Thursday, November 18, 2004

All Kinds of Precious Gifts

A Rolling Stone survey has named Like A Rolling Stone the Greatest Song Ever. These surveys are pretty meaningless except as a talking point but at least it isn't a goddamn Beatles song. I don't have a road to Damascas story about first hearing LARS like many people I know, but here is one of my best and most vivid memories.

July 2001. I'm taking a bus from JFK to my hotel in mid-town Manhattan. I am completely shattered after 20 hours without sleep (tried to stay awake and look out the window all the way from LA to NYC, so that whole "from sea to shining sea" thing) and fading fast. The bus inches it way through some boring industrial areas of Brooklyn, nothing much out the window to keep me awake. I keep fiddling with my walkman trying to find a station with decent reception, there are none. (Where are we, in the middle of the Nullarbor?) I can't keep my head up or my eyes open. Then, these three things happen simultaneously. The traffic breaks, we are flying. And up ahead suddenly is the glorious (pre 9/11) Manhattan skyline. And my radio crackles to life and clear as anything, Like A Rolling Stone leaps out. I am suddenly more awake than I have ever been.

The Top 20:
Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction The Rolling Stones
Imagine John Lennon
What's Going On Marvin Gaye
Respect Aretha Franklin
Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry
Hey Jude The Beatles
Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
What'd I Say Ray Charles
My Generation The Who
A Change is Gonna Come Sam Cooke
Yesterday The Beatles
Blowin' in the Wind Bob Dylan
London Calling The Clash
I Want to Hold Your Hand The Beatles
Purple Haze The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Maybellene Chuck Berry
Hound Dog Elvis Presley
Let It Be The Beatles

picture nicked from here.

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