1a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans
1b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
2: an emanation of spiritual or moral force
Influence is a word that may have gotten away from its Merriam-Webster definition over the years, but it is born of the stars and derived from the astrophysical definition of gravity. Influence, like gravity, puts order to the things around it. The Sun influences the Earth. The moon influences the tides. Every object influences every other object in the universe, in whatever magnificent or microscopic way that may manifest. Influence is life.
We often think of those artists or songs that have influences our love of music and our particular music. But what of those artists before them? Where does this cycle of influence begin? And if we as a democratic voting audience were to tackle the great question of The Most Influential Song In The History of Rock and Roll, how would we go about doing that?
I am a big believer in education, and have spent the summer taking a two part course on The History of Rock offered online through Coursera.org from Professor John Covach at the University of Rochester– one of the top music schools in the world. Throughout my notes, I have painstakingly recorded every single song that has been mentioned in every lecture. If an album is mentioned, I make a note of it as well. With 3 weeks left, I already have 662 entries written down.
Some might think me mad for even proposing a tournament of such magnitude- lest I remind you that our 2010-2011 first tournament included roughly 580 songs, which we voted down to one while engaging over 100 independent voters online. My plan is as follows- to begin advertising this tournament on the message board of my course, which has roughly 50,000 students participating from across the world. I am hoping to engage as many people as possible. I want more voters. I want more opinions. I want the world to listen to music and I want to answer this question with our stable of regular voters as well as with new ones.
Over the next 3 weeks I’ll release the competing songs along with brief synopses of the period of Rock and Roll history they represent (to get the full effect though, you should really take the course when it’s offered again). Then on Sunday, August 18th at 8 PM PST we’ll begin. One set of match-ups at a time. Nothing but quality, influential music vetted by Professor Covach
Tomorrow, we’ll start out with releasing the list of songs competing from Week One: The World Before Rock and Roll (1900-1955). Get pumped. I am!