Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day Countdown

Over on Sirius/XM Radio, Channel 7 ("70's on 7") is doing its Labor Day Countdown -- the top 700 hits of the 1970's as chosen by the listeners.  I'm pretty sure that this is the same countdown that they did over the Fourth of July, but I always love a good countdown.

Anyway, we're up to number 86:  "The Gambler," by Kenny Rogers.

130 comments:

  1. Number 85: Boz Skaggs, "The Lido Shuffle" I never really understood anything about this song -- who is Lido, why is he shuffling -- but it's a lot of fun.

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  2. Number 84: Gordon Lightfoot, "If You Could Read My Mind." I probably listen to Gordon Lightfoot more often now than I did back in the 1970s.

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  3. Number 83: Barry Manilow, "Copacabana." Is there a more depressing pop song?

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    1. The lesson from this song is literally "Don't Fall In Love."

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  4. Number 82: Chicago, "Saturday in the Park." Some of the most passionate music fans on YouTube are the folks who love the original version of Chicago, with Terry Kath on guitar, and who hate what happened to the band after he died.

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  5. Number 81: Bill Withers, "Lean on Me." One of the many songs from the 1970's that could also have been used as a Vacation Bible School anthem.

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  6. Number 80: The Knack, "My Sharona." I dial this song up on YouTube fairly often, and I enjoy it every single time.

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    1. The long shot in Reality Bites where Wynona Ryder and Jeanine Garofalo are dancing to this in the convenience store is great.

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  7. Number 79: Fleetwood Mac, "Dreams." This is probably something like my sixth favorite song off of the Rumours album, but apparently there are folks who like it more than I do.

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  8. Number 78: Abba, "Take a Chance on Me." The other day, I told Smart Girl that "Dancing Queen" was Abba's greatest song. "NO ONE DISAGREES ON THIS," I told her. She seemed skeptical. So I looked it up, and sure enough Rolling Stone had a list of the greatest Abba songs. "Dancing Queen" was number one. Then I found another list someone else had done. "Dancing Queen" was number one. I was really pleased.

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    1. I misread this comment initially. I don't know how I did this, but I actually initially read it that you were saying that no one disagrees that "Take a Chance on Me" is Abba's greatest song. And, as I continued to read your comment, I thought to myself, well, I hate to burst his bubble, but I do disagree--'Dancing Queen' is Abba's best song. And I just kept on somehow putting "Take a Chance on Me" in place of "Dancing Queen" across the remainder of your comment.

      But this stuck with me all day while I went about doing other things, and I finally decided that I needed to get back into this post and proclaim that I do disagree that "Take a Chance on Me" is Abba's greatest song. So here I am, and you can imagine how relieved I am to discover my misreading.

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  9. Number 77: Three Dog Night, "Mamma Told Me Not to Come." Songs like this remind me that I grew up after a generation of folks who did all sorts of wild stuff in the 1960's and 1970's, and now I'm living with a younger generation that really doesn't want to do much of anything.

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  10. Number 76: Gloria Gaynor, "I Will Survive." When you hear a song like this, you can see why Disco music was so popular.

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  11. Congratulations to Dustin Johnson, who just won the PGA Tour Championship.

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  12. Number 75: The Eagles, "Lyin' Eyes." I wouldn't list this as one of my favorite Eagles songs. Pop culture in the 1970's was obsessed with adultery. We don't have nearly so many marriages these days, and one result may be that we don't have so many unhappy marriages.

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  13. Number 74: Al Stewart, "Year of the Cat." Reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1977. One year later, Kentucky won the national championship. I'm pretty sure that they played this song throughout the 1977-78 season on the UK Network broadcasts.

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    1. They played that song so often on WKYX that I hated it, but then I really came back to it strong about five or eight years ago. I love it now.

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  14. Number 73: Heart, "Magic Man." I still remember how cool it was when Nancy Wilson made a cameo appearance in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

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  15. If the NCAA plays next year's tournament in a bubble, then I think the whole tournament should take place at UK's Memorial Coliseum.

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  16. Number 72: John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John, "You're the One that I Want." This song should be ranked much, much higher.

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  17. Number 71: Carole King, "It's Too Late." A few years ago, they made a Broadway musical called "Beautiful" that was based on the life of Carole King. The soundtrack is really great and I highly recommend it. Eventually, Carole King herself came to the show and the cast was thrilled, which I thought was very cool.

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    1. I love Carole King, and here's my favorite song of hers right now. The Byrds did a terrific version of the song, but I've gone cuckoo for her vocal on this one.

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  18. Number 70: Aerosmith, "Walk This Way." I never really got the appeal of this song.

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  19. Number 69: Bay City Rollers, "Saturday Night." On the other hand, I have always loved this song, which came out when I was nine years old. I'm not sure there's ever been a better song for 9-year-olds. I bet 9-year-olds today would love this song.

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    1. The lip-sync performance of this by some sixth-graders at a Concord Elementary chili supper/talent show when I was in second grade still is as electrifying rock-'n'-roll performance I've ever seen live.

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  20. Number 68: Styx, "I'm Sailing Away." Of all the Styx songs that got played on the radio, this is probably the one I like the least.

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  21. Number 67: Dire Straits, "Sultans of Swing." A rare rock song about a jazz band.

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  22. Number 66: Barry Manilow, "I Write the Songs." My favorite part of this song is where he goes through the different types of music. "And I wrote some rock 'n' roll/ So you can move."

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  23. Number 65: Paul McCartney and Wings, "Band on the Run." One of the better examples of a song made from parts of different songs.

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  24. Number 64: Billy Joel, "Just the Way You Are." This song was a hit in 1977. I can often tell which songs are from 1977 because whenever they come on the air, I am transported back to my room in 1977 where I spent hours and hours playing Extra Innings (a tabletop baseball game).

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  25. Number 63: America, "A Horse With No Name." In 1994, when Baltimore got a CFL franchise in the 1990's, the folks there wanted to call it the Colts. When the NFL prevented them from doing this, they went with a horse logo and simply called themselves "Baltimore." They became known as the Horse with No Name, which is my all-time favorite story about the CFL.

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  26. Number 62: Charlie Daniels Band, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Charlie Daniels had one of the very best Twitter feeds, and I really miss his Tweets. He was rare among Tennesseans in his ability to maintain the fire and competitiveness of all Tennesseans, while also projecting a sense of joy and confidence in the future. Dolly Parton has that same gift, but it is rare.

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  27. Number 61: Elton John, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." In my later years, I have become a huge fan of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The lyrics here are just wonderful. "You can't plant me in your penthouse/I'm going back to my plow." Since I've moved to DC, I've had this thought about 10,000 times. But I've never come up with a better way to phrase it.

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  28. Number 60: Neil Diamond, "Cracklin' Rosie." This song is much better in the Arthur Fiedler arrangement.

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  29. Number 59: The Moody Blues, "Nights in White Satin." This song was recorded in 1967, so I really don't think it should be on this list -- even though it was re-released in 1972. If it is going to be on the list, it should be much higher.

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  30. Number 58: Lynyrd Skynyrd: "Sweet Home Alabama." If you really understand this song, then you will understand so much about why the South acts the way it does.

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  31. Number 57: Bread, "Make It With You." I'm a huge fan of Bread, and I don't care what other people think.

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  32. In the first half, the Raptors went 13-43 from the field, and they trail Boston 62-35 at the half. What a bizarre outcome.

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  33. Number 56: Bee Gees, "Night Fever." A great song for roller skating.

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  34. Number 55: James Taylor, "Fire and Rain." OK, now this is a big-time song. I think this should be in the top 20.

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  35. Number 54: Hall and Oates, "She's Gone." I'm pretty sure my favorite Hall and Oats songs are "Maneater" and "Adult Education." But I never go out of my way to listen to their music.

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  36. Number 53: ELO, "Evil Woman." My kids like ELO more than I do, and that may be the only 1970's band for which that's the case.

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    1. They also like Prince more than I do, but I don't think of Prince as a 1970's act.

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  37. Number 52: Meat Loaf, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad." There aren't that many big hits by Meat Loaf, but I really enjoy all of them.

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  38. Number 51: Gerry Rafferty, "Baker Street." I always associate this song with Ellery Queen, because I spent much of 1978 reading Ellery Queen novels. I strongly recommend "The American Gun Mystery" and "The Finishing Stroke." If you like those, then you should read "The Greek Coffin Mystery," which is probably the best puzzle-mystery ever written.

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  39. Number 50: Bill Withers, "Ain't No Sunshine." There were a lot of great mournful songs in the early 1970's, and this is one of the best.

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  40. Number 49: Fleetwood Mac, "You Can Go Your Own Way." This is where I think about Eric's fabulous breakdown of the history of Fleetwood Mac.

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  41. Number 48: The Carpenters, "Superstar." I realized over the weekend that someday, there will be a great movie about the Carpenters, and whoever plays Karen Carpenter will probably win an Academy Award.

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    1. Bands whose stories would make great movies:

      1. The Beach Boys
      2. The Carpenters
      3. The Dixie Chicks
      4. The Beatles
      5. The Rolling Stones
      6. The Jackson 5

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    2. There's also an amazing movie to be made about Marvin Gaye.

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  42. Earth, Wind, & Fire, "September." I was never cool enough to really get as much as I should have out of this music.

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    1. To be honest, now I just want to see that Marvin Gaye movie. His life actually features two movies' worth of material.

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    2. Maybe you do one movie that ends with the release of "What's Going On," and then another that covers the last portion of his life.

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  43. Number 46: Elton John, "Rocket Man." Such a mournful song about what most folks saw as an exciting adventure. But Bernie Taupin looks at things differently than most people do.

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  44. B.J. Thomas, "Raindrops Are Falling on My Head." On the whole, I was disappointed in the movie of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." I think "The Sting" is a much better movie.

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  45. Number 44: Carly Simon, "You're So Vain." I just want to point out that in this song, the first rhymes the words "yacht," "apricot," and "gavotte." That's really impressive.

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    1. Third verse includes the words "Saratoga," "Nova Scotia," "eclipse," and "underworld." That's not easy to do either.

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    2. There was a total eclipse of the sun that was visible in Nova Scotia on July 10, 1972.

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  46. Number 43: Kansas, "Dust in the Wind." As I have mentioned before, this was the "slow skate" song at my Sixth Grade Skating Party. Thus, for me, it is one of the most memorable songs of the decade.

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  47. Number 42: The Guess Who: "American Woman." I've always thought this song pretty accurately captures how Canadians feel about the United States.

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  48. Number 41: Queen, "Somebody to Love." I love this song, but my family prefers "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane.

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  49. Number 40: John Denver, "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Now we're down to the top 40, so things are getting serious. I think this is actually my favorite John Denver song. It's also one of only three songs that the CMA featured when it put together a medley to celebrate its 50th anniversary. That's a very cool medley, and I recommend that you look it up on YouTube.

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  50. Number 39: The Beatles, "The Long and Winding Road." There's a new book about the last days of the Beatles. One thing that I think gets lost in this story is that it is actually not uncommon for famous people to have falling outs with each other. American history is full of examples of politicians who worked together until a feud split them up. We are really fortunate that Lennon and McCartney stuck together as long as they did.

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    1. I always hear this song when I read about the Paul/Barnabas parting.

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  51. Number 38: Gary Wright, "Dream Weaver." I listen to this song a lot; it's in the heavy portion of my regular playlist.

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  52. Number 37: Paul McCartney and Wings, "Silly Love Songs." This would not have made my top 100 -- and probably not my top 200.

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    1. There are moments when "Jet" would be my No. 1.

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  53. Celtics win 111-89 and lead the Raptors three games to two.

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  54. Number 36: John Lennon, "Imagine." A lot of folks think that this song is twee and pretentious, but it's never struck me that way. There was always a deep sadness in John Lennon -- you can see it in the lyrics for "Help!" He really did, I think, have the belief that the world would be a better place if folks would just be nicer to each other. Most of us give up on that belief at an early age, but he never did.

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  55. Number 35: Orleans, "Still the One." For me, this will always be the theme song of ABC back when ABC was on top of the world.

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  56. Number 34: Bee Gees, "How Deep Is Your Love." This song is too mellow for me.

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  57. Number 33: Looking Glass, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)." I like this song a lot, but number 33 seems high to me.

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  58. Number 32: The Village People, "Y.M.C.A." This has to be one of the most popular songs ever made. They play this song at baseball games and football games to this day, and every time they do, the crowd goes nuts.

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  59. Number 31: The Carpenters, "Close to You." I would probably have this song in the top 10.

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  60. Number 30: Starland Vocal Band, "Afternoon Delight." At some level, I'm surprised to see this song so high -- but on another I'm not. This song has always been extremely popular.

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  61. Number 29: Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, "Night Moves." Well, this song is just fantastic. One of the odd things about the 1970's is that for people who were children then -- like me -- it stands by itself, but for everyone else it was tied to the disappointments of the 1960's. This fact comes out all the time in art from the 1970's, but the sense of lost possibilities is done here better than almost anywhere else. "Started humming a song from 1962."

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    1. Bob Seger was 31 in 1976, when this song was issued. I have never felt older than I did when I was in my early 30's, and I don't think the whole emotion has ever been captured much better than in this song.

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    2. It's amazing to think that the gap from 1962 to 1976 is the same as the gap from 1983 to 1997.

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  62. Number 28: George Harrison, "My Sweet Lord." The Beatles just keep turning up all through this countdown.

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  63. Number 27: Elton John: "Your Song." This song now feels like one of those classics by George Gershwin or Stephen Foster. It's 50 years old, and I can imagine people singing it in 100 years.

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  64. Number 26: The Partridge Family, "I Think I Love You." It occurs to me that at some point, we should do a Heath Post entry that just goes through the episode of The Partridge Family that features this song. As I recall, it's a cracker -- the whole thing turns on the fact that Keith is dating a feminist, and the Partridge Family is going to a rally for her cause, but then she and Keith have a falling-out, but then they do the song anyway. It's a lot of 1970's drama in one episode.

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  65. Number 25: Chicago, "If You Leave Me Now." Remember those Chicago fans who are loyal to Terry Kath? Don't ask them about this song.

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  66. Number 24: Kansas, "Carry On Wayward Son." For most of the time when I was in high school, and probably until I went to college and started listening to Springsteen, I would have told you that this was my favorite song of all time.

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    1. I take it back. My favorite song would, of course, have been "Freebird." But this would have been my second favorite.

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  67. Number 23: England Dan and John Ford Coley, "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight." My daughter is always surprised at how many love songs they had back in the 1970's.

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    1. This song felt like the epitome of romantic sophistication.

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  68. Number 22: Jimmy Buffett, "Margaritaville." I prefer "Come Monday," but I was never Jimmy Buffett's target audience.

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  69. Kawhi Leonard has some work cut out for him. In Game 3, the Nuggets lead 51-43 with 5 minutes left in the first half.

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    1. Nuggets wearing the throwback rainbow uniforms from the 1970's, so they fit in well with this countdown.

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  70. Number 21: Fleetwood Mac, "Rhiannon." This is probably my favorite Fleetwood Mac song, and it's unfortunate for me that it's not on Rumours.

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  71. Number 20: Three Dog Night, "Joy to the World." This song always reminds me of The Big Chill, which was the first really grown-up movie I remember going to see without my parents.

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  72. Number 19: Kiss, "Beth." Very surprised to see this so high, but the sad, mellow songs are plainly resonating with the listeners who voted on this countdown.

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  73. Number 18: Wild Cherry, "Play that Funky Music." Again, this seems pretty high to me -- but it is a fun song.

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  74. Number 17: Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." A huge favorite with Smart Mom, and thus a big deal at our house. When I was growing up, I thought this song was about something that had happened back in the 1800's. There is an enormous amount of information regarding this event on the Internet. Last week I read an article saying that with today's ability to forecast the weather, this type of disaster would not have occurred.

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    1. My favorite part of this song is where he describes the Great Lakes. I love the idea that there are folks who think about those lakes as much as people in Paducah think about the Ohio and the Tennessee.

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  75. Number 16: Blue Oyster Cult, "Don't Fear the Reaper." One of the most terrifying of all pop songs -- now best known for one of the greatest SNL skits.

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    1. When the Gin Blossoms came out in the 1990s, I was so thrilled that either Blue Oyster Cult or John Waite had made a big comeback.

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  76. Number 15: Aerosmith, "Dream On." ESPN used this song for its century-ending video summarizing sports in the 20th Century. That video, and the Jim Valvano cancer speech, are the two greatest moments on ESPN (not counting any live sports). Someone on YouTube has a "Dream On" video that goes with Kentucky basketball from the mid-1990's to the mid-2000's. That video is also great. You can't go wrong if you use "Dream On" to make a sports video.

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  77. Number 14: Elton John and Kiki Dee, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." This song is like a better Captain and Tennille song. Elton John has done very well on this countdown.

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    1. There have been moments in my life when this was my No. 1.

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  78. If the Clippers win the title this year, I think the league should send Kawhi Leonard to play with the Rockets next season. Just keep moving him from team to team until he loses.

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  79. Number 13: Chicago, "25 or 6 to 4." Here's something for the Terry Kath fans. There are some very nice videos on YouTube of Chicago playing this song in its prime. For me, this song would have been up there with "Carry On Wayward Son."

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  80. Number 12: The Carpenters, "We've Only Just Begun." This song famously began life as an advertisement, which reminds me of how much I miss jingles. I would point out that back when they had jingles, capitalism was a lot more popular than it is now.

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  81. Number 11: Bee Gees, "Staying Alive." This is such a great song that it prevents me from criticizing the Bee Gees. Anyone who could make this song deserves a lot of credit.

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  82. Nuggets up 79-73 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. I wonder if being able to play all games at the same altitude helps Denver.

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  83. Number 10: Queen, "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions." Like "Y.M.C.A.," this is a song that still gets a reaction over 40 years after it was first performed. There really is no other band like Queen, and I think that fact has caused them to become more popular as time has gone by.

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  84. By the way, I can only name about five guys in the NBA. For years, I just followed LeBron and the Warriors. I have no idea who most of the players on the other teams are. And when I hear their names, unless they went to UK, I still don't know who they are.

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  85. Number 9: The Eagles, "Take It To the Limit." Presumably we are still going to get "Hotel California" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." So Queen and the Eagles will account for at least four of the songs in the top 10.

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    1. There was a great documentary about the Eagles a few years ago. And of course, there have been big-time movies about Queen and Elton John. I wonder if those films have made a difference in how these acts are viewed.

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    2. The documentary on the Eagles did cause me to have a higher opinion of the Eagles, so maybe it affected other people as well.

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  86. Number 8: Don McLean, "American Pie." I have probably thought more about this song than about any song on this countdown. It was my favorite song when I was five years old, it was one of the first songs I ever wanted to own so that I could play it whenever I wanted, and I spent a lot of time working out all of the historical references. It's also unique -- there's not really anything else like it.

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  87. And at this point my connection crashed, and I lost the top seven songs in the countdown. I'm really sorry about that. If it makes you feel any better, the number one song on the Fourth of July countdown was "Bohemian Rhapsody," and I think the same answer would apply here.

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  88. Oh, this is interesting. I'll guess, ...

    7. Hotel California, Eagles
    6. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
    5. Maggie Mae, Rod Stewart
    4. Jive Talkin', Bee Gees
    3. Jet, Paul McCartney and Wings
    2. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
    1. Higher Ground, Stevie Wonder

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  89. That was fun. Thanks for posting it.

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  90. I found the list online. Here is the rest of the list.

    Number 7: Four Seasons, "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)." Wow. I really didn't see that coming. I'm not sure this song would make my top 500 songs of the 1970's.

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    1. I did actually love this song when it came out.

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  91. Number 6: Simon and Garfunkel, "Bridge Over Troubled Water." There's a live version somewhere of them doing this song for an audience who has never heard it before. This would have been in 1969 or so. When they finish, there's this little pause -- like everyone is stunned with what they've just heard. And then the place goes nuts.

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  92. Number 5: ABBA, "Dancing Queen." I think this song has already been covered. It is not ranked too high.

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  93. Number 4: Boston, "More than a Feeling." My dad bought our first component stereo system in around 1978, and I still have extremely vivid memories of turning the receiver up really loud and listening to this song. Still pretty much the best song to play on stereo equipment from the 1970's.

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  94. Number 3: Beatles, "Let It Be." I talked to a friend the other day about whether the Rolling Stones would still be popular in 50 years. I said I was skeptical, because when young people 50 years from now want to feel angry, or paranoid, or frustrated, they will have their own art to help with those feelings. But I think the Beatles will still be around, because beautiful melodies are impossible to replace.

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  95. Number 2: Eagles, "Hotel California." "You can check out any time you want / But you can never leave." I think about this lyric often, and it may be my favorite lyric of any rock song.

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  96. Number 1: Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody." I'm really glad that this song has moved to number one on lists like these. It's a wonderful, joyous, amazing song -- there's really nothing else like it -- and it seems to grow more popular every year.

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  97. There are also moments where Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady" would be my No. 1.

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