LISTENING PROJECT: THE HEART OF ROCK AND SOUL: DAVE MARSH’S 1001 GREATEST SINGLES EVER MADE #809 TO #801

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#809 “The Grand Tour”- George Jones- 1974: Epic Did Not Make Pop Chart. Another one of those George Jones songs that he didn’t write but was a perfect song for him to sing. The Grand Tour is a tour of The Possum’s heartbreak. Poor George. What a great song. On my list of 1001.

#808-“You Keep Me Hanging On”- The Supremes- 1966 Motown- Billboard #1. Another in the string of #1 hits for The Supremes. Great sounding record- they had great musicians backing them in the Funk Brothers. As I wrote on the last Supremes song- not a big fan of them but I have heard them all- and they aren’t bad by any means very listenable. Not on my 1001.

#807-‘Don’t Play That Song {You Lied} Ben E. King 1962 Atco Billboard #11. Marsh’s next two songs are the same song by different artists- Ben E. King and Aretha Franklin. Both songs had Jerry Waxler producing and both hit #11 on the Billboard chart. Marsh preferred Aretha’s version and do I. I kept expecting Ben E. King here to break into “Stand By Me” as I was listening- he makes it sound that way. Where Aretha takes it further. Not a song I’d consider for my 1001 list.

#806- “Don’t Play That Song”- Aretha Franklin- 1970- Atlantic- Billboard #11. Same song as the Ben E. King song from above but of course much better with Aretha. Released eight years after the Ben E. King version- it sounds like a different song here. I like this of course but there are other Aretha Franklin songs I’d put on my list ahead of this one.

#805- “Middle Of The Road”- The Pretenders 1983 Sire Billboard #19. I will have to study my 1001 Greatest Singles list when I have it made but I am certain that three singles from The Pretenders “Learning To Crawl” album will be among the 1001- “Back On The Chain Gang”, “My City Was Gone” and this single. I can’t imagine anything this good on the Top 100 today. Chrissie is singing about aging [she was thirty-three at the time- her age has doubled now- sixty-six} She is my favorite female rock and roll singer.

#804-“Wendy”- The Beach Boys- 1964- Capitol Billboard #44. Another one of those songs I have heard so often I assumed it was a hit- but it failed to make the Top 40. Brian Wilson and the boys were churning out the hits around this time in 1964- I guess its easy to see where this one could get lost. I like it- but too many other Beach Boys singles ahead of it to make my 1001 list.

#803- “Hitch Hike’- Marvin Gaye 1963- Tamla- Billboard #30. Should have been a bigger hit that #30- Marvin Gaye is my favorite Motown artist. This is one of his many great songs. Probably his guttiest vocal. I like the song but again- so many Marvin songs I do love and there is only room for so many.

#802-“Adorable”- The Drifters  1955 Atlantic Did Not Make Pop Chart- The Drifters were putting singles into the Top 10 on the R@B charts but didn’t start to make an impact on the Hot 100 Pop Chart until 1957- after this single. I don’t see how this failed to take? I have heard it before I have the box set on The Drifters. Very good but again- as far as my 1001 goes- how many Drifters sounds can fit on it? There are certainly others I like more.

#801-“The Boxer” Simon and Garfunkel- 1969- Columbia- Billboard #7. I don’t know why Marsh included them in his 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made book. He has them listed twice here- and back at #948- and in both reviews he mostly knocks them. Anyhow. This is one of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel tunes also. And yes we know Art Garfunkel sings like a wimp!.. Probably on my 1001 greatest singles list.

It has taken me twenty days to do two hundred and one songs- ten a day average. Not bad.  1/5th of the way through the book. At this rate it will take one hundred days to go from 1001 to 1.  I am enjoying hearing some songs I’ve never heard before.

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