2

200: Bert Jansch, “Avocet”

Sometimes we need a soundtrack for real life – not great music, just sincerely good background music. Like life.

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9

199: Janis Ian, ‘At Seventeen’

Teenagers and popularity. Social status. Where you stand in the eyes of your peers and in your own mind. Letting others determine your sense of worth. That warped, cruel, numbered list of My Rank on The Ladder.

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198: Buffalo Springfield, ‘Rock and Roll Woman’

Buffalo Springfield was a flimsy amalgam of superegos, whose main common attribute was a group identity crisis. But, oh, what music they made on the way to their dissolution.

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5

197: Paul Simon, ‘Hearts and Bones’

Hearts and bones. The soft and hard, that which can only feel pain, and that which can only be broken. The vital and the inflexible, the palpitating and the rigid. The pulsating, quivering, throbbing passions within us, and the structures and strictures and scaffoldings that hold it all up. It’s about how they cohabit within us – intimate, interdependent, synergetic, yet profoundly and inherently separate. Like a married couple.

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0

196: Ray Charles, ‘You Don’t Know Me’

Ray pretty much invented soul and then cornered the market. Instead of leaving well enough alone, he went and invaded Nashville, dressing a string of Country and Western classics in his jazz/pop/soul style, but with fiercely personal interpretations. Something new under the sun. Something indelibly beautiful.

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4

193: The Band, ‘Rockin’ Chair’

“The Band” had a profound timeliness for 1969. But it also has a purity and timelessness, a music that evokes respect for what went before, a modesty and gravitas and resonance rare in popular art. The album is a gift.

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6

190: Bob Dylan, ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’

Kids, be careful! One little romp in the back seat, whoops, you’re a parent forever. One untimely text, you’re limping through the Pearly Gates at 21. Write a Protest Song at 22, you’re a Protest Singer forever.

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9

078: Paul Simon, ‘The Late, Great Johnny Ace’

John Lennon was murdered 39 years ago today. Paul Simon wrote a song around that event. Even today, my mind gets teary when it lights on John Lennon’s death. He appears in Paul Simon’s song only obliquely, because the song isn’t about John Lennon, and it’s not about Johnny Ace. It’s about Paul Simon, and about you, and about me.

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