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The Ultimate List Of Songs

1950-2000 Song List

Welcome to the List of Songs 1950-2000

Have you ever had a song stuck in your mind and you try to grasp at the name of the song, who sang it, or how did that tune go? Perhaps you like to remember a moment from the past with a favorite song.

Many years ago in the early 80s, my sister and I came up with the original seeds for this list, the original song list, inspired partial by listening to Top Music Charts on WLS, Casey Kasem's American Top 40s and television shows such as Name That Tune. We first started out by listing our favorite songs on paper. As time went on and we got busy with other things, the list has always been on the back burner until my daughter was born. I thought it would be a neat idea to get this list going again so she could have a memory of how silly her mommy was to actually listen to such music.

The funny thing about the Internet is you meet all kinds of people. I mentioned this idea to a few people on line who thought this was a great thing and many of them have added to this list. Then I decided why not make the list a dot com. Why not have a vehicle to catalog a slice of our history of US pop music! I am so inspired by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization, which inducts the talent of music appreciated by many fans.

If you need to hear a clip of the songs, please use the Google search engine tool above to find a page with the album or song you wish to hear.

So now you know the history, enjoy the list.

This list is in alphabetical order by title and also by decade. To find your song, find the decade of your song then first letter in the song title. If you are still lost, use the search engine below. Some of the songs may be listed in two decades as they are on the cusp of popularity between two decades.

I realize the implications I run into creating this essay. The misunderstanding most people have in understanding the difference between what is rock music and what is pop, or popular, music. Some snobs who pride themselves on the rebellious nature of rock music look in disdain at the people who idolize music called "rock" that is actually pop music.

This argument has bothered me for quite some time. The so-called rock musical anti-establishment purists who tend to gravitate towards the songs with an edge have no respect for those who like music which is mellow, orderly, and about the mundane angles of life. On the other side are traditional musical purists, those who like the smooth tunes blast the hard edged music for being loud, angry, and oftentimes not following correct rules of music.

Rock music IS about rebellion. It is supposed to wake people up out of the sleep of the same sound of the establishment. It is not supposed to be safe and comfortable. It is to take you to places you have never been or thought never existed. The very nature of rock music is always an evolution. But it strikes a note of hypocrisy when aficionados of this music become the establishment and strike down any person who dares, by their own choice of tastes and likes, enjoy something that is safe.

Popular music IS about what the public wants and IS more of an accurate reflection and barometer of our culture. Pop music includes genres from rock, country, jazz, blues, rap, reggae, new age, or anything that happens to catch the fancy in that moment of time. This pulse of the people tend to reflect the styles, the voices, and mostly the pop culture of our time. It may have a relevant meaning to world affairs sometimes or it may be a song about nothing. Most of the time it gravitates in between.

Why should everyone be forced to like a song only if it has a political statement? Why should people be forced to like a song because it is popular? Just as everyone has a unique preference to books, movies, food and clothing, why does the love of music put the music lover under a microscope for not conforming to what others like? It goes both ways.

As for the "mundane" nature of most pop songs, does that make it any less "cool" just because it is not making a political statement? People listen to music for different reasons. The so-called mundane topics of these songs are mainly songs about love, life, heartache, wanting more, hope, joy, anger, family and other things to which people can relate. These songs say the things we think and with so much meaning.

Soft music doesn't have to address or solve all of the world's problems. We know those problems exist, but we have our own lives to live. These songs speak to us, to our hearts. We know we can't do much about the lives of others, so why not enjoy our lives now? Why not reflect on the little absurdities of our life?

These songs are, in a sense, true music. If you think of music as seriously as the study of science you would know there are certain rules to music. It takes a lot of practice and hard work to become musical in this sense. One does not just get up and sing, one learns to read notes, keep in proper rhythm and pitch, time with the musical accompaniments, and the actual practice of singing which should be from the diaphragm of the chest and not the vocal cords.

Punk music is just the opposite. It is truly NOT musical according to the rules of music. Punk is about NOT following the rules. It IS anarchy. Many other genres of rock are not truly musical according to the traditional standards of music, but rock = rebellion. That is just the way it is supposed to be.

Then there is music that is beloved for the plain silliness and absurdity. These songs are about humor, satire, poking fun at ourselves and culture, or just to make people laugh. If there was not a need for such songs, where would people like Weird Al be?

True rock music has been blasted by those who feel uncomfortable with change. Imagine you were living in the United States in the late 1940s and early 50s as a teenager. World War II was over and supposed to be the last world war although there was the ever growing threat of what could happen with the Cold War. What happened in Japan was only a drop in the bucket compared to what a complete global nuclear war could do.

This baby boom generation was different from the generation of their parents. Before this new wave of population, their parents were more likely to be considered a liability or an asset depending on their social class. What would be considered abuse by today's standards was the norm. Baby boomers were mostly wanted and spoiled compared to the way their parents were raised. Dr Spock made sure this generation would learn to be accepting of love and freedom and to do what feels right.

Parents were still important, but became the establishment. Not that the parents were the ones who actually made the rules of the establishment, but were prone to do what it took to make a safe and comfortable niche for the children, even if it meant turning a blind eye to the reality that the world was not a pleasant place.

The older generation saw so much in the hard times of the Great Depression and the war years in both WWI and II. They wanted things to start to finally feel safe and secure for the children they were bringing into the world. Most had no real power. They knew things could be so much worse in the blink of an eye and took nothing for granted, except freedom. The exchange of freedom for security was accepted.

The reflection of the need for safety came about in ways that were against the principles of true freedoms stated in the Constitution. While the Constitution grants one the freedom to believe in and put faith in whatever party existed, it became technically illegal to believe in, associate with, or show sympathy to Communists or Socialists. This belief went to extreme witch hunts in the entertainment industry and blackballed many talented people from ever working again due to their political position, beliefs, or associations.

The establishment, mostly upper middle class, white men were the ones who thought it appropriate to set the rules for what was considered proper. These rules of propriety were spouted from politicians, to church leaders and teachers and put upon the baby boomers who were getting in touch with the idea of doing what feels right. To make things stay "safe", the establishment did not want competing ideologies challenging their authority.

There have always been a form of underground music that the official institutions frowned upon. Mostly anything that deviated from the Caucasian origins. While this form of music was commonplace in the ethnic communities, it was considered exotic and exciting to these white kids with a so-called proper background. It had more substance and was saying something different they needed to hear at the time.

By the time baby boomers were coming of age, the safe and syrupy music of Pat Boone type people was boring and square. Teens are about rebellion and always have been. Rock music coming into popularity reflected all of these kids becoming teenagers and doing what comes naturally - irritating the heck out of their parents and seeing how much they could get away with.

Early rock music was about experimenting with new sounds and styles. By the 60s rock music was about making a political statement. By the late 70s punk rock was about waking people up from sliding back into a state of musical apathy. The 90s brought about the cries of the generation practically silenced by the overbearing baby boomers who just had too much control and were now the establishment.

Pop music, which has existed before the days of rock, is about appealing to the masses. By the time rock music was getting attention, it was enveloped in the history of pop music. By the 60s, not only did it include the many phases of rock, but picked up on California surfing, folk tunes, and experimental music. In the 70s, disco and syrupy love songs flurished. The 80s music was all about eye appeal as music video was more about look than substance although rap and other forms of music such as New Age and World music was beginning to blend into the norms.

To turn a blind eye to the pleas of those who are repulsed by the bland and tripe songs would be an injustice to what is real rock music which is what they tend to prefer. By calling all forms of pop music rock is akin to saying a meal of sirloin steak is the same as a fried chicken dinner - there's nothing wrong with either meal, but both are obviously meant for different occasions.

To be fair, most music that is popular IS about mundane subjects, filled with clichés, and has a beat that is so mellow one will get lost in that fantasy world of the song. It is about bringing you out of the stresses of your real life or listening to a soothing voice saying the things you long to hear that others dare not say (which is a point many people will understand if paired with a mate who will not show much affection or mention the degree of love they feel).

Rock music was meant to shake up the sensibilities of all that is safe since there really is no such thing as a safe world. Why pretend the world is safe when we are just an incident away from destroying life as we know it? Not everyone living in our society is an upper middle classed white Christian male. Actually, the majority of society had little to no say about the way this society was run. A silent and oppressed majority can easily get out of hand and destroy the power of that minority running their lives. It was happening in all the rest of the world and could even happen here.

By pushing the limits of what was acceptable, we have opened the doors to allow others to validate their existence. Without the rock and roll rebels, where would the Civil and Women's Rights Movements be? It allowed the teens who listened to this music to become more open minded that perhaps there is more than one way to view the world.

This is why the establishment viewed the rebellious nature of the music as a threat, it would allow too many people the power they jealously guarded. It would show them to be the frail humans who make mistakes that they were. These people were the Wizard in the Wizard Of Oz. They stood behind the mask of an all powerful front and pulled out all stops to prevent the mere "Dorothy" types from seeing the truth. The Nixon presidency proved what extreme measures those in power would do to maintain the status quo, to make things comfortable for those in power and to discourage those who threaten that control.

An irony about the progressive nature of rock is that it does evolve and makes some of those who grew up with an idea of what should be rock uncomfortable with what rock becomes. Rock has been split up in many different arenas pretty much from the beginning. There is the original which is considered Oldies then it branched out to hippy, hard, acid, punk, soft, glam, corporate... you get the idea. Fans of one type of rock music can be quite critical of those who love other forms of rock.

What is equally unfair are those who look with disdain upon musical groups that have "sold out." To be realistic, you must understand that the music industry IS a business. If you want to make money in the music industry, you have to produce something that will make money. If people will not buy it, it is not going to make money. Just because a large portion of people find a certain type of music as undesirable does not mean the music is worthy of being heard, it is just not profitable to the industry who must invest in getting the songs to the public.

If "selling out" is a crime to musical purists, they should be the last people to buy an album, listen to the radio, or go to a club. Everyone featured in all venues are being paid to deliver a service - songs - to the paying public.

It is because of the competitive nature of the music industry that many deserving artists go unnoticed. They may not have the image or sound that sells records. Without it, there are virtually no investors willing to take a chance in spending money getting them introduced to the public. The same can be said in the movie, television and book industry. If the concept is too new or too different, investors are very cautious to take a chance on an unknown.

The groups accused of selling out are mostly victims of jealousy. While there are many deserving artists who will never fill an arena, only a handful of people can be a star at one time.

So what makes music cool or uncool? What IS uncool is to accept a standard of music just because you are told this is great. It is equally uncool to blast another form of music just because others are saying it is uncool.

One should enjoy music only because it brings them what they need at the time. Forget about someone else's definition of what constitutes "real" music. What the music says to you is all that counts. You may feel like dancing, relaxing and reflecting or you may feel angry and discontent. The music you like should be a true reflection of your true self. Be true to what you know in your heart you like and forget about the critics. It is your being who is paying to be entertained, not them.

"The public has long since cast off its cares; the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things - breads and circuses." - Juvenal