Attention MP3 users: Do you have a unique, themed playlist in your music library that you think is really nifty?
Recently a friend and I were comparing notes on how we collect and organize music. In so doing, we discovered a shared fondness for songs that tell stories.
Some might call these ballads but the pop music scene of decades ago really expanded the definition. I was a product of the 1960s and 1970s and, as such, I am only slightly ashamed to lay claim to some of the corniest and most obnoxious “music,” as well as time-honored and clever classics, as the soundtrack of my formative years.
My iPod library houses more than 50 themed playlists, but one I especially enjoy is called, simply, “Stories.” As someone who enjoys words put together artfully, along with good narration, my love of stories should come as no surprise.
“Stories” begins with one of the most famous, “Alice’s Restaurant.” I know people who listen to it once a year as part of their Thanksgiving traditions. Personally, I need it more often. If you’re having a rough day and have 18 minutes and 37 seconds to spare, perhaps on your commute home, give it a listen. It’ll take you way back and give you a chuckle at the same time. And I suspect you have at least parts of it memorized.
Here are a few others, old and new, and at least one added at my friend’s suggestion. I am betting there are some you haven’t thought about in 30 or 40 years, or maybe haven’t heard altogether.
“A Boy Named Sue,” Johnny Cash
“Big John,” Jimmy Dean
“Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road,” Loudoun Wainwright III
“Henry,” New Riders of the Purple Sage
“Junk Food Junkie,” Larry Groce
“King Tut,” Steve Martin
“Sic ‘Em on a Chicken,” Zac Brown
“Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!,” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
“The Streak,” Ray Stevens
“Uneasy Rider,” The Charlie Daniels Band (one of my favorites)
“When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” Jerry Reed
“30,000 Pounds of Bananas,” Harry Chapin
I am still building the playlist. Have any suggestions?