Craig Allen’s Favorite Hits by Decade
He may not be here, on-air, tonight...but Drew Miller is certainly here in spirit!
He inspired this latest bit of musical introspection, on my part...
Recently, Drew asked me: "What are your favorite songs, by decade?"
Believe me, being a "music guy" I get asked that...A LOT!
I usually ditch the question...I play music (and say silly things) for a living...making this a tough question! There's SO much that I do like! So much great music, that fit its time, and place.
Having said that...after MUCH thought...here are some titles. You don't have to agree!
It would be so easy to pick a song by the Beatles or Stones...or a classic song from Motown...and it would be unfair, too! How can you pick a fave from such rarefied talent?
Box Tops "Soul Deep" #18/1969
I've always loved this song...well..I've loved it as long as I have loved "oldies," anyway! And, it just barely makes the decade cutoff, having debuted on the Hot 100 charts in July of 1969.
Originally known as the Devilles, this band formed in Memphis in 1963. They were considered a major "blue-eyed soul" group in their heyday. You may best remember them for their smash hit "The Letter."
"Soul Deep" was the band's last chart hit. Founders Alex Chilton and Gary Talley broke up the band in 1970...although Bell Records had enough Chilton-led material to release new Box Tops singles through 1971!
Once again...how can I choose...from the 60's-sounding rock and pop of the early years...not to mention the singer/songwriters...to the Bee Gees, and the "disco backlash" of the late 70's?!
I have always been very pop (Top-40/singles) oriented, rather than an album guy, just FYI.
Last Sunday night, I wrote about the future of breakfast cereals HERE at nj1015.com. Wait...there is a reason that I mention this! Follow me...
In the early 1970's, the Jackson 5, especially Michael, was the face of "Alpha Bits" cereal...
At that time, the Jackson 5 hits were the "prize!"
As soon as mom took the cereal box out of the shopping bag, I would take a (rather dull) scissor, and carefully cut the "record" off the back of the box!
I wish that I still had those "records"...sadly, I wore them out!
"FREE" music is a dream to a kid with only a few pennies in the piggy bank!
Besides, the "J5" spoke to my kid-music sensibilities...to the point where, one day, my mom said: "Tell your grandmother that you love Jackson 5 music, and maybe she will get you some for Christmas."
Quite a few years later, when I was in college, Grandma Violette gave me a box of 45's that she picked up at a yard sale (she loved yard sales). They were in really good condition...but, Patti Page and Perry Como were not exactly my style.
I was very gracious. And, yes, I still have those 1950's vintage vinyl selections.
Still NOT my style...
Back to the Jackson 5...(my style, then and now)...
"Jackson 5 "The Love You Save" #1/1970
Its just a great pop record, in my opinion. Every time I hear the song, I stop whatever I am doing, and immerse myself in the music for about 3 minutes!
Everyone knows how adult life turned out for Michael...but that sad fact does nothing to diminish talent! Michael's, and all the Jackson's, music will live forever!
This hit from "The Decade Of Decadence" grabbed me, the FIRST time that I heard it...in the fall of 1985!
Its just "got it in the groves" (the compact disc was still a new thing in 1985).
Scritti Politti "Perfect Way" #11/1985
The band is the British trio: Green Gartside, Fred Maher, and David Gamson.
They take their name from Italian...loosely translated: "Political Writing."
Scritti Politti started out as a left-leaning punk rock group...eventually finding worldwide success after morphing into a mainstream pop band!
I've written about them previously, here at nj1015.com! Click HERE for the "Scritti Politti Story!"
My pick for the last decade of the 20th Century is...a song that I played (probably) a MILLION times on Philadelphia radio, before coming to New Jersey 101.5 in 2002.
And I still LOVE this song!
Third Eye Blind formed in San Francisco in 1993.
Talk about "stepping in it!" Stephan Jenkins and Kevin Cadogan signed a record deal with the Elektra label in 1996. It was later reported to be the largest deal ever, for an unsigned artist!
1997 brought their self-titled debut album...with Jenkins on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Cadogan on lead guitar, Arion Salazar on bass guitar, and Brad Hargreaves on drums.
"Semi-Charmed Life" comes from this album.
After the "Blue" album in 1999, Cadogan left 3EB amid some controversy.
Since that time, band members have come and gone...
I mention the "radio-friendly" version of my favorite HIT from the 1990's...above is the not-as-radio-friendly version...the extra story line verse makes the song...even better!
In the late 1990's, the Anaheim California-based pop band "No Doubt" burst on the scene, racking up several Top-40 hits, most notably, "Don't Speak," which spent 16 weeks at #1!
There was "no doubt" that vocalist Gwen Stefani would embark on a solo career.
Flash forward to spring of 2005...along with playing "Jersey's Favorite Hits" on the weekends on New Jersey 101.5, I am the night guy on our new Top-40 sister station "SoJO 104.9!"
Gwen Stefani's new song is climbing up the charts, on its way to #1...the SoJo listener lines light up for it, night after night!
One night, my studio "hotline" rings. Its the boss...he's riding around town with some of the sales staff, and other "big wigs." I hear singing in the background, as he exclaims: "This sounds GREAT! Play it AGAIN!"
"Hollaback Girl" is the ONLY song that I have played TWICE IN A ROW, in my radio career.
And, I still turn it UP, til my ears bleed! (well...LOUD enough...as years of wearing headphones have taken their toll).
Craig's favorite of the "teens," you ask?
Lets not rush it...we still have 4 years!