When I turned 40 I compiled a list of My Top 40 Songs I came up with five criteria and each song had to meet at least one of these. Sometime a song met more than one. While the list has grown to well over 100 songs since then, I continue to use these same criteria.

1.Movement:  The song must move my body in some way, shape or form; it makes me either tap my toes, snap my fingers, dance or play air-guitar.

  • Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin)
  • So What (Miles Davis)
  • A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum)

2.Sing-Sing-Sing:  I want to sing along while listening or it is one of those songs that pops into my head out of nowhere.

  • Hungry Heart (Bruce Springsteen)
  • Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
  • Louie-Louie (The Kingsmen)

3.Ommmm: The song mesmerizes me and carries me off into a Zen like state.

  • Hallelujah (K.D Lang)
  • Heroes (David Bowie)
  • West End Blues (Louie Armstrong)

4.Trigger:  It evokes a memory from my past; transporting me to the exact place I was, when I first heard the tune.

  • Bitch is Back  (Elton John)    I was in the car with my sister driving down Elizabeth Street in Guelph by the “100 Steps”. The DJ on the car radio said,  “Here’s the new one from Elton John, The Bitch is Back”.  I turned to my sister and asked her if the guy was allowed to say,  ‘that word’ on the radio? She said she didn’t think so. I made sure to tell all my friends the name of the song.
  • You Should be Dancin (The Bee Gees)   The first restricted movie that I ever snuck into was “Saturday Night Fever”.
  • Life During Wartime (The Talking Heads)   This takes me back to a dance at Bishop Mac High School in Guelph. I first heard the song while dancing with a girl named Janice.

5.Substance:  The song lyrics have a special significance.

  • Summer Highland Falls (Billy Joel)

“They say that these are not the best of times but they’re the only times I’ve ever known.”

  • Small Town (John Mellencamp)

“No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be”

  • America (West Side Story Soundtrack)

I like to be in America!
O.K. by me in America!
Ev’rything free in America
For a small fee in America!

 Using these five criteria the list includes a variety of musical genre; everything from Classical to Rock; 1920’s Jazz to New Country; solo artists to symphonies; upbeat Dance songs to deep down soul searching Blues. It is a life long playlist that continues to evolve.

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