Searching For Great Music
Hit Music Charts Don't Rank Quality
Searching For Great Music
What do all these songs have in common?
Good Times Bad Times- Led Zeppelin
Street Fighting Man- Rolling Stones
Foxey Lady- Jimi Hendrix
Purple Haze- Jimi Hendrix
My Generation- The Who
Cinnamon Girl- Neil Young
Layla- Derek & The Dominos
Truckin'- Grateful Dead
Tiny Dancer- Elton John
You Can't Always Get What You Want- Rolling Stones
Dream On- Aerosmith
Tequila Sunrise- Eagles
Rebel Rebel- David Bowie
Changes- David Bowie
Moondance- Van Morrison
Surrender- Cheap Trick
Highway To Hell- AC/DC
Life During Wartime- Talking Heads
They are all great, Classic Rock anthems you say? Yes.
But they all share another distinction.
None of them were number one songs. In fact, only ONE of them made it into the top 10. Only TWO were Top 40 singles. And the only reason these two exceptions made it that far is because they were given a second chance. "Dream On" and "Layla" recharted, both going higher years after their initial release.
Every one of these songs charted in the Top 100, which should have given them enough exposure to push them higher. So why were they initially so ignored and overlooked?
In some cases, they may just have been ahead of their time. Jimi Hendrix was incredibly advanced as a guitarist but appreciation for his music didn't reach its peak until long after his death.
Sadly, it's more likely a case of radio programmers, music industry moguls and the record buying public playing it safe. Staying with the status quo rather than risking embracing challenging new music.
There is a price to be paid for this security. Much of the claptrap that does make it into the Top 40 and even the Top 10 turns out to be embarrassingly vapid in retrospect. The fate of most Top 40 songs is to quickly fade from view like a falling stars and ultimately end up as obscure trivia.
The songs listed above are so well known only because they have stood the test of time. These dirges became classics by not because they made a huge impact when they were first released. But because of having been consistently and repeatedly played, long after other songs have become forgotten relics.
For example, 1972 was a good year for music. Even so, "Day Dreaming" by Aretha Franklin, "How Do You Do" by Mouth & Macneal, "Scorpio" from Dennis Coffey and "Clean Up Woman" from Betty Wright were all in the Top 10. If you remember even one these songs you are to be congratulated for your Rain Man like memory.
'72 was not an anomaly, other years reveal similar results. It stands to reason then, that there is great music out RIGHT NOW that is not getting its due, while other songs are getting all the attention. To find these future classics now you might need to look in places you haven't before considered.
If you are ready to trade the "mainstream" for something a little more progressive, a bit of effort is required.
Try scanning your radio dial for a local station that plays alternative music. In So Cal, Indie 103.1 fm and 94.9 fm are good places to start. You can also search on the internet and stream music right to your computer from both traditional radio stations and internet only stations across the country and the world.
Check Apple's iTunes Music Store for new music releases every Tuesday. Join an internet message board or newsgroup for recommendations on independent and alternative bands.
Ask your musically savvy friends what they are into.
Get XM or Infinity satellite radio.
There are more music resources at your disposal now than at any time in history. Only you can stop yourself from being musically shortchanged.
Here are the (still hard to believe) actual Billboard chart results for the Classic Rock anthems listed above:
Gloria- Them #71 1966
My Generation- The Who #74 1966
Purple Haze- Jimi Hendrix #65 1967
Street Fighting Man- Rolling Stones #48 1968
Foxey Lady- Jimi Hendrix #67 1968
Badge- Cream #60 1969
Good Times Bad Times- Led Zeppelin #80 1969
Foxey Lady- Jimi Hendryx #67 1968
Cinnamon Girl- Neil Young #55 1970
Layla- Derek & The Dominos #51 1971 (Charted again at #10 in 1972)
Truckin'- Grateful Dead #64 1971
Tiny Dancer- Elton John #41 1972
You Can't Always Get What You Want- Rolling Stones #42 1973
Dream On- Aerosmith #59 1973 (Charted again at #6 in 1976)
Tequila Sunrise- Eagles #64 1973
Rebel Rebel- David Bowie #64 1974
Changes- David Bowie #66 1972 (Also #41 1975)
Moondance- Van Morrison #92 1977
Surrender- Cheap Trick #62 1978
Highway To Hell- AC/DC #47 1979
Life During Wartime- Talking Heads #80 1979
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