“Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery,
in the end there is confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides
to make the whole thing worthwhile.”

Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song

I was there when the sixties were rolling, I was fast and free. Now it's only the "progress" that's rumbling and it's rumbling past me.Well then, here they are, my music Top 11 of all time. You are probably surprised that it’s a top 11 en not a top 10. Correct, you’ve got to make the visitor interested. You’ve got to grab their attention. But there is another reason, a few years ago, someone asked to give my musical Top Ten for an article. Making the Top Ten was fun to do, but a while later I heard the Irish song Kilkelly and boy did that song really cut my heart. So Kilkelly just had to go in the list. I could not decide which song to take out. So I made my own rules and made a Top Eleven!. And of course that makes you also stand out in the crowd!

Regardless of mood and despite the passage of time, these recordings still sound as fresh and new as the day I first heard them.”

I was born in 1949, so my youth was in the mid-sixties. that’s the period of The Stones, Dylan, Them, John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, The Doors end The Birds. Later on the soul music of legends such as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and James Brown. From the start, I have also always been a fan of American country, bluegrass, and Irish folk music. Also, lady singers like Emmelou Harris and Joni Mitchell can’t do any wrong with me.

When I think back on the sixties, when I was of all things a DJ on Friday nights in the former Dolhuys in Dordrecht (wearing tight bellbottom low riding pants and a black shirt with long pointed corners) the first thing that comes to my mind is “The house of the rising sun” by the Animals with Eric Burdon as the leadsinger.

So, as number one (the other songs are in just a random order) The house of the rising sun.

An early publicity shot of the Animals taken at Newcastle Castle Keep probably in early 1964. L-R Eric Burdon (Vocals) Alan Price (Keyboards) Chas Chandler (Bass) Hilton Valentine (Guitar)

1. The house of the rising sun by the Animals with Eric Burdon as leadsinger.

I heard that song for the first time on the beach near Antibes in France, where I hitchhiked way back in de sixties to attend a pop festival, unfortunately I arrived one day late. But on the beach I heard that song and I can still remember how I freaked out when I heard it, especially the lyrics and the electronic organ in the background are great.

The Animals were part of the English blues scene of the early Sixties and one of the most noteworthy bands of the original British Invasion. Formed in Newcastle-on-Tyne, a port city and coal-mining hub in northeast England, the Animals reflected their earthy upbringing with blues-based rock and roll. The group derived its inspiration – and much of its early repertoire – from American blues and R&B sources, adapting them to a British working-class sensibility.

The other founding members were guitarist Hilton Valentine, bassist Chas Chandler and drummer John Steel. Originally known as the Alan Price Combo, the group changed its name to “the Animals” when Burdon joined in 1962. With the release of “House of the Rising Sun” in mid-1964, the Animals became the first British group after the Beatles to chart a Number One single in America. Their dark, brooding arrangement of “House of the Rising Sun” – a traditional folk song recorded by earlier by Bob Dylan , became an early milestone in the British Invasion. The Animals followed that single with R&B-based rock songs like “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Don’t Let Me Down”.

Source: Wikipedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Author : Richard William Laws

Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence University in New York.

2. In the days of ’49 by Bob Dylan.

A song by Dylan just has to be here. I have a lot of favorite Dylan songs, such as; Every grain of sand, Angelica, Only a hobo, Visions of Johanna, John Wesley Harding, Lonesome death of Hattie Carroll, Like a rolling stone just to mention a few.

But my very best memories come from “In the days of ’49,” and I still listen to it with great pleasure.

Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman (Hebrew name שבתאי זיסל בן אברהם [Shabtai Zisl ben Avraham]) in St. Mary’s Hospital on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota, on the Mesabi Iron Range west of Lake Superior. His paternal grandparents, Zigman and Anna Zimmerman, emigrated from Odessa in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine) to the United States following the anti-Semitic pogroms of 1905.

Days of ’49” came originally from “Old Put’s Golden Songster”, put together by Old Put himself in Gold Rush Days. He found that, while there was no money in the mines, there were plenty of miners willing to pay for any kind of music or entertainment, this being a scarce commodity. The real money in the gold fields was made by the grocers, dry good salesmen, saloon keepers, and, I guess, musicians. Put probably intended the song to be comic, but people have since found sad truth in it.

Recorded by Bob Dylan on Mar 4, 1970, Columbia Studios, Nashville, TN, released on “Self Portrait.” Transcribed by Manfred Helfert.

Source: Wikipedia. “Because no copyright notice appears anywhere in the yearbook and it was published before 1978, these photos are in the public domain.”

 Van Morrison performing in Newcastle, Northern Ireland on August 23, 2015

3. Tupelo honey by Van Morrison.

Still a classic to me. From the very start, I have been a fan of the Irish group Them with Van Morrison as the lead singer.  is one of the best songwriters out there. It’s awesome to hear his voice and his songwriting talent skip around in different genres, from boogie rock like Brown-Eyed Girl and the spectacular Wild Night to British invasion hookey pop stuff like Gloria and Here Comes the Night.

Fabulous songs in those days like “Gloria,” “Route 66,” etc. Particularly the LP’s (no CD’s in the sixties and seventies) by Van Morrison have great songs. Also his more recent  like “Moondance,” “Bright Eyed Girl,” “And it stoned me,” “Dom

A while ago there was a music program on TV where “Van” visited the  of America and sang along with , one of the all time great Afro American [black]  singers. These are gems that stick in your mind, but unfortunately I programmed the video recorder wrong, so this program and its music only survive in my own mind.

Source: Wikipedia: This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 11:46, 19 August 2008 (UTC) by Homonihilis (talk). On that date it was licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Author: Art Siegel

he Rolling Stones in concert at the Checkerdome in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) on November 19, 1981. Front: Mick Jagger (left) and Keith Richards (right); back: Bill Wyman; only partly visible: Ron Wood (far left) and Charlie Watts (far right, behind the drums)

4. Angie by The Stones.

I have never been a Beatle fan, the music was just to soft for my taste. In the sixties you were either a Beatle or a Stones fan. The Stones fans had as far I was concerned just that little extra that de Beatle fans missed. “Angie” by The Stones is a song that you can not beat, Mick Jagger shows here what a great singer he is.

Pressured by the UK Inland Revenue service about several years of unpaid income tax, the band left for the South of France, where Richards rented a chateau and sublet rooms to the band members and assorted hangers-on. They set about recording the double album Exile on Main Street (1972) in the basement of their new home.

By the time Exile had been completed Jagger had made the other band members aware that he was more interested in the celebrity lifestyle than working on its follow-up, and increasingly their records were made piecemeal, with tracks and parts laid down as, and when, the band, and Jagger and Richards in particular, could get together and remain amicable for sufficiently long to do so.

When it finally arrived, Goats Head Soup (1973) was disappointing, with the Stones’ unique sound diluted by the influence of glam rock and memorable only for the hit single “Angie,” popularly believed to be about David Bowie’s new wife but in reality another of Richards’ odes to Pallenberg.

Source: Wikipedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Author: Michael Conen

Roger Daltrey of The Who, 15 december 2008

5. ”Raglan Road,

This song is performed by Roger Daltrey (from the Who) with a backing by the Chieftains. This song comes from the CD An Irish Evening. This album was recorded during two live concerts on July 31 and August 1, 1991 at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

A companion video and subsequent DVD, documents the concert and shows the Chieftains at their finest. It gives a nice sample of the Chieftains current live music and a some of the diversity of the work they have done in their career. It shows how they can mix traditional Irish music with a country singer from Texas, Nanci Griffith and a former rock star, Roger Daltrey.

This album has several medleys and the last track features a solo by each Chieftain and Nanci Griffith. It also has Roger Daltrey do Any Old Iron an English folk song. This cut is an intresting one, in which, if you listen closely you may hear Paddy and the boys join in. The Chieftains were awarded a grammy for their work on the video and recieved it in the category for video, long form. Roger Daltrey sings this wonderful ballad in his own style with a great backing by The Chieftains.

There is a version of this song with Van Morrison, that is just as good. I specially like the CD “The long black veil” by the Chieftains featuring famous guest-performers such as Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler and Ry Cooder.

Source: Wikipedia: This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 00:08, 31 March 2009 (UTC) by Leahtwosaints . On that date it was licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Publicity photo of Jerry Lee Lewis. Date 10 July, but the date stamp is blurred. The year is either 1956 or 1958.

6. Great balls of fire by Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis – a true ‘stylist’. He didn’t have to write his own stuff – he’d just take a song and make it his own. Sold five million copies, less then its predecessor, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” but it still charted higher. It was in the Top Five of the pop, R&B, and country charts simultaneously with “Shakin.”

Both hit number one on the country charts. It was released in England the same month that Lewis married his 13-year-old cousin. Written by Otis Blackwell, a prolific songwriter who wrote many hits for Elvis Presley. Music from the fifties also has produced unforgettable songs, that are still an inspiration to many.

The feel-good innocence of a lot of the Fifties music reflects on the post World War II optimism in America. The young people of the time, an emerging force called teenagers, hadn’t struggled through the war years. They were looking for something more exciting. They discovered that vitality in Rock and Roll.

And don’t forget numbers like “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino, “And then he kissed me” by The Crystals, “Stand by me” in the rendition by Ben. E. King and The Drifters. Jackie Wilson with “Reet Petite,” but then I could go on for hours.

Source: Wikipedia. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.

Photo of Sammy Davis, Jr. performing on the television program The Perry Como Show.

7. Mr. Bojangles’ by Sammy Davis jr.

If you have ever seen and heard Sammy Davis perform this song, you’ll never forget it. The old negro Bojangles is in jail and thinks back on his years as a performer and singer and briefly shows he’s still got it, is just great.

In 1987 Sammy Davis Jr. danced to “Mr. Bojangles” under a faithful spotlight at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. It was wintertime on the strip, and Davis was recovering from major hip reconstruction surgery. He was 61 years old. He was in pain. But when Davis went on stage, the hurt went somewhere else, to a place where the songs are forever sweet and the steps are always soft.

“Bojangles is one of the closest things to getting there,” said Lonnie Parlor, who portrays Sammy straight ahead in “The Pack is Back” musical-comedy at Piper’s Alley. “You almost feel you are the individual. Bojangles is something everybody in’ entertainment goes through.

If you don’t get to that certain spot, you starve. That’s what Bojangles is saying. When I’m doing that song, it’s not so much I’m singing Sammy. I’m singing myself.

Source: Wikipedia. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.

TV "Domino" Jacques Brel in Amsterdam, Marcanti

8. “Mijn Vlakke Land” by Jacques Brel.

Mijn Vlakke Land ( My flat Country, Le Plat Pays) A Flemish chanson, if I may call it that, by Jacques Brel has to be on my list.

This man has a voice that would soften the hardest heart into jello. Jacques Brel is for me top of the bill, not only as a singer, but even more as a stage performer. I love his song, especially; “Le port d’ Amsterdam“, “On n’ouble rien”, “Les Flamandes” and course “Marieke” are unforgettable.

Brel must certainly be an acquired taste. It’s ironic that it took a Belgian to represent something that for many is uniguely representative of France’s cultural identity. The student movement of the sixties. La vie en terrasse. Something that is uniquely Parisien. Intellectual. Intense. Sombre. Stubborn.

The rolling ‘rrr’, the somewhat nasal tone. The protest song. The song about people (Marieke, Jacky, JoJo) and places (Orly, Amsterdam, Bruxelles)and both for and against his Flemish roots. Many of these songs are very atmospheric. So if you want to have something ‘French’ in your music collection, look no further.

I do not know whom to compare Brel to, outside of France that is. This is a pretty unique sound. Brel tells you stories. And the intensity with how he tells them is palpable in every one of these. As I said, you have to be in the mood for it, but when you are it hits home.

Source: Wikipedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.Author: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 – negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 914-8398

 Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson, performing during the Country Throwdown Tour in 2011

9. ”A horse called music” by Willie Nelson

You can not beat the older country songs and singers and this song particularly I like a lot and is for me typical Willie Nelson. A great songwriter, expressive singer, and world-class guitar player and he has this inimitable and haunting voice, left in its raw purity. I also love to hear the more modern country, Joni Mitchell for instance has a wonderful voice. I particularly like ”Coming in from the Cold”.

It has something special with that marvelous voice of Joni Mitchell.  music from New Orleans is a different kind of music that is a favorite of mine. Especially the combination of the French and American language combined gives is it something special. Songs like “Tu est jolie” and “Colinda” by the  band, “Joli Blon” and “Allons A Lafayette” by Rufus Thibodeaux I love to hear. But also the more recent folk and coWith stars like Garth Brooks and song as “The river”, “That summer”, “Night riders lament” and “Every times is rains” are my favorites, and how about Emmelou Harris, getting a bit older and turning grey but she still produces some wonderful music.

Source: Wikipedia. Robbiework at the English language Wikipedia, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it under the following license: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

Photo of Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland in I Puritani, 21 February 1976

10. ”La donna e mobile”

From the opera Rigoletto by Verdi performed by Luciano Pavarotti.

Surprise, this is quite something else, but the great opera arias and singers I love to hear and “La donna e mobile” to me is one of the most beautiful classics.  It is the Duke’s aria from Rigoletto, opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, after ‘Le roi s’amuse’, play by Victor Hugo. For reasons of censorship also shown in Italy variously as Viscardello, Clara di Pert and Lionello. Rigoletto was controversial in its day because its theme, the attempted murder of a duke by a subject, was just too dark.

As the great leering duke who “loathes fidelity like the plague” (only to chide women for their inconstancy in the great aria “La Donna e mobile”), Pavarotti delivers one of the great roles of his career.

The protagonists: Rigoletto (baritone), a hunchback, jester at the court of Il Duca di Mantova (tenor), an inveterate skirt-chaser; Gilda (soprano), Rigoletto’s daughter; Sparafucile (bass), a professional assassin; Maddalena (mezzo-soprano), his sister, a girl of easy virtue with a soft spot for the Duca; Count Monterone (baritone); Giovanna (mezzo-soprano), Gilda’s duenna; Marullo (baritone), Borsa (tenor), Count Ceprano (bass), courtiers; Countess Ceprano (mezzo-soprano); a page (mezzo-soprano).

Source: Wikipedia. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.

Kilkelly is a small village, notable due to the song "Kilkelly, Ireland", written by American songwriter Peter Jones. In the late 1970s or early 1980s, Jones discovered a collection of century-old letters sent to his Irish emigrant ancestor in America from that ancestor's father in Kilkelly.[1][2] Jones wrote a ballad based on the contents of those letters, conveying the experience of his own family as well as others who were separated permanently by emigration

11. ”Kilkelly”

The song was written by Peter Jones who found a bundle of letters sent by a man, in Kilkelly, Co. Mayo, to his son, John, in America between 1860 and 1890. The recipient of the letters was Peter Jones’s great grandfather. Over a period of 30 years the letters brought news across the Atlantic of Marriages, deaths and births, joy and hardships. Each one reminding the son that he is loved and missed in Kilkelly.

The final letter informs him that his father, whom he has not seen for 30 years, has died, the last link with home is broken. These letters were written to relatives who had emigrated to the United States, the letters very eloquently and poignantly illuminated the despair and loneliness of being apart from loved ones and family. Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote “Our sweetest songs are those that tell of our saddest thought”. Well that is certainly true here, for Kilkelly is a song that really cuts my heart!

Source: Wikipedia.This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: rs-foto | http://www.rs-foto.d

Well, that’s it, some of the choices were easy to make, others I really had to think hard about. But I just loved to do this, it brings back a lot of (good) memories form my own musical past, mixed with all the private memories that come along.
Making my Top Eleven, took me quite a few hours research, but is was fun to do it and that is the main thing in life!

“The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.”

– William Shakespeare,
The Merchant of Venice

May you have some music in your live!