Wednesday, November 29, 2006


A list? Yes, a list, alas.

OK, I got sucked into one of those infernal lists, yes I did. This one seemed kind of fun, since I do post things about the music I like. It's about pop music, looking at what you think of the songs that were most popular in the year that you turned 18, and it came to me from my square-dance friend Geo.

I've actually answered it for the year I finished high school, which was the year in which I turned 17, because I think that's really what it's aimed at. At least that resonates better with me: I listened to pop music all the time then, and I know most of the songs on the list. And I think most people finished high school in the year they turned 18, so it fits me in that way.

Some general observations here, and the instructions and list below the fold. Of course, these are all my own opinions; take them with a few grains of salt:

The year was 1974, and it was early in the disco era. The 1975 list has more of the hard-core disco songs, but 1974 has a few, and they are truly dreadful (actually, the ones in 1975 are better). Kool and the Gang were popular then, but just bad, and 1974 included one of the worst disco songs ever made, "Kung Fu Fighting", by Carl Douglas. We had to wait until 1978 for the disco-fied Bee Gees, and all the way 'til 1979 for Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" — now, those were good disco songs.

I love Elton John's music, but 1974 was not his best year. Of the three songs he has on the list, two ("Bennie and the Jets" and "The Bitch is Back") aren't ones that I find particularly appealing. That may be heresy, but that's how it is. He was better before, and he's been better since.

We've got a good selection of Canadian music on the list: The Guess Who hadn't completely lost it yet, sneaking "Clap for the Wolfman" onto the bottom of the list. Former Guess Who member Randy Bachman gets three BTO songs in there. Joni Mitchell, Paul Anka, and Terry Jacks each have one. For other countries, apart from the UK we have Australia (Helen Reddy), Sweden (ABBA), and the Netherlands (Golden Earring). Well, and Texas (Mac Davis and ZZ Top).

Some of the music holds up better than the rest. There are songs I liked at the time that I now am neutral about, or even dislike. I just can't abide any of the Steve Miller Band's stuff now, though I liked it then. Of the songs that hold up well, I find Bachman-Turner Overdrive to be quite solid. And Stevie Wonder gives us an interesting pair, with the lighthearted "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" at number 18 and number 31's "Living for the City" throwing a counterpoint of despair at us.

And for some reason that I can't explain, I've always liked "Midnight at the Oasis".

See the list...

Go to and select the year you became 18 [from the "Hits" list on the left]. Snip the top 50 songs from the list and paste it in your journal. Bold the ones you like and strike the ones you dislike, italic the ones you know but neither like nor dislike, and the ones you don't know will stay in normal text.
Of course, why stop at 50? the web site goes up to 75, so I just kept all 75. So, to recap:
  • I like the songs in bold.
  • I dislike the songs with strike-through.
  • I'm neutral about the songs in italics.
  • The songs in normal text are the ones I don't know.


1. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
2. Takin Care Of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
3. The Loco-motion - Grand Funk
4. Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me - Gladys Knight and the Pips
5. Piano Man - Billy Joel
6. Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
7. Hooked On A Feeling - Blue Suede
8. Jungle Boogie - Kool and the Gang
9. For The Love Of Money - O Jays
10. Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Babe - Barry White
11. Tell Me Something Good - Rufus
12. Come Monday - Jimmy Buffet
13. Love Is The Message - MFSB/Three Degrees
14. The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand
15. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me - Elton John
16. Come and Get Your Love - Redbone
17. Mockingbird - James Taylor and Carly Simon
18. Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing - Stevie Wonder
19. When Will I See You Again - The Three Degrees
20. Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks
21. Dancing Machine - Jackson Five
22. Wishing You Were Here - Chicago
23. Rock The Boat - the Hues Corporation
24. Waterloo - Abba
25. TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) - MFSB
26. Hollywood Swinging - Kool and the Gang
27. Bennie and the Jets - Elton John
28. Beach Baby - First Class
29. Jazzman - Carole King
30. I Shot The Sheriff - Eric Clapton
31. Living For The City - Stevie Wonder
32. The Air That i Breathe - The Hollies
33. The Joker - Steve Miller Band
34. You're Sixteen - Ringo Starr
35. It's Only Rock and Roll - Rolling Stones
36. (You're) Having My Baby - Paul Anka with Odia Oates
37. Radar Love - Golden Earring
38. I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song - Jim Croce
39. Let It Ride - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
40. I've Got The Music In Me - Kiki Dee
41. I Won't Last A Day Without You - The Carpenters
42. Smokin In The Boys Room - Brownsville Station
43. The Payback - James Brown
44. Midnight Rider - Greg Allman
45. Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
46. Living in the USA - Steve Miller Band
47. Annie's Song - John Denver
48. Another Saturday Night - Cat Stevens
49. Midnight At The Oasis - Maria Muldaur
50. You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
51. Oh Very Young - Cat Stevens
52. Free Man In Paris - Joni Mitchell
53. You And Me Against the World - Helen Reddy
54. Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo - Rick Derringer
55. Whatever Gets You Through The Night - John Lennon
56. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) - Roling Stones
57. Billy Don't Be A Hero - Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
58. Then Came You - Dionne Warwick and the Spinners
59. The Bitch Is Back - Elton John
60. Cat's In The Cradle - Harry Chapin
61. Ain't Too Proud To Beg - Rolling Stones
62. La Grange - ZZ Top
63. One Hell Of A Woman - Mac Davis
64. Showdown - Electric Light Orchestra
65. Workin' At The Car Wash Blues - Jim Croce
66. Jessica - Allman Brothers Band
67. My Melody Of Love - Bobby Vinton
68. Travelin' Prayer - Billy Joel
69. Already Gone - Eagles
70. Don't Eat The Yellow Snow - Frank Zappa
71. What Is Hip? - Tower Of Power
72. James Dean - the Eagles
73. The Real Me - The Who
74. Rikki Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan
75. Clap For The Wolfman - Guess Who

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