Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

Revisiting the 'second tier'

Back in the early weeks of these Jonals, in February 2001, we were discussing our all-time favorite music hits. Maybe I should say I discussed my favorites and shared my predilection to low-brow pop music from the late-'50s Elvis to the then-current radio top-40 fare. Though I encouraged input from other people's lists, there was very little input beyond a few "me toos." I went so far as to name my all-time four most favorite popular songs: "Tragedy" by Thomas Wayne, "Mr. Blue" by the Fleetwoods, "True Love Ways" by Buddy Holly, and "The One You Love" by Glen Frey. I said that this "first tier" would be followed by a second tier that I suspected might run into a couple of dozen titles or even more. But after digging into that at the time, I changed my mind and said the second tier was too wide to give more than a few examples among scores, referring to "anything that makes me happy" as second-tier favorites.

Subsequently, I gathered about 500 songs I like and put them into three CD's that I have played almost constantly ever since when driving and while working out at the gym. In those four years I've listened to no pop radio (for the first time in my life) and as a result I've lost touch of whether any new songs are worth hearing. I never was a big fan of music on TV. Unless the "artist" featured on Saturday Night Live or the Tonight Show/Letterman was someone I wanted to hear specifically, like one of the performers or groups like the Eagles in my play list, I mute the musical segment of the show. I sometimes give a group a few seconds' time to win me over, but usually that's all the time it takes to move me to mute. Maybe I'll do a whole Jonal on how a song "wins me over," but not this time.

Anyway, the past four years of listening to my play list have led me to change my mind again. There are not "that many" favorites in the second tier after all. There are a few songs that make me catch my breath and reach for the volume knob to turn it up, and those are the rightful occupants of my second tier. So here is the first pass on compiling that list, though I suspect others will add themselves to it as I hear them again and remember, "oh, yes, that's one I should have put on the list."

"Tammy," by Debbie Reynolds; "Deam Lover," Bobby Darrin; "I Only Have Eyes for You," the Flamingoes; "Since I Don't Have You," the Skyliners; "Sad Eyes," Andy Gibb; "How Deep Is Your Love," Bee Gees; "Loving You," Elvis Presley; "Last Train to Georgia," Gladys Knight and the Pips; "One on One," Hall and Oates; "You and Me Against The World," Helen Reddy; "I'll Be There," Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five; "April Love," Pat Boone; "If You Don't Know Me By Now," Simply Red; "The End of the World," Skeeter Davis; "Break Up to Make Up," Stylistics; "You Were Always On My Mind," Willie Nelson; "I'll Never Break Your Heart," Backstreet Boys (do you remember when it was the theme song of the Nanty Glo Home Page?); "Mr. Lonley," Bobby Vinton; "You Are My Special Angel," Bobby Helms; "We've Only Just Begun," Carpenters; "This Love," Don Henley; "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," England Dan and John Ford Coley; "In the Still of the Night," Five Satins; "Come Monday," Jimmy Buffett; "Faithfully," Journey; "Rock the Night Away," Michael Jackson; "Billy Jean," Michael Jackson; "Good Night My Love," Paul Anka; "You Send Me," Sam Cooke; a"I Can't Tell You Why," the Eagles. "A Million to One," Jimmy Charles; "Apple Green," June Valli.

That's more than a couple dozen, isn't it? Well, it's a start. I know this is entirely subjective and your mileage may vary, to any opposite extreme. Any thoughts? Additions? Arguments?

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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