Saturday, June 14, 2014

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 14: A Song You Like Hearing Live

Today is the first day in the 30 Day Song Challenge that I think I'm going to register a semi-controversial pick.  I know a lot of people who would rather be dragged out behind the shed, rode hard and hung up wet than hear this song live or recorded. It's cheesy, it's corny, it encourages the very worst of Drunk People Being Loud behavior you can encounter in a bar and, what is more, it rewards the same.

But first, a little backstory on why I love this song so much.

When I was a kid, I remember my dad driving me to school in a car that still had an 8-track tape player.  I'm sure my memory has faded over the years, so this might not an entirely accurate account, but the way I remember it is that there were only two 8-track tapes in Dad's car: James Taylor's Greatest Hits and Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits.  If there were others, they certainly didn't get enough play to register in my memory, anyway.  At any rate, as a consequence of hearing them over and over on the way to school, I know literally every word to every song on both of those records.  Those records hold the kind of special place in my formation as a music-lover that all albums of one's early-adolescence do, the albums that worm their ways into your subconscious and stay there because you heard them first when you were just starting to really listen to music.  It doesn't hurt that Taylor and Diamond are both excellent songwriters, but I'm sure that the privileged place their music holds in my mind is attributable more to when and where I first encountered them than it is to their talent.

Anyway, my pick for today is Neil Diamond's classic "Sweet Caroline."  It's a great song all on it's own, but it wasn't until I was older and first heard it played live in a bar that I experienced the whole communal-sing-along status that has since made it iconic.  It's a little strange to post the video for today, since the recorded version by definition cannot capture what is so great about hearing this song live, but here it is anyway:



If you actually just listened to it, I know what you did.  You did what every red-blooded American does when he or she hears "Sweet Caroline": you waited for Neil to pitch the "Sweeeeeet Caroliiine" to you so you could knock it out of the part with BAH, BAH, BAAAAHHH!!! And then you sat back, waited for good ol' Neil to tell you that good times never felt so good, so you could enthusiastically echo him: SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!  

It's okay, don't feel embarrassed.  We all do it.

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Here's your quick-access link to the entire 30 Day Song Challenge 2014 prompt-list and my picks for each day.

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