Rock And Roll Time Machine –
Rock And Roll Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the late ’60s.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Rock And Roll Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
50 YEARS LATER – 13 ROCK AND ROLL SONGS FROM 1968
By Adam Waldman
Having recently celebrated my 50th birthday, I decided to make this month’s edition of Rock and Roll Time Machine all about music that means something to me from my birth year…
THE BEATLES – “Hey Jude”
It is an all-time classic from one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll. Not only is it one of my personal favorites from the band, it is also the song that was #1 on the charts on the day that I was born.
SIMON & GARFUNKEL – “Mrs. Robinson”
I was too young to appreciate the movie The Graduate when it was in theaters, but I did see it during my teen years. Like most teens, I had a Mrs. Robinson fantasy after watching it. I can’t say how many fulfilled the fantasy, but I’m fortunate to say that I am among those who did. She was ten years my senior, and unlike any woman that I met before (or since). It was short-lived, but it was magical in its own way.
THE WHO – “I Can See For Miles”
The Who was a big part of my youth, and one of my early favorite bands. It took a lot of tenacious pleading, but I finally got my parents to allow me to go to see The Who at Shea Stadium in October of 1982. It was supposed to be their farewell tour. We all know how laughable that is today. Still, it was an incredible first concert that I remember to this day.
CREAM – “White Room”
Music performance was never my strong suit. Being a lyricist is probably my greatest gift when it comes to music. Still, I did spend some time in bands as an average singer back in the day. One of my favorite songs to perform with my college band was Cream’s “White Room.”
DEEP PURPLE – “Hush”
I can’t say which song introduced me to Deep Purple. Most likely it was “Smoke On The Water.” “Hush” was always among my favorites growing up. My appreciation for all Deep Purple music grew after discovering Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. The stories about Blackmore’s temperament are not endearing, but for the better part of my life, he has been my favorite guitarist.
THE MONKEES – “Daydream Believer”
“Daydream Believer” is my favorite song by The Monkees, and one of my favorite songs from my elementary school days. What makes The Monkees special to me is their sitcom, which I was surprised to learn, only aired for two seasons. I wasn’t born when it originally aired, but I remember running home from elementary school to watch it in reruns.
THE ROLLING STONES – “Sympathy For The Devil”
What can you say about one of the greatest Stones’ songs ever? It’s more than just a piece of music; it’s a well-crafted story that plays like a movie in the mind of the listener. The song has been covered numerous times by a wide variety of artists (including Guns N’ Roses, Ozzy Osbourne, and Motorhead). None have the mystique of the original, but if I had to pick a favorite cover, it would be Motorhead’s.
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE – “All Along The Watchtower”
This is one cover song that far exceeds the original. Jimi Hendrix does this song so perfectly that you have to remind yourself when you listen to it that it was actually written by Bob Dylan. My first introduction to Hendrix was the song “Fire.” I was a kid when I heard it, and only knew his name, but not what he played. Based on “Fire,” I thought that he was a drummer. I quickly learned that he was a legendary guitarist. No artist comes to mind more than Hendrix when I think of Woodstock. In recent years, the site of the original concert has become one of my favorite places to be (even when there is no concert taking place).
BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY – “Piece Of My Heart”
Like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin left an indelible mark on the world before her untimely passing. Each died within a month of each other at the age of 27. They are part of an illustrious group of artists who perished at that age. I’ve always been a fan of Joplin’s music, but got a deeper appreciation for her as a person when I saw the off-Broadway play, Love, Janis. Long before Joel Hoekstra became a well-known guitar hero, he was a supporting musician in this fascinating production. It’s hard to pick a favorite Joplin song, but “Piece Of My Heart” is certainly in the running. An incredible cover of the song was done by Sammy Hagar years later.
BEE GEES – “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”
Like most people around my age, my introduction to the Bee Gees was the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. At some point during my misguided youth, it became cool to dislike the band and proclaim “disco sucks!” I remember writing that phrase on my brown paper book covers in school, but the truth is, I always loved their music. It wasn’t until later on that I discovered that they were actually a soulful trio before being known for one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all-time. There are a lot of songs by the band that I discovered over the past decade or so. The solemn “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” is among my favorites from their non-disco work.
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD – “Son Of A Preacher Man”
If I’m being honest, I didn’t really know “Son Of A Preacher Man” during my youth. It wasn’t until the song was featured on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction (one of my favorite movies) that I discovered its understated brilliance. I will always think of Pulp Fiction when I hear it, but that is not a bad thing. Though her life was short, Dusty Springfield enjoyed a prolific career that goes way beyond this classic song. With a lengthy acting career, it’s fitting that this song is forever tied to a defining movie of a generation.
THE GUESS WHO – “These Eyes”
For as long as I can remember, “These Eyes” (by The Guess Who) has always made me a bit forlorn in the uplifting way that only great songs can. The song itself is basic and sparse, like a blank canvas waiting for the vocals of Burton Cummings to turn it into a beautiful masterpiece. He did so with flying colors. While “These Eyes” still strikes a serious tone with me, I can’t help but chuckle a bit when I think of the parody that Cummings did on Howard Stern years ago.
SAM AND DAVE – “I Thank You”
For most of my life, I thought that “I Thank You” was a ZZ Top original song. Though I’ve heard of Sam And Dave, I wasn’t really familiar with their music. This song fell between the gaps a bit for me. I was raised on Doo Wop, the music of my parents’ generation (especially my dad who never veered from the beloved music of his youth). In his eyes, music stopped being relevant after 1964, so until I discovered music on my own, music like this wasn’t on my radar. As I listen to it today, I think that this Sam And Dave classic is actually the perfect bridge between my dad’s Doo Wop music and my rock and roll music. It saddens me that we will never be able to listen to this song together, but it’s a perfect way to close out this list. An attitude of gratitude is something that I’ve embraced more as I’ve aged. Though he never liked my music, I’m thankful to my dad for instilling his passion for music in me.