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.