The Best Lyrics of Modern America – Part 3 – Dead Serious and Lighthearted

By December 17th, 2018

Blog No 89 

December 18, 2018 

The Best Lyrics of Modern America – Part 3 

Song Lyrics – The Poetry of Modern America

Mack W. Borgen

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.

Here is Part 3 of my assembled list  — done over the last eight years in conjunction with my research for my last series of books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America.  For a full explanation about the background of this Best Lyrics project, see below.

Also, please see my publishers new Direct-From-Publisher Special Book Sales Offerings Just go to https://www.mackwborgen.com/shop. All directly ordered books will be signed by the author and shipped within five business days. Free shipping for orders of 10 or more books for your family, friends, or clients.

          But, now, …

 The Best Lyrics of Modern America

– From 1957 through 2015 –

Enjoy. 

The Late 1950s 

Wonderfully Innocent Buzzword Lines of the Era

Rockin’ Robin

(Bobby Day (1958) (B: Robert Byrd, 1930, Ft Worth, TX – D: 1990 (Age 60) Los Angeles, CA))
            “He rocks in the tree-top all a day long,
                        Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and a-singin’ the song .…”

Do You Wanna Dance?

(Bobby Freeman (1958) (B:1940, Alameda County, CA – D: 2017 (Age 76), San Francisco, CA)).
 “Well, do ya wanna dance and a hold my hand,
 Tell me I’m your lover man
 Oh baby do ya wanna dance?” 

School Days

(Chuck Berry (1957) (B: 1926, St. Louis, MO – D: 2017 (Age 90), Wentzville, MO))            
“Hail hail hail rock n roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock n roll
The feeling of drums loud and bold
Rock, rock, rock n roll
The feeling is there body and soul.”

 

 The Sixties 

Eve of Destruction

(Barry McGuire (1965) (B: 1935, Oklahoma City, OK))
“The eastern world it is exploding
Violence flaring and bullets loading
You’re old enough to kill but not for voting*
You don’t believe in war but what’s that gun you’re toting…”
            . . .
            “But you tell me
Over and over and over my friend
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction”
“The pounding of the drums pride and disgrace
You can bury your head but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace….”
* Note: In 1965, 18-year-olds were subject to the draft and were allowed to join the military without parental consent. However, it was not until the closing days of the Vietnam War and the passage of the 26th Amendment on March 23, 1971 that the U.S. voting age was lowered from 21 to 18. See, Borgen, M., Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America – Volume I (1957-1976), p. 297.  

 

The Seventies 

Hollywood Nights

(Bob Seger (1978) (B: 1945, Detroit, MI)) 

“…He was a midwestern boy on his own.
He knew right then he was too far from home.”
. . .
“In those Hollywood nights, in those Hollywood hills,
She was lookin’ so right, in her diamonds and frills,
Oh, those big city lights, in those high rollin’ hills,
Above all the lights, she had all of the skills.”
. . .
            “In those Hollywood nights, in those Hollywood hills,
She was looking so right, it was giving him chills,
Oh those big city nights, in those high rollin’ hills
Above all the lights, with a passion that kills.” 

Country Music

The Devil Went Down to Georgia

(Charlie Daniels Band) (1979)

“Devil went down to Georgia,
He was looking for a soul to deal,
He was in a bind,
‘cause he was way behind,
So he was willing to make a deal.”
      . . .      
“… Devil said, Boy, let me tell you what,
I guess you didn’t know it,
But I’m a fiddle player too,
And if you’d care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you.”
 
“Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy,
But give the Devil his due,
I’ll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul,
‘Cause I think I’m better than you.”
“My name’s Johnny,
And it might be a sin,
But I’ll take your bet,
You’re gonna regret,
‘Cause I’m the best there’s ever been.”
“The Devil bowed his head because,
He knew that he’d been beat,
And he laid that golden fiddle
On the ground at Johnny’s feet.”

 – – – 

Explanation and Background of These

“The Best Lyrics of Modern America” Blogs

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 much of the initial 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 in bowing recognition to 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, these lyrics blogs are also triggered by the fact that 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, starting on October 9, 2018 with Blog No. 83, I have started 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 presented in my three volumes of Dead Serious and Lighthearted – Volume I (1957-1976), Volume ((1977-1993), and Volume III (1994-2015). All three volumes (and my earlier books, The Relevance of Reason (Vols I and II)) can now be ordered. Just go to https://www.mackwborgen.com/shop for the Direct-from-Publisher prices. All 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. and at some independent book stores.

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