Wednesday, March 7, 2001

The RIAA/NEA's Songs of the Century

RIAA/NEA:

Top 365 Songs of the 20th Century

Description here On March 7, 2001, The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) revealed the top ten songs from its list of the top 365 songs of the 20th century. According to the RIAA’s press release, the list was created “to promote a better understanding of America’s musical and cultural heritage in our schools.” It is one of the better lists around considering it actually acknowledges pre-rock era songs. It does, however, also strangely opt to include a handful of albums in the list. I’ve omitted those here and created a separate page focused on the albums here.

Links on songs lead to more detailed reviews and information on the DMDB website.

Click here to see other lists from publications and/or organizations.

  1. Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow” (1939)
  2. Bing Crosby “White Christmas” (1942)
  3. Woody Guthrie “This Land Is Your Land” (1940)
  4. Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967)
  5. Don McLean “American Pie” (1971)
  6. The Andrews Sisters “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (1941)
  7. Billy Murray & the Haydn Quartet “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1908)
  8. The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (1964)
  9. Scott Joplin “The Entertainer” (1902)
  10. Glenn Miller Orchestra “In the Mood” (1939)

  11. Bill Haley & the Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954)
  12. Louis Armstrong “When the Saints Go Marching In” (1939)
  13. Jimmie Davis “You Are My Sunshine” (1940)
  14. Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife” (1959)
  15. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)
  16. Duke Ellington Orchestra “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941)
  17. Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill” (1956)
  18. Kate Smith “God Bless America” (1939)
  19. Sousa’s Band “Stars and Stripes Forever” (1901)
  20. Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)

  21. Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” (1968)
  22. Tony Bennett “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (1962)
  23. The Beach Boys “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1966)
  24. Ben E. King “Stand by Me” (1961)
  25. Lena Horne “Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time)” (1943)
  26. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
  27. The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963)
  28. Gladys Knight & The Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia” (1973)
  29. John Lennon “Imagine” (1971)
  30. Gene Autry “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1949)

  31. Chubby Checker “The Twist” (1960)
  32. Roy Rogers & Dale Evans “Happy Trails” (1948)
  33. Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (1953)
  34. Fisk Jubilee Singers “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” (1909)
  35. Thelonius Monk “‘Round Midnight” (1944)
  36. Tina Turner “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” (1984)
  37. The American Quartet “Over There” (1917)
  38. Hoagy Carmichael “Stardust” (1927)
  39. Fats Waller “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (1929)
  40. Ray Charles “Georgia on My Mind” (1960)
  41. Roy Orbison “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (1964)
  42. The Police “Every Breath You Take” (1983)

  43. The Temptations “My Girl” (1965)
  44. The Eagles “Hotel California” (1977)
  45. Ben Selvin Orchestra “Happy Days Are Here Again” (1930)
  46. Tammy Wynette “Stand By Your Man” (1968)
  47. Dave Brubeck “Take Five” (1961)
  48. Louise Homer “America the Beautiful” (1910)
  49. Percy Sledge “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966)
  50. The Doors “Light My Fire” (1967)
  51. Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” (1971)
  52. Ben Bernie Orchestra “Sweet Georgia Brown” (1925)
  53. Cliff Edwards “When You Wish Upon a Star” (1940)
  54. The Beatles “Yesterday” (1965)

  55. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
  56. Billie Holiday “God Bless the Child” (1941)
  57. Bruce Springsteen “Born in the U.S.A.” (1984)
  58. Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto “The Girl from Ipanema” (1964)
  59. Johnny Cash “I Walk the Line” (1956)
  60. John McCormack “The Star Spangled Banner” (1917)
  61. The Edwin Hawkins Singers “O Happy Day” (1969)
  62. Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire” (1957)
  63. Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” (1971)
  64. Johnny Mercer “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” (1946)
  65. Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” / “Hound Dog” (1956)

  66. W.C. Handy “St. Louis Blues” (1923)
  67. Vess Ossman “Yankee Doodle” (1894)
  68. The Mamas & the Papas “California Dreamin’” (1966)
  69. Willie Nelson “On the Road Again” (1980)
  70. Frank Stanley “Auld Lang Syne” (1907)
  71. Sidney Bechet “Summertime” (1939)
  72. Isaac Hayes “Theme from Shaft” (1971)
  73. Michael Jackson “Beat It” (1983)
  74. Les Brown’s Orchestra with Doris Day “Sentimental Journey” (1945)
  75. Carl Perkins “Blue Suede Shoes” (1956)
  76. Simon & Garfunkel “The Sounds of Silence” (1965)
  77. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

  78. Isham Jones Orchestra “It Had to Be You” (1924)
  79. Cab Calloway “Minnie the Moocher” (1931)
  80. Tennessee Ernie Ford “Sixteen Tons” (1955)
  81. Louis Armstrong What a Wonderful World” (1967)
  82. James Taylor “Fire and Rain” (1970)
  83. Village People “Y.M.C.A.” (1978)
  84. Heavy Weather “Birdland” (1977)
  85. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)
  86. Roger Miller “King of the Road” (1965)
  87. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” (1978)
  88. Marian Anderson “Ave Maria” (1936)
  89. Artie Shaw Orchestra “Begin the Beguine” (1938)
  90. Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965)

  91. The Supremes “Stop! In the Name of Love” (1965)
  92. Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” (1977)
  93. Prince “1999” (1982)
  94. Tim McGraw “Please Remember Me” (1999)
  95. Gene Autry “Back in the Saddle Again” (1939)
  96. Big Joe Turner “Shake, Rattle and Roll” (1954)
  97. The Five Satins “In the Still of the Nite (I’ll Remember)” (1956)
  98. Roberta Flack “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (1973)
  99. Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places” (1990)
  100. Arthur Gibbs & His Gang “Charleston” (1924)
  101. Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb & His Orchestra “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” (1938)
  102. Chauncy Olcott “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (1913)
  103. Bob Dylan “The Times They Are A-Changin’” (1964)
  104. Patsy Cline “I Fall to Pieces” (1961)
  105. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992)

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  106. Nat “King” Cole “Mona Lisa” (1950)
  107. Peter, Paul & Mary “Blowin’ in the Wind” (1963)
  108. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “Peggy Sue” (1957)
  109. Bill Withers “Lean on Me” (1972)
  110. Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (1949)
  111. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Proud Mary” (1969)
  112. The Carter Family “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (1935)
  113. Harry Richman “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (1930)
  114. Derek & the Dominos “Layla” (1971)
  115. Van Halen “Jump” (1983)
  116. U2 “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” U2 (1987)
  117. U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (1985)
  118. Cyndi Lauper “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1983)
  119. Al Jolson “Swanee” (1920)
  120. The Peerless Quartet “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (1911)
  121. Eddie Cantor “Makin’ Whoopee” (1929)
  122. The Miracles “The Tracks of My Tears” (1965)
  123. Helen Kane “I Wanna Be Loved By You” (1928)
  124. Bing Crosby “Pennies from Heaven” (1936)
  125. Little Richard “Tutti Frutti” (1955)
  126. Van Morrison ( “Brown Eyed Girl” 1967)
  127. The Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes for You” (1959)
  128. Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild” (1968)
  129. Stevie Wonder “Superstition” (1972)
  130. Bruce Springsteen “Born to Run” (1975)
  131. Shirley Temple “On the Good Ship Lollipop” (1935)
  132. Roy Acuff “Wabash Cannonball” (1938)
  133. Al Hibbler “Unchained Melody” (1955)
  134. Martha & the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street” (1964)
  135. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967)
  136. Billy Joel “Piano Man” (1974)
  137. Three Dog Night “Joy to the World” (1971)
  138. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” (1991)
  139. Frank Sinatra “My Way” (1969)
  140. Al Green “Let’s Stay Together” (1971)
  141. Queen “We Will Rock You” / “We Are the Champions” (1977)
  142. Prince & the Revolution “Purple Rain” (1984)
  143. Abba “Dancing Queen” (1976)

  144. The Everly Brothers “Wake Up Little Susie” (1957)
  145. The Isley Brothers “Shout” (1959)
  146. James Brown “I Got You (I Feel Good)” (1965)
  147. B.B. King “The Thrill Is Gone” (1969)
  148. The Boswell Sisters “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1935)
  149. Bo Diddley “Bo Diddley” (1955)
  150. Harry Belafonte “Banana Boat (Day-O)” (1957)
  151. Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” (1963)
  152. Ritchie Valens “Donna” / “La Bamba” (1958)
  153. The Tokens “The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)” (1961)
  154. John Denver “Take Me Home Country Roads” (1971)
  155. Madonna “Material Girl” (1984)
  156. The Sugarhill Gang “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
  157. Leadbelly “Goodnight Irene” (1950)
  158. The Chammps “Tequila” (1958)
  159. Doris Day “Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera)” (1956)
  160. The Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” (1965)
  161. Sam & Dave “Soul Man” (1967)
  162. Stevie Wonder “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” (1973)
  163. Bob Hope & Shirley Ross “Thanks for the Memory” (1939)
  164. B.J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” (1969)
  165. Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn “Moon River” (1961)
  166. Lynyrd Skynyrd “Free Bird” (1974)
  167. Erroll Garner Trio “Misty” (1954)
  168. Johnny Mathis “Chances Are” (1957)
  169. Ketty Lester “Love Letters” (1962)
  170. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (1981)
  171. Tracy Chapman “Fast Car” (1988)
  172. The Shirelles “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (1960)
  173. The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack” (1964)
  174. Wilson Pickett “In the Midnight Hour” (1965)
  175. Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” (1956)
  176. Johnny Nash “I Can See Clearly Now” (1972)
  177. Santana “Oye Como Va” (1971)
  178. Loretta Lynn “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970)
  179. Harry Chapin “Cat’s in the Cradle” (1974)
  180. Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (1978)
  181. Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” (1978)
  182. Gene Austin “Bye Bye Blackbird” (1926)
  183. The Platters “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (1958)
  184. The Beastie Boys “You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party” (1986)
  185. Sister Sledge “We Are Family” (1979)
  186. The Carpenters “They Long to Be Close to You” (1970)
  187. Rod Stewart “Maggie May” (1971)
  188. Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman’s Orchestra “Night and Day” (1932)
  189. Rudy Vallee “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (1932)
  190. The Kingston Trio “Tom Dooley” (1958)
  191. Patti Page “Tennessee Waltz” (1948)

  192. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (1972)
  193. Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (1973)
  194. M.C. Hammer “U Can’t Touch This” (1990)
  195. Santana & Rob Thomas “Smooth” (1999)
  196. Ricky Martin “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (1999)
  197. George Beverly Shea “How Great Thou Art” (1955)
  198. Benny Goodman Orchestra “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” (1938)
  199. The Sons of the Pioneers “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” (1934)
  200. Jackie DeShannon “What the World Needs Now Is Love” (1965)
  201. Roy Orbison “Crying” (1961)
  202. Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (1988)
  203. Count Basie Orchestra “One O’Clock Jump” (1937)
  204. Petula Clark “Downtown” (1964)
  205. Carole King “It’s Too Late” / “I Feel the Earth Move” (1971)
  206. Kool & the Gang “Celebration” (1980)
  207. The Tymes “So Much in Love” (1963)
  208. Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” (1972)
  209. Blondie “Heart of Glass” (1978)
  210. Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (1946)
  211. Mark Dinning “Teen Angel” (1959)
  212. Joan Baez “We Shall Overcome” (1963)
  213. Bonnie Raitt “Something to Talk About” (1991)
  214. Thomas A. Dorsey “Take My Hand Precious Lord” (1932)
  215. Dion “Runaround Sue” (1961)
  216. Art Tatum “Tea for Two” (1939)
  217. Eddie Cochran “Summertime Blues” (1958)
  218. Dean Martin “Everybody Loves Somebody” (1964)
  219. Lesley Gore “It’s My Party” (1963)
  220. Little Eva “The Loco-Motion” (1962)
  221. The Drifters “On Broadway” (1963)
  222. Janis Joplin “Me and Bobby McGee” (1971)
  223. Jim Croce “Time in a Bottle” (1973)
  224. Jimmy Buffett “Margaritaville” (1977)
  225. Wilbert Harrison “Kansas City” (1959)
  226. The Penguins “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” (1954)
  227. Muddy Waters “Got My Mojo Working” (1957)
  228. The Impressions “People Get Ready” (1965)
  229. The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
  230. Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit” (1967)
  231. Paul Simon “Graceland” (1986)
  232. The B-52s “Love Shack” (1989)
  233. R. Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly” (1996)
  234. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do” (1994)
  235. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)

  236. Geraldine Farrar “My Old Kentucky Home” (1910)
  237. Dion “Abraham, Martin & John” (1968)
  238. Danny & The Juniors “At the Hop” (1957)
  239. Ray Charles “What’d I Say” (1959)
  240. The Chordettes “Mr. Sandman” (1954)
  241. The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (1963)
  242. Sonny & Cher “I Got You Babe” (1965)
  243. Charlie Daniels Band “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1979)
  244. Irene Cara “Flashdance...What a Feelin’” (1983)
  245. Talking Heads “Burning Down the House” (1983)
  246. Billy Ray Cyrus “Achy Breaky Heart” (1992)
  247. Dixie Chicks “Wide Open Spaces” (1998)
  248. Dionne Warwick “Walk on By” (1964)
  249. Allman Brothers Band “Ramblin’ Man” (1973)
  250. Mahalia Jackson “Move on Up a Little Higher” (1948)
  251. The Pointer Sisters “I’m So Excited” (1984)
  252. Louis Prima & Keely Smith “That Old Black Magic” (1958)
  253. The Four Tops “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (1966)
  254. Aerosmith “Walk This Way” (1976)
  255. Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981)
  256. Bette Midler “The Wind Beneath My Wings” (1989)
  257. Eric Clapton “Change the World” (1996)
  258. The Ink Spots “If I Didn’t Care” (1939)
  259. The Mills Brothers “Paper Doll” (1942)
  260. Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit” (1939)

  261. Bobbie Gentry “Ode to Billy Joe” (1967)
  262. Frank Sinatra “Strangers in the Night” (1966)
  263. Edwin Starr “War” (1970)
  264. Charlie Rich “Behind Closed Doors” (1973)
  265. Bob Seger “Old Time Rock ‘N’ Roll” (1979)
  266. The Go-Gos “We Got the Beat” (1982)
  267. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five “The Message” (1982)
  268. Cole Porter “You’re the Top” (1934)
  269. Mary Wells “My Guy” (1964)
  270. Sam Cooke “You Send Me” (1957)
  271. Glen Campbell “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967)
  272. Nilsson “Everybody’s Talkin”” (1968)
  273. Neil Young “Heart of Gold” (1972)
  274. John Cougar Mellencamp “Jack and Diane” (1982)
  275. Public Enemy “Fight the Power” (1989)
  276. Whispering Jack Smith “Me and My Shadow” (1927)
  277. Alvino Rey Orchestra “Deep in the Heart of Texas” (1941)
  278. Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” (1967)
  279. Dionne Warwick & Friends “That's What Friends Are For” (1985)
  280. Shania Twain “You’re Still the One” (1998)
  281. Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way” (1977)
  282. Pink Floyd “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” (1979)
  283. Vaughn Monroe “Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” (1949)
  284. Barbra Streisand “The Way We Were” (1973)
  285. Dolly Parton “9 to 5” (1980)
  286. Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry Be Happy” (1988)
  287. Connie Francis “Who’s Sorry Now” (1958)
  288. KC & Sunshine Band “That’s the Way (I Like It)” (1975)
  289. Billy Jones “Yes We Have No Bananas” (1923)
  290. The Weavers “On Top of Old Smoky” (1951)
  291. The Kinks “You Really Got Me” (1964)
  292. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Ohio” (1970)
  293. Tom Petty “Free Fallin’” (1989)
  294. Faith Hill “This Kiss” (1998)
  295. Coleman Hawkins Orchestra “Body and Soul” (1940)
  296. Helen Reddy “I Am Woman” (1972)
  297. George Benson “This Masquerade” (1976)
  298. Sophie Tucker with Ted Lewis “Some of These Days” (1927)
  299. Bessie Smith “Down Hearted Blues” (1923)
  300. Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys “New San Antonio Rose” (1944)
  301. Les Paul & Mary Ford “How High the Moon” (1951)
  302. Brenda Lee “I’m Sorry” (1960)
  303. Sly & the Family Stone “Everyday People” (1968)
  304. Linda Ronstadt “When Will I Be Loved” (1975)
  305. The Grateful Dead “Uncle John’s Band” (1970)
  306. George Michael “Faith” (1987)
  307. Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes “Up Where We Belong” (1982)
  308. Hank Williams, Jr “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over”. (1984)
  309. Elton John “Candle in the Wind” (1973/1997)

  310. Amy Grant “El Shaddai” (1982)
  311. Dizzy Gillespie “Salt Peanuts” (1945)
  312. Enrico Caruso “Pagliacci, Act I: Vesti La Giubba (On with the Play)” (1907)
  313. Paul Whiteman Orchestra “Whispering” (1920)
  314. Jimmie Rodgers “Blue Yodel (T for Texas)” (1928)
  315. John Lee Hooker “Boogie Chillun” (1949)
  316. Johnny Horton “The Battle of New Orleans” (1959)
  317. Donna Summer “She Works Hard for the Money” (1983)
  318. The Jackson 5 “I Want You Back” (1969)
  319. George Jones “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980)
  320. Will Smith “Men in Black” (1997)
  321. Marty Robbins “El Paso” (1959)
  322. The Chuck Wagon Gang “I’ll Fly Away” (1948)
  323. Herbie Hancock “Rock-It” (1983)
  324. Jelly Roll Morton “King Porter Stomp” (1923)
  325. Robert Johnson “Cross Road Blues” (1936)
  326. Eddy Arnold “Cattle Call” (1945)
  327. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band “Tiger Rag” (1918)
  328. Vernon Dalhart “The Prisoner’s Song” (1925)
  329. The Coasters “Yakety Yak” (1958)
  330. Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi” (1970)
  331. Stevie Winwood “Higher Love” (1986)
  332. Shirley Caesar “No Charge” (1975)
  333. Alabama “My Home’s in Alabama” (1980)
  334. Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men “One Sweet Day” (1995)
  335. Lee Ann Womack with Sons of the Desert “I Hope You Dance” (2000)
  336. The Fairfield Four “Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around” (1947)
  337. Ramsey Lewis Trio “The In-Crowd” (1965)
  338. Francis Craig Orchestra “Near You” (1947)

  339. Merle Haggard “Sing Me Back Home” (1967)
  340. The Modern Jazz Quartet “Django” (1954)
  341. The Staple Singers “Respect Yourself” (1971)
  342. Lauryn Hill “Doo Wop (That Thing)” (1998)
  343. The Judds “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984)
  344. TLC “No Scrubs” (1999)
  345. Chicago “Saturday in the Park” (1972)
  346. Destiny’s Child “Bills, Bills, Bills” (1999)
  347. Bebe & Cece Winans “Addictive Love” (1991)
  348. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower” (1968)

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First posted 3/7/2012; last updated 4/19/2021.

5 comments:

  1. Hello! It was such a huge pleasure to visit this blog and especially to read this article. And I have a question for you. Did you try guest blogging?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are you people crazy? Elvis doesn't show up until #68 and Heartbreak Hotel was somewhere in the 80's. Jailhouse Rock was nowhere to be found. I'm sorry to have to say this but "Rock Around the Clock" has a beat but that's it. There's no other there there.

    This is as bad as one of Rolling Stone's ubiquitous Top Whatever lists that are compiled by one woman and fifty-two men. I have wide tastes in music but there are some givens and all of Elvis' pre-Army recordings belong on this list. In fact, the top three are the only songs whose position I wouldn't dispute. It's a very sad day to think that school children might be taught that this list is a true representation of the 20th century's best songs.

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  3. The lack of a single Rush song and the absence of Europe's "The Final Countdown," combined with a total lack of any electronic track (Sandstorm?)? GTFO of here with any list lacking those but has "El Shaddai" on it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you're looking for The Final Countdown, check out VH1's list of the worst songs of all time, where you may find it in its rightful place.

    ReplyDelete