These are the songs that set my toes to tapping and make me feel good on a bad day.
For maximum effect, I suggest listening to them in the following order:
Track #1: “Slow Ride” Foghat
You know, Foghat was one of those British bands that never had a hit in the UK. But, I remember this song when it hit big in South Carolina where I grew up. Like most good rock ‘n’ roll songs, it’s about sex, of course. And, clocking in at more than eight minutes, the inclusion of this song would make it exceedingly difficult to fit nine more songs on side one of my cassette tape, wouldn’t it? This is not reality. This song was based on a John Lee Hooker riff that was repurposed.
Track #2: “Tom Sawyer” Rush
I’ve gushed about my favorite Rush album, Moving Pictures, before, and the opening of “Tom Sawyer” never fails to get me. I think it pairs well with the ending of “Slow Ride,” too, don’t you?
Track #3: “What I Like About You” The Romantics
It makes perfect sense to follow the synth fadeout on “Tom Sawyer” with the infectious new wave power pop of “What I Like About You.” This bouncy short song (under three minutes) sounds similar to a bunch of other songs, such as Neil Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry” and The Standells “Dirty Water,” but that doesn’t make this less of a feel-good song for me.
Track #4: “Atomic Dog” George Clinton
Yep. “Atomic Dog.” This one failed to hit the Billboard Hot 100 by one position, even though it tore up the R&B charts. This song is nearly forty years old now and still makes me sing out loud. Bow-wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippie-yay!
Track #5: “Panama” Van Halen
Maybe it’s no longer fashionable to like Van Halen. I don’t know. But, I like this song. I almost went with “Hot For Teacher,” though.
Track #6: “Louie, Louie” The Kingsmen
Why not? It has to be The Kingsmen version, even though I was tempted to go with the Motorhead one. This song has been covered hundreds of times since, but the truth is it was a cover when The Kingsmen did it, too. I still don’t know the lyrics. Trivia: drummer Lynn Easton yells a particularly foul expletive at the 0:54 mark on the record, after dropping a drumstick. Listen: it’s still there.
Track #7: “You Really Got Me” The Kinks
This one has a similar energy to “Louie, Louie” with that driving electric guitar riff. And it’s another down-and-dirty short track. Maybe opening with an eight-minute song wasn’t such a bad thing.
Track #8: “Shook Me All Night Long” AC/DC
I could have used any of several AC/DC tracks with the same beat and energy. But, I’ve always loved this one. I’ve only recently been able to listen to it again after having it nearly ruined for me by Celine Dion.
Track #9: “Rock’n Me” Steve Miller Band
This one takes me back to the ’70s in that golden time before my life got really complicated. Since then, I’ve been to many of the places Steve names in the song. Parts of the song are definitely at least an homage to Free’s “All Right Now” (which will probably kick off side two when I get around to compiling it).
Track #10: “Brick House” The Commodores
Sometimes you just gotta funk it out. I prefer this to the softer side of Lionel Richie.
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I know I’m not going to be invited to DJ your next party. We are all products of our time. Set these songs up on your personal playlist and tell me if you just don’t feel better after listening to them.