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Soundtrack for the Boomers' Coming-of-Age

During a moment of deep, contemplative thought, it occurred to me that one would have to include music high on any list of factors that helped shape my generation.  I realize that every prior generation had their music, but no previous generation was likely so affected by their music as was ours.  This is partly true because we were one of the first generations where our music was completely mobile and was practically always with us; it was just always there, in the background where ever we were.  The disc jockeys of the era were celebrities; Wolfman Jack, Dick Biondi, and Casey Kasem were just a few of our friends and icons.  Our music was also a huge influence on our lives because it so perfectly reflected the cultural and political tensions of the time.  The Vietnam War and all of the associated debate and protest was one of the defining events of my generation; our music not only reflected those troubled times, but also stoked the emotions that lead to much of that protest.  Many a young man of our era faced leaving for Vietnam with Don McLean singing "bye, bye Miss
American Pie" in the background.  Upon his arrival in that war-torn country, the Armed Forces Radio was in the background with Credence Clearwater singing about those "Fortunate Sons" who had avoided his fate. This music followed us around, shaping our attitudes to a certain extent, guiding us (for better or worse) through our first encounters with the opposite sex, comforting us when we hurt, and celebrating our victories with us.  It was, and still is, great music.  It still reminds of us our youth and some of the mistakes we may have made, but it also reminds us that they are still opportunities ahead for the "Boomers."  Thus, I present, after much thought and consultation, the Fifty Greatest Songs for the Boomers!  These choices are in order of their importance as I remember them.

Soundtrack for the Boomers’ Coming-of-Age



1.Satisfaction - 1965- The Rolling Stones

2. Age of Aquarius - 1969 - Fifth Dimension

3. Light My Fire - 1967 - The Doors

4. I Want to Hold Your Hand - 1964 - The Beatles

5. Born to be Wild - 1968 - Steppenwolf

6. I Get Around - 1964 - The Beach Boys

7. American Pie - 1972 - Don McLean

8. Mrs. Robinson - 1968 - Simon and Garfunkel

9. Hey Jude - 1968 - The Beatles

10 .Honky Tonk Woman - 1969 - The Rolling Stones

11. Yesterday- 1965 - The Beatles

12. When a Man Loves a Woman - 1966 - Percy Sledge

13. Good Vibrations - 1966 - The Beach Boys

14. Somebody to Love - 1967 - Jefferson Airplane

15. Groovin’ - 1967 - The Young Rascals

16. Sunshine of Your Love - 1968 - Cream

17. Susie Q - 1968 - Credence Clearwater Revival

18. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) - 1965 - Four Topps

19. Purple Haze - 1967 - Jimmy Hendrix

20. My Girl - 1965 - The Temptations

21. Brown Sugar - 1971 - The Rolling Stones

22. Ain’t Too Proud to Beg - 1966 - Temptations

23. Proud Mary - 1970 - Ike and Tina Turner

24. Sweet Home Alabama - 1974 - Lynyrd Skynyrd

25. Me and Bobby McGee - 1971 - Janis Joplin

26. Dance to the Music - 1968 - Sly and the Family Stone

27. Good Lovin’ - 1966 - The Young Rascals

28. Dancing in the Streets - 1965 - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

29. Midnight Hour - 1966 - Wilson Pickett

30. Gimme Some Lovin’ - 1967 - Spencer Davis Group

31. Suspicious Minds - 1969 - Elvis Presley

32. Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher - 1967 - Jackie Wilson

33. Bad Moon Rising - 1969 - Credence Clearwater Revival

34. Magic Carpet Ride - 1969 - Steppenwolf

35. Spooky - 1967 - Classics IV

36. Peace Train - 1971 - Cat Stevens

37. Midnight Confessions - 1968 - Grass Roots

38. Momma Told Me Not to Come - 1970 - Three Dog Night

39. Devil in a Blue Dress - 1966 - Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels

40. Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress -1972 - The Hollies

41. Take It Easy - 1972 - The Eagles

42. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling - 1964 - The Righteous Brothers

43. Crystal Blue Persuasion - 1968 - Tommy James and the Shondells

44. Baby Love - 1964 - The Supremes

45. Help Me Rhonda - 1965 - The Beach Boys

46. Stand By Me - 1961/1987 - Ben E. King

47. Feeling Alright - 1969 - Joe Cocker

48. House of the Rising Sun - 1964 - Eric Burden and The Animal

49. Make Me Smile - 1970 - Chicago

50. Tracks of My Tears - 1965 - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles


Near misses:


1. Pretty Woman - 1964 - Roy Orbison

2. Time in a Bottle - 1973 - Jim Croce

3. Where Did Our Love Go? - 1964 - The Supremes

4. Michelle - 1965 - The Beatles

5. Shotgun - 1965 - Junior Walker and the All Stars

6. It’s Alright - 1966 - J. J. Jackson

7. Dead Man’s Curve - 1964 - Jan and Dean

8. Mustang Sally - 1966 - Wilson Pickett

9. Spirit in the Sky - 1966 - Norman Greenbaum

10. Black Water - 1975 - Doobie Brothers

11. Eve of Destruction - 1965 - Barry McGuire

12. Ramblin’ Man - 1973 - Allman Brothers

13. Unchained Melody - 1964 - The Righteous Brothers

14. Tears of a Clown - 1967 - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

15. Hotel California - 1977 - The Eagles

16. Stoned Soul Picnic - 1968 - Fifth Dimension

17. For What It’s Worth - 1967 - Buffalo Springfield

18. Fortunate Son - 1969 - Credence Clearwater Revival

19. I Got You (I Feel Good) - 1965 - James Brown

20. Walk Like a Man - 1963 - The Four Seasons


Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones had to top the list, of course, because it was the first big hit for the Stones and introduced us to those bad boys.  We may not have known exactly what Mick was talking about as we listened to him in our puberty, but we were pretty sure it wasn't about what type of cigarette he smoked.  The Beatles had already shown up with their sweet ballads, but then the Stones arrived, strutting and prancing on stage with their decidedly unsweet offerings.  The Age of Aquarius is next on the list because it reminded us that the times, and thus we, were different from all that had gone before us.  The Doors, with Jim Morrison, is next with Light My Fire.  Even Ed Sullivan had trouble toning down Jim Morrison.  If you remember their performance on Mr. Ed's show, you know what I am referring to.  The Beatles' first big American hit, I Want to Hold Your Hand, is next on the list.  Their reception in the states marked the first arrival of the British Invasion.  Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild is next.  This was the song that every mother of that era hated and every young person secretly loved, not because we wanted to be wild, but simply because the old folks hated it.  So, the list goes on for forty-five more; it could have reached one hundred, but I limited it to just fifty.  It was not easy to pick and choose; there were many great songs from that era.  What do you think?


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    Nice Web-site, Preserve the wonderful work. Thanks for your time!

Reader Comments (2)

I wish I had grown up with that music instead of Bon Jovi and Cyndi Lauper.

June 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

I know I had my chance to make a contribution to this wonderful list of songs and blew it but the only other one that came to mind I would have liked for you to have added was Maggie May! Otherwise, you did a great job.

Maybe Green Onions by Booker T. & the MG's, Have You Seen Her by the Chi-Lites, and Lets Stay Together by Al Green as some near misses!

July 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter"Bubba"

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