Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Top Songs According to…the AARP?

My dad recently sent me a link to an AARP article. Sure, he’s been one of their faithful for nearly three decades, but my half-century birthday is years away. Okay, only five years, but I’m not there yet! Truth be told, music isn’t my dad’s thing, but he’s well aware of my obsession with it so he sent a link my way (“Readers Respond to Jacqueline Mitchard’s ’16 Songs You Must Own’“). It references an article from a couple months earlier (“16 Songs Everyone Over 50 Must Own”) in which author Jacqueline Mitchard offered up the original list. She isn’t cited for any music credentials whatsoever, but she proclaims she has “compiled a list of favorites from every genre, each of which speaks in some important way to our generation.”

EVERY genre? Really? While I give her credit for hitting rock, pop, country, R&B, folk, and rap, where’s world music? Reggae? Is Frank Sinatra her representative for jazz? What about punk, disco, or just dance in general? How about more modern genres like alternative rock, grunge, or Britpop? Perhaps she thinks those over 50 have no awareness of these “modern” formats of music which are only 20+ years old? On the flip side, “Jailhouse Rock”, from 1957, is the oldest song on the list. What, there aren’t any AARP members who listened to any music before the rock era?

Jailhouse Rock, the oldest song on the list

I could go on, but I think you get the point. It isn’t just that it is silly to claim to represent all genres with only a 16-song list. What’s with a list of only 16 songs anyway? She doesn’t explain why she picked such a random number. Oh, Jacqueline also doesn’t help her credibility by identifying “Landslide” as being by Stevie Nicks. Yes, that is Nicks singing, but it was recorded with Fleetwood Mac, not as a solo cut.

Landslide by Fleetwood Mac NOT Stevie Nicks

Now, there are good songs on here and plenty of big-time artists. However, if your list is limited to 16 titles, they really have to be the cream of the crop. 9 of these 16 appear on Dave’s Music Database’s top 1000 songs of all time list. Only three make the top 100 songs of all time list. Perhaps even more astonishing is that out of the hundreds of lists aggregated to create the DMDB best-of-all-time song list, FOUR of these songs (marked by asterisks) had never appeared on any of them. Here’s the full list in alphabetical order by the acts’ names:

  1. AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long” (1980) DMDB 1000
  2. The Beatles “In My Life” (1965) DMDB 1000
  3. The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” (1966) DMDB 1000
  4. Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” (1967) DMDB 1000
  5. Patsy Cline “Crazy” (1961) DMDB 100
  6. Coolio with L.V. “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995) DMDB 1000
  7. Eagles “Hotel California” (1977) DMDB 100
  8. Fleetwood Mac “Landslide” (1975)
  9. Emmylou Harris “C’est La Vie (You Never Can Tell)” (1977) *
  10. George Jones “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980) DMDB 1000
  11. Joni Mitchell “Little Green” (1971) *
  12. Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) DMDB 100
  13. Frank Sinatra “Once Upon a Time” (1965) *
  14. Dionne Warwick “A House Is Not a Home” (1964) *
  15. Stevie Wonder “Lately” (1981)
  16. Neil Young “Harvest Moon” (1993)

Hotel California, the biggest song on the list according to the DMDB

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