The final song in the 30-day song challenge is for a song that reminds you of yourself. I’m going to go with “The Entertainer” by Billy Joel for this one, as it kinda fits me…….
Day 29 is a song you remember from childhood, and I’m going to go with a song that came out when I was nine years old and which I pretty much associate with being in grammar school: “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty.
Day 28 is a song by an artist whose voice you love, and my wife is laughing at me right now because I tend toward gravelly voiced singers like Mark Knopfler and Tom Waits and Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen and the like. But I also loves me some a cappella, and probably my favorite a cappella group is the Canadian group the Nylons. Here’s my favorite song of theirs, “Combat Zone.”
Day 27 is a song that breaks your heart, and I’m gonna go with Ian Anderson’s lovely elegy to an “Old Black Cat,” a song that reminds me of all the cats (and one dog) that I’ve lost to age and disease over the years: Mittens, Marcus, Aoki, Newcastle, Jezebelle, Rhiannon, Sterling, and Scooter.
For day 26, they want a song that makes you want to fall in love, and I’m gonna be literal again and go with “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” But not Elvis Presley’s version, but rather, this hauntingly beautiful version by Arlo Guthrie, backed by the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.
Day 25 is a song you like by an artist no longer living. I’m gonna have to go with Davie Bowie on this one, just because his death was recent and stunning. Here’s my favorite song of his, “Space Oddity.”
Day 24 is a song by a band you wish were still together. Despite the fact that they couldn’t possibly still be together because 3/5 of the band is dead, I’m gonna go with The Band. One of the greatest and most influential bands, and also the folks who backed up Bob Dylan when he went electric, I wish they’d stayed fully together after their 1976 concert The Last Waltz. While four of the five members did re-form soon thereafter, they pretty much were a nostalgia act after that. Meanwhile the fifth, Robbie Robertson, has done some amazing work in his solo career, and I wonder what would have happened if they’d been able to put the personalities aside and stayed as a group. Their musical talent had improved markedly over the sixteen years they were together, and who knows how much better they might have gotten?
Anyhow, here’s one of my favorites, the version of “Stage Fright” from The Last Waltz.
Day 23 is a song you think everybody should listen to, and I have a lot of choices here, as I like lots of songs that are, like, the fourth song on side 2 or something. With the caveat that, even more than any of the others in this challenge, this could change if I’m asked this tomorrow (seriously, I could do this over again with 30 different songs next month), I’m gonna go with this Robbie Robertson number from How to Become Clairvoyant that I just adore and everyone should hear, “He Don’t Live Here No More.”
Day 22 is supposed to be a song that moves you forward, and I’m not even entirely sure what that means. Since I’m a writer, I’m gonna go with “The Book Report” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which is the best description of the writing process I’ve ever heard in a Broadway musical. The song has all the lame tricks folks try to plow through a writing assignment, from word-counting to trying to find the perfect moment to start to being distracted by a tangent……
Day 21 is a song you like with a person’s name in the title. I seriously considered several possibilities for this one, including “Mr. Siegal” by Tom Waits and “Papa Dukie and the Mud People” by the Subdudes, but I decided to go with one of the seminal songs of my youth: “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce. Seriously, when I was in first grade, we all knew this song and sang it all the time…..