Which would you pick??

John Clark wintering as well as one can when ice threatens to undo what physical therapy has rebuilt, and climbing snowbanks to restore visibility when backing out becomes a regular event. Today, I’m going to see how readers respond to a question I heard batted around on the Big Jab Morning Show a couple months ago.

Here goes: If you had to explain rock and roll to an alien visitor (that’s as in space, not a foreign country) by playing five songs, which ones would you pick? If you’re like me and grew up in the late 1950s-1960s, Rock probably had a strong influence on you. It certainly did for me. I remember my first ever concert during homecoming week at Arizona State University in the fall of 1966. It was the Fifth Dimension and I was mesmerized by the venue (Grady Gammage Auditorium) and the performance. That was followed over the next four years by many more, highlighted by Sweetwater stealing the show as opening act at a Doors concert, underground psychedelic shows in Phoenix and San Francisco, Santana, Crosby Stills & Nash, Jesse Colin Young, Led Zepplin, Creedence Chicago, Judy Collins, The Turtles, and the granddaddy of them all-Woodstock. In addition, I bought at least two LPs each week when I got paid, often by groups I’d never heard of, but was attracted by the album art.

All of that spoiled me and I probably changed favorite tunes and artists as frequently as I did t-shirts. For this exercise, I’m defining rock very loosely, so you can too. Out of my five, only the top two are forever cast in stone and I think that’s the nature of the beast.

Welcome aliens. I’d like to introduce you to one of the redeeming qualities of the human race, music, or more specifically rock music. I hope after hearing these (You can hear, I hope), you’ll have a decent understanding of why these are so great. Herewith are my five.

1-Light My Fire (long version) by the Doors. Every time I hear it come on the radio, I remember them playing it at the Phoenix Colosseum. Not long after seeing them, we had a fraternity party with a live band and the girl who played keyboards absolutely killed the long version.

2-Satisfaction by the Stones. I flash back to high school and enjoy the sensual energy that drove everyone onto the dance floor whenever this is played.

3-Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys. Has any song ever come close to the teen angst and emotion dripping from the lyrics? There are other Beach Boys greats (heck the whole Pet Sounds album is close to perfect), but this is their shining star.

4-Cherish by the Association. We got to see them in concert a few months ago in Orono and they were still damn good. Windy is also classic, but this one moves me more.

5-Amy by Pure Prairie League. It’s simple, happy and easy to sing along to, so I do whenever it comes on.

Those are my five, Please share yours.

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9 Responses to Which would you pick??

  1. Judith Moore says:

    No Beatles or John Denver? I think American music and musicals are our gift to the world (like Europeans gave us Opera.)

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  2. kaitlynkathy says:

    I don’t know what others without more thought, but after reading your list, I flashed back to what was practically an anthem senior year in college—“We Gotta Get Out of this Place”. Can’t remember who recorded it. “House of the Rising Sun” and “Louie,Louie” also left an impression. Appropriate intro for aliens? Maybe not. How about “Yellow Submarine” No, wait—“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” I’ll quit now. Really shouldn’t try answering before I finish the first cup of coffee.

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  3. David Plimpton says:

    1. Little Richard, “Lucille”

    2. Chuck Berry, “”Maybellene”

    3. The Beatles, “Can’t Buy Me Love”

    4. Dire Straits, “Sultans of Swing”

    5. Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall”

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  4. Melissa Goodman says:

    Well, I went with a different approach.
    1. Back in the Saddle – Aerosmith because every space alien needs to hear Joe Perry play his guitar,
    2. Baracuda – Heart and hear Amazing Women rock out,
    3. Give Me Love (Give My Peace On Earth) – George Harrison and that we are not all violent asses,
    4. One – Metallica to show that we know war sucks,
    5. Schism – Tool so the aliens can just hear Cool.
    These are my 5 songs to introduce Rock to space aliens. 8*)

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  5. Take Me To The River – Al Green – cool as cool can be
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Aretha Franklin – speaks for itself
    Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles – goes to my inherent optimism
    Love Shack – The B-52s – if you have to ask . . .
    Little Red Corvette – Prince – and you can dance to it

    Thanks, John. This was fun to think about. Next month, country?

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