3

152: Sam Cooke, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’

Sam Cooke wrote ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ as a black response to ‘Blowing in the Wind’. It was only released a week after he was killed by a motel manager, and has become the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights movement. Second in a series of three death-premonition songs.

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6

137: Patience and Prudence, ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’

I first learned the song ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’ when I was knee-high to a lawn-mower, and I still hum it on occasion. Patience and Prudence McIntyre were 12 and 9 when they recorded it in 1956. Today they’d probably be renamed Sistas Lust and Greed.

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5

136: James Taylor, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel – ‘Wonderful World’

What happens when three of the finest singers of our times get together to record a pop paean to pimply passion?

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8

128: The Isley Brothers, ‘Twist and Shout’

Before the Jerk, the Pony, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, the Monkey and the Funky Chicken, there was the big mamma pelvic rotator of them all, The Twist. And before there was The Beatles, there were The Isley Brothers. They’re the guys who really Twisted and Shouted.

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3

122: George Harrison (The Beatles), ‘You Know What to Do’ b/w Buddy Holly, ‘You’re the One’

So you thought (as I did) that you know every George Harrison/Beatles recording and every post-puberty Buddy Holly recording? Here are two you don’t know. And you just may have a hard time telling them apart.

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9

160: Smokey Robinson & Aretha Franklin, ‘Ooh Baby, Baby’ (Live)

Two remarkable voices from the same ‘hood, Smokey and Aretha, velvet and steel, a magical meeting in a magical song. It’s not chemistry, it’s alchemy. Watch it and say a little prayer of thanks for being present at the creation.

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6

120: Sam Cooke, ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’

I can see your reaction – “Ho hum, another old singer from the early 1960s doing another version of that hackneyed antique.”
Okay, I’ll stake my reputation on this one. You listen to this cut and tell me you weren’t shaking your shaker, bopping your boppers, grinning from ear to ear. I dare you! It’s sparkling, ebullient, irresistible. It’ll make you shake, rattle and roll.

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7

234: Carole King, ‘Up On the Roof’ (Live, 1971)

Carole King’s remarkable metamorphosis from teen mom songsmith to Earth Mother poetess.
She composed the soundtrack of our times on her piano, and wrought the template of our times with her life.

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