a lot in a short span of time but the potential was there for so much more had he lived. I’d rank him near the top of the list as far as future greatness. This single was released nearly a decade after his passing by an obscure label [ Marsh tells the story of the release in his book} I have no quarrel with this song being on Marsh’s list. He has ten Otis songs on his 1001 which is amazing for an artist who tragically died so young. I would have it under consideration also for my 1001- I’d have a number of Otis songs also- it would be hard choosing which ones to put on/ leave off. If the Otis Redding you know if just “Dock Of The Bay” do yourself a favor and dig deeper. Otis was the man.

#949. “My City Was Gone”- The Pretenders 1982 Sire- Did Not Make Pop Chart. The b-side to the hit “Back On The Chain Gang” and both songs are included on their outstanding “Learning To Crawl” album- which is probably NOT their best album but it is my favorite Pretenders album. Rush H. Limbaugh III at least used to use the instrumental part of the song in the fade in/ fade out of his show. I haven’t heard Rush in years so I don’t know if he still uses the song or not. I try to forget that. What a great great song. I live in Ohio and Chrissie Hynde grew up a little over an hour from where I did. I know what she is singing about here. This would be on my list of 1001 without question. I have heard this song thousands of times and it never wears thin [same goes with “Back On The Chain Gang”} The “Back On The Chain Gang” / “My City Has Gone” is probably one of the last singles I ever bought. The single was released way ahead of the Learning To Crawl album and I couldn’t wait for the album to drop to listen to these songs over and over and over.

#948. ” My Little Town”- Paul Simon with Art Garfunkel. 1975, Columbia. Billboard #9. This Simon and Garfunkel song was done a few years after they broke up. Marsh is clearly not a fan of them, or of Simon. There are only two singles on his list from them- this and The Boxer. We all have artists we like and don’t care for, that is fine. In both writing about “My Little Town” and “The Boxer” Marsh comments on Garfunkel’s being a wimp. My guess is he doesn’t consider them or Paul to follow under the “Rock and Soul” category. Maybe they don’t- but I have listened now to #1001 to #948 and there are a few singles he has listed that don’t fall into that category either. Again, I just think he’s not a fan and that is alright. I am a fan and a number of Simon and Garfunkel songs and Paul Simon songs would make my list. Note- a week or so ago I was playing some Simon and Garfunkel and my wife remarked on how it put her in a down mood.

#947 ” Sea Cruise” Frankie Ford 1959- Ace  Billboard #14. Frankie Ford’s only hit. Marsh tells an interesting story in the book on how it happened. A song I’d heard often on the radio over the years. Pretty good song but it would most likely not come close to cracking my 1001.

#946- “Every Little Bit Hurts”- Brenda Holloway 1964 Tamla Billboard #13. This is a Motown/ Tamla single and it sure would have fooled me. Marsh writes about how Holloway was the first adult sounding artist at Motown and the only one during its heyday who was not from Detroit, she was from California. She would have two other minor hits. Holloway was later a back up singer for Joe Cocker. I had never heard this song before. Good song but not in my 1001 greatest list.

#945- ” I Know” Barbara George 1961 AFO- Billboard #3.  Another one hit wonder on Marsh’s list- {he seems to like the one hit wonders and the singles that don’t make the charts} This is a really good song, I’d never heard it before, glad I did -but while 1001 seems like a large number, when you are talking about singles or songs- it really isn’t that big of a number, so it probably would fail to make my list.

#944 ” Ain’t Nobody Home”- Howard Tate 1966  Verve  Billboard #63. Tate’s is an interesting story. This is as close as he’d get to having a hit. He released a handful of albums from 1966-72 and then retired and in the 80’s battling personal demons -aka drugs. His life then made a comeback- and in the early 2000’s a DJ from New Jersey discovered his whereabouts and Tate ends up making a comeback, releasing a few critically acclaimed albums before his passing in 2011 at the age of 72. I hadn’t heard this song, again one of those ones I like but not 1001.

#943 “Baby, Don’t Do It”- The “5” Royales  1953, Apollo Did Not Make Pop Chart. The other day after hearing 962- The Slummer The Slum- I listened to some more 5 Royales songs on youtube. I then went and ordered their complete recordings box set. To my knowledge I had never heard this song either and its another good one. Probably on my 1001 list but I’ve only heard it a few times. These guys were great.

#942 “The Bitch Is Back” Elton John 1975 Decca Billboard #4. I would have loved to have been around [well I was around but not listening at the time} when Casey Kasem did his countdown and introduced this song. Marsh is not a fan. John was one of the top singles artists of the 1970’s but you won’t find an Elton John single until #942 and this is the only one. I liked Elton. I am not crazy about Elton either but he released a lot of good singles. I don’t know how many would make my list but more than one would. I think “The Bitch Is Back” is one of his finest efforts. I will go with “Philadelphia Freedom” as my favorite Elton John single though.

#941. “Urgent”- Foreigner 1981 Atlantic Billboard #4. I have never been a big fan, or even a fan at all of Foreigner. When I think of Foreigner I think of high school, Foreigner was one of those lame ass bands that was popular during those years. Foreigner, Boston, Kansas etc. I had little use for any of them. Ok confession I am a music snob and I admit it. Anyway I have always had a theory that any artist no matter how lame could always surprise you with a moment of greatness. The first song that comes to my mind in this category is Bryan Adams. I have no use for him. None at all. BUT- I loved this song “Summer of ’69”- if it comes on the radio I will listen. Another of his other songs and the channel is immediately changed. Foreigner did have a couple songs that weren’t half bad- and “Urgent” is one of them. What makes this song great- when Junior Walker enters with his sax.  All that said- “Urgent” wouldn’t make my 1001 but if it comes on the radio I will listen to it.

#940 – “Ooh Poo Pah Do Part II” -Jessie Hill. 1960 Minit Billboard #28. Jessie Hill’s only hit. A New Orleans carnival record, produced by the late great Allen Toussaint.  I have heard this song before and I like it but not 1001 kind of like.

#939 “I Don’t Want To Go Home”- Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. 1976: Epic: Did Not Make Pop Charts. Southside Johnny one of The Boss’s old buddies from New Jersey. This song was written by The Boss’s right hand man Miami Steve Van Zandt- I guess he ended up as being Tony Soprano’s right hand man too- as Silvio Dante in The Sopranos. For whatever reason Springsteen became a huge success and Southside Johnny- while a respected artist never sold a lot of records and only had two singles reach the lower parts of the Hot 100. I like this tune but not in my 1001.

#938 “Gino Is A Coward”- Gino Washington- 1963 Ric Tic Did Not Make Pop Charts. I listened to this song three times and read Marsh’s write up on it. It’s not a bad song at all but I don’t heard the greatness in it that Marsh does. Again, one of those singles that didn’t make the charts – which doesn’t necessarily mean anything, a lot of great songs were not hits but Marsh seems to like these song few have ever heard. I had never heard this song before- and it doesn’t make my 1001.

#937 “School’s Out”- Alice Cooper 1972 Warner Bros. Billboard #7. I was a teacher for thirty years. Of course I love this song. I loved teaching but I also loved early June when the final bell ended the final day of school for a couple months. In the last decade of my career I was in running ‘the morning news” and before my announcers would read the school news in the morning I would play music[ only good music!} and on the last day I would always play this song [with the ‘school’s been blown to pieces’ line edited out of course.} Early to mid 1970’s Alice Cooper is underrated and of course this song would be on my 1001 Greatest list.

#936 “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”- Stevie Wonder 1974- Tamla Billboard #16. Stevie Wonder was on fire for most of the 1970s and here is another one of his great singles- off of one his great albums [Innervisions} Great song and it is on my 1001 list. This is a song that can make you forget about your worries and cares- while you are listening to it.

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One response to “LISTENING PROJECT: THE HEART OF ROCK AND SOUL: DAVE MARSH’S 1001 GREATEST SINGLES EVER

  1. I don’t know all of these tunes but recognize some I like. You’re definitely right about Otis Redding. I dig the music that came out of Stax!

    As for artists who died early in plane crashes, that’s something I’ve also thought about before. It’s crazy how much talent was lost because of it: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, half of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughan – and these are just the ones I can remember. And then there’s of course Duane Allman, though that was a motorcycle accident!

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