The email came a couple of weeks ago from a neighboring newspaper editor on the other side of the river which has the same owners as the Baldwin Bulletin.
“If you want to play along, email me a list of five songs that sample your music tastes as well as any comments,” the email said.
Interesting little challenge this was. How can you pick just five? I could have named 10 without missing a beat. But, in the moment, when I was typing the email out, these five songs stood out.
-- Hotel California by the Eagles. I’ve always been a big background guy – drums, guitar, keyboard, piano. How can one not love the beginning of this song? I was hooked the first time after I heard this.
-- Small Town by John Mellencamp. A You Tube commenter summarized my feelings best about this song: “If the American Midwest had their own National Anthem, it would probably sound like this.” Growing up in a small town in central Minnesota that didn’t have a stop light, he nailed what life was like back then in the 1980s/1900s.
-- Everyone wants to rule the world by Tears for Fears. Again, a background song that hooked me. And at one point, doesn’t everyone want to rule to world? It’s an easy-listening song that makes you feel good.
-- New York Minute by Don Henley. At times its creepy, other moments its uplifting. Yet, isn’t that the whole point of the song? Life can change in a New York minute.
-- Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn. I guess, looking back at this list, I’m even surprised I put this one in there. A background song that got me for sure, however, became even a bigger fan after hearing he survived being shot in the head.
After sending the email, my mind went to, what did I forget?
Songs from Bruce Springsteen, for one. “Born in the USA,” “Brilliant Disguise,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Glory Days,” “Human Touch,” “Hungry Heart,” “My Hometown,” “Streets of Philadelphia,” “Secret Garden,” “The Rising,” “Tunnel of Love” and “Murder Incorporated.”
Yikes, I thought. My mind went to Tom Petty next. “Free Fallin,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “You Don’t Know how it Feels,” “Running Down a Dream,” “Learning to Fly” (his best one, in my opinion) are some of my favorites.
How could I have left songs from those two artists out? I then thought of U2 and felt even worse. “Beautiful Day,” “With or Without You,” “Where the streets have no name,” and my personal favorite “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
A couple of four-letter words were then uttered when Bon Jovi popped into my head. “Have a Nice Day,” “It’s my Life,” “Bed of Roses,” “I’ll be there for you,” “Bad Medicine,” and what is arguably the song of the 1980s, “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Those were just songs or artists from the 1980s. I checked more into the 1900s, and immediately “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana should have been on the list. I became more of a fan of the Foo Fighters with songs like “Everlong,” “Learn to Fly” and “Best of You.”
Maybe there are more people that like Pearl Jam than Nirvana/Foo Fighters. I wouldn’t disagree when hits like “Black,” “Even Flow,” “Alive,” “Jeremy” and “Yellow Ledbetter” came over the airwaves.
Then, I remembered “Mr. Jones” by the Counting Crows and thought how I could leave that off or “You Get what You Give” by New Radicals.
My wife got me hooked on Matchbox 20. “3AM”, “Long Day,” “Real World” and “Push” became some of my favorites from that band.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. I have a feeling if I’m ever asked to do a list like this again, I’ll probably list five different songs and come up with even more songs that I forgot then compared to now.