Tag Archives: Tommy Makem

1001 Songs Challenge: Day Seventeen



The 1960s had some amazing tunes. It’s when rock and roll really started to take shape, and funk slowly started to come about. In retrospect, it was an inspired time for music. During Day Seventeen’s playlist, I continually found myself listening with more and more enjoyment than ever.


1. You Really Got Me – The Kinks

This is the song that seemed to launch 1000 ships, with its legendary power chord and gritty style, it was a sleeper hit; no one could have seen it coming. I love how there is a blues-influence, along with a totally original, distorted sound via the guitar.

2. The House of The Rising Sun – The Animals

An old American folk song, The Animals took this song and made it their own, putting themselves and the song on the map. Personally, this is a favorite of mine, because it’s such a haunting track. It’s the type of song and slow, drawling melody and tone that you cannot get it out of your head. Incorporated with such a smooth blues style, and everything about it screams, “NUMBER ONE HIT.”

3. Go ‘Way From My Window – John Jacob Niles

Vocally, John Jacob Niles is impressive. The fact that he can go from haunting, deep, dark vocals to high, energetic falsetto is a feat all on its own. However, I will own up to the fact that this song freaks me out and is not my cup of tea. Whether or not it just reminds me of something from a horror film, I don’t know. All I know is that when John Jacob Niles popped up on my screen, and his voice filled my speakers, I admit to being a little spooked.

4. Amsterdam – Jacques Brel

Here’s another dark, brooding type of song. Something about it is very eery, and if you watch the performance, it’s easy to feel a little terrified, especially as the song’s pace picks up, accompanied by the frighteningly aggressive accordion. What’s more, the artist disappears at the end of the song, in a wave of theatrics that both delights and terrifies.

5. La paloma – Caterina Valente

Beautifully expansive, embracing all sorts of instrumentals to form a melody that will send shivers up your spine. Caterina Valente’s vocals shine, flowing beautifully without a hitch. Perfection like this is hard to come across unless it’s been doctored by today’s typical studio software.

6. Sinnerman – Nina Simone

An opus of sorts (it’s just over ten minutes long), Nina Simone gives this song a life all of its own, making it strong, but maintaining it’s spiritual beginnings. She was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and performed this at the end of her shows, which is easy to understand; the emotion she puts behind each “Power!” she cries is more than heard; it is felt. Musically, this song stands alone as a triumph, instrumentals accompanied by rapid clapping, breathing pure character into the track as it builds.

7. The Irish Rover – The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

I’ll own up: this song made me giggle. As someone who has grown up hearing folk songs from all over, including Ireland, this was so familiar and wonderful, and each line was filled with humor, I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s such a great, early comedy song. I recommend this if you’re having a downer of a day.

8. Needle of Death- Bert Jansch

Of course, every playlist must contain a sad song or two, and this is by far the saddest. A beautiful expression of loss, Bert Jansch’s voice shines on this track, accompanied by the light strumming/plucking of an acoustic guitar, there is something so powerful and moving about this simple song.

9. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – James Brown

It’s impossible to dislike this song. I love how catchy it is; it so original and just a purely funk song. I will always remember the first time I heard this song: I was five years old and watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time (the scene where Robin Williams, as Mrs. Doubtfire, walks across the San Fran streets, on his way to work for Sally Field’s Mrs. Hillard).

10. La Boheme – Charles Aznavour

Now this man had a gorgeous, classical voice. From the opening notes, he delivers each word with every bit of feeling he seems to be able to muster, and it’s striking. Everything about this song is memorable.


…And so concludes Day Seventeen. I found today to be a perfect collection of songs; a great mix of tracks I knew and loved to sing along to, and songs that were entirely new to me. If today is any indication of how the next few are going to flow, I am more than excited to listen!

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