Enjoy – The Best Song Lyrics of Modern America

By October 9th, 2018

 Blog No 83

 October 9, 2018

 “I Read the News Today. Oh, boy”

 Song Lyrics – The Poetry of Modern America

guitar player

Introduction and Background

Song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America. The lyrics of our favorite songs roll around in our heads for decades. Almost unconsciously, every day we honor the words of America’s songwriters who said something in that perfect, poetic, or clever way.

Eights years ago, in 2010, when I started my research for my books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America. I spent nearly a year assembling, sorting, and selecting those “memorable” song lyrics to be included in my books.

However, I eventually decided that it was necessary to exclude song lyrics from my books. This was done partly in deference to the needs of book brevity and partly in bowing recognition of the unavoidable subjectivity of making such selections. But it was also done because most songs are almost definitionally “intra-generational” in that they remain the separate and proud province of each generation. They are a part of each generation’s formative and collective memory – but not beyond that.

Nevertheless, as a result of that year of research, I assembled a relatively massive collection of what may be, by some measures of broad consensus, the greatest song lyrics of Modern America.

I have decided to start presenting them here for your remembrance and enjoyment. I confess that this is partly triggered by the fact that I have already done the fun, but painstaking, work of such assemblage. However, the presentation of these lyrics is also because America needs – maybe now more than ever — to reach back and enjoy something — or, as best said in 1967 by the Beatles in their song A Day in the Life” — “I read the news today, oh boy.”

Thus, from now on and with some regularity, I will start posting some excerpts of this author’s humble suggestions of The Best Lyrics of Modern America.

The other “serious” and “lighthearted” words of our generations are carefully presented in my three volumes of Dead Serious and Lighthearted – Volume I (1957-1976), Volume ((1977-1993), and Volume III (1994-2015). Volumes I and II are available now – PLEASE order your copies for yourself and your friends – (great and unique gifts!). Just go to www.mackwborgen.com/shop/ . All directly ordered books will be signed by the author and will be shipped within five business days. My books are, of course, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. My earlier books, The Relevance of Reason (Vols I and II) are also available.


The Greatest Lyrics of Modern America

– From 1957 through 2015 –

concert scene

 Today’s Selections.



The Late 1950’s – Catching the “Tone” and “Sense” of a Generation.

The All American Boy by Bobby Bare (1959)*

“Gather ‘round, cats, and I’ll tell you a story

About how to become an All American Boy

Buy you a gittar and put it in tune

You’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ soon.”

But then one day my Uncle Sam

He said ‘Here I am’

‘Uncle Sam needs you, boy

I’m ‘a gonna cut your hair

Ah-Take this rifle, kid

Gimme that gittar .. Yeah. “

*            1959 – Top Hit – The Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton


A Rainy Night in Georgia by Brooke Benton (1970)*

How many times I wondered

It still comes out the same.

No matter how you look at or think of it

It’s life and you just got to play the game.

*            1970 – Top Hit – Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel


Country Music

Family Tradition by Hank Williams Jr. (1979)

I am very proud of my daddy’s name,

Although his kind of music and mine aren’t the same.

Stop and think it over.

Put yourself in my position.

If I get stoned and sing all night long,

It’s a family tradition.


They .. want to know, Hank,

Why do you drink?

Why do you roll smoke?

Why must you live out

The songs that you wrote?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 at 3:30 am and is filed under Song Lyrics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Enjoy – The Best Song Lyrics of Modern America”

  1. Katherine Lill Treibach Says:

    Thank you, Mack. As Oliver would say, “More, please.”