We are now inside the top sixty, and we are down to the songs that would stop me if I was passing a room and heard it playing. Soon we'll be into songs that slow or stop my breathing. Is that weird? But it's the effect on me. As I get older my life becomes one big version of Dobie Gray's Drift Away. Anyway, as a friend said recently, it's time to "unravel (more of) the mystery that is Chris".
60- Sloop John B, the Beach Boys, peak position #3. The lead of the second side of Pet Sounds, a fun adaptation of a West Indian folk song about a real ship that sank in 1900. I think about the chorus at work a lot- "Well, I feel so broke up, I wanna go home!"
59- Raindrops, Dee Clark, pp #2. One of the first songs I remember- "Raindrops/so many raindrops/it looks like raindrops/falling from my eyes..."
58-Blue Moon, the Marcels, pp #1. For me, the capital city of doo-wop. I never even knew there was a ballad version.
57-Last Train To Clarksville, the Monkees, pp#1. For me, I always remember when NBC was advertising the Apollo 17 launch, they would play this with the voice over, "Apollo 17. If you miss this one, you've missed it." (Instant history lesson- the Apollo program ended at 17.) Actually, a song about a guy getting ready to head off to Vietnam, which made it even cooler.
56- Both Sides Now, Judy Collins, pp #8. I love about anything with the baroque-style piano, and the lyrics are dynamite. Ironically, this has a connection to the song I named my personal theme song a few months back on Time Machine. Both this and Counting Crows Rain King were inspired by the book Henderson The Rain King by Saul Bellow. I may just have to read that book someday soon.
A quote I saw on Youtube with this song: "Fifty years ago it brought aspirations. Now it brings regrets". Amen.
55- The Weight, The Band, pp #63. The part that always gets me is, "Go down, Miss Moses, there's nothin' you can say/It's just ol' Luke, and Luke's waitin' on the Judgement Day./"Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?"/He said, "Do me a favor, son, woncha stay an' keep Anna Lee company?" " Low charting because the Band was treated like the grateful Dead, and it's a damn shame neither one got the mainstream success they deserved.
54- You Don't Own Me, Leslie Gore, pp #2. Even the constant use by the NFL for advertising their "women's fit jerseys" doesn't ruin this for me. Have I mentioned I love Leslie Gore?
53- Those Were The Days, Mary Hopkin, pp #2. An old Russian song re-written with English lyrics, and produced by Paul McCartney. A very melancholy feel.
52- We'll Sing In The Sunshine, Gale Garnett, pp #4. Not surprising to find this here, because I've always linked this song and Those Were The Days in my mind. Kind of like the before to Mary Hopkin's after.
51-Come Back When You Grow Up, Bobby Vee and the Strangers, pp #3. I never realized how many great songs Bobby Vee did until I started this list. This was one of those that we had on 45, and my first young attempt at "modifying " lyrics- "Peeing ain't easy, pooping's twice as tough, come back, baby, when you throw up." Did I mention I was about 8 at the time?
Man, if you guys could see my eyes right now...
50- Telstar, the Tornadoes, pp #1. The first single to EVER hit the #1 spot on the US chart by a British band, and showing my love for instrumentals yet again. Somehow, I feel this should be playing in that far-future day when man launches the Starship Enterprise.
49- Leaving On A Jet Plane, Peter, Paul, and Mary, pp #1. Already I'm so lonesome, I could cry...
48- Sealed With A Kiss, Bryan Hyland, pp #3. It is so hard to believe that the same man that came up with spellbinders like this and later Gypsy Woman, also gave us Itty Bitty Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.
47- Mr. Lonely, Bobby Vinton, pp #1. What can I say that I haven't about the Polish Prince?
46- Keep Searching (Follow The Sun), Del Shannon, pp #9. His last big hit, and my favorite.
45- Wonderland By Night, Bert Kaempfert Orchestra, pp #1. Another instrumental, one of my mom's faves that she passed down.
44- Only The Lonely, Roy Orbison, pp #2. As much as I heard this as a kid, it seems incredible to me that it came out two years before I was born, and not when I was five or six. Mom loved Roy, too, especially this one.
43- This Diamond Ring, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, pp #1. Despite the fact that "the Playboys " were about as real as the first versions of "the Monkees", despite the fact the the writer was unhappy with it because he wanted the Drifters to do it, this is one of those songs that has never grown old- even though it's on the CD player at work.
42- Tired Of Waiting For You, the Kinks, pp #6. I had forgotten about this one for many years until one day I heard it on an oldies station, feeling perfectly preserved from the time it was new as if a paleontologist discovering a fossil. Transports me instantly to Saturday afternoons with my sister out in the backyard with our little blue transistor that sounded so good...
41- Wouldn't It Be Nice, the Beach Boys, pp #8. How ironic we end this week where we began, on Pet Sounds- specifically the lead of the first side. The 12-string mandolin in the last verse melts me every time, as does the line that goes with it- "You know it seems the more we talk about it/ it only makes it worse to live without it/ but let's talk about it..."
Wow. This week, I am just spent emotionally at this point. I'll need my walk with Scrappy to recover my eyesight! And there are forty more to go! So tune in next time for the start of the Final Forty. I'm playing with the idea of splitting the top twenty into two weeks- and if next week's like this, I might do the forty in four, haven't decided yet. Anyway, there's only one song on this list appropriate to close with this time, I'm sure you'll agree...