Our list of the 50 top records from the second half of the 20th century was featured in last week’s At Large column as a tribute to Monday night’s Grammys. This week, some people you know from listening to the radio pick five (or so) of their favorites.
Mike and Diane
Mike Kelso and Diane Mitchell comprise the morning team Mike and Diane on WAYV.
"Jessie's Girl", Rick Springfield- Rick Springfield was my first concert as a teenager and that song still holds up to this day.
"Thriller", Michael Jackson - Epic video, of course! I have memories of my little sister and me trying to learn all the dance move
"Imagine", John Lennon - it's such a powerful song and no matter how many times you hear it, it still "gets you"
"My Way", Frank Sinatra - I grew up listening to Sinatra music (courtesy of my Dad) and this is classic Sinatra at its best
"I Want To Dance With Somebody", Whitney Houston - Whitney's first single, when I heard it I knew there was something special
"Smells Like Teen Spirit", Nirvana - As far as songs changing the music industry this is one of those songs that brought the grunge era into the lime light. Still today, like the rest of these songs still is amazing.
"Billie Jean", Michael Jackson - Strap in, because we are going to run the gambit of styles of music. Honestly, you can't try and do this list without a MJ song, and Diane put Thriller soooo I had to change it up.
"Bohemian Rhapsody", Queen - Come On...this song alone should end the argument of who was the best vocalist of the era. Outside of the voice, this song changed how people looked at the composition of music as well. Example? The vocals in the beginning were all Freddie, layered over 500 times (pardon my broadness, i forgot the exact amount)
"Hey JUde", Beatles - Like MJ, how can you put a list like this together without the Beatles. Answer: You Can't. So lets welcome the Beatles as a group and just put a song title in there to make it fit to what was asked of me!
"No Woman, No Cry", Bob Marley - This pick is just a little love affair I have with this song and style of reggae. Its an iconic artist and iconic song which like Nirvana, introduced a mainstream (don't kill me for using the word mainstream and Marley in the same sentence Die Hard fans!) reggae sound to the masses. His music is still influencing today's sound quite heavily, just listen around, most obviously Magic with their hit "Rude"
Jerry Blavat is "The Geator with the Heater", one of America’s best-known radio personalities. His syndicated show can be heard at 7 p.m. each night (except Sunday) on Kool 98.3:
1950s- "Rock Around the Clock", Bill Haley & the Comets - Even though is not one of my personal favorites, because of the movie "Blackboard Jungle" it signified the beginning of the public's awareness of rock and roll. That song was played throughout the entire picture. Then came Elvis -- but before Elvis there was "Rock Around the Clock."
In the 1960s, even though there were so many great records, one stands out for me as the top hit. It was number one in the latter part of the '50s and number one again in the early '60s - "The Twist" by Chubby Checker. It was the dance craze of the '60s and it prompted so many artists at one point or another to use the word "twist" in their lyrics --"Sherry" by the Four Seasons ("come out to my twist party") -- The Isleys, "Twist and Shout" -- Gary U.S. Bonds, "Dear Lady Twist" -- Joey Dee & the Starlighters, "Peppermint Twist." Everybody went Twist crazy because of Chubby Checker's Twist.
In the 1970s disco was the thing, and the greatest singles were released from "Saturday Night Fever," which began the real disco craze. "Disco Inferno" by the Trammps would have to be the top hit of the '70s for disco, and it still is popular today.
In the 1980s it was Michael Jackson -- the album "Thriller" signified the sound of the '80s. Even Madonna was really just following in Michael Jackson's footsteps.
The 1990s were all about vocalists featuring their voices -- Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion -- all pop and no rock & roll. So I will pick a personal favorite from the last half of the 20th century -- "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" by Lloyd Price, the first crossover record to go from the R&B charts into the popular charts.
Dave Hoeffel is the nighttime host on Sirius-XM’s "60s on 6" channel. He started his radio career at WOND:
"Rock Around The Clock", Bill Haley And the Comets - It changed everything. I feel like I should choose an Elvis/Buddy Holly/Chuck Berry/Little Richard song, but let’s face it, this one probably kicked the Rock n’ Roll door open for most people.
"My Guy", Mary Wells - The first No. 1 pop hit for Motown…talk about kicking the door open.
"Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends", The Beatles - It changed everything again, including the way that records were made. They were so far ahead of their time that nobody’s really caught up yet.
"Good Vibrations", The Beach Boys - A masterpiece… performance, production, creativity…this has it all. Still as fresh as the day it was recorded. Impossible not to crank this up when it comes on.
"Thunder Road", Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - The yearning in this song really connected with so many people in that era, and continues to do so today. Let’s ditch the losers and pull out of here to win.
Apologies to the second half of this 50-year time span. You were great too, but not THIS great.
Walt Murphy brought diversity to FM radio in South Jersey:
My favorite from the ‘Top-40’ era was "Joy To The World" by Three Dog Night. It was itself ‘joyous.’ You had to just smile every time you heard it and, even today, when you start to sing it, it induces smiles to those within earshot.
In progressive rock it has to be "Stairway To Heaven". A classic. Just the guitar intro is classic.
Finally, there is "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck – it brought jazz to the forefront.
Jackson T. Chase is the afternoon host on Kool 98.3 – it is often said that a radio station cannot claim to be part of the Atlantic City market until he says its call letters on the air:
"In the year 2525" by Zager and Evans - a one-hit wonder that made you think. Somebody had to like it, it made it to No. 2.
"Yesterday" by the Beatles - another one that makes you think that has been covered by so many people.
Anything from Prince, especially "Raspberry Beret". Very underappreciated talent.
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey - a very positive song. Even 70-year-olds are singing it now.
Jerry Beebe is the morning host on WIBG-FM. He has been out of action for a while following cancer surgery but he returned to the studio on Monday morning. A gathering of friends and listeners will take place Friday starting at 5 p.m. at L’s Restaurant in Corbin City to help him with medical expenses.
Here are Jerry’s five songs:
Five songs from five decades that to me are symbolic of their eras
1950's - "Hound Dog" - Elvis Presley
1960's - "Happy Together" - Turtles
1970's - "Stayin Alive" - Bee Gees
1980's - "Power of Love" - Huey Lewis and the News
1990's - "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston
What do you think? Between this week's opinions from radio hosts and last week's top 50, did we forget any of your favorites?
People we meet: Mike works at GMS Law. He devotes his time to helping people solve their relationship problems. He is a former champion boxer and was a solid defensive second baseman.
Words of Wisdom: “I loved rock and roll when that came in, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, all those great records. So I begged my mom and dad for a guitar, which eventually they did get me for Christmas, but it went out of tune very quickly, and it hurt my fingers.”
(Ian McLagan, keyboardist with Small Faces)
(This At Large column, along with previous editions, can be found online at columns.shorenewstoday.com where you can post comments. Direct reactions or questions about this column can be sent via email to Tom.Williams@catamaranmedia.com. At Large can also be followed on Twitter at @atlargetw.)