Saturday, May 31, 2014

What is the Most Influential Song of All Time?

THE ATLANTIC asked this question in the June issue and got answers from celebrities that included
WE SHALL OVERCOME, RESPECT, ST. LOUIS BLUES, LIKE A ROLLING STONE, WEST END BLUES, HEARTBREAK HOTEL, WALK THIS WAY, SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRITS, DREAMS, AFRICA, AMAZING GRACE and SURFIN' BIRD.

Now I guess your choice depends on how you read the question. Do they mean influential in music, influential in culture, religion, in the U.S? What?

I think a case can be made for this...




and for this...

and for this

What about you?  What song do you see as the most or at least very influential?




"THE ENEMY ADVANCES" is in the latest issue of ALL DUE RESPECT. Thanks!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Walk This Way? I can only assume that's a joke.

You could definitely make an argument for Rock Around the Clock or Heartbreak Hotel.

Jeff M.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, a lot of songs have influenced my love for music like "Imagine" by John Lennon, "Hotel California" by Eagles, "Losing My Religion by REM, "Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson, "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra, "Summerwine" by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis... Some older songs include "500 Miles" by The Brothers Four, and later by The Hooters, as well as "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" by The Four Aces and "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. Perhaps, the biggest influence of all has been ABBA.

I also remember liking a particular dance number by Bill Haley And His Comets. I saw it in a black-and-white video on YouTube that seemed like it was a part of a movie or something. Young couples took to the floor, jiving and swinging, as Haley sang. Nice clip it was too.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - That's such a good question! I'm going to have to think about that, really...

pattinase (abbott) said...

ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK, Prashant.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Thanks Patti, that 's the one.

George said...

I'm going with Dylan's LIKE A ROLLING STONE which still sounds great today.

Anders E said...

L'Internationale / The Internationale
Dippermouth Blues - King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band
Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

Walk This Way? Never heard it until Run DMC coverd it.

Deb said...

Monetarily, it's got to be Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, which has spawned an entire lifestyle industry. In terms of influence, how about Rapper's Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang? That song spawned the whole rap/hip-hop culture we have today. I know most of us are not in that demographic, but the song's influence must be acknowledged.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Rap became so huge that has to be considered. It's funny Jimmy Buffet is just not in my head at all. We all have slightly different frames of reference I guess. Phil just asked me who he was the other night. Thought he was a ball player.

Charles Gramlich said...

SOunds like an impossible question to answer on the grand scale.

Kelly Robinson said...

A lot of smart picks here. I might add VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR as the song that launched MTV and the video revolution of the 80s.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, good one! How about STAYING ALIVE or DANCING QUEEN for disco.

Gerard said...

You could make an argument about ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT or LITTLE BROWN JUG and other simple songs used to teach rhythm and music to kids and music learners.

Those songs have been used beyond a generation or two. Certain pop songs may be part of a cultural event or turning point but other tunes, like listed above, do not turn into golden oldies.

Same argument for STAR SPANGLED BANNER which lyrics are used to teach US history.

Or, what about tunes that have been influential by being stolen? James Brown's FUNKY DRUMMER is an example of a tune that has been used over and over. http://www.ethanhein.com/wp/2009/the-natural-history-of-the-funky-drummer-break/

Cap'n Bob said...

SHE LOVES YOU. It launched The Beatles in the US and they changed society forever.

Anonymous said...

I actually thought of saying The Star Spangled Banner, Gerard.

Deb, you are certainly right about the Buffett industry. Of course, this is coming from someone who has seen him in concert a lot of times since 1988. How many? Oh, 46 at last count.


Jeff M.

Anders E said...

As for sampling, here's an enlightening example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SaFTm2bcac&sns=em

Anders E said...

The Cap'n is right - there should be a Beatle tune in there. Although which one depends on where you live - the British would probably say PLEASE PLEASE ME. Myself, I'm born the very same month SHE LOVES YOU was released (August '63) so I'll side with the Cap'n...

Also, Donna Summer's I FEEL LOVE which sounds remarkably modern even today. Like it all or not, ALL that electronic dance stuff comes from right here.

And while on the subject of electronics, let me suggest AUTOBAHN by Kraftwerk. I've driven through Germany on the Autobahn a few times and I'd say they nailed the experience musically. It's cruising music, really.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, definitely a Beatle Song. And I vote for SHE LOVES YOU, the first one I ever heard. It stopped my heart.

Richard said...

As you say, influential in what way? Atlantic didn't say? That's odd.

Influential in music, is the way I'll go.

"Rock Around the Clock" is usually credited as the starting point of rock 'n' roll and was the first #1 r&r hit. Personally, for influential, I'd call it "Rock The Joint", recorded by Jimmy Preston in May 1949.

"Surfin" by the Beach Boys started the whole surfing music craze, which lasted for decades and still influences the sound of rock.

The Doors' "Light My Fire" was the lead-in to psychedelic rock / acid rock, which then led to heavy metal...

Pete Seeger's "We Shall Overcome" was influential in both folk-rock which led us to Bob Dylan and his "Like A Rolling Stone" and to the protest music of the 1950s through 1970s and beyond.

"I Want To Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles brought on the whole British invasion and changed rock music and it's listeners.

Richard said...

Yes, now that I've read the comments... perhaps the Beatles song should be "She Loves You", but I remember "I Want To Hold Your Hand as the one that was on the radio in L.A. first.

As for that, "Satisfaction" was pretty influential too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A very nice list, Rick. Can't argue with any choice. Not that i would.

Erik Donald France said...

I like all of these choices. Great stuff.

But -- lists like these are absurd, in truth. How can there be one such anything?

Todd Mason said...

I wish I was kidding when I answered "Onward Christian Soldiers" on FB.

Todd Mason said...

Well, Erik, THE ATLANTIC these years is an absurd magazine.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Almost chose it myself. Or A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD.