Readers, Interwebs, etcetera. Nos and I have been talking behind the scenes on how to recharge interest in the music tournaments. We’ve come a long way from the days of the original tournament of December 2010-April 2011, wherein we had an average of 30-40 voters per match-up and capped off the final with scores in the 600 to 700 range.
Obviously it is disappointing to not have hit those levels of participation. So in thinking about what to do next, it hit us that we need to go back to our roots. And this time do it a little differently. We originally launched this online tournament idea in response to Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (fyi, #1 for those guys was “Like a Rolling Stone,” which seemed like a blatant self-call.) It was amazing, and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” came out on top.
Of all songs we had from the 30s to the 00s, a Sweet Soul representative broken out of The Drifters (who were ultimately representing the songwriting of Leiber & Stoller, whose other contributions to the canon include most Coasters hits and some collaboration on Elvis’s “Jailhouse Rock”) came out on top with a song recorded in 1961. In the end, we chose a representative from the previous generation.
With that preamble, I’m proud to announce the theme of the next tournament (although it won’t start until at least August): The Most Influential Song In Rock And Roll History. How do we choose the competitors? Simple. I’ve been compiling a list of every single song that has been cited in John Covach’s History of Rock lectures on Coursera.org. Right now I’m up to 278 songs. As a preview, this is what this is starting to look like in intervals of 50 in order of songs mentioned.
#1: I’ve Got A Pocket Full Of Dreams- Bing Crosby (1938)
#50: Long Tall Sally- Little Richard (1958)
#100: Looking Back- Nat King Cole (1958)
#150: You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away- The Beatles (1965)
#200: Homeward Bound- Simon & Garfunkel (1966)
#250: Money- Barrett Strong (1960)
A return to basics 3 years after the fact should be fun. So get excited! In the meantime, continue enjoying the summer- hopefully wherever you all are the weather is as beautiful as it is here in Seattle. Keep living the dream, as always.