Songs that mattered

The Big Question on the back page of The Atlantic: “What is the most influential song of all time?” Lots of interesting answers, and two picked Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”: Rhett Miller of the Old 97s, which doesn’t surprise me, and Carly Rae Jepsen (“Call Me Maybe”), which does. Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! comes out for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the basis of sheer ubiquity: even old pharts like me know it. Still, I have to follow the lead of “Weird Al” Yankovic, who justifies the Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” this way:

Not many people had the courage to equate the word with the bird back in those days, but now it’s a widely accepted fact.

Except, perhaps, by James Lileks.



  1. McGehee »

    21 May 2014 · 2:16 pm

    No. “The bird” are two words.

  2. Roger Green »

    21 May 2014 · 9:39 pm

    Oddly, I thought of either Ode To Joy, This Land Is Your Land, or She Loves You

  3. CGHill »

    21 May 2014 · 10:04 pm

    Curiously, or maybe not so curiously, “She Loves You” might be the definitive Beatles single: the song starts with the hook, there’s no actual bridge, and it ends on a major sixth, demonstrating convincingly that they knew the rules, and didn’t give much of a damn for them. Besides: “yeah, yeah, yeah.”

  4. What is the most influential song of all time? | Ramblin' with Roger »

    5 June 2014 · 6:05 am

    [...] it’s a patently absurd task to even try to answer. Of course people did, as Oklahoma blogger Dustbury noted. Quite a few responses for We Shall Overcome, which is an understandable [...]

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a comment