Friday, June 6, 2008

Rock of Ages: The Gauntlet Is Thrown

Big ups to friend of OPC MJN for compiling this list of ages in rock songs (or non-rock songs, as the case may be with "Matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof, or the Roger Whittaker song, which I haven't heard but I'm assuming doesn't rock too hard). MJN warns that some of the entries are kind of dodgy - for instance, it's not at all clear to me that Elvis Costello intends to use 66 as an age in "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea," although it's plausible. Elvis never makes things too easy.

Then there are things like Low Down's "Wouldn't It Be Good," at 96. I haven't been able to confirm that there's even a band called Low Down, much less that they have a song in which someone is 96 years old. I haven't had time to check them all: Kreator? Dr. Manhattan? Catie Curtis?

Let me point out too that in the "less than one" entry, John Hiatt mentions being eleven months old. If we're going to include that, and I don't see any reason that we wouldn't, we should also shoehorn "Superstition" in there at 13 months, which MJN hadn't done on the original. I also wanted to say that perhaps my favorite use of an age here comes in the Old 97s' "Indefinitely": "The room was Mediterranean and the meaning was twofold/We got busted by your mother, though you're twenty-nine years old."

Take it away, MJN:

Age Artist Title
<1 John Hiatt, "Stood Up"
1 Everlast, "Death Comes Callin'"
1.083 Stevie Wonder, "Superstition"
2 The Supremes, "I'm Livin' in Shame"
3 Led Zeppelin, "The Ocean"
4 Green Day, "King for a Day"
5 The Velvet Underground, "Rock & Roll"
6 Chuck Berry, "Memphis, Tennessee"
7 Stephen Stills, "Old Times Good Times"
8 Bruce Springsteen, "My Hometown"
9 Paul Simon, "Graceland"
10 The Who, "Amazing Journey"
11 Ludacris, "Runaway Love"
12 Peggy Lee, "Is That All There Is?"
13 Richard Thompson, "Read About Love"
14 The Beach Boys, "When I Grow Up to Be a Man"
15 The Rolling Stones, "Stray Cat Blues"
16 Chuck Berry, "Sweet Little Sixteen"
17 The Beatles, "I Saw Her Standing There"
18 Alice Cooper, "I'm Eighteen"
19 Bruce Springsteen, "The River"
20 Elton John, "Between Seventeen and Twenty"
21 Jackson Browne, "Running on Empty"
22 Richard Thompson, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"
23 Blink 182, "What's My Age Again"
24 Neil Young, "Old Man"
25 Mott the Hoople, "All the Young Dudes"
26 Eminem, "My Fault"
27 Jefferson Airplane, "Lather"
28 Donna Summer, "She Works Hard for the Money"
29 The Old 97's, "Indefinitely"
30 Paul Westerberg, "Crackle and Drag"
31 Bob Seger, "Rock and Roll Never Forgets"
32 Ringo Starr, "I'm the Greatest"
33 The Pretenders, "Middle of the Road"
34 Pete Townshend, "Slit Skirts"
35 Frank Sinatra, "It Was a Very Good Year"
36 Mary Chapin Carpenter, "He Thinks He'll Keep Her"
37 Marianne Faithfull, "Ballad of Lucy Jordan"
38 The Tragically Hip, "38 Years Old"
39 The Cure, "39"
40 John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy"
41 Helen Reddy, "Delta Dawn"
42 Citizen Cope, "200,000 (in Counterfeit 50 Dollar Bills)"
43 Jerry Jeff Walker, "Nolan Ryan"
44 Jann Arden, "We Do Some Strange Things"
45 Liz Phair, "Shitloads of Money"
46 Hello Saferide, "Long Lost Pen Pal"
47 The Academy Is…, "Slow Down"
48 Lagwagon, "Move the Car"
49 Systematic, "Return to Zero"
50 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Joe"
51 Bob Dylan, "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
52 Kanye West, "School Spirit Skit 2"
53 Loudon Wainwright III, "Living Alone"
54 Victoria Williams, "Century Plant"
55 Tift Merritt, "Laid a Highway"
56 Kreator, "Everlasting Flame
57 Eurythmics, "Angel"
58 Big & Rich, "8th of November"
59 The Beautiful South, "Prettiest Eyes
60 Teenage Fanclub, "Eternal Light"
61 Bryan White Tree of Hearts"
62 Fiddler on the Roof, "Matchmaker"
63 The Who, "Slip Kid"
64 The Beatles, "When I'm Sixty-Four"
65 Gilbert O'Sullivan, "Alone Again, Naturally"
66 Elvis Costello, "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea"
67 Five For Fighting, "100 Years"
68 Bob Dylan, "Maggie's Farm"
69 Steppenwolf, "The Ostrich"
70 Simon & Garfunkel, "Old Friends"
71 Loudon Wainwright III, "The Doctor"
72 Neil Diamond, "Acapulco"
73 The Band, "Rockin' Chair"
74 Nick Cave/Bad Seeds, "Christina the Astonishing"
75 Caroline's Spine, "Attention Please"
76 Souls of Mischief, "Tell Me Who Profits"
77 John Cougar Mellencamp, "Minutes to Memories"
78 Helen Humes, "Million Dollar Secret"
79 Pain, "Thimbledrome"
80 David Bowie, "1984"
81 Roger Whittaker, "New World in the Morning"
82 Catie Curtis, "Hole in the Bucket"
83 Drive By Truckers, "A World of Hurt"
84 Randy Newman, "A Wedding in Cherokee County"
85 Paul Overstreet, "What's Going Without Saying"
86 Jimmy Buffett, "He Went to Paris"
87 Roger Waters, "Amused to Death"
88 Dr. Manhattan, "Tracey's Buns"
89 Taylor Swift, "Mary's Song (Oh My My My)"
90 Brad Paisley, "She's Everything"
91 Susan Tedeschi, "Love Never Treats Me Right"
92 Plain White T's, "Fireworks"
93 Kiss, "Goin' Blind"
94 Jonas Brothers, "One Day at a Time"
95 Steve Miller Band, "Dance, Dance, Dance"
96 Low Down, "Wouldn't It Be Good"
97 The Move, "The Disturbance"
98 Iggy Pop, "Girls"
99 Grand Funk Railroad, "Walk Like a Man (You Can Call Me Your Man)"
100 Randy Travis, "Written in Stone"
101 Sugarhill Gang, "Rapper's Delight"
102 Kenny Chesney, "Don't Blink"


Gavin said...


MJN said...

You have too heard Roger Whittaker's "New World in the Morning"; it was a big hit. Your assumption that it's not a rocker is correct, though.

Even if you'd prefer Cat Power's "Willie Deadwilder" to "Matchmaker", we've still got 62 covered.

I'm more inclined to consider "Superstition" as an alternative to "Death Comes Callin'" for age 1, than to give it its own category.

Sorry about Low Down at 96. It was the best I could come up with. Did you think I was going to leave one solitary hole there? Someone needs to convince Chris Martin to record a song about a 96-year-old.

I welcome any suggestions for better entries. I'm not too crazy about "Thimbledrome" at 79 either.

T. Nawrocki said...

If I've heard "New World in the Morning," maybe it was on those incessant Roger Whittaker "All My Best" TV commercials. The only song of his I'm sure I know is "The Last Farewell," and I have loved it dearly, more dearly than the spoken word can tell. That's also his only Top Forty hit, by the way.

Are you saying you made up "Wouldn't It Be Good"? You could have signalled it a little better - made it the Beatles' "When I'm Ninety-Six" or something.

MJN said...

No, I didn't make it up. However, I must apologize for screwing up the artist's name. "Wouldn't It Be Good" isn't by the rapper Low Down; it's actually by the rapper Down Low, who is someone else entirely. It can be found on the 2004 album "Down Low & Friends".

Gavin said...

I think a stronger candidate for age 29 is the Sex Pistols' "Seventeen."