Twenty Songs That Changed The World

I’ve spent the past few weeks listening to a Canadian radio series each morning, as I eat my oatmeal. The onset of old age aside, I’d thoroughly recommend the series, all 20 episodes, each recounting a different song that “changed the world.”

All 20 have their merits. Bob Dylan going electric is a must, and listening to two 60-year old white men discuss Public Enemy is a particular treat. Also of note: why you can’t help but move when you sing “some day” in “We Shall Overcome,” why Louis Armstrong’s notes keep going higher, and why you should have a drink during the Star Spangled Banner.

The applicability of the title phrase to each song is obviously problematic. Most of the time, the more appropriate idea seems to be “changed the world of music,” though the hosts go to lengths to try to apply it. If you’re willing to allow that music, generally, is an incredible influence on culture, and culture impacts the flow of human events, and that some individual songs are more influential then others, then, well…color me partially convinced.

All twenty episodes, and a Christmas special, are here.

(Via Kottke)


One response to “Twenty Songs That Changed The World

  1. I would like to get copies of the broadcasts from the CBC Radio program with Michael Enright Sunday programming named “20 pieces of music that changed the world.”
    I would like to use the programs as resource material for students in our school in our music composition course, specifically in the History section of our curriculum.

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