The Home Team / You can't please all the people ...
Published 5:22 am, Thursday, June 28, 2012
As my good ol' mama -- or maybe someone else's good ol' mama -- used to say, "If you want to stay out of trouble, never talk about religion, politics, or money." I'm here to let you know you can add a fourth category to that group: Rock 'n' roll.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column in this space called, "The Making of the Top 100 List" (June 1). I talked about how something possessed me a few years back to compile a list of my 100 favorite rock and roll songs of all time -- and how I'd recently unveiled that list to an eager group of friends and relatives over Memorial Day weekend in Montauk. Reactions varied from wildly approving (standing ovation for Livin' On A Prayer at No. 72) to utter dismay (my youngest son and his friends: "What, no Wiz Khalifa?"). Of course, I'd anticipated some pushback, and had distributed a three-page, single-space handout (a "pre-read," as my middle son Greg told me it's called in business-speak), in which I issued a number of disclaimers, concluding with: "This list took me over two years to compile. If you don't like it, make your own damn list!"
I also revealed my top 10 in the same column, and subsequently published my complete top 100 in my blog, "Beagle Man."
And that's when the (bleep) hit the fan!
Actually, some of the feedback was benign -- even congratulatory. Frances M. from Rhode Island wrote: "Impressive undertaking! I wouldn't even know where to start with a list like that. Though I would have included a few songs from the `40s and `50s. And probably some Sondheim."
Sondheim? On a list of rock and roll favorites? Hmmm . . .
Westporter Judy B. asked, "What about Sweet Caroline -- my personal all-time favorite?" I guess I forgot to tell Judy one of my rules (okay, okay, I added this rule after receiving her comment!): Sorry -- no songs that are played over the P.A. in the seventh inning at every ballpark in America.
And there was this pat-on-the-back note sent by Margret from NYC: "I love this list. And I love White Rabbit. Her comment was particularly welcome, since when I had originally played that Jefferson Airplane classic (No. 93) over the weekend, half the crowd got up from the lunch table, gathered their towels and sunscreen, and headed down to the beach.
I also received a few notes of the "nice-job-but" variety. Langdon from Massachusetts wrote, "Love that anyone has the time and perseverance to put together a top 100 list. Even just to get the rest of us thinking. What about Hotel California? Bye, Bye American Pie? Knockin' On Heaven's Door? Nice start!"
Note to Langdon: This wasn't meant to be a start. This was my list!
Now here's where things started getting a little . . . combative. Pam G. from Westport challenged: "Two Tina Turners, and no Elvis???? The King????" I answered her the way I handled most objections of that ilk: "You know, making this list was just so difficult, and of course there were some unintentional snubs. Amazingly, I had something from Elvis (Counting Crows, Hootie and the Blowfish, you name it) at No. 101!"
I don't know about you, but I thought this note from Mike P. in Pennsylvania was a low blow: "Hank -- three Taylor Swift songs, two Adele songs, and only one Beatles song? Are you telling me there isn't one Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Four Tops, or Temptations song you like better than the three Taylor Swift songs? Were the contributing editors of this list a group of junior high school girls?"
Whoa! Remind me not to nominate Mike for President of the Taylor Swift fan club!
But clearly, the winner of the Most Apoplectic Response award goes to Mark L. from Virginia. Here, his evaluation of my list in its entirety:
"Beagle Man, are you kidding me??!! A few reasons for my shock: (1) Four Stones songs and only one Beatles song? (2) Only one Elton John song? (3) Only one Who song? (4) Only one Beach Boys song? (5) Only one U2 song? (6) Five Springsteen songs versus: Zero Led Zeppelin (doesn't have to be Stairway to Heaven)? Zero Byrds (Turn, Turn, Turn? Eight Miles High)? Zero Temptations? Zero Diana Ross & the Supremes? Zero Genesis? Zero Phil Collins? Zero Dylan? Zero Lennon? Zero McCartney? Zero Coldplay? Zero Simon and Garfunkel? Zero Nilsson? Zero Cat Stevens? Zero Roy Orbison? Zero Doobie Brothers? Zero Four Tops? Zero Peter Gabriel? Zero Journey? Zero Michael Jackson? Zero Moody Blues? You're killing me, Beagle Man! Glad you took a crack at it. By now you've probably received 500 e-mails, so have fun reading about all of our favorites that went missing! [But you include] Keith Urban and Billy Ray Cyrus . . . Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. You're killing me."
All I can say to Mark, I guess, is, "So other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"
"The Home Team" appears every other Friday. You can also keep up with Hank's adventures with his dog, Ricky, on his blog, "Beagle Man," on the Westport News website, at: http://blog.ctnews.com/beagleman/ To reach Hank, e-mail him at DoubleH50@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @BeagleManHank.