Star/Track

STAR/TRACK - Producer, musician, songwriter and singer, Prince, died April 21, 2016 at the age of 57 years. He was one of the most important and successful recording artist of all time. He has #32 on this list.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

100 Most Important American Songs

 1. Introduction
 This is a list of Important American songs. The All Time Top 100 Most Important and Influential Songs.
(The 1.00 Most Important Popular American Recordings Of The Electrofied* Era) 1940 to the present
There is an index at the end for research purposes.  Comments and suggestions may be made following the index.

                                                                                                                                     
 2. Directory
      1. Introduction
        2. Directory
        3. Related Blogs
        4. Top 125 - 101
        5. Top 100
        6. Top 25 - With Video Links
        7. Electrofied Era
        8. About The List
        9. Index of Musical Contributors
        Comments are made at the very bottom of the blog.

3. Related Blogs - These may be of help and of interest

1. 100+ Top American Rock Standards
     A list of the Top 100 Rock Standards.  There are more than 250 Rock 'n' Roll Standards or "American Rock Standards" listed here. As the "Modern American Songbook" this is The Great American Rock Songbook
CLICK  100+ Top American Rock Standards







2. 100 American Pop Standards 
     A list of the Top 100 American Pop Standards. There are over 250 songs listed here as  traditional American Pop Standards.
CLICK  100 American Pop Standards 

Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, fountains dancing to an American Pop Standard.

  
3. Top 100 American Recording Artists  
 
Toni Braxton
Photo from Umusic
For more on this photo visit
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File
:Toni_Braxton_press_photo_2015.png
    These are the Top (All Time) 100+ American recording artists/stars. This is a listing of American musicians based on national, international and global popularity. Music sales, concert performances, Television, Radio, YouTube, Chart Performance, United States and World Populations, and Inflation Index all played a roll in development of this list.









4. Top 125 - 101    


 Note - Artists names printed in bold letters in the text passages indicate they have songs that made the list. Other artists whose names are printed in the text passages that are not in bold letters do not have songs on the list.


125. Just Dance by Lady Gaga - 2008
Lady Gaga on The Monster Ball Tour
Photo by loveyousave
This photo is from flickr and Wikimedia
      This song was Lady Gaga’s first hit. She has become one of the world’s biggest singing stars. She is not very inventive as the bulk of her music is a throw back to Donna Summer and Madonna. It has been labeled “Electropop”, Europop and Dance-pop. All are modern euphemisms for Disco. She has, however, ventured outside of her Disco zone.  The most notable example is the album with Pop Standard great Tony Bennett, “Check To Check”. This song makes the list solely on the strength of her Global popularity. There is hope she will do more in being creative in the future. Her willingness to explore Pop Standards gives some cause to believe she will take a more innovative approach to music. She has exceptional vocal talent.
  


124. Sherry by The Four Seasons – 1962
  This was a huge Doo Wop hit and the breakout song for Frankie Vali and The Four Seasons.  They would become one of America’s biggest Rock bands. They would transition from Doo Wop to straight Rock and then Disco. They influenced many artists to follow not the least of which was Billy Joel.  Their star power still shines in the form of the Global musical “Jersey Boys” which have casts performing on all the inhabited continents. The musical was made into a Clint Eastwood directed film. Frankie Vali lost most of his hearing during his career, but continued recording and performing inspiring other hearing impaired to follow him.
For more on Frankie Vali's disability visit the site below and scroll down to artist #6 on the list.
CLICK  Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans

123. You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi – 1986
     They have sales of over 100 million recordings making them one of the biggest recording acts of all time. Most artists make this list for merging and integrating music genres.  Bon Jovi makes it for the opposite.  They have had steady success as a Hard Rock band.  They have stayed true to the genre. They did one foray into Country Rock but for the most part have perfected the hard rock formula. NOTE – They have not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Photo by Doug Weber
Promotional sign of Britney Spears
performances at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas

122. Gimme More by Britney Spears – 2007
     This was her first hit by American composers. Her previous hits were closely linked to Sweden.. She has Displaying 20160407-SAM_2061.jpgbecome one of the world’s biggest stars with over 100 million recordings sold. Musically she is a direct descendant of Donna Summer and Disco. She has dabbled in fusing and experimenting with various Disco/Electronic Music sub-genres, one of the more notable being dubstep.

121.  The Piano Man by Billy Joel – 1973
     It was his first single and first hit. It became his “signature” song. As a singer/songwriter he has had a profound impact on many other artists. He was among the first Rockers from the West to perform inside the Soviet Union. He did so at his own expense losing at least one million dollars. It could be said he helped to put a crack in the Iron Curtain.

120. Conga – Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine - 1985
     It was her first mega hit. She has been a primary mover in integrating various Latin styles with various American musical styles. Another hit song of interest by her is the nearly carbon copy cover of the Disco hit by Vicki Sue Robinson, “Turn The Beat Around”.

119. What’s New by Linda Ronstadt – 1983
     The song dates back to 1939 and was from the album of the same name.   It is Ronstadt’s version which is important.  She was one of the founders of Country Rock and had a string of Rock hits before taking this dramatic turn.  She was the first Rocker to do a complete album of Pop Standards performed in the traditional Standard style. Other artists would follow, Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart, Michael Bolton, Barry Manilow, Lady Gaga and Donny Osmond.

118. Stand By Your Man by Tammy Wynette – 1968
     While there are three songs on this list, “You Don’t Own Me”,”Respect”, and “Put A Ring On It” witch call for men to be responsible to and respectful of women in relationships, this is the only song calling on women to do the same. Feminists have attacked this song, but others point out women are also responsible for holding together relationships and families. The song appears on numerous albums by Tammy Wynette, various hits compilations and the soundtrack to "Sleepless In Seattle". Other artists in multiple genres have recorded similar songs following her lead. Relationships require both parties to work at it and it is work. Country crossover artist Ronnie Milsap did an answer to the song "(I'm A) Stand By Your Woman Man".

117. I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones – 1978
     They are the only artist on this list that did not have a top 40 hit. They are best remembered as an album act.  These punk Rockers put Punk Rock on the map and at the same time they re-established the idea of Rock songs being three minutes or less. They used a basic Jazz concept in writing and recording music.  They took a riff and built a song around it in a jam session.  While they used this Jazz concept their music was not Jazz in the truest sense.

116. Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers – 1957
File:Everly Brothers.jpg
Cadence Record's publicity still
of The Everly Brothers is in
the Public Domain
The source is Wekimedia Commons
Library building used at Indiana State University
at the time the Everly Brothers were in school.
It is listed on National Register of Historic Places
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nyttend
     They dropped out of Indiana State University following the hits “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie”. They were the prototype for Country Rock. Linda Ronstadt, Rick Nelson and the Eagles would perfect the genre which has for the last thirty years dominated Country Music. The Everly's cut the groove for duos to follow, Simon & Garfunkel, Hall & Oates and others. They influenced the Beatles and paved the road for Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and others.
For more on this song visit 100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #66

115. What Have You Done For Me Lately by Janet Jackson – 1986
     This was a career establishing hit for her.  Some would dismiss her as being a female version of Michael.  No doubt he has influenced her, but she has spawned her own voice and attitudes.  She has mixed virtually every pop music genre in her songs Hard Rock to pure Disco.  She is more than a Donna Summer or Madonna copy cat.  Her music while strongly influenced by those two also takes on new political attitudes and female empowerment. She in turn has had a strong influence on the stars of the 21st. Century.

114. Evil Ways by Santana – 1969
     Their/his first hit. Carlos Santana is the heart, soul and brains of Santana which over the years has had several dozen musicians come and go. He has experimented with the mixing of Latin Rock with a variety of Rock sub-genres, notably Hard Rock. He makes the list based on his efforts to graft Latin Rock with Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock R&B and other musical art forms.

113, Through The Wire by Kanye West – 2003
      It was his first big hit making him a player in the music world.  He has added new dimensions to Rap/Hip Hop by folding in large doses of strings. West’s music steered away from “Gangster Rap” and the look at me “M.C.”. He introduced multiple subject matter and added introspection to the genre.  He has experimented with various forms of Rock. He, however, has an Achilles heel. His racist statements about a former President and anti-Semitic statement about Jews, multiple arrests for assault and blatant public displays of disrespect for other recording artists show a pattern of behavior which could end his career. If that was not enough in 2016 he announced he was over 50 million in debt.

112. All About That Bass by Megan Trainor – 2014
     It revives Doo Wop and at the same time blends Country, Reggie, Hip/Hop and R&B to create a successful hit.  The lyric content uses the metaphor of the Bass guitar. The bottom of the bass is large and bulky while the top is thin and long. The bottom bass representing bigger bottomed girls. Her song was about women accepting who and what they are rather than giving into societal norms. The idea being woman should have a positive self image despite general attitudes. Not everyone agreed with this interpretation and called the song anit-feminist. In the end it drew a lot of attention to women’s issues.

111. Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen – 1975
    It was trumpeted he was the new Elvis. He did become powerful in the music industry, but never came close to the standards set by Presley. He was unhappy with the over blown hype from Columbia Records.  Springsteen did have one thing over Presley. He could write great songs. He would write and sing of the common working man. Others like Billy Joel and John Mellencamp were doing the same. It was reflective of the angst the American worker was feeling with increased pressure from foreign competition. 
For more on Bruce Springsteen and the American working man and woman
CLICK  Top 100 Labor Day and American Workers Songs  see songs 56, 55, & 12

110. Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis – 1957
     It was one of the most important songs in defining Rock ‘n’ Roll and music of the Electrofied Era.  He blended Gospel, Country, Rockabilly, Blues and pure Rock to create this hard driving and controversial song of the era. His antics on stage and his relationships with woman off stage made Elvis look like a saint. This may have helped Elvis achieve a modicum of acceptance by adults, being the lesser of two evils, insuring the survival of Rock.
NOTE – Jerry Lee Lewis. “The Killer”. had two important cousins, Jimmy Swaggart a Gospel singer/Televangelist and Mickey Gilley an important Country Music artist.
For more on this song visit 100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #38





109. How Do I Live by LeAnn Rimes - 1997 
     This tune spent more than a year as one of America's most played on radio and one of its best selling singles.  Not since Chubby Checker's "The Twist" has there been a single with such staying power in the Electrofied Era. This song demonstrated the on going ability of Country artists to have huge crossover hits.

108. Don't Know Why by Norah Jones - 2002 
     The daughter of Ravi Shankar (Sitar virtuoso) has lived up to her pedigree.  She has brought "silk to sultry" in her songs. The great Jazz, R&B, and Torch Song singers of the 1940', 50's, and 60's would be pleased there is a voice out there carrying on their traditions. She blends all three. This song differs from most on our list in there is nothing new or innovative. She has reminded us mellow Jazz, slow jam Soul and Torch Songs are no more dead than Disco.  Long live those who bring about genre integration and resurrection.


107. My Name Is by Eminem – 1999
     This was not his first release, but it made him a star. He has been given the title “King of Hip-Hop”. In the 21st Century he has been a top selling artist. He is listed 83rd on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artist of All Time”, 79th. on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of All time, and 73 on “Top 100 American Recording Artists”. He has become a Global star. Some of the artists he has influenced are 50 Cent, Ed Sheeran, Denance, Usher, and Skylar Grey. There have been questions about his use of anti-gay rhetoric in his music and songs which seem to promote violence against women.
For more on Eminem CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists See artist 73 on the list


106. Enter Sandman by Metallica – 1991
     The song helped to propel this heavy metal band to Global recognition. Metallica is credited with being one of the founders of "Thrash” metal. The band was a prominent litigate against Napster, a free file sharing service. They along with fellow plaintiffs won. This effectively cut file sharing. Napster survived as a pay service and most others were put out of business.


105. Who’s Sorry Now by Connie Francis – 1957
     This 1923 “Pop Standard” performed as a Rock ballad by Francis launched her career. She had many Rock ‘n’ Roll hits, but she also recorded Country, Pop Standards, R&B and Jazz. She was the first Rock ‘n’ Roller to record albums in foreign languages. She internationalized American Rock music. Others followed her success putting Rock on a Global footing.
For more on Connie Francis Click
1. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist 24 on the list
2. Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans She is listed under Honorable Mention

104. We Are The World by U.S.A. for Africa – 1985
     U.S.A. For Africa collaboration is by many of the biggest recording artists of the Rock Era. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson composed the song. The stars were all Americans featuring Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Rogers, Bob Dylan, Kim Carnes, Steve Perry and many others. It did sell well raising millions for those suffering from drought and famine in East Africa. This song set the standard for others to follow, the most recent being “We Are The World 25 For Haiti”.


103. Tim McGraw by Taylor Swift - 2006
Taylor Swift in concert Speak Now tour 2011
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dephisticate/5960470769
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dephisticate
     Country singer, Tim McGraw, is mentioned in the song but it is really about her boy friend. She co-wrote this with fellow student Liz Rose when she was a freshman in High School. It was her first hit. She is now one of the world’s biggest stars. She blends Alternative Rock with Country Music and has straddled the line between Country and Pop/Rock. She is a powerhouse in the music business of the 21st. Century. She has taken on huge corporations, Apple and Spotify, to protect recording artist’s rights.





102. Jeremiah Peabody’s Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast-Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills by Ray Stevens – 1961
     This hit put the Country/Pop comedian, singer/songwriter on the map.  He has gone after religion “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex” and “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” also politicians “Obama Budget Plan”, "You Didn't Build That" and big business with this song and “Mr. Businessman”. Our song was the first to take a swipe at over the counter medications hawked on television. It took a dig at a growing drug problem hidden in the bathroom cabinet. It challenged the complicity of big business and the media in promising a cure for everything with a simple little pill.  While it was the first hit song to deal with drugs in the Rock Era it would not be the last. 


101. Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) by Beyonce - 2008  
     This song takes us back to the theme of  Lesley Gore's hit "You Don't Own Me" and Aretha Franklin's "Respect".  The song demands men respect women enough to marry them. It  promotes marriage when the divorce rate is at 50% and there are high numbers of moms who never married.  This song addressed a serious problem in our country.  If you want it, man up, be responsible, respect her, "Put A Ring On It." For a remixed video of "Single Ladies" scroll down to song #16 and click on the video- Beyonce vs Chubby Checker - "The Twist of Single Ladies".

5. Top 100


 100. Hey Ya by Outkast - 2003 
     This is one of the most popular songs of the 21st Century. The song is important for its fusion of musical genres. These Alternative Hip/Hop guys have blended Rock, Hip/hop, Disco/Dance and created a catchy tune that has helped shape the music of the early 21st Century. The Disco/Dance equation can be questioned, and is a stretch, but what sounds like a quirky rhythm still has a consistent and steady dance beat.  Here is a song that fits very comfortably into Rock, but certainly is flavored by other genres.


 99. Friends In Low Places by Garth Books - 1990 
     The most recognized song by Garth Brooks.  It has been claimed he is the biggest selling solo artist in history. What is important to understand is, who's counting, how they are counting, where they are counting, what they are counting  and the time frames involved in the count.  Selective counting is not complete nor accurate. Elvis Presley has global record sales around the one billion mark. The Beatles are in the same league, but Garth Brooks isn't. Over one half billion Elvis commemorative U.S. postage stamps have been sold making it the number one selling stamp of its kind in the United States. Then there is the matter of relative popularity.  Bing Crosby's and Frank Sinatra's time was when America had half the population it has today. When Elvis debuted the U.S. population was around 168 million and today the population is over 320 million. Crosby, Sinatra and Presley were much more influential in their time than Brooks has been in his time.  Brooks has yet to achieve the status of Elvis Presley internationally. During the Chilean mine disaster and rescue of 2010, the miners sang Elvis songs not Garth Books tunes. A park in Budapest, Hungry in 2011 was named after Elvis. More people travel to visit Graceland, Elvis' home, than any other home except the White House.  The White House is free, but you have to pay to see Graceland. Is anyone paying to see Garth's house? These events and others like them took place over 30 years after Presley's death. All this does not change the fact Garth Books may very well be the best selling County star of all time.  His songs and stage presence has had a lasting impact on modern Country Music. He is not the biggest American solo artist of all time but, he is still one of the most important.
For more on Garth Brooks visit
CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists
Scroll down to artist 31 on the list.

 98At Last by Etta James - 1961 

     This song became a standard of the last half of the 20th Century. It has been covered by a multitude of artists not the least of which is Beyonce.  The mixing of R&B, slow Soul and mellow Jazz made this song another in the American experience of integrating musical art forms.  As the Righteous Brothers sang in "Rock And  Roll Heaven", on Jan. 20, 2012 she has joined, "One Hell of a Band" and what a great addition.
For more on this song and artist CLICK
100 American Pop Standards


 97. I will Always Love You by Dolly Parton - 1974
     Dolly wrote the song, one of her biggest hits and was a giant hit for Whitney Houston. Houston hit it big in 1992  and again in 2012 as a global hit following her untimely death.  Houston's cover of the song demonstrated the bridge from country to Pop/Soul was a short one. This is something, Elvis Presley, Buddy HollyCarl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Little Richard, Chuck Barry and others understood.
For more on Whitney Houston CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists
Scroll down to artist 12 on the list.

96. Get Me To The World On Time by the Electric Prunes - 1966 - Video - Electric Prunes - Get Me To The World On Time
 45 rpm in sleeve of song by
The Electric Prunes
"Get Me To The World On Time
     This and their hit "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" diverged from folk rock psychedelic and veered into a harder rock sound.  While there was little innovation it had a pre-heavy metal feel. It can certainly be argued other bands were more influential or were more original.  Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, but it was how he put it together that mattered.  It is how the Electric Prunes put it together.





95. Cry by Johnny Ray - 1951
     VIDEO - Cry by Johnny Ray
     It may well be the very first “Power Ballad”. He sang with a loud powerful projecting voice on all of his songs.  This song is a true “Pop Standard”, but it foreshadowed the power vocal style of the Rock artist. Johnny was nearly deaf.  This explains his singing style which not only included power vocals but also distinctive syllable delivery. His singing style influenced many of the early Rockers. He pioneered for other hearing impaired to enter the music business or to stay in after losing their hearing.  Some of the great singers to follow in his footsteps are Frankie Vali(The Four Seasons), Ryan Adams,  Paul Stanley(Kiss), Michael Bolton, Brian Wilson(The Beach Boys) and others.
NOTE On the video notice his vocal delivery and the hearing aid in his left ear.
To learn more about Johnny Ray and the other hearing impaired singers 
CLICK Musicians With Disabilities Top 25 Americans
To learn about Johnny Ray’s death CLICK American Musicians Who Have Died From Drugs and Or Alcohol


 94. Only The Lonely by Roy Orbison – 1960
     This song threw out the traditional song structure of - verse – chorus – verse – chorus – bridge – verse – chorus. He wrote and performed songs many of which did not have a chorus or a bridge. This song had neither. Orbison also beat Elvis Presley (It’s Now Or Never) by just a few weeks to introducing a new song style to Rock, Operatic vocals. He blended Doo Wop Rock with a full orchestra, Electric instruments, Operatic vocals and revolutionary song structure to create a massive hit. Musicians and song writers who followed would utilize many of these same elements in their work. Note – Roy Orbison is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.


93. A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson - 2002
     First season winner of American Idol, wrote the playbook for those to follow on how to be successful following a reality competition show.  At a time when the music business is in disarray and suffering from declining sales based on a multitude of problems, she has succeeded. This was the song that propelled her career beyond American Idol.  This song has become a popular wedding song following in the footprints of "I Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis Presley and "We've Only Just Begun" by the Carpenters.

 92. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling by the Righteous Brothers - 1965
     One of the most played songs in American history.  It is a high example of the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" (echo/reverb effects) recording technique. Spector also co-wrote the song with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The death of Bobby Hatfield in 2003,  from a drug overdose, at Kalamazoo, MI. ended the Righteous Brothers. Bill Medley still performs solo and with his daughter Mckenna Medley. The Righteous Brothers became the face and the definition of "Blue Eyed Soul". From its release to now it has been a favorite on radio and is a Pop Standards of the Electrofied Era. The song has been covered by a variety of artists including Elvis Presley and Hall & Oates. Ironically wedding DJ's (Mobile DJ's) will tell you it still is requested at wedding receptions  In the words of Jerry Lee Lewis, "Think about it darlin'".

 91. From A Distance by Bette Midler - 1990 
      The anti-war anthem of the first Gulf War.  There was a subdued anti-war voice, but this song gave voice to those opposed to the nation's ( Bush I) actions in the Persian Gulf.  The war was so quickly over, there was little time to mount a massive national anti-war movement.


 90. Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning) by Alan Jackson - 2002 
     This song touched the hearts and soul of Americans still reeling from 9/11 and its impact on the nation.  There were many other songs that dealt with the pain and anger but this one stood above the rest.

 89. Shuttin' Detroit Down by John Rich - 2009 
     A song focused on the working man's frustration with government's (Obama administration) failure to stop job loss and the exporting of American jobs. The worker was caught up in the whirlpool of big money, import/export laws, global competition and governmental failures.  Like the anti-war songs of the Vietnam era it is a cry for the President's and the national government's attention. The loss of American jobs does not begin or end with the government.  Manufacturers buy components made in China, the neighbor buys a car made in Korea or another neighbor buys a bedroom set made in Mexico, it is all outsourcing.  This song put a national voice to the fears and frustrations of the worker who sees his families future shipped overseas by indifferent corporations, by Americans who buy foreign and don't care, and by a government that is impotent or fails to act. 
For more on this song CLICK
Top 100 Labor Day and American Workers Songs  see song 22


 88. Abraham, Martin & John by Dion - 1968
     There is nothing new here, but it was reflective of the era. In 1963 Connie Francis released "In The Summer Of His Years" a song that was a cross between a funeral dirge, a Western song and a march. It was about the Assassination of President Kennedy.  The 1960's was a time of upheaval and the assassinations of Pres. John Kennedy, Sen. Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and the often over looked attempted assassination of presidential candidate George Wallace. The country was divided over the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement.  Dion's song tone not only dealt with the nation's grief over the loss of its leaders, but it mirrored the sorrow the nation felt for the loss of the feeling of "one nation under God, indivisible".
For more on this song CLICK
Top 100 (United States) songs of American Patriotism see song 50


 87. You Light Up My Life by Debbie Boone - 1977 
     She is the daughter of Pat Boone and is a descendant of American frontiersman, Daniel Boone. It was one of the biggest hits of the 1970s and was a crossover from Christian radio to Pop radio.  It demonstrated clearly Christian music and artists were a force to be dealt with in the music world. It has been covered by many artists but LeAnn Rimes has perhaps the best of the lot.
For more on this artist and song CLICK
100 American Pop Standards see song 49.


 86. Hot Stuff by Donna Summer - 1979 
     This song blended the power of harder edged Rock with strong R&B vocals and a touch of Euro-disco.  Donna continued to record and in 2008 she released the LP "Crayons" which on one hand shows her strong Disco roots and on the other shows her versatility. Donna Summer paved the way for Madonna, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga and a host of others. In 2015 this song was featured in the film "The Martian".
For more on Donna Summer visit
CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists 
Scroll down to artist 36 on the list.

 85. Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley - 1957
     
It is one of the biggest Christmas songs of the 20th. Century and remains an annual favorite and best seller. When listening to the song notice the Doo Wop influence on the song. Other songs off the album showcased the impact of blues on Elvis and Rock 'n' Roll. This song was the initial Rock Era response to the Pop Standard  "White Christmas". Evan the King of Rock 'n' Roll could not overtake Bing Crosby''s hit.

For more on Elvis Presley visit
CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  
Scroll down to artist 1 on the list.


 84. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana - 1991
     Continuing the tradition The Ventures established in the Seattle area, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana took an existing Rock art form and popularized a new variation on it.  The Ventures (early Surf Music) and Nirvana (Grunge Rock) both added a new dimension to Rock 'n' Roll.  Nirvana's mixture of several popular music forms and their styling helped to bring about Grunge Rock. Any musical art form must change and evolve with the times to remain relevant. Kurt's death, in April of 1994, due to alleged suicide, possibly related to his drug problem, effectively ended Nirvana's creative spirit


 83. Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding - 1968 
     One of the most acclaimed songs of the Electorfied Era, If not the most.  It has become a Pop Standard of the last half of the 20th. Century. Some have called Redding the King of Soul.  That is very debatable, but nonetheless shows how high he is held in the eyes of many.
For more on this song and artist CLICK
1.  100 American Pop Standards
2.  100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #78



 82. Crazy by Patsy Cline 1961   
File:Patsy-Cline-Coal-Miners-Daugh-466342.jpg

This photo of Patsy Cline was a Decca Records
publicity still and is in the Public Domain
The source is Wikimedia Commons and
 http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=466342
     Pinned by Willie Nelson, this song was perfect for the vocal talents of Patsy Cline. This belies the often stereotyped Country songs of double wide trailers, pickup trucks and lost or dead dogs. Gone are the whining vocals, and the twang so associated with country. It is truly one of the great recorded songs of the 20th. Century. This song and Patsy Cline were influenced by the Rock Ballad and the Torch Ballad. It makes the list based on its enduring popularity, quality in recording, musicianship and it challenges the demeaning stereotype of Country Music.
for more on this song and artist CLICK 100 American Pop Standards see song 143


 81. The Ballad of The Green Berets by SSgt.Barry Sadler - 1966 
       By any standard it was a monster hit and was an answer to the anti-war (Vietnam) songs of the era.  There were other pro Vietnam involvement songs most notably Pat Boone's "Wish You Were Here Buddy" and Victor Lundberg's "Open Letter To My Teenage Son" but none as popular as Barry Sadler's hit. This conservative song demonstrated even in the liberal leaning music industry there is room for alternative thinking. It, along with the liberal anti-war songs of the era, reflected the divided nature of the American nation at the time.
For more on this song CLICK
1.  Top 100 (United States) songs of American Patriotism see song 22
2.  Top 100 Labor Day and American Workers Songs  see song 11

 80. Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - 1961
     Since it's release it has remained a standard for wedding receptions by mobile DJ's and is considered by many as the first wedding standard of the Electrofied Era. It says it all about love and is perfect for the Bride/Groom dance. This is, "The song that launched a million marriages". It was from the film "Blue Hawaii". The song has appeared in numerous other films including "Fools Rush In," and "Coyote Ugly",  A multitude of artists including UB40, Anne Murry, Andy Williams and Barry Manilow have covered it..

For more on this song and artist CLICK 100 American Pop Standards see song 8.


 79. One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men - 1995 
     One of the most popular songs of the Electrofied Era and solidified Mariah Carey as one of the most popular female performers of the era. This song was not only a monster hit in the United States, like Cher's "Believe' and Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation", it was a global hit.
For more on Mariah Carey Click  Top 100 American Recording Artists  
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 78. A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley vs "Junkie" XL - 2002 - A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley ''vs' JXL 
     This song was mixed and released 25 years after the death of Elvis.  It epitomizes the technological revolution of the "Electrofied Era".  The new mix and electronic special effects allowed for a fresh contemporary sound of the 1968 song. The original recording had a near Hip/Hop sound. "Junkie" gave it a Dance/Hip/Hop sound.  The song's global popularity was greater than it was in Elvis' home country.  The fact a substantial number of it's sales were digital downloads adds to the importance of this "Electrofied Era" hit. The song's promotion used television, internet advertising, motion pictures, extensive radio and television air play. Internet distribution and play helped in propelling it to international success. It was used in numerous television shows, plus it was the theme song for the TV series "Las Vegas".  It is truly a tour-de-force of the Electrofied Era. This song represents the strengths and weaknesses of the music industry.  It clearly points to the record companies abilities of product development and promotion  At the same time it shows how record companies may become less important with Internet distribution and sales. It, along with other songs selling off the Internet, point to the demise of the record store. As Bob Dylan wrote, "The times they are a changin". It should be pointed out "Junkie" is not American but the song, Elvis, and nearly all the performers are American. It set the stage for the remixed CD "Viva Elvis the Album". The Latin inspired "Bosa Nova Baby" was remixed for the album and was featured in the hit film "No-Strings Attached".
For more on Elvis Presley CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  
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 77. "A" - You're Adorable by Perry Como - 1949 
     It's debatable as to what was the first commercially successful 45 rpm recording.  This is an early release by RCA, developers of the 45 rpm, by Perry
Perry Como in front of TV camera.
Photo by Walter Albertin of the
New York World-Telegram and is
part of the Library of Congress.
cph.3c23481.
Como. He was an outstanding pop singer of the time and continued to have big hits into the 1970's. His recordings sell yet today. He pioneered the TV Musical Variety Show.  He more than any other artist helped to launch 45 rpm. records and record players.  The older 78 rpm records were brittle in comparison. The 45 rpm made music affordable, and propelled the single into a more prominent position. This helped the rise of Rock 'n' Roll.  Albums were too expensive for teens, but 45 singles were affordable. Perry Como made the new 45 rpm acceptable to adults. Elvis Presley, who joined RCA in the mid 1950's, made them acceptable to the teens. Como and Presley together guaranteed its success. The 45 has long since passed its day, but without it, Rock, Soul, and Disco would not be as big as they are.



 76. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynard - 1974
     One of the best blend's of Folk Rock, Country and Hard Rock.  They expanded on what Rick NelsonThe Eagles and others had done with Country Rock.  They gave it a harder edge and a more controversial flavor. The band has been plagued by tragedy. Car accidents and a plane crash stunted the creative abilities of the band. Some country artists and enthusiasts have refereed to the blending of Country and Rock as a "Crock" . The fact detractors speak to the issue serves to show what Rick Nelson, The Eagles and Lynyrd Skynard achieved in adding a new dimension to Country music and Rock.

 75. Believe by Cher - 1998
    Yes, DISCO is dead - Not!  This song makes the list on several counts.  It was Cher's biggest hit.  Cher, a Rock 'n' Roll icon going back to the mid 1960's as part of Sonny & Cher, recorded "Believe" mixing new technology and Disco/Dance rhythms.  It also shows Disco/Dance music was far from dead. This was also a global hit.  In terms of technology it employed the "auto-tune"  software used in recording studios to guarantee perfect pitch for singers.  In this case it was also used to create the synthetic sounding voice of Cher.  This was the first huge hit to use this technology in this manner. By the second decade of the 21st. century various artist had used it but, T-Pain had made it his trade mark. For more on Cher Click
1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #6.
2. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #28


 74. Cherry Bomb by the Runaways - 1976 
     Like the The Ventures, this group is more popular in Japan than in the United States.  This song was a breakout hit for the group overseas.  This was the first successful all girl Punk/Hard Rock band.  It was not revolutionary but evolutionary in the progress of women in the Electrofied Era and the Rock Era. Brenda Lee, Lesley Gore, The Supremes and others had already pioneered female artists in the Rock Era. The Runaways paved the way for the Bangles, the Go Go's and others who followed. They were not a singing group (The Supremes) they were a band who played their instruments and sang. Several of the members would go on to have successful careers after the band's breakup.  Joan Jett formed Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (I Love Rock 'n' Roll), Micki Steele became a member of the 80's all girl band, The Bangles (Manic Monday), Lita Ford had some success as a solo artist (Kiss Me Deadly), and Cherie Currie was involved in the making of the 2010 film "The Runaways". The film was based on Currie's book, Neon Angel, A Memoir of a Runaway.


 73.  Chameleon by Herbie Hancock - 1974 
     Leading pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards.  He also was a master at fusing different genres to enliven Jazz and to give it a more contemporary relevance. This song did all of the above.


 72. Take It Easy by the Eagles - 1972 
     This hit launched the Eagles.  They brought to fruition what Rick Nelson (Randy Miesner was in his band), Linda Ronstadt (Glenn Frey and Don Henley were in her band) and others were doing in the creation of a "Country Rock" genre.  The work of Nelson, Ronstadt and, most importantly, The Eagles would change "Country Music" and influence "Rock".

71. Blowin' In The Wind by Peter Paul And Mary - 1963
    A 1960's  Anti-war (Vietnam) and Civil Rights anthem.  Written by folk/rock singer/song writer Bob Dylan. This and other songs like it gave voice to anti-war and anti-draft protesters who were opposed to intervention in Southeast Asia. The nation was deeply and bitterly divided over the war.

 70. Rocket by Herbbie Hancock - 1983 
     This song brought "Scratching" to the ears of the music community beyond the Disco/Dance, Hip/Hop and Rap worlds.  This Jazz musician gave scratching credibility and expanded the use of turntables as a musical instrument. Disco has been relabeled as Electronic Music.  This song was an early Disco/Electronic Music masterpiece, combining Disco, Jazz and electronic technology.


 69. Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A. - 1989 
     One of the Gangster Rap songs that defined the movement in the late 80's and early nineties. Gangster Rap has gotten a well deserved bad rap (pun intended) for the lyrical content of many of the songs.  The music on the other hand has merit.  N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes/Niggas With Attitude) certainly does not help when it comes to image building for Americans of African decent.  The force, anger and music content can not or should not be ignored.  Gangster Rap lyrics are often degrading, racist, full of demagoguery, profanity, hate and sexism. It was and still is an influential force on the music scene.  It is a voice of the most disturbed, self disenfranchised, and despairing in the darkest corners of the inner cities of America. Like Fort Scott, Kansas native, Gordon Parks, who was a pioneer in Blaxploitation films (Shaft) these guys were pioneers in Blaxploitation Rap. The sad fact about Gangster Rap is it has tarnished the image of all Rap. Unfortunately there are many out there unable or unwilling to differentiate between the various sub genres within Rap music.  The death of Easy E to Aids has only added fuel to the fire of those who hate Rap. Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Easy E, and Ice Cube would emerge from the group as successful solo artists and or music producers who were influential in their own right.


 68. Mack The Knife by Bobby Darin - 1959 
     By the time this song hit the airways Rock 'n" Roll had, for nearly five years, been doing a consistent and effective assault on the traditional Pop Standard style of music.  Pop Standards had essentially been chased from the airways of the most popular radio stations in United States.  Bobby Darin had Rock hits with "Queen Of The Hop" and "Splish Splash" and was a Rock star and teen idol.  This song marked a sudden change in style.  It was a Pop Standard style of song.  Other artists were still having hits using this style of music, but for a Rock artist to do one was like "Man bites dog".  Frank Sinatra's influence on Darin was stamped all over this song. Others by Darin. "Up A Lazy River", and "Beyond The Sea" would follow. Ray Charles, Paul Anka, and others explored mixing traditional Pop Standard styling with Rock, Country, Soul and other genres. It proved proclaiming the death of Pop Standard music was premature. This song and others Darin recorded made it possible for Linda Ronstadt to record the Standards album "Whats New".  That in turn lead to other artist of the Rock era doing the same.
For more on Bobby Darin CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #55


 67. Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino - 1956 
     This is a fine example of what American music is all about.  Fats took a Pop Standard from 1940, mixed it with R&B, threw in a small dash of Cajun, added a good helping of early Rock and bingo he had a blockbuster hit.  Blueberry Hill, was not Fats first hit.  He had a big seller in 1949, "The Fat Man".  Some have argued, and I stand with them, it was in fact the first Rock "n" Roll recording. Fats was one of the most influential artists of the Electrofied Era. The Beatles have said Fats Domino was an influence in some of their music plus Rick Nelson, Pat Boone and the Four Seasons have all covered songs by Domino.  It has been said, when Ernest Evans who was looking for a stage name, he came to Chubby Checker through a convoluted process. In the end it was a take off on Fats Domino's name
For more on this song and artist CLICK 100 Top American Pop Standards see song 112.
For more on Fats Domino CLICK
1.  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #19
2.  100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #9



 66. Maybellene by Chuck Berry - 1955 
Chuck Barry
For more on this photo visit
https://commons.wikimedia.org/
wiki/File:Chuck_Berry_1971.JPG
     An early Rock 'n' Roll recording that propelled Chuck Berry to national fame.  This song and others by him would help to define Rock 'n' Roll.  Chuck Berry, like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and others, would also define what rock entertainers would look  (Chuck Berry's duck walk) and act like on stage. Early rockers influenced each other and Chuck influenced Elvis Presley, The Beatles and others to follow.
For more on Chuck Berry CLIC
1. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #95
2. 100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #52


 65 Blue Suede Shoes by Carl Perkins - 1956 

     Believed to be the first song of the Electrofied Era to find great success on R&B, Country and Pop radio. Considered to be one of the first great rockabilly hits. It has become a rock standard covered by many artists not the least of which is Elvis Presley. Perkins influenced artist here in the U.S. and in Great Britain.
For more on this song visit 100+ Top American Rock Standards  
See song #17


 64. Vision Of Love by Mariah Carey - 1990 - Video - Vision Of Love by Mariah Carey

     This song propelled her to the top as a new voice on the music scene. She would become one of the most popular female artists of the era.
For more on Mariah Carey Click  Top 100 American Recording Artists  
Scroll down to artist 5 on the list.


63. When You Dance by The Turbans - 1955 - Video - When You Dance by the Turbans
     It can be argued it was not the first "Doo Wop" recording. It was the first one to achieve national popularity.  It helped establish the art form even though the art form went nameless until the 1960's when it was dubbed Doo Wop.  This recording used the actual phrase "Doo Wop" in it."Doo Wop" produced some of the biggest recording artists of Electrified Era.Dion &The Belmonts, The Four Seasons, Chubby Checker, The Tokens, The Drifters, Bobby Rydell, The Platters, The Coasters, The Chords, The Diamonds and The Marcels were just some of the big names to emerge from Doo Wop. Elvis Presley and The Jordanaires recorded several songs with strong Doo Wop ties. Vocal styling imitating musical instruments was not new.  In the 30's and 40's Scat had been very popular and was usually sung by the lead vocalist. It was also used by the group Aerosmith in their hit song "Rag Doll".  In Doo Wop it is usually the role of the backup singers to mimic various  sounds (machinery, cars, animals, etc.)  and instruments. Like Scat, Doo Wop would influence vocal instrumentation mimicry of art forms to follow such as Beat Box. By 1980 some were saying Doo Wop was dead. Billy Joel then destroyed that idea by having a string of Doo Wop Hits, "Uptown Girl", "Tell Her About It", and "For The Longest Time". In the late 80's The Tokens released "Re Doo Wop" an album that fused Doo Wop and Disco/Dance. In 1992 Boyz II Men had a monster hit "In The Still Of The Night" that was pure Doo Wop.  Other artists still record Doo Wop. It remains an influence in popular music. The recent film "The Dukes" also illustrate Doo Wop is alive and well. In 2014 Meghan Trainor hit big with the Doo Wop influenced hits "All About That Bass" and "Dear Future Husband". Bruno Mars released an album titled "Doo Wop and Hooligans" in 2010 which was little more than a tipping of the hat at Doo Wop.  The song "The Other Side" used Doo Wop fused with several musical styles. There were a few other songs on the LP that used minimal Doo Wop styling. The 21at. Century U.K. group The Overtones has also had success doing Doo Wop.

 62. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson - 1979

    The song rebooted Michael's career. This song and the album it was from marked a turning point in his career and musical style. The music was heavily influenced by the Disco Era.  Two years after the death of Elvis Presley, Michael was back bigger than ever.  Michael and Elvis because of their out sized popularity found it increasingly difficult to go out in public.  Both men also took on odd behavior and surrounded themselves with a live in entourage. Both men had premature deaths attributed to alleged  misuse of drugs.  In both instances it has been alleged doctors were involved in the administering and prescribing of drugs.  Both men's lives ended in tragedy.
For more on Michael Jackson Click
1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #2
2. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #4

 61. Please, Please, Please by James Brown - 1956 

     James Brown's first important recording.  He rerecorded it several times and it was re-released over the years as a single and album cut. It foreshadowed the "James Brown Sound" and the future of Soul Music. It appears twice in truncated versions on one of the best early modern Soul Music albums, "James Brown 'Live' At The Apollo".  James Brown's unique sound and delivery helped to bring to an end the homogenized and pasteurized White performers covers of R&B artists hit songs. Elvis Presley and other White artists continued to record R&B songs but shied away from covering the Motown stable, James Brown and others. With the advent of Rap, songs by Brown would become a staple for Sampling.
For more on James Brown CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #7

 60. Holiday by Madonna - 1983 

     Madonna has been called the Queen Of Pop (Who would dare call her the Queen of Disco/Dance Music). This song was her first huge hit.  Most of her hits have been Disco/Dance oriented. She has changed her material content and sound over the years but has remained in the Disco/Dance camp.  It is career and pop culture wise not good to be identified with the word, Disco.  Madonna and her business associates have made the effort to avoid the word Disco, but the the music still tells the story.  She has become one of the most successful recording artists of all time. She has used explicit sexual imagery both on and off recordings to help drive her career and push the discussion on human sexuality.  She owes much to Donna Summer.  Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and others owe both Donna Summer and Madonna much for setting the stage.
For more on Madonna CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #3

 59. Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody by Aretha Franklin - 1961 

      This song brought her to the nation's attention beyond just R&B radio stations.  It helped to solidify her as a star and laid the foundation for her to become the "Queen Of Soul." Her strong roots tied to Gospel and Rhythm and Blues gave her the foundation to become one of Americas leading ladies of music. Her influence on American female performers of all races is astronomical. Her musical styling has influenced R&B, Rock and even Country. To say she is the "Queen Of Soul" is just the icing on the cake.  There is lot more substance under the icing.
For more on Aretha Franklin CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #9

 58. Heroin by The Velvet Underground - 1967

     This album oriented band was perhaps the first voice of the Rock 'n' Roll generation of musicians to deal with issues beyond basic teenage interests.  Technically they were at times on the cutting edge of the use of electronics and sound amplification. They used electronic special effects to impart the meaning of the songs.  The lyrics of their songs dealt with issues of a mature nature on several levels. Because of the subject matter of their songs and the highly explosive, electrically charged presentation they were a controversial band from the beginning.  They influenced several rock sub-genres, Punk, Metal, Alternative and others. Like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and others, their music ignored the Iron Curtain and permeated Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R. with the sounds of individual expression and free thought.  The Soviets feared and loathed Elvis and all who followed.  The Velvet Underground and their Soviet block imitators served to expand the cultural undermining of the Communist states.

 57. Paid In  Full by Eric B and Rakim - 1987 

     Perhaps the greatest MC of all time Rakim Allah has influenced dozens of other Hip Hop artists. This duo of MC/DJ was cutting edge for their genre and helped to establish Hip/Hop - Rap as a dominate musical art form.  Rap may have passed its hay day, but like Disco its is not dying nor is is by any means dead. Like any art form past its hay day it will continue to have its peaks and valleys.  It will continue to influence other styles and genres of music This duo was a dominate player in defining the genre.  This song guaranteed their status as big league players.

  56. Don't Worry by Marty Robbins - 1961

     The first use of the "fuzz guitar" sound that achieved commercial and national chart success. The guitar solo is where you will hear this effect. The Ventures and others would later do albums featuring the "fuzz guitar" sound. In 1962 the Ventures and Red Rhodes used a device (fuzz Box) designed to create the "fuzz" sound. Previous recordings including "Don't Worry" had the sound as a result of damaged amps or faulty studio equipment. Marty Robins was one of "Country Music's" biggest stars. He may well have been the last of the great "Country and Western" artists following in the footsteps of Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, and Gene Autry. Songs such as "El Paso", "Big Iron", and others carried on the declining Western Music. While detractors of Disco and Swing prematurely trumpeted their deaths Western Music seems to have quietly lapsed into a comatose state.  If it is not dead then it is on life support. As long as there are people recording and listening to the art form, it is alive. Marty Robbins was also a nationally recognized NASCAR driver.

 55. Sh-Boom by the Chords - 1954 

     Like "Rocket 88" and "The Fat Man" it has been acclaimed as the first Rock 'n' Roll recording. Unlike "Rocket 88" and "The Fat Man" it crossed over from the R&B radio to pop radio.  Doo Wop/Rock had its first true national hit. This song made the transition from what was called "Race Music" to Pop Music.  The fact comedian/singer Stan Freberg did a parody of the song was recognition of its crossover success. It was a watershed hit and marked the beginning of the emergence of a new style of music on the national stage.

 54. Star Collector by the Monkees - 1967

     This song is a stand in for the album "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones LTD"  The album was a smash hit and featured Davy Jones on the Moog Synthesiser.  It was the first time this electronic instrument was used with such success.  The Beatles, Stones and others would quickly follow. The synthesiser would become a vital tool in the emergence of Disco/Dance music/Electronic Music and still plays a part.

 53. A Big Hunk Of Love by Elvis Presley - 1959 - Video - Big Hunk Of Love (Original recording)

     The last giant hard rock hit before payola nearly killed the genre.  Elvis's hit  song "Burning Love" has been called a poor caricature of this song. This along with Elvis's "Jailhouse Rock" and several songs by Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Ronnie Hawkins  and others were pushing Rock to a harder edge. It can be argued this was not Hard Rock, but there is no doubt it was on the cutting edge of Rock music. It was these hard driving instrumentation's and sharp edged vocals that helped to motivate the payola investigations. Politicians and others could not believe these songs could become popular on their own without payoffs to important DJ's and program managers at popular radio stations across the nation. As a result of the scandal the music of Elvis and others became syrupy pop pablum for several years.
For more on Elvis Presley CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  
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 52. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson - 1983 - Video - Billy Jean by Michael Jackson
     This song was an early music video favorite.  Michael basically wrote the book on how to do a music video.  Some can put forth a strong argument "Beat It" or "Thriller' are more deserving.  This was chosen because it was the first mega hit for him coupled to a music video. He set the standard for production quality from the filming to the choreography. Some purists will point to Elvis Presley's footage from "Jailhouse Rock" as the first real music video.  Some will make the argument Ricky (Rick) Nelson's "Traveling Man" on the Ozzie & Harriet Show was the first real music video. Others will say the music video goes back to the first talking (Talkie) motion picture "The Jazz Singer" (1927) staring Al Jolson.  There are those who will dismiss the songs in the "Jazz Singer" due to the fact the singer is performing in black face (minstrel show) and today is politically incorrect.  It does not change the musical talent involved or the technological breakthrough and thus should not be dismissed.  So, you ask why "Billie Jean" and Michael Jackson?  This was made specifically for the purpose of promoting a song on the new MTV cable channel and in disco-techs.  It was not the first music video, nor was it the best, but it was the first big music video by the artist that came to define what a music video should be.
For more on Michael Jackson Click
1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #2
2. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #4

 51. Where Did Our Love Go by the Supremes - 1964

     The hit that put them on the map.  They would go on to be America's top female vocal group.  Their success would influence other female acts. Broadway shows and motion pictures would be made about them or inspired because of them.  Diana Ross would go on to have an important solo career.  They helped to keep Motown an important force in the music industry through the 1960's and into the 1970's setting standards for modern Soul, Rock, and Pop music.
For more on Diana Ross & The Supremes visit  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #16

 50. Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan - 1965 

     Not his first hit, but the one that truly captured the nation's attention.  It solidified him as one of the rising stars in the "Folk Rock" genre.  He would become one of the most influential recording artists of the 20th Century based primarily on his song writing abilities, certainly not on his vocal talents. He became the voice for the counter culture of the 1960's and 1970's. In 2016 he won the Noble Prize in Literature creating a controversy over whether song lyrics should be elevated to the same level as traditional prose and poetry.   His son Jacob Dylan is the primary force and front man for The Wallflowers.

 49. The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens - 1961 

     An African folk tale recorded by an American Doo Wop group using European instrumentation was and is the epitome of what America is all about.  This remains one of the finest examples of the commingling of American subcultures, artistic styles and the broad spectrum of American interests.  An unlikely hit, its unique blending of African, European and American musical art forms created a song that has repeatedly gained popularity over the years. The Tokens helped to launch the career of Neil Sedaka. He left the group before they recorded "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". In the 1980's they would experiment with blending Doo Wop and Disco in creating their album "Re-Doo Wop".

 48. Make Me Smile by Chicago - 1970 

     The first really big hit by Chicago.  It brought the group to the nation's attention.  This group with its brass had a strong Jazz sound and this song came from a "suite" which was greatly influenced by classical music.  Their blending of classical, Jazz, and Rock gave them a different sound and as a result became one of the most successful recording acts of the 20th. Century.  They continued to push the jazz influence on Pop and Rock music. Their cover version of the song "Sing Sing Sing"  is a fine example of their willingness to experiment.  They used Swing Jazz, Latin rhythms, and Rock to create a unique sound.

 47. Pride And Joy by Marvin Gaye - 1963 

     The fist really big crossover hit that brought him to national prominence.  As a member of the Motown stable of artists had a huge influence on Pop and Soul music of the sixties and seventies. He was mortally wounded by his father a little over a year following his 1982-83 hit song "Sexual Healing". The song "Pride and Joy" started a a national career which took Gaye from Soul to Psychedelic Soul to Disco and songs of political commentary.  This song opened the door for a musical genius.  His life and career were troubled with drugs and extra martial affairs ending in a tragic death.  Much of his music reflected the turmoil and joy within his life.
For more on Marvin Gaye CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #11

 46. Ain't That A Shame by Pat Boone - 1955 

     It certainly can be said Fats Domino's version was superior, but it was Boone's cover of this song that put him on the map.  Pat Boone would become the wholesome voice of Rock "n" Roll and would lay the ground work for Christian Rock  His daughter Debbie Boone would become one the nation's leading "Christan" recording artists.
For more on Pat Boone CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #10

 45. Runaway by Del Shanon - 1961 - Video - Runaway by Del Shannon

    This song was a massive hit  and has appeared in several movies the most famous was "American Graffiti."  It makes the list because of the use of the Clavioline, an early electronic keyboard.   It was not new at the time, but this was the first time it was used with such success. Max Crook was the keyboardist and he did sound experimenting and came up with what he called the Musitron, a distinct variant of the Clavioline.  It was an early precursor to the synthesizer.  The unique keyboard sound (instrumental bridge) in this song is one of the reasons it became such a big hit.
For more on this song visit 100+ Top American Rock Standards  
See song #99


 44. Spirit In The Sky by Norman Greenbaum - 1970
    
Jewish singer/song writer Norman Greenbaum penned and recorded this psychedelic Christian Rock song  It has continued to appear in motion pictures and television shows decades later.  The guitar work in the song is some of the most unique found in recordings of the early 1970's and beyond. This song helped to pave the way for the Christian Hard Rock/Christian Rock" artists to follow.


 43. The Message by Grandmaster Flash - 1982 

     He was a leading developer of Scratching and the use of other DJ techniques in recording. As an innovator and perfectionist he turned the turntables into an instrument.  He was a pioneer in the early years of Rap.  Along with The Sugerhill Gang.  Grandmaster Flash laid the foundation of Rap so the likes of Run DMC, N.W.A., and Eric B and Rakim could build and expand the frame work of the genre.  This song made it all possible.

 42. Love To Love You Baby by Donna Summer - 1975

     The song set Donna on the path to becoming the Queen Of Disco.  She was an international star with strong ties to Europe (Germany) which had an important influence on her styling.  As an American working in Europe she brought back to the United States European ideas of Disco.  This song was the first of many that would show the multi-faceted musical interests she had. Not since the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" had a song stirred such controversy.  She pushed the erotic nature of this song to the limit. The moaning in it presented the feeling of a women in orgasmic delight. This song would influence vocal interpretations by other artists most notably, Madonna. Its a love or hate kind of song depending on your point of view, but it remains one of the most important songs of the last half of the 20th Century.
For more on Donna Summer CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists 
Scroll down to artist 36 on the list.

 41. Walk This Way by Run DMC - 1986 -   Video - Walk This Way by Run DMC
     This hit song brought this highly influential and pioneering Rap group to the attention of people who did not follow Rap or Urban music. Rap artists, Run DMC, with members of Hard Rock band, Aerosmith, cut this truly American song. This song stands on its own merits in it fused Rap with Hard Rock. What has been an important part of the Electrofied Era has been the mingling of different musical genres to create entirely new genres or musical interpretations. This song is one in another of the steps of the integration of ethnic and cultural blending  to create uniquely American music.

 40. Tutti Frutti by Little Richard - 1956 

     His first big hit. This and the hit songs to follow helped to define early Rock 'n' Roll and his vocals were the precursor to the Hard Rock vocalists to follow.  His antics on stage with those of Jerry Lee Lewis and the sexual grinding of Elvis Presley would come to define the rock star performance on stage.
For more on this song visit 100+ Top American Rock Standards 
See song #61

 39. Lovesick Blues by Hank Williams - 1949
  
   His first song to become a major hit.  In many ways he set the stage for the rockabilly artists to follow. His music foreshadowed modern country and all it would mean to the creation of Rock 'n' Roll. His son, Hank Williams Jr., has been a important force in modern County. 

For more on Hank Williams click
Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #16.

 38. I Can''t Stop Loving You by Ray Charles - 1962 

     This was not Ray's first Country song (I'm Movin' On - 1959) that was a hit for him, but it was his biggest.  Ray recorded a lot of Country with a strong blend of the Pop Standard sound fused with his own soulful feel. He recorded many country songs such as "You Don't Know Me" and "Your Cheatin' Heart". In the Pop Standard vein he recorded "Cry", "Come Rain Or Come Shine", "Georgia On My Mind", and many more. His willingness to do "Pop Standards" most likely dates back to his early career when he openly imitated the great Nat King Cole.  Ray's blending of the Pop Standard sound with Country and the adding of his own soulful blues created dynamic songs whether they were of "Country " origins, "Pop Standards" or originals by Ray. Like Frank Sinatra, Ray influenced Bobby Darin.  When Darin recorded "You're The Reason I'm Living" he was clearly looking back at "I Can't Stop Loving You". As a totally blind entertainer he helped to open the door for Stevie Wonder, Ronnie Milsap and others with a visual impairment. For more on Ray Charles Click 
1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #3.
2. Top 40 Blind and Visually Impaired American Musicians
3. 100 American Pop Standards

 37. She Belongs To Me by Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band - 1969 - . Video - She Belongs To Me by Rick Nelson

     This Bob Dylan penned song was a hit for Nelson and marked a national recognition of a transformation of his style.  Bob Dylan had been exploring Country Music, Rick and others had been experimenting with a Country Rock sound and was one of the early pioneers in the genre. Note the strong  presence of the steel guitar when listening to this song. Rick had been an early pioneer in making music videos dating back to the days when he was on the "Ozzie and Harriet Show." His hit "Garden Party" was a backlash by him to the fact many of his older fans refused to accept this new and more innovative Rick Nelson.  He and his band had a strong influence on The Eagles.  In fact, Stone Canyon Band member, Randy Meisner would become one of the founding members of the Eagles. His twin sons would become famous in their own right as "Nelson" with several big hits in the Hard Rock genre. They now tour playing their own material and doing a tribute to their pioneering father.  Rick Nelson's death, New Years Eve 1985, in a crash landing of a WW II era DC 3 was a tragic accident not related to his alleged drug abuse and the NTSB hinted the disaster was the result of a faulty heater.
For more on Rick Nelson visit
CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #22

 36. Steamroller Blues by Elvis Presley - 1973 - Video - Steamroller Blues by Elvis Presley ("Aloha From Hawaii" world wide telecast)

     This James Taylor penned song was a mild hit for Elvis but was the first release as a single off the internationally acclaimed album "Aloha From Hawaii".  Elvis successfully blended Blues, Rock and the Big Band sound to create a powerful song. The song "Steamroller Blues" is a stand in for the entire album.  The album was a live recording of a global broadcast via satellite. Over one sixth of the worlds population saw the concert which was broadcast to over 40 countries.  It still stands today as the most watched concert by a solo artist.  It literally took the Electrofied Era to new heights (outer space) and opened the door to instant global exposure and marketing for recording artists. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby were international stars, but Elvis was the first true "Global Star". His voice and image are recognized all over the world.

 35. Have You Ever Been Lonely by Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline - 1981

     Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves died 1963 and 1964 respectively in separate plane crashes.  This song was remixed and released over 15 years later.  The fact technology allowed the duet of two deceased singers is in and of itself important. This recording set the standard for the industry.  It opened new doors for record companies wanting to create new product from artists no longer recording. With the use of computers this has now risen to an art form. RCA has used this in creating a substantial amount of product of their biggest recording artist, Elvis Presley.                                                                                                       
 34. To Know Him Is To Love Him by the Teddy Bears - 1958
Reissue of  "To Know Him Is To Love Him"
Mildly defaced
     Phil Spector's first big hit.  He was one of the singers and song writer.  Sandy Nelson was on drums. Nelson would later go on to a solo career (Teen Beat & Let There Be Drums) and become one of the nations leading rock drummers. Phil Spector would go on to produce dozens of artists using his "Wall Of Sound" not the least of which were The Crystals and the Righteous Brothers. He was the "Man in the Booth"  who profoundly influenced how to go about finding and producing talent in the last half of the 20th. century.  The people he discovered, worked with and produced music for is a who's who of the Electrofied Era. The shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 led to his 2009 conviction for murder. As of this writing he is still in prison.  The death of Ms. Clarkson has dampened people's respect for Spector, but does not change his contribution to the Electrofied Era

 33. Just Between You And Me by Charley Pride - 1966 

     First song by a Black recording artist to be a major hit in Country Music as pure country. He opened the door for other Black artists to find a career in Country Music.  He had to cross two racial barriers. The first being some Blacks, but not all, looked on "Country Music" as "Southern White Music" and thus as being racist and any Black man who played pure country was a traitor to the cause of civil rights.  The other was trying to get southern Whites who made up the bulk of Country Music fans to accept a Black performer on equal terms with White performers.  Ray Charles had helped in recording several Country songs, but they were not performed in a hard core country style.  Charlie Pride did just that.  He was not only a brave trailblazing artist he was also a talented one.  Cowboy Troy, Darius Rucker (formerly of Hootie And The Blowfish), and Neal McCoy are just some of the great Black artists that have helped to advance Country.

 32. I Wanna Be Your Lover by Prince  - 1979 

     First big hit for Prince. He is one of the most innovative recording artists of the 20th Century and this song put him on the map.  He is also one of the most controversial artists in that he has produced much in the way of sexually explicit material.  His artistic skills have resulted in the blending of multiple music art forms to create an original sound. He has also helped in the creation and promotion of other artists careers. Morris Day and The Time along with Sheila E are just two of the performers he greatly influenced. Prince is a member of "The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame".
For more on Prince CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #17

 31. What'd I Say by Ray Charles - 1959 

     This song was the one that made Ray Charles a national star.  This blind singer was openly willing to give credit to Blues, Jazz, Pop Standards and Country as strong influences in his music. While many of his earliest recordings were imitations of the great Nat King Cole, this song was pure "Ray". For more on Ray Charles Click
1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #3
2. Top 40 Blind and Visually Impaired American Musicians


 30. The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King - 1969 

     The biggest hit by one of the nations leading Blues musicians.  This song introduced millions of Americans to B.B. King.and to millions more around the would.  Many of those had never had contact with the musical genre, the Blues.  He and his electric guitar "Lucille" have achieved international recognition.  This song departs from pure blues. It has the European influence of "Strings" in the recording giving it a lush feel.  B.B. King's strong vocal still imparts the pain, regret and loss found in a true "Blues" song. His guitar virtually cries throughout the song.

 29. I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash - 1956

Photo by Ollie Atkins White House
photographer. A 1972 phot of Johnny Cash
and Pres. Nixon at the White House
     The "Man In Black" defined the Country styled rock star.  Never truly a Rock performer he nonetheless shaped popular perception of Country and Rock styling.  He clearly had an influence on Rick Nelson, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles. His influence on Country Music has been profound. He was a contemporary of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and  Roy Orbison at Sam Phillip's Sun Records.
For more on this song visit
100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #18

 

28. Fingertips by Stevie Wonder - 1963 
Used 45 of "Fingertips PT. 2" by
Little Stevie Wonder on Tamla
records a division of Motwon
     This song set him on the national stage and demonstrated Jazz was not dead and still had a place in Rock 'n' Roll and Soul Music.  Stevie Wonder became one of the most influential artists of the Electrofied Era. He was not the first nor the last of great visually impaired musicians. Ronnie Milsap, Ray Charles, Jose Feliciano and others have had far reaching impact on today's music world. He was one of Motown's most prolific hit makers and as such has played a large role in defining and redefining Pop and Soul  Music.  He came into contact with Ray Kurzweil (inventor and artificial intelligence genius) in regards to a device helpful to the blind in reading printed material.  Over the years the relationship developed further when Kurzweil became interested in music synthesisers.  Stevie pushed him to build one that accurately mimicked instruments.  The result was the Kurzweil Music System. It was an important breakthrough in the recording industry. Outside of his recording career he played a pivotal role in establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday. For more on Stevie Wonder Click
1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #1.
2. Top 40 Blind and Visually Impaired American Musicians
3. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #6

 27. American Pie by Don McLean - 1971 

     This song of America in the 1960's inspired several other songs not the least of which was Roberta Flack's hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song"  The cryptic lyrics and McLean not definitively clarifying them has left the song open to debate as to the full meaning. It is generally agreed the death of Buddy Holly, J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson and Ritchie Valens in a plane crash was the inspiration for the song. The song seemed to capture the feeling of an exhausted generation. The Baby Boomer generation had faced the hard realities of Life.  They had seen the assassination of President John Kennedy, his brother, presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, and the murder of civil rights activist Rev. Martin Luthur King Jr. If that had not been enough, they witnessed, via television, states rights activist and presidential candidate, Gov. George Wallace, shot four times in an attempted assassination.  This generation lost its innocence on the Campus of Kent State University, on the streets of Selma and Birmingham, in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, and in the drug fueled, self indulgent quagmire of Height Ashbury area of San Francisco. They were dazed and in shock over the carnage of the 1960's and their innocence had been lost. The generation was assessing what had happened and what they should do next.  Little did they know they were careening headlong into the Disco Era, hedonistic relationships and the era of AIDS with epicurean fervor.

 26. La Bamba by Richie Valens - 1959 - Video - La Bamba by Richie Valens

     This song was the 'B' side to "Donna" initially the bigger of the two hits. First national hit by a Hispanic of a  Hispanic song in the Rock Era.  Les Paul & Mary Ford's "Vaya Con Dios" predated the Rock Era and Doris Day's 1956 hit "Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" can be argued not to be a true Hispanic hit much less a Rock hit. Perez Prado's (Cuban/Mexican)1958 hit "Patricia" was pure Latin and not Rock.  It was a hit coming out of adult radio and the general Pop Standard music of the era. The one exception was the instrumental hit by the Champs, Tequila. These songs and others represent the long tradition of the influence of Latin Music in the United States, Tequila cracked the door, but "La Bamba" blew the door open to Hispanic and Latin Music as an influence in Rock Music.  Elvis Presley, (Its Now Or Never -  Surrender - Bosa Nova Baby) and many other artists experimented with Latin Music to create a different dimension to their careers. Rock had made Pop Standards of the 30's, 40's, passe and along with that so too traditional Latin Music. "LaBamba" changed that. It has been covered by a multitude of artists the most notable being The Tokens, Los Lobos, and Trini Lopez

 6. Top 25 - With Video Links


 25. Got To Be There by Michael Jackson - 1971 -- Video - Got To Be There by Michael Jackson

     This song propelled Michael on stage as a solo artist going on to become one of the most influential and popular artists of the 20th Century.  There is nothing new or original here but, this song began the public separation of Michael from the Jackson Five.
For more on Michael Jackson Click
1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #2
2.  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #4

 24. Shop Around By the Miracles - 1960 -- Video - Shop Around by The Miracles

      The first huge crossover hit for Motown Records and the Motown Sound.  It established Motown as a force in popular music and a trend setter in the Soul Music field. Smokey Robinson, the driving force behind the Miracles, was one of Motown's leading song writers and as such had several hits for himself and others in the Motown stable.  Listen for the Doo Wop influence and how Smokey blended R&B with a strong Rock 'n' Roll rhythm.  Smoky Robinson & The Miracles paved the way for other Motown male groups such as the The Contours, The Four Tops, The Jackson Five and the Temptations
 
 23. Try Me by James Brown - 1958 -- Audio/Lyrics - Try Me by James Brown
     The Song that brought attention to James Brown beyond the R&B Radio. James Brown became one of the most successful recording artists of the 20th Century. Often called the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown was one of the primary innovators of what became Soul Music. James Brown's music was unique and was virtually impossible to copy.  As a result there were no real "Milk Toast" covers by Pat Boone, Elvis Presley or other artists.
For more on James Brown CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #7

 22. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix - 1967 - Video - Purple Haze (Live)

     A former member of Joey Dee and the Starliters, "Peppermint Twist".  Jimi Hendrix helped to define psychedelic rock.  He is considered by many as one of the best rock guitarists of all time.  His guitar styling greatly influenced what would become known as Heavy Metal. He expanded on what Les Paul and The Ventures had done with the electric guitar. One important thing to note is the aforementioned artists out lived Hendrix by many decades and continued to experiment and influence new recording artists. His music was very reflective of the 1960's social and political upheaval.  Purple Haze was the first popular recording of a line of songs he did in this genre. Many of his songs directly or indirectly referred to the drug culture of the youth at the time.  He died in 1970 of a drug overdose.

 21. I'm Walkin'/I'm Walking by Ricky Nelson - 1957 - Video - I'm Walking by Ricky Nelson (Ozzie & Harriet Show)

     This song launched Ricky/Rick Nelson's career.  What makes this song important is it was broadcast on national television during the sitcom "Ozzie & Harriet Show" marking the first Rock 'n' Roll artist to use a TV series to start a music career in the Electrofied Era.  One can argue that Fat's Domino's version of "I'm Walking" is better or that Ricky was not the first to use an ongoing TV series to promote his career.  Desi Arnez had done so on "I Love Lucy" but his musical career was already established when he hit the TV airways. Many other artists would follow Ricky's lead, the Monkees, Partridge Family, Will Smith, Cast of Glee and others.
For more on Rick Nelson 
1. CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #22
2. CLICK 100+ Top American Rock Standards   See song #100

 

20. You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand - 1978 
Video - You Don't Bring Me Flowers - Diamond & Streisand (Live)
     The popular recording is traditional in every facet.  The two stars recorded the song together and as such is unremarkable.  What makes it remarkable is how it came to pass.  Both artists had recorded the song separately and a Disc Jockey took the recordings and in essence blended them using analog technology to create the duet.  This brought about enough of a stir to cause Columbia Records to put Streisand and Diamond in the studio to make the duet recording.  What the DJ did was to use technology to put two artists together that otherwise had not been.  He helped to open the door to new thinking on studio creativity.  A few years later RCA would blend the
recordings of the late Patsy Cline and the late Jim Reeves.(see "Have You Ever Been Lonely'). What may be more important is this would lead to computer programs (digital technology) that would do a better job.  These computer programs would ultimately be made available for the amateur. Today music enthusiasts are creating music mixes putting two or more artists together.  Amateurs around the world are now remixing songs. NOTE - In 2015 she released "Partners" a CD of duets. The last track was with the Late Elvis Presley, "Love Me Tender".
For more on this song and artists CLICK 100 Top American Pop Standards see song 146.

 19. All Or Nothing At All by Frank Sinatra & Harry James Orchestra - 1940 & 1943

      This is the recording establishing Frank Sinatra as a force in the music industry.  "Old Blue Eyes" also known as "The Voice" would become the most influential singer of his generation.  His influence from the 1940's has stretched far beyond the era to today.  His style and presentation has left it's mark on a multitude of male artists.  Bobby Darin, Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow, Rod Stweart, Dean Martin, Bobby Vinton, Sammy Davis Jr, Harry Connick Jr. Michael Buble and many others.   Frank Sinatra was the "Standard" for the Pop Standard artist. His roll as the ring leader of the "Rat Pack" (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. & Joey Bishop) is legendary. It has been alleged he had close ties to some of the biggest names in the "Mafia".  He has been named in less than honorable connections to the Kennedy family.
For more about Frank Sinatra CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists   See artist #15

 18. Loves Theme by Love Unlimited Orchestra (a.k.a. Barry White's orchestra) - 1973 - Video - Loves Theme by Love Unlimited Orchestra (Barry White)

     First Disco song.  There are many who simply refuse to admit the importance of the "Disco Era" much less accept its impact on music of today. Disco's influence is profound and wide spread influencing  such diverse artists as Bob Seger (Old Time Rock 'n' Roll), The Eagles (Disco Strangler), Cher (Believe), Madoona (Vogue), Lady Gaga (Poker Face) and others. Its roll in the emergence of Hip/ Hop (Rappers Delight by The Sugarhill Gang) is extremely important.  The "Disco Era" may be dead (Leisure suits, funky jewelry, hair styles and bizarre shoes) but like the music, the Disco Ball (Mirror Ball)  is very much alive and well.  The music is surviving under other names such as Techno, Dance, House, and Electronic Dance Music.  While Disco was nearly on life support in the United States it was thriving in Europe, but in any event it was never dead. Today DJ's and live acts perform at what has been called the rolling Woodstock, the Electric Daisy Carnival. Well over two hundred thousand showed up at the event in Las Angeles and in 2011 thousands poured into the Dallas event. The exact number who paid to inter the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 2011 event is not exactly known but it is generally agreed it was north of 200 thousand.  Other such events have been held in Puerto Rico and Colorado.   Barry White was the father of the music. Disco never died.  It has evolved over time and it can be clearly argued there has been less evolution from Donna Summer to Lady Gaga than from Elvis Presley to Foo Fighters. Contemporary Rock artist Coldplay's 2011 hit "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" is a melding of Rock with a Disco Rhythm. It has continued the work of the likes of The Tokens who fused Doo Wop/Rock with Disco in their album "Re-Doo-Wop"  
For more on this song and artist -- Click Top 100 American Instrumentals

 17. Louie Louie by the Kingsmen - 1963 -  1.  Audio & Lyrics -  Louie Louie by The Kingsmen (Lyrics?) - - 2. Video - Louie Louie by The Kingsmen (Live on TV. show Shindig)

     This song does not make the list based on its musicianship or the technical quality of the recording. The credit for this song making the list goes to the Democratic governor of Indiana, Matthew Welsh.  It has been said he banned it from air play in Indiana.  He did not, as he did not have the authority to do so, but he did the next best thing.  He did indirectly ask radio stations to avoid playing it by contacting one of the state's leading broadcasting organisations.  Those critical of the song believed the F-word had been used in it. He essentially asked the song not be played.  This was interpreted as an order by some.  Thus the case of censorship arises. Governor Welsh should have known by asking the song not be played this would be viewed as censorship. This recording sparked a long and on going battle of censorship on the airways concerning Rock 'n' Roll and popular music. The Kingsmen and Governor Matt Welch got caught up in an American values conflict, Freedom of Speech vs. moral and ethical responsibility.  P.S. The song has a good beat and is fun to dance to.  Half the lyrics are unintelligible and you can put your own words to the music. It is one of the all time great party songs.  This song was featured in the movie "Animal House" and performed by the cast. Everybody except the dog has recorded this song.
1. For more on this song visit 100+ Top American Rock Standards 
see song #!  


 16. The Twist by Chubby Checker - 1960 & 1962 - 1.  Video - The Twist by Chubby Checker (Audience audio overlay) - 2. Beyonce vs Chubby Checker - The Twist Of The Single Ladies       3. Video - The Twist by Fat Boys & Chubby Checker

   A Doo Wop recording, For the nonbelievers, listen carefully. The song launched a dance sensation that remains on the dance scene (see videos) over a half century later. "The Twist", "The Fly", "The Pony" and a dozen other dances were popular during the early 1960's and Chubby Checker was the leading edge of the dance movement.  While none of it was Disco in sound it was the precursor to the coming Disco Era. It helped to lay the ground work for the "Mobile Entertainer" (Mobile DJ) and the club Disc Jockey.  When "The Twist" and other dance songs were popular there were clubs called Discotheques. The Electrofied Era saw the rise of the mobile Disc Jockey. Technology was such by 1960 the equipment needed to create large volumes of sound were now durable and compact enough for the one man DJ show to become a practical reality. Chubby Checker provided the music to help create the demand for the original DJ dance parties. There is not a Mobile DJ or Club DJ out there that does not owe a part of his/her livelihood  to Chubby Checker.
For more on Chubby Checker CLICK
1.  Top 100 American Recording Artists   See artist #53
2.  100+ Top American Rock Standards   See song #76


 15. Respect by Aretha Franklin - 1967 - Video - Respect by Aretha Franklin

     This Otis Redding penned song was a day late on promoting women's rights (see "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore); it is nonetheless one of the pivotal songs of the Electrofied Era.  It was also viewed by many as a song promoting Black pride during the Civil Rights movement of the sixties.  This song guaranteed Aretha's status as the Queen of Soul and it became her signature song.  This was her biggest hit song and remains a Pop Standard of the Electrofied Era. She has been a strong influence on female vocalists who perform Soul and Jazz.
For more on Aretha Franklin CLICK 
1.  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #9
2.  100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #73


 14. The Big Hurt by Miss Toni Fisher - 1959 - Video The Big Hurt by Toni Fisher

     One of the earliest commercially successful uses of electronic special effects  (Phasing/flanging) on a recording. The unique sound of this recording set it apart from others at the time. It would influence Rock 'n' Roll artists seeking a unique and unusual sound.  Artists such as Del Shannon (Runaway), The Ventures, (Walk Don't Run 64), and the Beach Boys (Good Vibrations) had to have been influenced either directly or indirectly by this recording. Nationally recognized radio DJ, Dick Biondi, would introduce the song as "Toni Fisher's weird one". It was this "weird" Rock artists were looking for to set themselves apart.  In 1962 the Ventures used it in their cover version of "Telstar" and in 1966 Del Shannon did a cover of "The Big Hurt" ( Video - Del Shannon - The Big Hurt ) using the flanging effect..

 13. Rappers Delight By The Sugarhill Gang - 1979 - Video - Rappers Delight by Sugarhill Gang

     It was not the first Rap recording but it was the one that kick started Hip Hop as the first successful commercial Rap song.  It was a national breakout for Rap music.  When it achieved high rotation status on WRBR South Bend, Indiana it proved Rap could succeed beyond the big city. It should be noted at the time WRBR's format was of Top 40/Hard Rock. The South Bend radio market was the first mid market station to recognize "Rappers Delight" as a hit. The song was an early user of "Sampling" using the tune "Good Times" by Chic, a Disco hit. The video shows the strong Disco influence.

 12. In The Mood by Glenn Miller - 1940 -  Video - In The Mood by Glenn Miller  (The video is from the film "The Glenn Miller Story" and the band is made up of actors pretending to play the song.)

U.S. Army photo of Maj. Glen
 Miller U.S. Army Air Corps World War II.
     One of the most popular songs of the 20th Century and recorded by everyone and their Chickens. One of the distinctions separating the Electrofied Era from the music before it is the popularity of the song resting on radio air play, jukebox play and sales of recordings verses sheet music sales,  concert revenue and Broadway success. This song's initial popularity rested on electrically powered media, recordings, radio and motion pictures. Ernie Fields had a hit of the song in 1959, Bette Midler hit in 1974 and The Hen House Five Plus Two (the Chickens a.k.a. Ray Stevens) a 1977 hit. Larry Elgart popularized it again in 1982 with Hooked on Swing.  The song again found renewed popularity in 1990 as "Swing The Mood" by Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers  The last two were Disco/Dance versions. Not all of these covers of "In The Mood:" are American, indicating the international success of the song. This song had a profound influence on uptempo music and Rock 'n' Roll as evidenced by its repeated popularity.  It helped to solidify the "Jitterbug" as a dance and that dance was the first used by Rock 'n' Rollers on a national and wide spread basis.
For more on This song and artist Click
1. Top 100 American Instrumentals  See song #1  
2. Musicians with Disabilities Top 25 Americans Scroll down to Honorable Mention and then to Joesph Manone
3. 100 Top American Pop Standards see songs 35 & 6.
4. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #41
5. 100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #41


 11. That'll Be The Day by Buddy Holly - 1957 - Audio - That'll Be The Day by Buddy Holly and the Crickets - - 2. Video - That'll Be The Day by Buddy Holly (Ed Sullivan appearance)

     An opening act for Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and the Crickets gained the attention of recording companies.  This song was his first successful recording and was a monster hit.  He was an innovator and because he was willing to mix various styles of music.  He was interested in blending R&B with Country and the new Rock sounds of Elvis Presley, Little Richard and others.  Unlike Elvis, he was not an exceptionally handsome singer and the fact he wore glasses was another distinct difference.  His glasses and general appearance gave him a look more like the average male and this my have in the end helped his career.  More people could identify with him.  His songs "Peggy Sue," "True Love Ways." "Not Fade Away," and others would be covered by nearly all the greats in the Electrofied Era.  The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan have all given Buddy Holly credit for being an important influence on their careers. Bobby Vee was perhaps the most impacted by Buddy Holly.  Following the fatal plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, Bobby Vee filled in for Holly at the next concert. Vee recorded a series of songs with a heavy Holly influence. Several were hits, "Susie Baby," "Charms," "Rubber Ball," and "Walkin' With My Angel" which continued the Buddy Holly legacy. Bobby Vee also recorded "Peggy Sue" (Audio - Peggy Sue by Bobby Vee and the Crickets) and "Well, All Right"" with The Crickets on the album "Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets". Buddy Holly indirectly influenced The Ventures through Bobby Vee.  Bobby Vee and The Ventures were stable mates at Liberty Rcords and cut the album "Bobby Vee Meets The Ventures".  The Ventures toured with Bobby Vee and in a cost cutting measure the Ventures performed as Boby Vee's band.  As a result they played Buddy Holly material and did Bobby Vee material that was heavily influenced by Holly. Bobby Vee went on to become one of America's leading male vocalists with well over 30 hits. It should be noted Bob Dylan for a brief time was a member of Bobby Vee's band. The singer/song writer Tommy Roe had a huge hit in the Buddy Holly style "Shelia" (Video - Sheila by Tommy Roe) which launched his career. He went on to have over 20 hits. Don McLean's hit song "American Pie" was inspired by the untimely death of Buddy Holly.
For more on Buddy Holly CLICK
1. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #100
2. 100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #72


10. Rumble by Link Wray & His Ray Men - 1958 - 1. Audio - Rumble by Link Wray (original recording) - - 2.  Video - Rumble by Link Wray (Short updated Live version) - - 3. Video - Rumble by Link Wray (1978 Live version)

Used 45 of "Rumble" by Link Wray 
     Believed by many to be the first commercially successful Rock 'n' Roll instrumental. Some popular music historians have made the argument this was the first Heavy Metal song.  I stand with those placing the honor with Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock'.  Having said that, I agree this song was certainly pushing the envelope towards a harder rock sound and deserves mention. It was featured in the films "The Outsiders"anf "pulp Fiction". He laid the ground work for Duane Eddy, Johnny and the Hurricanes, Sandy Nelson, Bill Black, The Ventures and others. This song has been covered by a multitude of artists not the least of which are The Ventures. For more on this song and artist Click -- Top 100 American Instrumentals

  9. Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley - 1957 - 1. Video - Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley (from film Jailhouse Rock)  2. 2 Year Old Dancing To Jailhouse Rock

     It has been called the first Hard Rock/Heavy Metal hit and first true music video.  His dance routine in the movie to this song most certainly influenced Michael Jackson. For those who are skeptical of the influence of Elvis on Michael, just take note that Michael was married briefly to the daughter of Elvis, Lisa Marie. You also need to watch the video "Jailhouse Rock".  Whether "Jailhouse Rock" was Hard Rock/Heavy Metal is very debatable.  The fact there was only one electric guitar in the minds of many disallows it from being Hard Rock.  Elvis' raucous vocals, the pounding piano and the exceptional guitar work of Scotty Moore combined to make for a very hard edged rock song.  The additional acoustical bass by Bill Black did not hurt things.  It was cutting edge at the time and certainly prologue for both Hard Rock/Heavy Metal if indeed it was not either. Defining the emergence of Heavy Metal remains nebulous.  Was the first Heavy Metal hit "Rumble" by Link Wray, "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis, "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones, or "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf or anything by Jimi Hendrix. There is not agreement partly because there is not a neatly stated definition all can agree upon. Elvis was a driving force in helping to establish the World War II memorial at the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.  His influence on American culture, not just music, is beyond measuring. In the U.S. he has been in nearly every Top 100 people of the 20th Century list by virtually every publishing and broadcasting organization.
For more on Elvis Presley CLICK
1.  Top 100 American Recording Artists  Scroll down to artist 1 on the list.
2.  100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #8


  8. Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley And His Comets - 1955 & 1974 - Video - Rock Around The clock by Bill Haley and his Comets (original version with scenes from American Graffiti) - - 2. Video - Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and his Comets (Live performance)
     Bill Haley's roots were in Country Music, but he was an early pioneer in the
Photo Courtesy of Doug Weber
Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NV.
Where they "Rock Around The Clock".
blending of Country, Jazz and R&B music to create his own sound. This song was in the movie "Blackboard Jungle" and was the song that clearly marked the rise of Rock 'n' Roll.  It stood on the shoulders of Bill Haley's first giant hit, "Crazy Man, Crazy" in 1953 and R&B song, "Shake Rattle And Roll". Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" is considered by many as the first Rock 'n' Roll song.  It is not.  Bill Haley has been acclaimed as the father of Rock 'n' Roll.  He is not. Bill Haley, Fats Domino, Ike Turner, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis all played a part in the rise of what we call Rock 'n' Roll. No one person or ethnic group can lay claim to the emergence of Rock 'n' Roll.  The United States and its musically diverse people can claim Rock 'n' Roll.  It was the blending and bending of musical genres, ethnic cultures, regional values, American capitalism, and technologies. The emergence of Rock is filtered through local and national histories of the various peoples who make up the United States.

For more on this song visit 100+ Top American Rock Standards 
See song #54


  7. You Don't Own Me by Lesley Gore - 1963 -  1. Video - You Don't Own Me by Lesley Gore (early Live version) -- 2.Video - You Don't Own Me by Joan Jett (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

     First national hit by a women to proclaim respect and independence from men.. She beat Aretha Franklin's, "Respect", by four years.  The lyrics and singing style are from a teenage perspective, but don't let that diminish the power or the meaning of the song. It must be listened to to be appreciated. She turned the page and help set the stage for the feminist movement.  She demonstrated there was a market for this kind of song and thus opened the door to Aretha Franklin, Helen Ready, Carly Simon, Beyonce and others to record like kind material. With hits like, "Its My Party" and "Judy's Turn To Cry.", it is then understandable why people did not take "You Don't Own Me" seriously. This song might well be the most ignored, unappreciated, underrated. and disrespected song of the era. Former member of the Runaways, Joan Jett, did an excellent cover of the song. Bette Midler, Dusty Springfield, and the Blow Monkeys also have covered the song. It was performed by the cast in the film "First Wife's Club". in 2016 it became a hit by Grace feat G-Eazy and appears in an NFL commercial.

  6. Walk Don't Run* by The Ventures - 1960 -   1. Video - Walk Don't Run by The Ventures  - 2.  Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame - The Ventures   3. Video - Walk Don't Run(Ventures & U.S. Air Force Band with Gen. George Babbitt)

     "Walk Don't Run" launched the world's #1 Rock 'n' Roll instrumental band, with over 250 albums. The Ventures have been called,"The band that launched 1,000 bands". They recorded albums teaching others how to play the guitar. This song was one of the earliest of the "Surf Sound" and as such helped to define "Surf Music".  They pioneered the Rock sub-genre "Space Rock". They are the only instrumental artist to have two versions of the same song, "Walk Don't Run and Walk Don't Run 64",( Video - Walk Don't Run 64 by The Ventures ) to be big hits. They were also the first really successful band to come out of The Seattle/Tacoma area, thus starting a tradition of great recording artists emerging from the Puget Sound basin. The Ventures have been credited with creating the  "Rock" concept/themed album, Colorful Ventures, Ventures In Space, The Ventures Surfing, The "Ventures In Space" album was one of the most important and influential albums of the 20th. Century among musicians because of its demonstration of what the guitar was capable of doing. Other artists, most notably the Beatles, would follow their lead. The Ventures receive higher acclaim internationally, especially in Japan, than they do in the United States. They were the first non-Japanese artist to be elected to the Japanese Conservatory of Music.  The Japanese have credited the Ventures with popularizing Rock 'n' Roll and the electric guitar in Japan.   Their influence on playing the electric guitar is immeasurable. The biggest names in the music industry have pointed to the Ventures as an important influence in their music, George Harrison (The Beatles), Blondie, The Go Go's,  Peter Frampton, The Beach Boys, Billy Idol, Joe Walsh, (James Gang - Eagles) Gene Simmons (KISS) Billy Joel, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Perry (Aerosmith) Jeff Lynn (ELO) Elton John, B-52s etc. etc. They pioneered experimentation and development of the fuzz, and flanging effects. They virtually invented the sometimes controversial, reverse tracking.  All of these has left a lasting impact. They pushed for technological enhancement of the electric guitar and searched for improved technological studio recordings. The song was in the film "61" about baseball greats Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. It can be said Les Paul invented the modern electric guitar and The Ventures defined it.  For more on this song and the artist Click --
1. Top 100 American Instrumentals
2. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #96
3. 100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #78

  5 Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys - 1966 - 1. Video - Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys (Original Recording) - - 2. Video - Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys (Live version)

     Perhaps next to Les Paul, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys did more to
change music through the use of electronic measures.  His use of the recording studio and the technology there made it possible to transform
The Beach Boys with President
Ronald Reagan and Mrs Reagan
White House photo
existing sound and to create new variations from a compilation of recordings. He used the Theremin, a precursor to the synthesizer in making this song.  This recording changed the way songs were recorded in the future.  The Beatles admitted to being influenced by this breakthrough recording. The Disco Era, Dance/Electronic music that followed owe a lot to this recording.  Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys had brought to fruition what Les Paul had started.  They had made the recording studio a musical instrument. Listen to the original recording and then the live recording and despite an admirable effort the live recording can't reproduce the sound of the studio. For more on Brian Wilson Click

1. Musicians With Disabilities - Top 25 Americans see #4.
2. Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artists#14

  4. White Christmas by Bing Crosby - 1942 re-released more years than we can list - 1. Video - White Christmas by Bing Crosby - - 2.  Video - White Christmas by Bing Crosby (Video montage)

     Biggest Christmas song of the 20th Century and remains a perennial favorite and best seller. This song has helped to maintain a national continuity in America's most observed holiday.  It has in itself become a part of the custom and tradition of the nation. Its use in motion pictures, initially "Holiday Inn", propelled and sustained its popularity.  It has been covered by nearly every artist of importance.  Frank Sinatra, The Supremes, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Taylor Swift, Neil Diamond, Anne Murry, Barry Manilow, Andy Williams, Toby Keith, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Dion, The Carpenters, Bette Midler, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Bolton, Brooks & Dunn, Henry Mancini Orchestra, New Kids On The Block, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Doris Day, Jim Reeves, Eddie Fisher, Perry Como, Ringo Starr, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Tony Bennett, Vince Gill, Lady Gaga, Micheal Buble and The Drifters are just some of the artists who have covered Crosby's hit. Some of the other intriguing covers of the song are by the blind Italian Operatic singer, Andrea Bocelli ( Video - White Christmas by Andrea Bocelli )  and American Heavy Metal band, Twisted Sister. ( Audio - White Christmas by Twisted Sister  )  The Ventures did an unusual futuristic ( Audio - White Christmas by The Ventures) almost other worldly version that is both hauntingly unique and compelling. The Elvis Presley & Amy Grant ( Video - White Christmas by Elvis Presley & Amy Grant ) cover is interesting because of the pairing of the deceased Elvis with the very much alive Amy Grant. White Christmas and God Bess America were just two of many great songs penned by Jewish, Russian immigrant, Irving Berlin.
For more on Bing Crosby CLICK  Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #2

3. Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley - 1956 -Video - Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley

     Breakout hit for the single biggest recording star of the 20th Century.  The song had all the elements of Rock 'n' Roll. It was a fusion of Jazz, Gospel, Blues, and Country. Elvis' power vocal would help to define the roll of the Rock 'n' Roll singer.More importantly, it used the power of Scotty Moore's electric guitar along with multi-track recording and reverb.  For the time period, it is one of the best examples of the melding of acoustical and electric instrumentation along with the state of the art studio recording technology. Elvis Presley was the single most influential solo artist of the 20th Century. Elvis globalized American Rock 'n' Roll.  For the Communist leadership of the Soviet Union he personified the cultural undermining of Soviet youth from the Iron Curtain to Red Square in Moscow.  Like the West, the Communist states were experiencing a youth revolution directly related to a baby boom following World War II. Elvis Presley and Rock 'n'n Roll questioned authority, encouraged self expression, and freedom of thought,  All of these ran directly against Communist dogma.  There are those who interpret Don McLean's "American Pie" as suggesting Bob Dylan had knocked the thorny and or corny crown from Elvis' head.  If it was indeed thorny, it was so for those both domestic and internationally that
The Berlin Wall was a concrete symbol of the "Iron Curtain"
Pieces of it can be found in museums and one part of it is
now a bathroom wall at Main Street Station Casino in
Downtown Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A.
feared Rock 'n' Roll.  To the Soviets and Communists overseas there was nothing corny about Elvis and Rock 'n' Roll.  They loathed him with intense hatred spawned by fear. Some claim Rock 'n' Roll may have played as much a roll in the fall of the Soviet Union as did the economic and military struggle the West had with Communism. Elvis Presley put a face on the fears the Communists had about Western culture and Rock 'n' Roll in particular. Elvis not only becomes the King of Rock 'n' Roll but also the Electrofied Era, WITH CROWN FIRMLY IN PLACE.



For more on Elvis Presley visit
1.  Top 100 American Recording Artists  Scroll down to artist 1 on the list.
2.  100+ Top American Rock Standards  See song #12


 2. The Fat Man by Fats Domino 1949 - Video - The Fat Man by Fats Domino
     Fats Domino's 1949/1950 R&B hit "The Fat Man" has been called, "The first Rock 'n' Roll hit". The song had a pounding piano and vocals by Domino that had a cross blend between Scat and Doo Wop.  The "Wah Waah Wah's" by Domino were powerful and put an early Rock edge to the song.  Because there was not a strong electric guitar presence it has been argued it was not Rock 'n' Roll.  Yet, other songs with no instrumentation (acappella) using Doo Wop have been accepted as a form of Rock. Others have made a strong argument for the 1951 song "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston, Ike Turner, later of Ike and Tina Turner Review, played a pivotal role in this recording. Sam Phillips (Sun Records - Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash & Elvis Presley) recorded the session for Chess records. Unlike, "The Fat Man", this song had a strong electric guitar presence combined with a  powerful saxophone. "Rocket 88" (Oldsmobile Rocket 88) is the first national hit with a lasting impact of the Electrofied Era to sing praises of America's love affair with the ( Video "Rocket 88" ) automobile and the open road.  The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Bruce Springsteen, The Cars, Ronnie Milsap, Chuck Barry, Aretha Franklin, Nelson Riddle and others would follow Ike Turner down this road. Pun intended.  Fats Domino's hit "The Fat Man" was several years ahead of "Rocket 88" and set the tone for early Rock 'n' Roll.  Both Ike Turner and Fats Domino were rooted in Rhythm & Blues, but it was Fats Domino that took the first step into Rock 'n' Roll. You could flip a coin as to which song was the first Rock song.  I side with Fats Domino.
For more on Fats Domino CLICK Top 100 American Recording Artists  See artist #19
 
1. Lover (When You're Near Me) by Les Paul - 1948 - Audio - Lover (When You're Near Me) - Les Paul
     "Lover" is an early multi-track recording.  Les would play an important role i
n the development of multi-track recording equipment. He envisioned the recording studio as another tool (instrument) in the creation of music.  Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys would bring it to fruition. Les also was an early pioneer in the invention of the solid body  (log guitar) eclectic guitar. The solid body guitar made Rock 'n' Roll possible and by extension all music genres spun off from it. As an inventor he understood the capabilities and limits of the instrument and as a musician he understood how the instrument could be used to create and reinterpret music.  He developed a variety of techniques for playing the electric guitar.  Every guitarist today whether knowingly or unknowingly play these techniques.   Les Paul wrote the book.  The Ventures published the book, with a few of their own ideas added, in a series of best selling albums on how to play the guitar. This would lead to thousands of new bands and even more solo guitarists. They, Jimi Hendrix and others would expand how Les Paul's electric guitar could be played. Les Paul more than any single entertainer and music innovator propelled the American music experience into the Electrofied Era. Les Paul has been inducted into both the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Les Paul, inventor, innovator and excellent entertainer.  Les Paul, inventertainer, he's da man!

 7. Electrofied Era

*The "Electrofied Era" is the result of the profound impact of electricity and electronics on the writing, creation, performance, recording, dissemination, and storage of music. It transcends all genres by encompassing them.

All the recordings are by United States artists, but not all were made in the United States. Some songs may have been composed by foreign nationals. They reflect the domestic music experience, thus great foreign artists (ABBA, Beatles, Bee Gees, Bond, etc.) are absent, but may be referred to in the list.

      The "Electrofied Era" began in 1940 the beginning of a decade that saw the recording studios not just capturing sound but also altering it. It is also based on the development of Les Paul's, "Log Guitar", and the maturing of electric media.   Recordings, Jukebox and radio play plus use in motion pictures began to have a broader impact on music popularity than sheet music sales, live performances, and Broadway. The word "electrofied" is coined to point out the artists, record producers, sound engineers and inventors did much more than just add and use electricity in the music industry. They unleashed a whole new creative spirit, an "Oh Wow" effect. Electrified cannot be used to define the new studio production capabilities or the diverse means of how music is disseminated. Electricity added new dimensions to live performances from the size of the audiences to the creative nature of the productions, to the instruments and the music itself.  To say the music is electrified is neither appropriate or enough.
     The dissemination of popular music has changed and continues to expand since the beginning of the Electrofied Era.  The advent of television, (Black and white TV was invented before 1940 and color TV in 1940, but did not find general usage until after World War II) the satellite, and the Internet changed how music is created and disseminated and how people receive and use popular music.  New art forms sprung out of the technology bringing us Rock'n' Roll, modern Soul, Disco, and the Music Video to name just a few. Technology changed where, how,and when we use music in our daily lives.  It has also impacted how, where, and size of space we store our music.  The transistor radio, 45 and 33 1/3 RPM recordings, CD's, television, computers, the Internet, the Walkman, mp3 players and i-pods are just some of the changes impacting the music industry.
     The criteria for making the list rests primarily on being the first to commercially succeed at doing something of importance with new technology, originality in music, or the impact on the mainstream culture, or is the voice of cultural conflict. There are some exceptions to the rule and are noted with the recordings.  The songs are often the first major hit of an  artist of importance and are not necessarily their most inventive, innovative, creative or popular song.


Time periods related to Electrofied Era

  Pre-Electrofied Era
     1. 1877 - 1926  Conception Period -  (Phonograph, Silent Motion Pictures and early Radio)
     2. 1927 - 1939  Gestation Period - (Motion Pictures with Sound & Early electrified Instruments)
     
  Electrofied Era
     3. 1940 - 1955  Early Electrofied Era - (Log Guitar, Sound recording alteration and multi-track recording)
      4. 1955 - 1990  Established Electrofied Era - (Stereo, electronic special effects, synthesizers, Computer/Digital Recording, Distribution & Storage)
     5. 1991 - Present  The Electrofied Era - Cloud Period - (mp3 internet download and cloud storage)

 8.About the list.    

     This list contains some songs the author detests, but nonetheless recognizes as important and influential not only musically, technologically but also culturally. The arts generally reflect the ideals, values and interests of a society, but as artists have discovered almost since the first plays, they can also shape and direct the cultures interests, values and ideals.  Many times this is intentional and at other times quite unintentional.  Ignoring influential and important events is dangerous. Because of this, I have made it a point to include those songs I don't like or find objectionable morally, politically or culturally.
     When reviewing the list one can't help but notice the list is heavily waited with older songs in the top 40 and newer songs dominate from 75 to 125 in the list.  The reason is there has not been enough time passed to determine if the impact of the newer songs is lasting and wide spread..  Twenty or sixty years from now people will be better situated to determine whether President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama were good presidents.  Right now people's perspective are made in the short run and on partisan support.  The same can be said about the songs on this list. I personally do not like "Lover" by Les Paul, but that does not change the fact Les Paul was a giant in the music business and this song, and he in particular, are truly of great importance.
    The list celebrates America's technological talents as much as the great integration of its diverse ethnic, religious and cultural contrasts. It should be understood technology knows no geographic or political boundaries and while American inventiveness has effected the world so the rest of the world influenced Americans. This list lights the way for humanity on how people with a wide diversity in cultural backgrounds, ethic origins, religions and racial makeup can work, love and prosper together.
     To condense into a list of a mere 125 songs that captured the American music experience is impossible. Some of the most important American artists of the last 75 years did not make the list whereas several artists had more than one on the list.  No matter who is putting the list together it is arbitrary. I have tried to be objective and analytical in compiling this list, but my background of attending a school for the blind, college education, radio, club and mobile DJ experiences, personal contact with some of the artists, business and teaching history have all skewed my view of the list. I have tried to put these aside but would not be honest if I claimed to have been able to totally ignore my life experiences. You are invited to suggest songs and artists that should be on the list.  COMMENTS CAN BE MADE FOLLOWING THE RESEARCH AID AND INDEX BELOW.


 9. Index of musical contributors
This index includes artists, composers, and producers.
Contributors are listed alphabetically by first names. Names in bold indicate they have a song in the top 125 songs and the numbers in bold indicate the ranking of their song or songs  Non bold numbers represent the mentioning of the person or group in connection with some other person or group's song.


NUMERICALLY NAMED ARTISTS
50 Cent 107
ALPHABETICALLY NAMED ARTISTS
     A
Aerosmith  63, 41, 6
Al Jolson  52
Alan Jackson  90, 4
Amy Grant  4
Anne Murry (Canadian)  80, 4
Adrrea Bocelli (Italian) 4
Andy Williams  80, 4
Aretha Franklin  101, 59, 15, 7, 2
     B
B-52's  6
B. B. King  30
Bangles The  74
Barbara Streisand  20
Barry Manilow  119, 80, 19 4
Barry Mann  92
Barry Sadler SSgt  81
Barry White 18
Beach Boys, The  95, 14, 6, 5, 4, 2, 1
Beatles The (U.K.) 116, 99, 66, 58, 54, 11, 6
Bette Midler  91. 7, 4
Beyonce  101,98, 16  (Video), 7
Bill Black  10, 9
Bill Haley and His Comets  8
Bill Medley  92
Billy Idol (U.K.) 6
Billy Joel  124, 121, 111,104, 63, 6
Bing Crosby  99, 85, 4
Blow Monkeys, The (U.K.)  7
Bob Dylan  104, 78, 50, 37, 11, 3
Bob Seger  18
Bobby Darin  68, 38, 19
Bobby Hatfield  92
Bobby Rydell  63
Bobby Vee  11
Bobby Vinton  19
Bon Jovi 123
Boyz II Men 79, 63
Brenda Lee 74
Brian Wilson  95, 5,1
Britney Spears 122  86, 60
Brooks & Dunn  4
Bruce Springsteen 111, 104, 2
Buddy Holly and The Crickets  97, 27, 11
     C
Carl Perkins  97, 65, 29, 2
Calos Santana (see Santana)
Carly Simon  7
Carpenters, The  93, 4
Cars, The  2
Cast of Glee  21
Charlie Pride  33
Cher 79, 75, 18
Cherrie Currie 74
Chic  13
Chicago  48
Chubby Checker  109, 101,  67, 63, 16
Chuck Berry  97, 66, 8, 2
Chords, The  63, 55
Connie Francis 105,  88
Contours, The  24
Cowboy Troy  33
Christina Aguilera  60
Coasters, The  63
Crystals, The  34
Cynthia Weil  92
     D
Darius Rucker  33
Davy Jones  54
Dean Martin  19
Debbie Boone 87
Del Shannon  45, 14
Denance 107
Desi Arnez  21
Diamonds, The  63
Diana Ross  51
Dion  88, 63
Don McLean  27, 11, 3
Donna Summer 125, 122115, 86,  60, 42, 18
Donny Osmond 119
Dolly Parton  97
Doris Day  26, 4
Dr. Dre  69
Drifters The 63, 4
Duane Eddy  10
Dusty Springfield (U.K.)  7
     E
Eagles, The 116,  76, 72, 37, 29, 6
Easy E  69
Ed Sheeran 107
Electric Prunes  96
ELO (U.K.)  6
Elton John (U.K.) 6
Elvis Presley  111,99, 97, 94, 93, 92, 85, 80, 79, 78,
   77, 66, 65, 63, 62, 61, 58, 53, 52, 40, 36,
   35, 29, 26, 23, 18, 11, 9, 8, 4, 3, 2
Eminem 107
Eric B and Rakim  57, 43
Ernie Fields  12
Etta James  98
Everly Brothers 116
     F
Fats Domino  67, 46, 21, 2
Four Seasons, The 124,  95, 67, 6
Four Tops, the  24
Frank Sinatra  99, 68, 38, 19, 4
Frankie Vali 124, 95
     G
Garth Brooks 116,  99
Gene Autry  56
Gene Simons 6
Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine 120
Glenn Miller 12, 4
Go Go's, The  74, 6
Gordon Parks  69
Grandmaster Flash  43
     H
Hall & Oates  92
Hank Williams  39
Hank Williams Jr. 39
Harry Carnick Jr.  19
Harry James Orchestra (see Frank Sinatra)
Helen Ready  7
Hen House Five + 2 (see Ray Stevens)
Henry Mancini 7
Herbie Hancock  73, 70
Hootie and the Blowfish  33
     I
Ice Cube  69
Ike Turner  8, 3
Irving Berlin  4
     J
Jackie Brenston  2
Jackson Five, The  25, 24
Jacob Dylon  50
James Brown  61, 23
James Gang  6
James Taylor 36
Jan & Dean  2
Janet Jackson 115
Jeff Lynn (U.K.)  6
Jerry Lee Lewis 110, 92, 66, 40, 29, 8, 2
Jim Reeves  35
Jimi Hendrix  22, 9, 1
Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers (U.K.) 12
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts  74, 7
Joe Perry  6
Joe Walsh  6
Joey Dee and The Starlters  22
John Mellencamp 111
John Rich  89
Johnny and The Hurricanes  10
Johnny Cash  29, 2
Johnny Ray 95
Jordonairs (see Elvis Presley)
Jose Feliciano  28
J. P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson  27
      K
Kayne West 113
Kelly Clarkson  93
Kenny Rogers  104, 4
Kim Carnes 104
Kingsmen, The  42, 17
Kiss  95, 6
Kurt Cobain  84
Kylie Minoque  (Australian)  86
     L
Lady Gaga 125,  119, 86, 60, 18, 4
Larry Elgart  12
LeAnn Rimes  109, 87
Les Paul  26, 22, 6, 5, 1
Les Paul & Mary Ford  26
Lesley Gore  101, 74, 15, 7
Linda Ronstadt 119, 116, 72, 29, 4
Link Wray 10, 9
Lionel Richie 104
Lita Ford  74
Little Richard  97, 53, 40, 11, 8
Los Lobos  26
NWA (Niggaz Wit Attitude) 69, 43
Lynyrd Skynard  76
     M
Madonna  125, 11586, 60, 42, 18
Marcels The  63
Mariah Carry  79, 64
Martina McBride  4
Marty Robbins 56
Marvin Gaye 47
Max Crook  45
McKenna Medley  92
MC Ren 69
Megan  Trainor 112
Metallica 106
Michael Bolton  119, 95, 4
Michael Buble  19, 4
Michael Jackson 104, 62, 52, 25
Micki Steele  14
Miracles, The (see Smokey Robinson and The Miracles)
Monkees, The  54, 21
Morris Day and The Time  32
     N
Nat King Cole  38, 31
Neal McCoy  33
Neil Diamond  20, 4
Neil Sedaka  49, 19
Nelson  37
Nelson Riddle  2
New Kids On The Block (NKOB)  4
Nirvana  84
Norah Jones  108
Norman Greenbaum  44
     O
Ottis Redding  83, 15
Outkast  100
Ozzie Nelson52, 37
     P
Partridge Family  21
Pat Boone  87, 81, 67, 40, 23
Patsy Cline 82, 35, 20
Paul Anka (Canadian/American) 68, 19
Paul Staney 95
Perez Prado  26
Perry Como  77, 4
Peter Frampton (U.K.)  6
Peter, Paul and Mary  71
Phil Spector 92, 34
Platters, The  63
Prince 32
     R
Ramones 117
Randy Meisner  37
Ray Charles  104, 68, 58, 38, 33, 31, 28
Ray Stevens  102, 12
Ravi Shankar  108
Rick/Ricky Nelson  116, 97, 72, 67, 52, 37, 29
Righteous Brothers  98, 92, 3
Ringo Starr  4
Ritchie Valens  27, 26, 11
Roberta Flack  27
Rod Stewart (U.K.)  119, 19
Rolling Stones (Stones) The (U.K.)  54, 11,9
Ronnie Hawkins  53
Ronnie Milsap  118, 38, 28, 2
Roy Orbison  94, 29, 2
Roy Rogers  56
Run DMC  43, 41
Runaways, The  74, 7
Ryan Adams 95
     S
Sam Phillips 29, 2
Sammy Davis Jr.  19
Sandy Nelson  34, 10
Santana 114
Scotty Moore 9
Sheila E  32
Skylar Grey 107
Smokey Robinson and The Miracles  24, 4
Sonny & Cher (see Cher)
Steve Perry 104
Stevie Ray Vaughn  6
Stevie Wonder  104, 38, 28 
Sugarhill Gang  43, 18, 13
Supremes, The  74, 51, 4
     T
T-Pain  75
Tammy Wynette 118
Taylor Swift  116, 103, 4
Teddy Bears, The 34
Temptations The  24
Tex Ritter  56
Tim McGraw 103
Tina Turner  104, 2
Tokens The 63, 49, 26, 18
Tommy Roe  11
Toni Fisher, Miss  14
Tony Bennett  125, 4
Trini Lopez - 26
Turbans, The 63
Twisted Sister  4
     U
UB 40 (U.K.)  80
U.S.A. For Africa 104
Usher 107
     V
Velvet Underground, The  58
Ventures, The  84, 74, 22, 14, 11, 10, 6, 4, 1
Vicki Sue Robinson 120
Victor Lundberg  81
Vince Gill  4
     W
Whitney Houston  97
Will Smith  21
Willie Nelson  119, 104, 82