My 300 Favorite Alternative Rock Songs of the Nineties: #101-150

8.18 90s alt rock

Have you watched any of Nat Geo’s three-decades worth of mini-series documentaries? They covered pretty much all of Generation X’s life by showing what happened in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. All are terrific time capsules of each decade, though most of the Xers really do not remember much about the Seventies. But, it was the subtitle of the mini-series about the Nineties that used the same kind of hyperbole that the Boomers would have used about the Sixties. The complete title is The Nineties: The Last Great Decade?

8.17 liz-phair
Liz Phair

Sure, Xers are in power now, so they get to dictate how to label the decade in which we collectively moved into adulthood. Wow? Did I really just say that? You bet your bottom dollar I did.

8.17 bjork

If Billy Joel were to add lyrics to his 1989 faux-history lesson hit song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” about the Nineties, here is the list from which to work. Lollapalooza. South Park. President Clinton impeached. Rodney King. Race riots. OJ Simpson. Racial divide. Gangsta Rap. Crack cocaine. The Macarena. Guns N’ Roses late again. Chris Farley. Phil Hartman. Princess Di. When’s it gonna stop? Freddie Mercury and AIDS. Wayne’s World. President Bush checks his watch. Operation Desert Storm. Kosovo. Grunge music rules the day. Swing music makes a comeback.

8.17 belle & sebastian
Belle & Sebastian

Yes, it’s a small list, but do we really want that song to go beyond five minutes? I didn’t think so. Sure, many fantastic things went on during the Nineties, but any decade is great to a group of people if you came of age during that decade. For me? My decade actually crosses over two decades, from 1975 through 1984. For me, you couldn’t beat those ten years, when I nearly joined the teen ranks up to and including my 21st birthday. After that, I got married, graduated from college a couple of times, started a family and got a job.

8.17 cherry poppin daddies
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

So, the Nineties were a busy time for me. Still, I was able to keep up with the latest musical trends vicariously through my students and boys. So, I never really lost touch. Anyway, at least the Nineties began with underground artists from the Eighties finally hitting the big time as the Nineties rolled in. Remember, R.E.M., U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, and so on, all got their starts in the Eighties before they blew up in the new decade.

Yes, the Nineties represented a changing landscape. By the time the new millennium rolled in, terrestrial radio would give way to a device called an iPod and satellite radio. Programming became individualized. And, finally, Napster made the CD obsolete. And, when the smoke settled in the 2000s, community was gone and the individual was praised.

So, let’s honor the last great decade by delving further into my list of My 300 Favorite Alternative Rock Songs of the Nineties. Today, it’s #101 through 150. Let the countdown begin!

101. Björk – “Hyperballad” (1996)

102.Live – “Lightning Crashes” (1994)

103. Nirvana – “Heart-Shaped Box” (1993)

104. Björk – “Human Behaviour” (1993)

105. Pearl Jam – “Even Flow” (1991)

106. Everlast – “What It’s Like” (1998)

107. Weezer – “Undone (The Sweater Song)” (1994)

108. Bush – “Everything Zen” (1994)

109. Liz Phair – “Supernova” (1994)

110. Cracker – “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” (1992)

111. 311 – “Down” (1996)

112. Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Kiss Them for Me” (1991)

113. blink-182 – “Dammit” (1997)

114. Ash – “Girl from Mars” (1995)

115. Midnight Oil – “Blue Sky Mining” (1990)

116. Porno for Pyros – “Pets” (1993)

117. Stone Temple Pilots – “Vasoline” (1994)

118. Belle & Sebastian – “Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying” (1996)

119. The KLF – “Justified & Ancient” (1991)

120. Meat Puppets – “Backwater” (1994)

121. Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence” (1990)

122. Green Day – “Good Riddance (Time of My Life)” (1998)

123. Paul Weller – “The Changingman” (1995)

124. Gin Blossoms – “Til I Hear It from You” (1996)

125. King Missile – “Detachable Penis” (1992)

126. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – “Zoot Suit Riot” (1997)

127. Blood Hound Gang – “Fire Water Burn” (1997)

128. Reel Big Fish – “Sell Out” (1997)

129. Alice in Chains – “Would” (1992)

130. U2 – “Mysterious Ways” (1991)

131. White Zombie – “Thunder Kiss ‘65” (1992)

132. Chris Cornell – “Seasons” (1992)

133. Fastball – “The Way” (1998)

134. Faith No More – “Midlife Crisis” (1992)

135. Nine Inch Nails – “Closer” (1994)

136. The Wonders – “That Thing You Do” (1996)

137. Veruca Salt – “Seether” (1994)

138. Everclear – “Santa Monica” (1995)

139. blink-182 – “All the Small Things” (1999)

140. Pearl Jam – “Daughter” (1993)

141. Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping” (1997)

142. Dinosaur Jr. – “Out There” (1993)

143. Better Than Ezra – “Good” (1995)

144. Counting Crows – “Mr. Jones” (1993)

145. Nirvana – “All Apologies” (1994)

146. Butthole Surfers – “Pepper” (1996)

147. Garbage – “Stupid Girl” (1996)

148. Pavement – “Cut Your Hair” (1994)

149. Fatboy Slim – “Praise You” (1998)

150. Sheryl Crow – “If It Makes You Happy” (1996)

Tomorrow, we will enter the Top 100 of my list. The next week, I will be doing my comments. So, stay tuned! Same Bat-Time! Same Bat-Channel!

My 300 Favorite Alternative Rock Songs of the Nineties, #151-200

8.16 Alternative_Rock-9526

Listening music in the Nineties was less of an emotional response like it was in my teens and twenties. Now, my kids were becoming active, while I was working full-time and going to school in order to obtain my teaching license. As my children got older, I began to learn about the new music vicariously through my boys and my students. During the moments in my classes when I purposely “got off the subject” I would love to talk about how current music related to music from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. It was a fun exercise for my students and me.

8.16 jars-of-clay
Jars of Clay

Although I was no longer best friends with the current music, I still found music that I enjoyed. Of course, I loved the grunge era, since I had gotten to know those bands in the late-Eighties, such as Soundgarden and Nirvana. And, there were other artists that peaked in the Nineties who paid their dues in the Eighties, like Beastie Boys, Matthew Sweet, Phish, Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then, there were the established alternative stars who became mega-stars in the Nineties. Those artists were U2 and R.E.M.

8.16 deee lite with bootsy collins
Deee-Lite with Bootsy Collins

Still, the Nineties produced its own batch of alternative stars. Two of my favorites share a point of origin: Chicago. It’s well-known that Smashing Pumpkins are from Chicago. The band’s leader, Billy Corgan, took his love of AOR like Cheap Trick, Rush and Styx, and created one of the more compelling sounds of alienation. The other band, Rage Against the Machine, had a guitar hero of its own who grew up in Chicago as well whose name is Tom Morello. Morello looked forward for his sound. Morello developed a guitar technique that made his guitar sound like a DJ scratching on a turntable. Those two Chicagoans became two of the biggest guitar heroes of the Nineties.

8.16 squirrel nut zippers
Squirrel Nut Zippers

So, let’s jump into my countdown. Today, we are covering numbers 151 through 200. Let’s do it!

151. Jars of Clay – “Flood” (1995)

152. R.E.M. – “Man on the Moon” (1992)

153. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Give It Away” (1991)

154. DNA featuring Suzanne Vega – “Tom’s Diner” (1990)

155. Alanis Morissette – “Ironic” (1995)

156. Ben Folds Five – “Brick” (1997)

157. Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life” (1997)

158. David Bowie – “I’m Afraid of Americans” (1997)

159. INXS – “Suicide Blonde” (1990)

160. Lit – “My Own Worst Enemy” (1999)

161. Marilyn Manson – “Beautiful People” (1996)

162. Primitive Radio Gods – “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” (1996)

163. Radiohead – “Karma Police” (1997)

164. Sleater-Kinney – “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” (1996)

165. Smashing Pumpkins – “Down” (1992)

166. Soundgarden – “Rusty Cage” (1991)

167. Danzig – “Mother” (1993)

168. Neil Young – “Sleeps with Angels” (1994)

169. Pearl Jam – “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” (1993)

170. Squirrel Nut Zippers – “Hell” (1997)

171. The Lemonheads – “Mrs. Robinson” (1992)

172. Elvis Costello – “The Other Side of Summer” (1991)

173. Alice in Chains – “Rooster” (1992)

174. Radiohead – “Paranoid Android” (1997)

175. Deee-Lite – “Groove Is in the Heart” (1990)

176. Nirvana – “Lithium” (1991)

177. R.E.M. – “Drive” (1992)

178. U2 – “Even Better Than the Real Thing” (1991)

179. Screaming Trees – “Nearly Lost You” (1992)

180. Green Day – “Welcome to Paradise” (1994)

181. Suede – “Animal Nitrate” (1991)

182. Londonbeat – “I’ve Been Thinking About You” (1990)

183. The Flaming Lips – “She Don’t Use Jelly” (1993)

184. Soundgarden – “Spoonman” (1994)

185. Pixies – “Alec Eiffel” (1991)

186. Sugar Ray – “Fly” (1997)

187. Tad – “Leafy Incline” (1993)

188. Collective Soul – “Shine” (1993)

189. No Doubt – “Just A Girl” (1995)

190. Rage Against the Machine – “Bulls on Parade” (1996)

191. The Prodigy – “Firestarter” (1997)

192. Tool – “Sober” (1993)

193. The Gits – “Absynthe” (1992)

194. Stone Temple Pilots – “Sour Girl” (1999)

195. Sting – “All This Time” (1991)

196. Marcy Playground – “Sex and Candy” (1997)

197. Sublime – “What I Got” (1996)

198. Portishead – “Sour Times” (1994)

199. R.E.M. – “Shiny Happy People” (1991)

200. My Bloody Valentine – “Only Shallow” (1991)

8.16 primitive radio gods
Primitive Radio Gods

150 songs down, 150 to go. HERC, I hope I haven’t continued to rank your favorites low on my list. Oh well! You can’t please all of the people all of the time. See you all tomorrow!

My 300 Favorite Alternative Songs of the Nineties, #201-250

8.15 90s alternative music map

When we think of MTV, most of us conjure up memories of cheaply made, cheesy videos and the heyday of the channel. But, MTV was at its peak powers in the Nineties. They were riding the pop cultural waves, fully in touch with all the stars of the Nineties rock world. During the decade, one could go to the channel to see 2pac, Nirvana, Mariah Carey and all of the other stars of the decade.

8.15 primal scream
Primal Scream

Heady times, that’s what the Nineties were. The Nineties gave us our last rock stars ever, such as Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Dr. Dre, who have grabbed the rock and roll torch and run with it. But, that decade gave us the first glimpse of the world of indie rock’s anti-rock stars, like Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, and many of the big rap stars of the day, who all eschewed the trappings of rock royalty and tried to forge a new way of living in the digital age.

8.15 the lemonheads
The Lemonheads

By the end of the decade, with the advent of the internet and Dick Clark’s prophesy from the Seventies of everyone having access to a huge library of music that would make radio obsolete coming true, music stopped being a communal thing. Now, it is totally an individual choice. Like a song? Download it and forget the album. Don’t want to pay outrageous prices for an electronic file, then download illegally yet for free. The genie is out of the bottle now, and rock music will never be the same. No longer will college kids gather in dorm rooms to listen to the latest Prince or Springsteen release, like we did when I was in college. No longer will festivals like Woodstock will cater to the group with one stage and some “magic”. Now, people might listen to the latest Kesha song on their phones, or go to Bonaroo and move from stage to stage to tent in order to find some music you might want to enjoy. We now live in a world that would make Ayn Rand happy. where the individual is celebrated over the group.

8.15 neutral milk hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel

Currently, music is in a transition period. I am not sure if we will ever have another moment in music where we are all brought together. In the Fifties, it was Elvis Presley on TV shaking his hip. In the early-Sixties, it was the Beatles on TV or the collective acid-fried memories of a few that glorified Woodstock. After those moments in time, the big events paled in comparison. In the Seventies, there was Elton John on In Concert or KISS on American Bandstand or The Band on Saturday Night Live. And, the Eighties had Live Aid, Madonna writhing on the stage floor of the first MTV Music Video Awards show and Michael Jackson moonwalking across the stage during the Motown 25 anniversary show. And, in the Nineties, MTV brought us together every day for the brilliant videos being produced.

The Afghan Whigs

Yes, the individual rules today. But, I still believe in the power of music to pull people together. Adele sells a bundle of CDs, but she hasn’t brought up together. Vinyl record sales are on the rise, but I expect that bubble to burst soon. But, I do not collect music for monetary value. I collect it for the enjoyment and the empowerment music gives me.

Now that I finally got that off my chest, let’s dig in to the next fifty songs on my list of My 300 Favorite Alternative Songs of the Nineties. Let the countdown roll on!

201. The Chemical Brothers – “Block Rockin’ Beats” (1997)

202. The Presidents of the United States of America – “Peaches” (1995)

203. Spacehog – “In the Meantime” (1996)

204. Neneh Cherry with Michael Stipe – “Trout” (1992)

205. Nirvana – “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (1994)

206. Belly – “Gepeto” (1993)

207. L7 – “Pretend We’re All Dead” (1992)

208. Babes in Toyland – “Sweet 69” (1995)

209. Blur – “Girls & Boys” (1994)

210. R.E.M. – “At My Most Beautiful” (1998)

211. Teenage Fanclub – “Metal Baby” (1991)

212. Hole – “Celebrity Skin” (1998)

213. Beastie Boys – “Intergalactic” (1998)

214. Sister Hazel – “All for You” (1997)

215. Mazzy Star – “Fade into You” (1993)

216. Neutral Milk Hotel – “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” (1998)

217. Helmet – “Unsung” (1992)

218. R.E.M. – “Electrolite” (1996)

219. Weezer – “Say It Ain’t So” (1994)

220. 10,000 Maniacs – “These Are the Days” (1992)

221. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Otherside” (1999)

222. Candlebox – “Far Behind” (1993)

223. Primal Scream – “Movin’ on Up” (1991)

224. The Cranberries – “Zombie” (1994)

225. The Sundays – “Here’s Where the Story Ends” (1990)

226. Tori Amos – “God” (1994)

227. Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians – “So You Think You’re in Love” (1991)

228. Supergrass – “Caught by the Fuzz” (1994)

229. U2 – “Staring at the Sun” (1997)

230. White Town – “Your Woman” (1997)

231. Fugazi – “Bed for the Scraping” (1995)

232. Cocteau Twins – “Iceblink Luck” (1990)

233. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Do You Love Me?” (1994)

234. Nirvana – “In Bloom” (1993)

235. Sloan – “The Good in Everyone” (1996)

236. Material Issue – “Goin’ Through Your Purse” (1994)

237. Son Volt – “Drown” (1995)

238. 7 Year Bitch – “M.I.A.” (1994)

239. Pearl Jam – “Breath” (1992)

240. The Offspring – “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” (1998)

241. Ween – “Freedom of ‘76” (1994)

242. PJ Harvey – “50ft Queenie” (1993)

243. U2 – “Discotheque” (1997)

244. The Lemonheads – “My Buddy” (1992)

245. Bush – “Glycerine” (1994)

246. Gin Blossoms – “Hey Jealousy” (1994)

247. Afghan Whigs – “Gentlemen” (1993)

248. Lou Reed – “What’s Good” (1992)

249. Ash – “Goldfinger” (1996)

250. Sonic Youth – “Kool Thing” (1990)

And, that does it for today. We have completed 100 songs so far. I know HERC is mad at me after I placed a couple of his favorites on my first list. Anyone else upset? Let me know in the comment section! If not, thanks for reading! Peace out dawgs! (Yeah, I said it! So what?!?! HAHAHAHA!!!!)

My 300 Favorite Alternative Songs of the Nineties, #251-300

8.14 90s alternativ music

Have you guys seen NatGeo’s little mini-series documentaries about the decades of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties? They are all pretty good, but I always felt as though the series covering the Nineties had the best subtitle, The Nineties: The Last Great Decade. They may have been right. At least, it may have been for music.

8.14 neds atomic dustbin
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

During the Nineties, music was exploding all over. The music industry was raking in the big bucks from the sales of CDs, which where pennies to make but sold for $12-15. So, the artists were signing huge contracts, then going out on the road to make even larger piles of money. Never were rock stars going loom larger than in the Nineties. Then, just as the decade was coming to an end and TRL was breaking boy bands and big-voiced Lolitas, Napster popped the bubble.

8.14 Cake_Band

But, let’s honor the rich alternative nation of artists and their brilliant songs. The alternative music of the Nineties was diverse, from grunge to power pop, alternative rap to nu-metal. Here are the first 50 songs in My 300 Favorite Alternative Songs of the Nineties. Let’s do it!

8.14 lisa germano
Lisa Germano

251. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – “Happy” (1991)

252. Toadies – “Possom Kingdom” (1994)

253. U2 – “The Fly” (1991)

254. Suede – “Metal Mikey” (1991)

255. The Rentals – “Friends of P” (1995)

256. Massive Attack – “Karmacoma” (1995)

257. Suzanne Vega – “In Liverpool” (1992)

258. Manic Street Preachers – “If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next” (1998)

259. Alanis Morissette – “Hand in My Pocket” (1995)

260. Lenny Kravitz – “Are You Gonna Go My Way” (1995)

261. That Dog – “Never Say Never” (1997)

262. The Cardigans – Lovefool (1996)

263. No Doubt – “Spiderwebs” (1995)

264. Beck – “Jackass” (1996)

265. Depeche Mode – “Walking in My Shoes” (1993)

266. blink-182 – “What’s My Age Again?” (1999)

267. Nirvana – “Pennyroyal Tea” (1993)

268. They Might Be Giants – “Birdhouse in Your Soul” (1990)

269. Cake – “The Distance” (1996)

270. Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight” (1995)

271. Beastie Boys – “Root Down” (1994)

272. The Cranberries – “Linger” (1993)

273. Republica – “Ready to Go” (1996)

274. Sugar Ray – “Every Morning” (1999)

275. Sheryl Crow – “Leaving Las Vegas” (1994)

276. Rusted Root – “Send Me on My Way” (1995)

277. U2 – “The Sweetest Thing” (1998)

278. Wilco – “Misunderstood” (1996)

279. Marilyn Manson – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (1995)

280. Silverchair – “Tomorrow” (1995)

281. Tal Bachman – “She’s So High” (1999)

282. Lisa Germano – “Geek the Girl” (1994)

283. Semisonic – “Closing Time” (1998)

284. Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn” (1997)

285. Vertical Horizon – “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” (1999)

286. Limp Bizkit – “Nookie” (1999)

287. Adam Ant – “Wonderful” (1995)

288. Jesus Jones – “Right Here, Right Now” (1991)

289. Joan Osborne – “One of Us” (1995)

290. Meredith Brooks – “Bitch” (1997)

291. The Presidents of the United States of America – “Lump” (1995)

292. EMF – “Unbelievable” (1991)

293. Paula Cole – “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” (1997)

294. Harvey Danger – “Flagpole Sitta” (1997)

295. Len – “Steal My Sunshine” (1999)

296. Dishwalla – “Counting Blue Cars” (1996)

297. Natalie Merchant – “Carnival” (1995)

298. Green Jelly – “Three Little Pigs” (1990)

299. Goo Goo Dolls – “Name” (1995)

300. “Weird Al” Yankovic – “Alternative Polka” (1996)

8.14 weird al yankovic
“Weird Al” Yankovic

Yes, you saw this correctly! “Weird Al” is really in this countdown. This was probably was a lifetime achievement award, but so what! He has been brilliant his whole career. And, what better way to honor Alternative Music than with a polka medley of alternative songs by the master parodist? I could not come up with a better way to get this decade rolling. Until tomorrow, follow the words of the prophet Casey Kasem, “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Alternative Music History Lesson #5: The Golden Age of Power Pop – 60s & 70s


Hold on! Is it really Friday? When you are retired/disabled, the day of the week becomes a relative thing. But, this week FLEW by! It literally was a crazy week in this author’s home. First of all, it was a pain pump refill day, which normally is not a long appointment. Yet, this time, the hospital pharmacy did not have enough of everyone’s pain meds to make solutions for all who had appointments. Fortunately for me, my solution had been made the night before my appointment so I was good. Unfortunately, others might have been turned away for another week so the meds could come in. I have been noticing lately how some of the relatively “inexpensive” and “common” meds are becoming more difficult to obtain and thus more expensive. I tend to be a cynic so I am smelling something foul from this explanation. After that one joker raised the price of an AIDS medication from $15 a pill to around ten-thousand times more, I am betting on my cynicism.

Next, Son #1 was flown in, given a rental car and put up for a night by a local company who wanted to hire him for a mathematics-based job. He has always been gifted in the area, but it took him most of his twenties to rediscover and acknowledge what his true gifts are. But, I think that is normal for us men. I know I changed careers when I left the relatively lucrative field of medical technology for a life of underpaid and underappreciated educator. But, when you are following the path that was set for you, then money and prestige never mattered. So, we are praying for #1 to get a job somewhere, preferably close. Keep your fingers crossed.

8.11 Raspberries

Today, I am finally finishing my little History of Alternative Music Week by covering my personal favorite genre, Power Pop. Simply put, Power Pop was America’s reaction to their boredom with the prog rockers of the world. But, instead of jumping on the UK’s Glam Rock bandwagon, Americans pined for the days of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show but coupling those sweet melodies and vocal harmonies with the power chord buzzing of electric guitars as popularized by The Kinks and The Who. Throw those sounds into a blender, along with some very talented musicianship and you get the very Anglo-sounding yet thrilling music of Power Pop. In addition to the previously mentioned artists, these artists have been held up as major influences by Power Pop artists: Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Small Faces, The Move, to list but a few.

8.11 The Records

The genre had a few hits as the ’60s turned into the ’70s, but Power Pop never really gained a financial foothold in the US until the later in the 1970s when bands like Cheap Trick, The Knack and many others had hits. Then, as quickly as the genre went mainstream, it went back into hiding, mostly disguised as New Wave, until the end of the ’80s, when it broke loose again. Then, it briefly made itself heard again with the likes of Matthew Sweet, Sugar and Material Issue heading this comeback. Then, of course, Power Pop went underground again. However, we will hear the DNA of Power Pop from time to time in the sounds of the Punk-Pop, Emo, Twee Pop and Indie Pop and Rock bands.

8.11 Badfinger

But, today, I bring to you My 100 Favorite Power Pop Songs of the Sixties and Seventies. And, for the first time, I have limited myself to only one song per artist. Otherwise, if you know me, this could end up a Cheap Trick and Big Star countdown. HERC, old buddy! Good luck with a Spotify playlist from this Top 100. There are artists in this countdown that does NOT have in their database. <<Insert Dr. Evil-like laugh>> Let the fun begin!

  1. Cheap Trick – “I Want You to Want Me (live)” (1979)
  2. Raspberries – “Go All the Way” (1972)
  3. The Records – “Starry Eyes” (1979)
  4. The Knack – “My Sharona” (1979)
  5. Elvis Costello – “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” (1977)
  6. Big Star – “Back of a Car” (1973)
  7. Fotomaker – “Where Have You Been All My Life” (1978)
  8. Todd Rundgren – “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (1972)
  9. Artful Dodger – “Wayside” (1975)
  10. Badfinger – “No Matter What” (1970)
  11. Shoes – “Too Late” (1979)
  12. 20/20 – “Yellow Pills” (1979)
  13. The Jam – “David Watts” (1978)
  14. Flamin’ Groovies – “Shake Some Action” (1976)
  15. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “American Girl” (1976)
  16. The Byrds – “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star” (1967)
  17. The Late Show – “Take a Chance” (1980)
  18. Ramones – “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” (1980)
  19. The Beatles – “Paperback Writer” (1966)
  20. The Tweeds – “I Need That Record” (1979)
  21. Earth Quake – “Hit the Floor” (1976)
  22. Pezband – “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (1977)
  23. The Beat – “Rock ‘N’ Roll Girl” (1979)
  24. The Kinks – “Waterloo Sunset” (1967)
  25. Utopia – “I Just Want to Touch You” (1980)
  26. The Who – “The Kids Are Alright” (1965)
  27. XTC – “Making Plans for Nigel” (1979)
  28. Nick Lowe – “Cruel to Be Kind” (1979)
  29. The Nerves – “Hanging on the Telephone” (1976)
  30. The Troggs – “Love Is All Around” (1967)
  31. The Paley Brothers – “Come Out and Play” (1978)
  32. The Lambrettas – “Da-a-ance” (1980)
  33. Split Enz – “I Got You” (1980)
  34. The Soft Boys – “Positive Vibrations” (1980)
  35. The Beckies – “Right by My Side” (1976)
  36. The Yachts – “Yachting Types” (1978)
  37. The Hudson Brothers – “So You Are a Star” (1974)
  38. Chris Bell – “I Am the Cosmos” (1978)
  39. The Cryers – “Shake It Up (Ain’t It Time)” (1978)
  40. The Move – “Fire Brigade” (1968)
  41. Off Broadway – “Bad Indication” (1979)
  42. Buzzcocks – “Ever Fall in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” (1978)
  43. Dave Edmunds – “I Hear You Knocking” (1970)
  44. Roy Orbison – “Oh Pretty Woman” (1964)
  45. The Toms – “Let’s Be Friends Again” (1979)
  46. Graham Parker – “Local Girls” (1979)
  47. Rachel Sweet – “B-A-B-Y” (1978)
  48. Eric Carmen – “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” (1975)
  49. Joe Jackson – “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” (1979)
  50. Paul Revere & the Raiders – “Hungry” (1966)
  51. Emitt Rhodes – “With My Face on the Floor” (1970)
  52. Squeeze – “Take Me I’m Yours” (1978)
  53. Jilted John – “Jilted John” (1977)
  54. Stories – “Darling” (1973)
  55. Blondie – “One Way or Another” (1978)
  56. Dwight Twilley Band – “I’m on Fire” (1975)
  57. Pretenders – “Stop Your Sobbing” (1979)
  58. The Turtles – “Elenore” (1968)
  59. Buster – “We Love Girls” (1977)
  60. Gary Valentine – “The First One” (1978)
  61. The Rascals – “A Girl Like You” (1967)
  62. Purple Hearts – “Millions Like Us” (1979)
  63. The Know – “Like Girls” (1980)
  64. Rockpile – “Teacher Teacher” (1980)
  65. Tom Robinson Band – “2-4-6-8 Motorway” (1977)
  66. The Scruffs – “You’re No Fun” (1977)
  67. Eddie & the Hot Rods – “Do Anything You Wanna Do” (1977)
  68. 4 Out of 5 Doctors – “Modern Man” (1980)
  69. Blue Ash – “Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her)” (1973)
  70. Buddy Holly – “Rave On” (1957)
  71. Piper – “Can’t Wait” (1977)
  72. New England – “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose You” (1978)
  73. Holly & the Italians – “Tell That Girl to Shut Up” (1981)
  74. Milk ‘N’ Cookies – “(Dee Dee You’re) Stuck on a Star” (1977)
  75. The Rutles – “I Must Be in Love” (1978)
  76. The Real Kids – “All Kindsa Girls” (1977)
  77. Tuff Darts – “Who’s Been Sleeping Here?” (1978)
  78. Sneakers – “Love’s Like a Cuban Crisis” (1976)
  79. The Pleasers – “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio” (1977)
  80. The Revillos – “Where’s the Boy for Me?” (1979)
  81. Pearl Harbor & the Explosions – “You Got It (Release It)” (1980)
  82. Prix – “Love You Tonight (Saturday’s Gone)” (1979)
  83. Robin Lane & the Chartbusters – “When Things Go Wrong” (1980)
  84. Small Faces – “Itchyoo Park” (1968)
  85. Yankee Rose – “I’m Gonna Lose” (1980)
  86. The Flashcubes – “Christi Girl” (1978)
  87. The Radiators – “Let’s Talk About the Weather” (1979)
  88. Rick Springfield – “We’re Gonna Have a Good Time” (1974)
  89. The Undertones – “Get Over You” (1978)
  90. Ducks Deluxe – “Hearts on My Sleeve” (1974)
  91. Hawks – “I Want You, I Need You” (1980)
  92. The Pop – “Leather and Lace” (1977)
  93. NRBQ – “I Want You Bad” (1978)
  94. DB Cooper – “Had Enough” (1980)
  95. The Miamis – “I Want a Girlfriend” (1976)
  96. Richard Lloyd – “Should Have Known Better” (1979)
  97. Nick Gilder – “Hot Child in the City” (1978)
  98. The Motors – “Dancing the Night Away” (1977)
  99. The Rings – “My Kinda Girl” (1980)
  100. Shaun Cassidy – “Pretending” (1980)

Yes, long-time readers, I have once again landed Cheap Trick at the top spot. Get off my back, the song is undeniably the best, and the best is the only one from the genre in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I hope you enjoyed a couple of the surprises I put in the list.


[Editor’s notes: (1) The song at #100 written by Todd Rundgren, who produced that artist’s album from 1980. It was a huge surprise. (2) The artist listed at #94 is NOT the infamous jet airplane hijacker from the early Seventies. (3) Yes, you saw that correctly at #88. Rick Springfield actually had a recording career BEFORE he joined the cast of General Hospital. (4) The band at #64 is something of a supergroup, since it has both Dave Edmunds AND Nick Lowe as members with the band playing backup on each artists’ solo albums, then trading vocals on the supergroup’s album. (5) Last one, I promise. Chicago and the surrounding areas have become something of a fertile area for Power Pop bands over the years. Artists from the Second City-area include Cheap Trick, Pezband, Off Broadway, Shoes, Material Issue, OK Go, Green, Veruca Salt, Tinted Windows and Rise Against, just to list a few.]

Alternative Music Lesson #4: Punk Rock

8.10 punk rock

Oh, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 1976, and I was headlong deep into the band KISS. At that time, the band was making the transition from being an underground New York City phenomenon into conquering international heroes. The band had just released their masterpiece Destroyer, so I went with my mom to the grocery store in order to purchase some rock magazines with the band in them. Fortunately for me, I found copies of Circus and Creem with features on the band.

8.10 Television-band

After making my purchases, I rode home with mom, helped her unload the car with all of the food that would be used to get me energy for all of my sports at the time: summer All-Star baseball, playing basketball with the high school kids in my area, and all the running I was doing at the time. I then went to my room, put Destroyer on my turntable and began thumbing through my magazines. Inside of one of them, I discovered two articles. The first article was about the New York City punk scene at the CBGBs, with the other about this punk scene in London. At that moment, I become intrigued by a new genre of music that was supposed to be returning rock music to the basics.

8.10 Richard Hell and the Voidoids
Richard Hell & the Voidoids

Punk rock came about as a reaction to the bloated nature of rock music’s penchant for prog rock at the time. Seemingly overnight, the punks of NYC were throwing away all the excesses of rock at the time and getting back to the pre-Beatles sounds, coupled with a love for the proto-punk music and bubblegum pop. In Britain, the punk scene started with the sounds of the Ramones and New York Dolls, then throwing in some lyrics about the economic state-of-affairs, in a very angry manner. Lumped together with the developing Los Angeles happening, the locations’ music quickly overtook the U.K., while in the States, the music was simmering throughout the country waiting to explode in the Nineties. Still, I realized I had found a music genre that I could call my own. Thus, I picked up a Devo album here, borrowed a Sex Pistols album there. The more I read and heard, the more I fell in love with the music. I loved the simplicity and apparent amateurish playing of the instruments. I loved the aggressive nature of the music. And, being a wordsmith at heart, I loved the sarcasm and surrealism of the American punks and I loved the anger of the British punks. When I heard this music, it felt like home, no matter if I was listening to The Damned or Fear, Talking Heads or The Anti-Nowhere League. Finally, I was listening to rock & roll, not just rock music, as brought to me by Led Zeppelin or Eagles. Sure, they are terrific artists, but give me those three-minute songs of high energy any day of the week.

8.10 the damned
The Damned

So, in an effort to set things up for New Wave and College Rock in the immediate future of this musical timeline, I bring to you my Top 100 Favorite Punk Songs of the Late-70s and Early 80s. Let the debate begin!

  1. Sex Pistols – “Anarchy in the U.K.” (1977)
  2. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – “Blank Generation” (1977)
  3. Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated” (1978)
  4. Sex Pistols – “God Save the Queen” (1977)
  5. The Jam – “Going Underground” (1980)
  6. Talking Heads – “Psycho Killer” (1977)
  7. Sid Vicious – “My Way” (1978)
  8. The Clash – “London Calling” (1979)
  9. The Jam – “In the City” (1977)
  10. The Damned – “Neat Neat Neat” (1977)
  11. Buzzcocks – “Ever Fallen in Love” (1978)
  12. The Clash – “This Is Radio Clash” (1981)
  13. Blondie – “One Way or Another” (1978)
  14. Dead Kennedys – “Holiday in Cambodia” (1980)
  15. Elvis Costello & the Attractions – “Radio, Radio” (1978)
  16. The Clash – “I Fought the Law” (1977)
  17. Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers – “Chinese Rocks” (1977)
  18. Patti Smith Group – “Gloria” (1976)
  19. Iggy Pop – “Lust for Life” (1977)
  20. The Undertones – “Teenage Kicks” (1978)
  21. DEVO – “Jocko Homo” (1978)
  22. The Adverts – “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” (1978)
  23. Television – “See No Evil” (1977)
  24. Eddie & the Hot Rods – “Do Anything You Wanna Do” (1977)
  25. Jim Carroll Band – “People Who Died” (1980)
  26. Dead Boys – “Sonic Reducer” (1977)
  27. Generation X – “Dancing with Myself” (1980)
  28. The Damned – “New Rose” (1976)
  29. The Saints – “(I’m) Stranded” (1977)
  30. Joy Division – “Transmission” (1979)
  31. Pretenders – “Tattooed Love Boys” (1979)
  32. Blondie – “Hanging on the Telephone” (1978)
  33. Tubeway Army – “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (1979)
  34. Ramones – “Beat on the Brat” (1976)
  35. The Anti-Nowhere League – “I Hate…People” (1982)
  36. X – “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene” (1980)
  37. Sham 69 – “If the Kids Are United” (1978)
  38. The Ruts – “Babylon’s Burning” (1979)
  39. Ramones – “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” (1977)
  40. Dead Kennedys – “California Über Alles” (1980)
  41. Misfits – “Last Caress” (1980)
  42. The Clash – “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” (1977)
  43. X-Ray Spex – “Oh Bondage Up Yours” (1978)
  44. Wire – “12 X U” (1977)
  45. Blondie – “Rip Her to Shreds” (1977)
  46. Sex Pistols – “Holiday in the Sun” (1977)
  47. The Stranglers – “No More Heroes” (1977)
  48. Ian Dury & the Blockheads – “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” (1977)
  49. The Jam – “The Modern World” (1977)
  50. Ramones – “Rock and Roll High School” (1979)
  51. The Adverts – “One Chord Wonders” (1978)
  52. Killing Joke – “Wardance” (1980)
  53. The Damned – “Smash It Up” (1979)
  54. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – “Love Comes in Spurts” (1977)
  55. Buzzcocks – “Orgasm Addict” (1977)
  56. The Gun Club – “Sex Beat” (1981)
  57. Bad Brains – “Pay to Cum” (1980)
  58. Television – “Marquee Moon” (1977)
  59. XTC – “This Is Pop?” (1978)
  60. Dead Kennedys – “Kill the Poor” (1980)
  61. Generation X – “Your Generation” (1978)
  62. Hüsker Dü – “Pink Turns to Blue” (1984)
  63. Stiff Little Fingers – “Alternative Ulster” (1979)
  64. Blondie – “Heart of Glass” (1978)
  65. The Clash – “I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.” (1977)
  66. Magazine – “Shot by Both Sides” (1978)
  67. Public Image Ltd. – “Death Disco” (1979)
  68. The Only Ones – “Another Girl Another Planet” (1978)
  69. Ramones – “Rockaway Beach” (1977)
  70. Siouxsie & the Banshees – “Hong Kong Garden” (1978)
  71. Black Flag – “Rise Above” (1981)
  72. The Cramps – “Human Fly” (1978)
  73. Gang of Four – “Damaged Goods” (1979)
  74. Suicide – “Cheree” (1978)
  75. Crass – “Big A, Little A” (1981)
  76. The Clash – “White Riot” (1977)
  77. DEVO – “Mongoloid” (1978)
  78. The Slits – “Typical Girls” (1979)
  79. The Gun Club – “She’s Like Heroin to Me” (1981)
  80. Mink DeVille – “Let Me Dream If I Want To (Amphetamine Blues)” (1976)
  81. The Rezillos – “Top of the Pops” (1978)
  82. Circle Jerks – “Live Fast Die Young” (1980)
  83. Sex Pistols – “Pretty Vacant” (1977)
  84. The Raincoats – “Fairytale in the Supermarket” (1979)
  85. X – “Adult Books” (1978)
  86. Misfits – “Halloween” (1981)
  87. Buzzcocks – “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” (1979)
  88. The Stranglers – “(Get A) Grip” (1977)
  89. Generation X – “Ready Steady Go” (1978)
  90. Ramones – “Suzi Is a Headbanger” (1977)
  91. The Clash – “Complete Control” (1977)
  92. Wire – “Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW” (1979)
  93. Dead Kennedys – “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” (1981)
  94. The Birthday Party – “Happy Birthday” (1980)
  95. Killing Joke – “Requiem” (1980)
  96. Germs – “Forming” (1981)
  97. Television – “Heart of the City” (1977)
  98. Magazine – “Rhythm of Cruelty” (1979)
  99. The Cramps – “The Way I Walk” (1983)
  100. Cabaret Voltaire – “Nag Nag Nag” (1979)
8.10 sid-vicious-246010-1-raw
Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious

There you go! The fourth genre that influenced new wave, college rock and all of alternative music beyond. Tomorrow, I will cover my absolutely favorite genre on the timeline, power pop music. So, until tomorrow, keep on rockin’ in the free world!

The History of Alternative Music, Lesson #3: Glam Rock

8.9 glam rock

After the blistering sounds of proto-punk (or garage) rock in the 60s gave way to the Bo Diddley-based beat sweetness of bubblegum pop, the next progression occurred mainly in the United Kingdom, though there were a few artists from the USA who got in on the fun of Glam Rock, or what we can back in the day “Glitter Rock”. For the first time, the keen fashion sense of the Brits were being intertwined with bubblegum’s beat and the aggressive guitar sound of the proto-punks and reading in the local papers these artists were part of this Glam Rock scene.

8.9 slade

Although the actual Glam scene only lasted two to five years, the influence of the genre could eventually felt in punk, new wave, in addition to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the UK and Glam (or Hair) Metal in Los Angeles. In others, without Glam Rock of the ’70s, we would not have experienced the two major scenes of the Eighties: New Wave and Hair Metal.

8.9 suzi quatro
Suzi Quatro

Now, if the truth be told, many of the artists of the Glam Rock era could be included in Bubblegum (before Sweet dropped the “The” in their name, The Sweet was a Bubblegum artist) and proto-punk (like the Iggy Pop-led Stooges and the New York Dolls). It’s as if Bubblegum was all jacked up on Mt. Dew and steroids, or the proto-punks took to wearing glittery clothing and started hitting the drums extra hard.

8.9 sweet

The other thing that Glam brought to the table that was important to an artist’s image was androgyny. The famous Bob Seger lyric from “Turn the Page” summed up this era best when he sang:

“Most times you can’t hear ’em talk, other times you can
All the same old clichés: “Is that a woman or a man?”
And you always seem outnumbered, you don’t dare make a stand.”

Still, that guesswork was important to the images of David Bowie or Jobriath, who happened to be the first openly gay rock artist.

8.9 jobriath

Finally, the last thing was the lyrics. The lyrics to glam rock songs were much like bubblegum rock songs in that they both were full of double entendres. Seriously, drop your naivety and actually READ the lyrics of these genres songs in order to understand what those thinly veiled words were actually saying. The songwriters were definitely attempting to see how much they could getaway with as far as the censors were concerned.

8.9 New York Dolls, 1970s (40)
New York Dolls

Now that you have a better understanding of Glam Rock, here is my list of My Favorite 75 Glam Rock Songs. Enjoy!

  1. David Bowie – “Suffragette City” (1972)
  2. Mott the Hoople – “All the Young Dudes” (1972)
  3. Queen – “Killer Queen” (1974)
  4. Rex – “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” (1971)
  5. Alice Cooper – “School’s Out” (1972)
  6. Elton John – “Bennie & the Jets” (1973)
  7. Sweet – “Ballroom Blitz” (1974)
  8. Lou Reed – “Walk on the Wild Side” (1972)
  9. Alice Cooper – “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1973)
  10. Brian Eno – “Needle in the Camel’s Arm” (1974)
  11. Slade – “Cum on Feel the Noize” (1973)
  12. New York Dolls – “Personality Crisis” (1973)
  13. The Stooges – “Search and Destroy” (1973)
  14. Suzi Quatro – “Devil Gate Drive” (1974)
  15. Sweet – “Fox on the Run” (1974)
  16. Roxy Music – “Virginia Plain” (1972)
  17. Ian Hunter – “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” (1975)
  18. David Bowie – “Starman” (1972)
  19. Rex – “20th Century Boy” (1973)
  20. The Kinks – “Lola” (1970)
  21. KISS – “Rock and Roll All Nite” (1975)
  22. Roxy Music – “Love Is the Drug” (1975)
  23. Alice Cooper – “I’m Eighteen” (1970)
  24. Jobriath – “Space Clown” (1973)
  25. David Bowie – “Space Oddity” (1969)
  26. David Essex – “Rock On” (1973)
  27. Rex – “Metal Guru” (1972)
  28. Roxy Music – “Do the Strand” (1973)
  29. Suzi Quatro – “Can the Can” (1973)
  30. Sweet – “The Six Teens” (1974)
  31. Electric Light Orchestra – “Roll Over Beethoven” (1973)
  32. Slade – “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (1972)
  33. Wizzard – “See My Baby Jive” (1973)
  34. Cockney Rebels – “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” (1975)
  35. Bay City Rollers – “Saturday Night” (1975)
  36. Gary Glitter – “Rock and Roll (Part 2)” (1972)
  37. Sweeney Todd – “Roxy Roller” (1975)
  38. Cockney Rebel – “Tumbling Down” (1974)
  39. Sweet – “Teenage Rampage” (1974)
  40. Be Bop Deluxe – “Axe Victim” (1974)
  41. Mud – “Dyna-mite” (1973)
  42. David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust” (1973)
  43. HELLO – “New York Groove” (1975)
  44. The Arrows – “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” (1976)
  45. The Osmonds – “Crazy Horses” (1972)
  46. Gary Glitter – “Do You Want to Touch Me” (1973)
  47. Heavy Metal Kids – “She’s No Angel” (1976)
  48. Geordie – “Don’t Do That” (1972)
  49. Hotlegs – “Neanderthal Man” (1970)
  50. Mott The Hoople – “The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll” (1974)
  51. David Bowie – “Rebel Rebel” (1974)
  52. John Kongos – “Tokoloshe Man” (1971)
  53. Hector – “Wired Up” (1973)
  54. Kenny – “The Bump” (1974)
  55. Sparks – “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us” (1974)
  56. Mud – “Tiger Feet” (1974)
  57. Gary Glitter – “I’m the Leader of the Gang” (1974)
  58. The Jook – “Bish Bash Bosh” (1974)
  59. Bonnie St. Claire – “Clap Your Hands” (1974)
  60. Lulu ft. David Bowie – “The Man Who Sold the World” (1976)
  61. Showaddywaddy – “Hey Rock and Roll” (1974)
  62. Cozy Powell – “Dance with the Devil” (1973)
  63. Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast – “Sweet Transvestite” (1975)
  64. Slik – “The Kid’s a Punk” (1976)
  65. Be Bop Deluxe – “Ships in the Night” (1976)
  66. HELLO – “Teenage Revolution” (1976)
  67. Cockney Rebel – “Sebastian” (1973)
  68. Angel – “Good Time Fanny” (1974)
  69. Kenny – “Fancy Pants” (1975)
  70. Sweet – “Hell Raiser” (1973)
  71. Todd Rundgren – “Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel” (1973)
  72. Slade – “Coz I Luv You” (1971)
  73. Barry Blue – “Do You Wanna Dance” (1974)
  74. Iron Virgin – “Rebels Rule” (1974)
  75. Alvin Stardust – “My Coo Ca Choo” (1974)

Happy Hump Day everybody! Just two more History lesson days left! No test either. See you tomorrow! Now, where’s my Slade album?

Just Play Some of That Bubblegum Pop

8.8 Bubblegum Pop Music

Bubblegum music is arguably THE most disparaged genre of music known to mankind. Sure, the music was totally prefabricated. If the song was not being played by a “band” put together for a TV show or a group of cartoon characters, the idea was to sell music to what we call today the “tweeners”. If you do not know, the tweeners are those pre-teenage kids that have disposable income (thanks to Mommy and Daddy) to purchase on seemingly innocent lyrics set to a beat that’s easy to dance to and rocking guitars.

8.8 the archies
The Archies

Now, there have always been artists that were marketing to the teens and tweens. From Frank Sinatra in the Forties, to Elvis in the Fifties, to all the teen idols and bubblegum artists of the Sixties and Seventies, to the boy bands and young male and female singers from the TRL era, we have always had sugary music geared to the youth of America.

8.8 the monkees
The Monkees

In the Sixties, bubblegum began with the formation of The Monkees for a TV show. The “Prefab Four” rode the gravy train for a couple of years until they wanted to exert artistic control. So, in an effort to combat that “problem”, producers began a Motown-type situation where they hired some great songwriters, musicians and vocalists to create music. Many of the following hits were written, sung AND performed by the same people but given a different group name based upon the “sound”. Some of the producers even had their groups made into Saturday morning TV shows, like the animated Archies or the live action group in costumes such as the Banana Splits. You may not believe this, but there was one band that was created to sell cereal whose music was released as a cardboard record on the back of a cereal box, The Sugar Bears.

8.8 sugar bears
The Sugar Bears

Now, how does this genre work with alternative music? Well, many of the early punk and new wave artists LOVED this music and played and recorded versions of this music. The Ramones were known to play cover versions of bands like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Also, the Sex Pistols covered the version of “(I’m Not) Your Steppin’ Stone” recorded by Paul Revere & the Raiders, as opposed to The Monkees’ version. Finally, the L.A. punk band The Dickies had a minor hit with a cover of the “Banana Splits Theme”. And, these were just the tip of the iceberg.

The real reason bubblegum was so important to the development of punk/new wave music was the energy. These artists were some of the first to whom this music was geared, so bubblegum had to influence their art. Additionally, some of the early punk songs sounded a lot like bubblegum songs. The best example would be the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Go ahead and choose a bubblegum sound and then play the Ramones and tell me you don’t hear the similarities in not only the brilliant simplicity of the two songs, but also the manic energy shared by the songs.

8.8 the kids from the brady bunch
The Kids from The Brady Bunch

So, the next time you have a hankering to listen to Harpers Bizarre version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” or The Cowsills’ cover of “Hair”, do not be ashamed and be proud of your love of this music.

And, now for this countdown of an underappreciated genre of music that actually has exerted a huge influence on today’s alternative music. ON WITH THE COUNTDOWN!!!

8.8 jackson 5
Jackson 5
  1. The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back” (1969)
  2. Blue Swede – “Hooked on a Feeling” (1974)
  3. The Five Stairsteps – “Ooh Child” (1970)
  4. Tommy James & the Shondells – “I Think We’re Alone Now” (1967)
  5. The Monkees – “I’m a Believer” (1967)
  6. The Pipkins – “Gimme Dat Ding” (1970)
  7. Reunion – “Life Is a Rock (But Radio Rolled Me)” (1974)
  8. The Foundations – “Build Me Up Buttercup” (1968)
  9. The Cowsills – “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” (1967)
  10. Harpers Bizarre – “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” (1967)
  11. Tommy James & the Shondells – “Mony Mony” (1968)
  12. The McCoys – “Hang on Sloopy” (1965)
  13. Edison Lighthouse – “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” (1970)
  14. Vanity Fair – “Hitchin’ a Ride” (1969)
  15. The Archies – “Sugar Sugar” (1969)
  16. Ohio Express – “Chewy, Chewy” (1968)
  17. Michael Jackson – “Rockin’ Robin” (1972)
  18. The Kids from The Brady Bunch – “Candy (Sugar Shoppe)” (1972)
  19. The First Class – “Beach Baby” (1974)
  20. Sweet – “Little Willy” (1972)
  21. The Sugar Bears – “You Are the One” (1971)
  22. Bobby Bloom – “Montego Bay” (1970)
  23. The Jackson 5 – “ABC” (1970)
  24. The Banana Splits – “I Enjoy Being a Boy (In Love with You)” (1969)
  25. The Flying Machine – “Smile a Little Smile for Me” (1969)
  26. Ohio Express – “Yummy Yummy Yummy” (1968)
  27. Tommy Roe – “Dizzy” (1969)
  28. Jefferson – “Baby, Take Me in Your Arms” (1968)
  29. The Fun & Games – “The Grooviest Girl in the World” (1968)
  30. The Rock and Roll Double Bubble Trading Card Company of Philadelphia – “Bubble Gum Music” (1968)
  31. The Partridge Family – “I Think I Love You” (1970)
  32. The Love Affair – “Everlasting Love” (1968)
  33. Sweet – “Wig Wam Bam” (1972)
  34. Daddy Dewdrop – “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” (1971)
  35. Spiral Staircase – “More Today Than Yesterday” (1969)
  36. The DeFranco Family – “Abra-Ca-Dabra” (1973)
  37. The Archies – “Bang-Shang-A-Lang” (1968)
  38. Music Explosion – “Sunshine Games” (1967)
  39. The Lemon Pipers – “Green Tambourine” (1968)
  40. 1910 Fruitgum Company – “Indian Giver” (1969)
  41. The Osmonds – “Yo-Yo” (1972)
  42. The Royal Guardsmen – “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” (1966)
  43. Dawn – “Knock Three Times” (1970)
  44. The Brotherhood of Man – “United We Stand” (1970)
  45. Michael Jackson – “Ben” (1972)
  46. Bobby Sherman – “Julie Do Ya Love Me” (1970)
  47. Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods – “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” (1974)
  48. Paper Lace – “The Night Chicago Died” (1974)
  49. The Raiders – “Indian Reservation (The Lament of Cherokee Reservation Indian)” (1971)
  50. Terry Jacks – “Seasons in the Sun” (1974)
8.8 banana-splits
The Banana Splits

I sure hope you had a great time reminiscing this much maligned musical genre. Go ahead and don’t be ashamed that you know most of these songs. Personally, I danced to many of these songs at the sock-hops at my dad’s first school where he was principal. Long live Bubblegum Pop!!!

Alternative Music History Lesson #1: Proto-Punk Music

8.7 nuggets8.7 nuggets 2

Before I move on to the great alternative music of the Nineties, I have decided to put the brakes on before going into the commercial zenith of this great genre of music. Instead, I want to appease the frustrated History teacher in me by taking this week to look at the historical development of alternative music.

8.7 The_Kingsmen_1966
The Kingsmen

If you have any historical perspective to music, you will probably have noticed how much cross-breeding there has been in music. Much of what we call metal has its roots in the very same music that I will bring up today. Now, back in the early Seventies, then-music critic and future-Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye compiled a double album’s worth of Sixties “punk” music, that was later renamed “proto-punk” music.

8.7 The_Electric_Prunes
The Electric Prunes

Back in the Sixties, after The Beatles hit the States, teenagers began picking out their instruments and joining up in garages across the country, playing amateurish rock music, with much power. But, many of these bands were only around for one song, as brilliantly depicted in the great movie That Thing You Do.

8.7 velvet underground
Velvet Underground

Still, the lasting brilliance of these artists live on, if not on the radio, then in the musical DNA of any indie rocker today. So, let’s take a look at My 75 Favorite Proto-Punk Songs.

8.7 stooges
The Stooges
  1. The Stooges – “Search and Destroy” (1973)
  2. Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop” (1976)
  3. The Kinks – “You Really Got Me” (1964)
  4. The Who – “My Generation” (1965)
  5. The Kingsmen – “Louie Louie” (1963)
  6. The Electric Prunes – “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” (1967)
  7. Bobby Fuller Four – “I Fought the Law” (1966)
  8. The Beatles – “Helter Skelter” (1968)
  9. Velvet Underground – “White Light/White Heat” (1968)
  10. MC5 – “Kick Out the Jams” (1969)
  11. David Bowie – “Suffragette City” (1972)
  12. The Stooges – “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (1969)
  13. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – “I Put a Spell on You” (1956)
  14. The Strangeloves – “I Want Candy” (1965)
  15. The Runaways – “Cherry Bomb” (1976)
  16. The Shadows of Knight – “Gloria” (1966)
  17. Count Five – “Psychotic Reaction” (1966)
  18. The Troggs – “Wild Thing” (1966)
  19. The Outsiders – “Time Won’t Let Me” (1966)
  20. Alice Cooper – “I’m Eighteen” (1970)
  21. Love – “Seven & Seven Is” (1967)
  22. Blue Cheer – “Summertime Blues” (1968)
  23. Strawberry Alarm Clock – “Incense and Peppermints” (1967)
  24. The Easybeats – “Friday on My Mind” (1966)
  25. Death – “Politicians in My Eyes” (1975)
  26. Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs – “Wooly Bully” (1965)
  27. The Amboy Dukes – “Journey to the Center of Your Mind” (1968)
  28. The Premiers – “Farmer John” (1964)
  29. Blondie – “X Offender” (1976)
  30. The Dictators – “(I Live For) Cars and Girls” (1975)
  31. ? & the Mysterians – “96 Tears” (1966)
  32. The Human Beinz – “Nobody but Me” (1967)
  33. The Sonics – “Strychnine” (1965)
  34. The Amboy Dukes – “Baby Please Don’t Go” (1967)
  35. New York Dolls – “Personality Crisis” (1973)
  36. Them – “Gloria” (1964)
  37. The Castaways – “Liar, Liar” (1965)
  38. The Swingin’ Medallions – “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” (1966)
  39. The Music Explosion – “Little Bit o’ Soul” (1967)
  40. The Knickerbockers – “Lies” (1965)
  41. David Bowie – “The Jean Genie” (1973)
  42. The Music Machine – “Talk Talk” (1966)
  43. The Standells – “Dirty Water” (1966)
  44. Velvet Underground – “Heroin” (1967)
  45. The Shaggs – “Who Are Parents” (1969)
  46. The Sonics – “Psycho” (1965)
  47. Status Quo – “Pictures of Matchstick Men” (1968)
  48. The Seeds – “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” (1965)
  49. The Leaves – “Hey Joe” (1966)
  50. The Beau Brummels – “Laugh, Laugh” (1965)
  51. The Barbarians – “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl” (1966)
  52. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – “Diddy Wah Diddy” (1966)
  53. Paul Revere & the Raiders – “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” (1966)
  54. The 13th Floor Elevators – “You’re Gonna Miss Me” (1966)
  55. Link Wray & His Ray Men – “Rumble” (1958)
  56. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention – “Trouble Every Day” (1966)
  57. Pink Floyd – “Astronomy Domine” (1967)
  58. The Monks – “Shut Up” (1966)
  59. Velvet Underground – “Sister Ray” (1968)
  60. Blues Magoos – “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” (1966)
  61. The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Do You Believe in Magic” (1965)
  62. The Dictators – “Weekend” (1975)
  63. The Modern Lovers – “Roadrunner” (1976)
  64. Os Mutantes – “Bat Macumba” (1968)
  65. Sir Douglas Quintet – “She’s About a Mover” (1969)
  66. The Left Banke – “Walk Away Renée” (1967)
  67. Pink Fairies – “Do It” (1971)
  68. Paul Revere & the Raiders – “Kicks” (1966)
  69. Nazz – “Open My Eyes” (1968)
  70. New York Dolls – “Trash” (1973)
  71. The Move – “I Can Hear the Grass Grow” (1968)
  72. Pere Ubu – “Final Solution” (1976)
  73. The Doors – “Blue Sunday” (1970)
  74. The Pretty Things – “Midnight to Six Man” (1966)
  75. Max Frost and the Troopers – “Shape of Things to Come” (1968)
8.7 mc5

That was the first group of songs that influenced the alternative and punk music of the Seventies, Eighties and beyond. Tomorrow we will look at the next genre of music that had a major influence on alternative music, bubblegum music…whhhaaaaaatttttt?!?!?! I kid you not!

That’s Great It Starts with an Earthquake: My Top 5 Favorite ’80s College Rock Songs

8.4 husker du
Hüsker Dü

I had a great time going back through my old albums and CDs to listen to this music that I have brought to you for the past two weeks. The Police, R.E.M., U2, The Cure and The Smiths were the superstars of the genre at the time, while The Replacements, Pixies, Bob Mould/Hüsker Dü, Depeche Mode and New Order walked away as the big influences from the genre. Still, to this day, we have a group of artists that are underappreciated by Boomers since these artists represent the first batch of rock music that the Boomers did not understand.

Now, for your information, thanks to a long time friend who happens to be in the radio industry, suggested that I work on a historical view of alternative music. So, I plan to back up to do a week’s worth of music that lead up influenced the new wave and college rock of the 1980s. Then, I will forge forward into the alternative music of the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. This whole thing has been a blast from a music nut like me. Plus, I get to appease the dormant historian in me (I come from a family of history teachers and owners of history/political science/sociology degrees, with my wife and me being the only Kellers without history-related degrees). As some of my former students can attest, I have always enjoyed showing how certain genres of music have developed over time. So hang on people! This crazy trip through alternative music is just beginning and going deeper than you could have imagined.

With that said, let’s get to my Top 5 Favorite 80s College Rock Songs!

8.4 husker du - makes no sense at all

5. Hüsker Dü – “Makes No Sense at All” (1985). The band that took pop songs and then played them faster than any group before them played with more distortion ever imagined tones things down a bit to show the true inner power pop band that always was the beating heart of the band. However, the lyrics were true Eighties cynicism that grew in the hearts of many early alternative artists as a reaction to how they were being screwed by the lack of trickle in the trickle-down economic policy of Reaganomics.

8.4 Pixies-Debaser

4. Pixies – “Debaser” (1989). This is the sound of grunge music being birthed. This is one of the songs that influenced Kurt Cobain’s use of the quiet-loud-quiet alternation of verse-chorus-verse. Pixies developed here and on several of their others songs from their 1989 classic album Doolittle.

8.4 u2 - i still havent found what im looking for

3. U2 – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (1987). In 1987, U2 assume the mantle of being the world’s biggest band upon the release of The Joshua Tree. This was the second single that hit #1 from this album. This song is a gospel song dressed up as a rock song with lyrics that spoke volumes about what it was like to be in your twenties in the Eighties. What a brilliant song that tapped in to the zeitgeist of a budding generation.

8.4 the smiths - how soon is now

2. The Smiths – “How Soon Is Now” (1985). This song is often listed as the #1 song of this genre by critics. It’s classic haunting opening salvo sets the tone of the song that this is not a typical song by The Smiths. The band takes us on a crazy psychedelic trip through the insecure mind of a twenty-something in the 1980s.

8.4 R.E.M._-_It's_the_End_of_the_World_as_We_Know_It_(And_I_Feel_Fine)_(United_States)

1. R.E.M. – “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (1987). Here’s the collective media-overload purge that our generation needed. Michael Stipe’s rapid-fire listing of events and paranoid visions that brought our worries to a head just as the chorus was comforting us as we learned to harness our power that would result in the election of Bill Clinton.

Well, ladies and gentlemen! There you have it. I hope you are enjoying this ride as much as I am. Have a great weekend and I will be back.