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Songs of the Century

Here they are: a song for every year of the Twentieth Century (1900-1999. I know some people say the century starts in 1901 and ends in 2000, but they're kidding themselves). Not a song written or recorded that year, but a song that mentions that year, either in the lyrics or in the title.

Marina Snyder and I started this out with about 20 songs. In just 3 days more than half of the years were covered. As of December 16, 1999, we have a song for every year (but I'll keep adding worthwhile also-rans). When the going gets tough...Ian Hill and Michael Takasaki get going. Neither contributed anything until April '99, so all the easy ones were gone before they started. Since then, they've been our leading contributors (and Michael, at least, seems to be carrying on the project of iproving the list even now that it's complete). Sometimes I feel more like their stenographer than the person who started this thing! Both have used search engines, but have found most of their additions the traditional way (e.g. browsing at record stores, listening to the radio, things like that).

On April 16, 2002, I learned that someone else has a similar site to this! Check out A Century of Songs external 
link. Oh, and please don't send me anything he's already listed.

We'd love to hear from you if you think you have "better" entries (or if you find any broken links).

Most years mentioned in one song: "One Piece At A Time" mentions 22 different years. Of these, not one lacks another song!

Most songs with years as titles by one writer? Here are the serious contenders:

1/3/2000: Ian Hill just found a song with bunches of years in it: "Endless Art" external link by the band A House. It mentions 1901, 1912, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1928, 1935, '40, 1941, 1946, 1956, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1969, '77, 1978, '80. (Also, for good measure, 1573, 1631, 1775, 1804, 1809, 1840, 1844, 1851, 1853, 1857, 1864, 1888, 1889, 1890, [18]'92, 1896, and 1899.) And we don't even need to use it!

Here are my rules; some of these are moot now that it's all filled in, but I'm leaving them here for historical reasons:

Charles Clinton sent a lot of songs early on, but he admitted to using a search engine. At that time I thought he'd done all that could be done that way, but Michael Takasaki and Ian Hill both apparently came up with some clever searching strategies (or more has been indexed), because they both found more with search engines later. It should be noted that both relied more on the traditional means: browsing record stores, listening to the radio, and just knowing a lot of music. Each of these guys found at least ten songs without using search engine, after 69 years had already been covered by others. Many thanks also to my cousin Rachel Myr on the folk front, my brother Matthew on the pop/rock front, and my former colleague Ty Thorsen on the punk front.

We've had some "theme songs" suggested: Mark Bolan's Twentieth Century Boy and Noel Coward's Twentieth Century Blues, both great. Michael Takasaki also notes a fine Chicago folkie entry, Steve Goodman and John Prine's The Twentieth Century is Almost Over external link. As it happens, that mentions a year: 1899. Do we want to start extending the list backwards?

Please send contributions (and corrections!) to jmabel@joemabel.com. Ideally, I'd like exact title, author, and performer plus a link to lyrics. Anywhere I'm short of that, I'd love more information. Also, please feel free to let me know about links that have "gone stale", especially if you can tell me where to find a more current link to the same song. I try to link to reasonably stable sites without too many nasty pop-ups. If you know a better link for a song, feel free to write me.

The list so far:

1900 (tie) 1900 Yesterday Liz Damon's Orient Express. (Can't argue about the title.)
1900 (tie) Scofield Mine Disaster external link U. Utah Phillips (Certainly a better known performer, and nice to have him next to the contingent listed for 1901, but mention of the year is much less prominent than Liz Damon's.)
1901 Belle Starr external link Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger/Jack Elliot (also mentions 1885)
1902 Death of Harry Bradford external link W.J. Taylor (recorded by someone named Beck. Not that Beck.)
1903 Dayton, Ohio - 1903 external link Randy Newman external link (on Sail Away)
1904 No More Cane on the Brazos external link Traditional. Probably best known from the repertoire of The Band. Also mentions 1910. There's also a variant called "Go Down Old Hannah" external link
1905 Symphony Number 11 in G Minor, The Year 1905 Dmitri Shostakovich external link (OK, so it's a symphony, not a song. Sue me.)
1906 Memories of Jacqueline 190 Olivia Tremor Control (from the album Dusk at Cubist Castle)
1907 Ol' Bill Miner (The Gentleman Bandit) external link Norman Blake external link (album: Chattanooga Sugar Babe) (also mentions 1901)
1908 Big League Dreams, Minor League Town external link Cheesemoose
1909 Stornoway external link Tom Robinson (Sector 27)
1910 Halley's Comet external link Linda Allen
1911 Ballad of the Triangle Fire external link Ruth Rubin
1912 God Moves Over The Water Traditional? Collected by Alan Lomax from Lightnin' Washington, Texas, 1933 (The first of several contributed songs about the Titanic. Another is "The Titanic (Cold and Icy Sea)" external link )
1913 1913 Massacre external link Woody Guthrie
1914 Children's Crusade external link Sting (also mentions 1984)
1915 The Band Played Waltzing Matilda external link Eric Bogle, who recorded it, but best known through the singing of June Tabor.
1916 1916 external link Motorhead
1917 1917 external link David Olney external link (also recorded by Emmylou Harris & Linda Rondstat)
1918 MLF Lullaby external link Tom Lehrer
1919 Paris 1919 external link John Cale
1920 Brown Eyed Women external link Grateful Dead (also mentions 1930)
1921 You Didn't Hear It (1921) external link Pete Townsend (The Who) (another nice link for this external link)
1922 Thoroughly Modern Millie Sammy Kahn/Elmer Bernstein (sung by Julie Andrews in the musical of the same name).
Correspondent Thoroughly Modern Jenna has kindly provided the lyrics as sung by Ms. Andrews over the credits.
1923 Radio Rodeo external link George Scherer and the Juke Joint Gypsies
1924 Didn't She Really Thrill Them (Back in 1924) The Oak Ridge Boys external link
1925 Elsie external link Marie-Lynn Hammond (Can we say obscure? Thank you, Ian Hill.)
1926 The Old Man's Song Ian Campbell (I found this in a British leftist song collection called "The Big Red Songbook". They say he recorded it in '66 on an LP "The Circle Game")
1927 Louisiana 1927 external link Randy Newman external link
1928(tie) Nineteen Twenty Eight Woody Guthrie (also mentions '29, '30, '31, '32, '33, '34) (This is not a terribly well known song, although I've heard it. I can't find the lyrics posted anywhere. If someone has a place I can link to them, please email me.
1928(tie) My Mother the Car external link (Television theme song. Really stupid, but I couldn't resist.)
1929 Pictures of Lily external link Pete Townsend (The Who)
1930 Fattening Frogs For Snakes external link Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) (also mentions 1957)
1931 Beans, Bacon, and Gravy external link Traditional (also mentions 1894)
1932 My Old Man Ewan MacColl
1933 Theme Song from Tiny Toons Adventures external link Anyone know who wrote this?
1934 Last Day of June 1934 external link Al Stewart
1935(tie) The Letter Home external link Elvis Costello (From The Juliet Letters)
1935(tie) Huppes Taiuts 1935 Jo-El Sonnier external link (a tie because this is obscure but has the year in the title)
1935(tie) 1935 David Qualey (instrumental, from the album Handmade) (still only a tie because... ditto)
1936 King of the Passing Chord Steve Ono external link
1937 Da jeg var en liten gutt Øystein Sunde (Rachel has a lot to say about this one.)
1938 Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?) external link David Bowie (omigod, one of the last dates to fill in and Michael Takasaki finds it in the title of a David Bowie song. Are we all blind?)
1939 Spanish Bombs external link The Clash
1940 Various Times The Fall (from Live at the Witch Trials; also mentions 1980)
1941 New York Mining Disaster, 1941 external link B Gibb/R Gibb (Bee Gees)
1942 (tie) Waist Deep in the Big Muddy external link Pete Seeger
1942 (tie) Summer of '42 Biddu
1943 Denmark 1943 Fred Small
1944 1944 external link Down By Law
1945 Forty-Five external link Elvis Costello (He puns on "45" and "33 1/3", but the title clearly refers to 1945 as the end of WWII and it clearly relates to the cultural aftermath of the war.)
1946 Der Legendare Wixerblues Vom 7 Oktober 1946 Georg Danzer external link (on the album Narrenhaus)
1947 Texas 1947 external link Guy Clark
1948 (tie) Take Back Your Mink Frank Loesser (from Guys and Dolls)
1948 (tie) Come On, Come On Mary Chapin Carpenter
1948 (tie) Winter 1948 Patrick Doyle external link, from the soundtrack of Dead Again. Not sure if this really qualifies as a song, and it doesn't have as much justification as, say, Shostakovich for 1905.
1949 (tie) Tennessee 1949 external link Larry Sparks (Classic Bluegrass)
1949 (tie) Little Egypt external link Leiber and Stoller (recorded by the Coasters)
1950 1950 Blues Tampa Red
1951 The Way It Was In '51 Merle Haggard. Here's a link/a> to lyrics, but it's an annoying site that tries to be come your home page.
1952 (tie) 1952 Vincent Black Lightning external link Richard Thompson
1952 (tie) Video Killed the Radio Star external link Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn (of The Buggles), Bruce Wooley.
1953 The 1953 Dear John, Honky Tonk Blues Harold Reid and Don Reid (recorded by Dave Dudley, also apparently by the Statler Brothers)
1954 Cheering the Queen Cyril Tawney external link
1955 Ol' 55 external link Tom Waits; also covered by the Eagles
1956 Love Potion Number 9 external link Leiber & Stoller (A hit for both the Clovers and The Searchers)
1957 (tie) I've Got a Rock and Roll Heart external link Eric Clapton
1957 (tie) Raised on Robbery external link Joni Mitchell (I'd rather have Eric's '57 Chevy than Joni's '57 Biscayne, but I think this is the better song. Also - this just goes to show ya' - when Marina and I were first playing this game back in February '99 we were racking our brains for Joni Mitchell songs that qualified for the list, and I finally thought of this one more than 3 years later...and it's one of my favorite songs of hers.)
1958 (tie) Born Late '58 external link Overend Watts (Mott the Hoople)
1958 (tie) Ballad of Springhill (a.k.a. Springhill Mine Disaster) external link Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger (I said I could be arbitrary. "Born Late '58" got here first, and has the year in the title, but this is such a great song it just has to be in the list.)
1959(tie) 1959 external link Sisters Of Mercy (from Floodland)
1959(tie) 1959 external link Patti Smith (written with Tony Shanahan, on the album Peace and Noise external link)
1960 10/5/60 Sid Griffin external link (of the Long Ryders)
1961 It Seems So Long Ago, Nancy external link Leonard Cohen
1962 Night Moves external link Bob Seger (also mentions '60)
1963 (tie) 1963 external link Jonathan Richman
1963 (tie) December 1963 (Oh, What a Night) Bob Gaudio/Judy Parker (Four Seasons) Here's a link external link to lyrics, but it drove me batty with pop-ups.
1963(tie) 1963 external link New Order (from Substance).
1964 Queen of 1964 external 
link Neil Sedaka
1965 Mustang Sally external link Mack Rice (Wilson Pickett had the hit. Buddy Guy does a fine job with it, too.)
1966 Sweet Little '66 external link Steve Earle external link (also mentions 1979. See comment below.)
1967 (tie) 1967 external link Adrian Belew
1967 (tie) Hey Nineteen external link Becker/Fagen (Steely Dan) (better known, but the date's not in the title)
1968 (tie) 1968 Dave Alvin and Chris Gaffney (recorded by Alvin on Blackjack David and Gaffney on Mi Vida Loca)
1968 (tie) The SixTeens external link Sweet
1969 (tie) Summer of '69 external link Bryan Adams
1969 (tie) 1969 Again Adam Ant Here's a link external link to lyrics, but there are an awful lot of pop-ups, attempted downloads, etc.
1970 (tie) 1970 external link Iggy Pop (Stooges)
1970 (tie) Student Demonstration Time external link Beach Boys (better known, but Mike Love's lyric is a parody of Lieber & Stoller's "Riot in Cell Block Number 9"; year is not in title, but is significant: the Kent State Massacre.)
1971 Summer of '71 Helen Reddy
1972 Saturday Gigs external 
link Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople) (also mentions '69, '70, '71, '73, '74)
1973 The Wake-Up Bomb external 
link REM
1974 (tie) Rock This Town Stray Cats
1974 (tie) Line 'Em Up external link James Taylor
1974, 1975 '74-'75 external link The Connells (Two years in the title, and a fine song at that, but lesser known than my other picks for either year.)
1975 Galveston Bay external 
link Bruce Springsteen (Also mentions '68)
1976 The Spirit of '76 The Alarm
1977 1977 external link The Clash
1978 Married 2 Kids external link Fall (from Code. Also mentions 1992.)
1979 1979 external link Smashing Pumpkins
1980 Ignoreland external link R.E.M. (also mentions 1979, '84, '88, & '92)
1981 (tie) New Gold Dream '81 '82 '83 '84 Simple Minds (also mentions '82, '83, '84. Duh. Never heard this. Trusting Ian Hill here.)
1981 (tie) The Way Life's Meant To Be Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) (one of the few that mentions the year it was written/recorded in)
1982 (tie) Heat of the Moment external link Asia (This wins over other candidates for '82 because it was a hit & the year is actually relevant to the lyric.)
1982 (tie) Radar Morphine (ditto)
1983 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be) external link Jimi Hendrix
1984 1984 external link David Bowie
1985 (tie) Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five Paul McCartney and Wings
1985 (tie) 1985external link Bowling for Soup. A 3-minute critical anthology of a decade's pop. Not nearly as famous as McCartney, of course, but fame isn't everything.
1986 Modern Woman external link Billy Joel
1987(tie) Dollaz & Sense external link DJ Quick
1987(tie) 15 August 1987 Members of the Wandjina People (from Music from the Wandjina People external link. Doubtless valid, has the date in the title, but awfully obscure.)
1988 Aliens (Christmas 1988) The Rheostatics (Canadian band, on their album Melville)
1989(tie) Sketch for a Manchester Summer 1989 (instrumental) Vini Reilly
1989(tie) Happy New Year Abba
1989(tie) Fight the Power external link Public Enemy
1990 Theme From Flood external link They Might Be Giants
1991 The Curse of Millhaven external link Nick Cave (Ian Hill comments:"I thought at first it might be 1891, but since the next verse mentions Prozac, I think we're safe here. ")
1992 1992 external link Blur, from 13 (Arbitrarily chosen from several good entries for 1992, because I love the album, although my favorite track on it is certainly Tender external link.)
1993 1993 Boz Skaggs (from Down 2 Then Left)
1994 Shoe Box external link Barenaked Ladies (also mentions 1990)
1995 1995 external link Mudhoney
1996 1996 external link Marilyn Manson
1997(tie) Whiskeyclone, Hotel City 1997 external link Beck
1997(tie) Chinese Takeaway (Hong Kong 1997) John Cale (Title presumably refers to the reunification of HK with China)
1997(tie) Satanic Reverses Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (another HK reference; song also mentions 1989, 1992, 1999)
1998 1998 external link Rancid
1999 1999 external link Prince

Previously in the table, but knocked out by others:

1906 GPU Tom Glazer? (also mentions 1928. Parody, so it was just waiting to be trumped. To the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's "When I was a Lad" from H.M.S. Pinafore)
1914 Day Before the War external link R. Johnson / Moose & Raffi, D. Pike /Homeland (Roy Bailey)
1916 No Man's Land external link Eric Bogle (on the list for 1915 with "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda". Both excellent songs, best known through the singing of June Tabor.)
1917 The Halifax Explosion external link Traditional? collected 1933, Halifax, N.S. There is also an entire web site external link devoted to a recent set of songs about the same incident.
1917 Belleau Wood 1917 Garth Brooks
1918 The Ballad of John MacLean Matt McGinn (also mentions 1914. I found this in a British leftist song collection called "The Big Red Songbook". Matt's daughter Ealeanor confirms this: he recorded it in '67 on an LP "Matt McGinn Again")
1919 It Can Be Done The Redskins external link (from Neither Washington Nor Moscow)
1921 Warren Harding external link Al Stewart
1924 Patricia the Stripper external link Chris de Burgh
(1936) Hans Beimler external link Ernst Busch. Doesn't actually mention the year, so this is a real stretch. Hans Beimler, a former member of the Bavarian Diet, was imprisoned at Dachau, escaped, went to fight for the Spanish Republic, became Chief Political Commisar of the International Brigade and was killed in action in December 1936. & That's what the song's about.
1939 Laughing Into 1939 external link Al Stewart
1943 She Cracked external link Jonathan Richman (Modern Lovers) (ok, so it barely mentions the year. Great song.)
1943 4 Marzo 1943 external link Lucio Dalla
1943 Dixie Flyer Randy Newman
1945 1945 external link Social Distortion
1947 My Name is Lisa Kalvelage external link Pete Seeger
1949 Eyeball Kid external link Tom Waits
1950 One Piece At A Time external link external link W.Kemp (Whoever that may be. Johnny Cash recorded it. This song mentions every year from '49 to '70, some more prominently than others.)
1952 Neal and Jack and Me external link Adrian Belew
1955 Juke Box Jive Bickerton & Waddington (The Rubettes)
1959 The Battle of Camp Kookamonga JJ Reynolds (Homer and Jethro)
1959 Post World War II Blues external link Al Stewart
1962 (maybe) Talking 1962 Blues Lalah H. Gray (Michael Takasaki found this in the index for Broadside magazine issues 9 and 10, but he admits that all he knows.)
1963 San Quentin external link Johnny Cash
1964 Anna Eng They Might Be Giants
1966 Lord Nelson external link Tommy Makem
(When Charles Clinton sent this one in, I decided this was a tie to Steve Earle's "Sweet Little '66": "I'm being arbitrary. Steve Earle is better known, and has the year in his title, but the IRA blowing up Lord Nelson's column seems to me to say more about 1966 than Steve having a car.". My brother Matthew (who submitted "Sweet Little '66") sent an email comparing me to Republicans appropriating "Born In the USA". So I reread the Steve Earle's lyrics. I'm still not sure it's quite as socially significant as Tommy Makem's, but I guess they're close enough that what with the year in the title...a TKO for Mr. Earle. Sorry, Tommy.)
1968 The 6-Teens Nicky Chinn/Mike Chapman (The Sweet)
1968 The Last Time I Saw Richard Joni Mitchell (special honors to Jude Hudson for coming up with this. Whe we were first trying to make a list, Marina and I were trying to come up with anywhere Joni Mitchell mentions a date in a song and couldn't. But now it's been trumped. Raised on Robbery keeps her on the list above for '57.)
1969 Malibu '69 Grant McClennan
1969 1969 Stooges (sorry, the Bryan Adams song was a hit.)
1971 Ballad of Crowfoot external link Willie Dunn
1973 You Keep It All In external link Beautiful South (also mentions '62. According to Neil Stewart -- and I'm sure he's right -- "That robbery in '62" is the Great Train Robbery and "That murder in '73" refers to Lord Lucan's murder of his nanny. For the young and American among my readers, these were stories with UK profiles as high as the OJ Simpson trial recently in the US.)
1977 Biko external link Peter Gabriel (He's recorded this in both English and German. I'm sad to see this trumped, but it just mentions the date in passing and the Clash song is called "1977" - JM)
(1978) Strutter '78 external link Kiss (dubious entry: this is a remix.)
1982 1982 external link Buddy Blackmon/Vip Vipperman (recorded by Randy Travis, a bit obscure)
1982 When I Was Cruel (Number 2) external link Elvis Costello (well known, but the mention of the year is almost a throw-away).
1982 Daria external link Cake (again, pretty well known, but the mention of the year is a throw-away).
1982 Battle Lines Tommy Keene
1983 Member of the Tribe external link Adrian Belew
1985 1985(instrumental) external link Archers of Loaf
1986 24 Hours to Live external link Mase (the lyrics linked to show only '89, but Ian Hill says on the record Black Rob says, "Jump the whip, git them cats I wanted to git/ since the Tavern on the Green robbery in eighty-six."
1986 1986 Philip Jeck
1986 I Quit Lyin' in 1986 Pirates of the Mississippi external link (linked just to prove Michael T. isn't making this one up.)
1988 88 - 92 - 96 Six by Seven (On the album The Things We Make. Also, obviously, mentions '92, '96. Never heard this. Trusting Ian Hill here.)
1990 Fame '90 external link David Bowie (a remix. Almost doesn't count. The original was co-written with John Lennon & Carlos Alomar, (Bowie's stage rhythm guitarist & sometime musical Director.)
1990 May 1, 1990 external link Adrian Belew
1992 Vietnam Pavilhão 9 (From Brazil, in Portuguese. Also mentions '93. Translated and printed in Index On Censorship, 1/99)
1992 Western Front 1992 CE Julian Cope
1992 April 29, 1992 external link Sublime: a cynical take on the Rodney King riots.
1992 King Size Papa Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends
1993 Spahn Dirge external link Skinny Puppy
1997 Candle In the Wind 1997 Elton John (a somewhat dubious entry, since year in the title is just to differentiate the Princess lyrics from the Movie Star lyrics. Still, better than a remix: at least the rewritten lyrics have something to do with the year in question.)
1998 Three Lions 1998 Baddiel & Skinner & the Lightning Seeds (British football crap -- that's soccer crap to us Yanks. Mercifully, we found another for this year.).

Non-starters. Thanks for your e-mail, but already had an equal or better candidate:

1903 (1903-70) external link Idlewild (the dates refer to the birth and death dates of painter Mark Rothko. Nice submission, but both of these years definitely have strong listings already.)
1905 1905 Shona Laing (from the album 1905-1990(Retrospective))
1906 San Francisco 1906 Synergy (from the album The Jupiter Menace)
1909 Indian Head Penny external link Guy Clark (on Cold Dog Soup; also mentions a '61 Chevy)
1910 Patrick Russell Tom Russell (on The Man from God Knows Where)
1911 The Cross Mountain Explosion Ruth Rubin
1913 The C & O Wreck external link Traditional?
1913 Dublin City external link Donagh McDonagh
1916 Zombie The Cranberries
1921 Rubens Has Been Shot! external link Chumbawamba
1923 Love Me external link Collin Raye
1927 Talking Dust Bowl Blues external link Woody Guthrie
1928 Ballad of Charlie Birger external link recorded by Vernon Dalhart, who attributes it to Carson Robinson, but it might have been written by Blind Andrew Jenkins. Don't you just love credits like that?
1929 Run Come See, Jerusalem external link traditional (?)
1935 Wounded Knee Four Hour Ramona (Also mentions 1942. A Seattle band. BTW, their name is taken from a dry cleaning shop.)
1941 1941 external 
link Harry Nilsson. A fine song, but unlike the Bee Gees NY Mining Disiaster, 1941 not a hit. Also mentions 1944, '45, '46, '55, 1961, 1964, '65.
1942 Chicago Blues Lonnie Johnson
1943 The Winter Comes David Buskin (an excellent and underrated songwriter)
1944 Flying/Spring of '44 external link Marie-Lynn Hammond
1945 Southampton Dock Roger Waters
1945 The Day The Nazi Died external link Chumbawamba
1947 Du må'kke komme her og komme her Øystein Sunde
1951 Soon Forgotten J. Oden, recorded by Muddy Waters (on the Live at Newport album)
1953 Alimony external link R.L. Jones, W. Young, R. Higginbotham (recorded by Ry Cooder)
1953 If It's News to You, Baby Little Esther
1955 Rockabilly Blues (Texas 1955) Johnny Cash
1956, 1957 Roadrunner (Radio On) Jonathan Richman (Modern Lovers)
1957 Class of '57 Statler Brothers
1957 L'Anne de Secont Set Alex Broussard (the title is presumably a phonetic spelling of Cajun French "l'annee de cinq an sept")
1962 Who Killed Marilyn external link Misfits
1962 Border Radio Dave Alvin (The Blasters)
1962 My Book Beautiful South (also mentions '68, '89)
1963 Run, Baby, Run external link B. Bottrell, D. Baerwald, S. Crow (Sheryl Crow)
1963 1963 New Order
1963 On Saturday Afternoons in 1963 external link Rickie Lee Jones
1963 Hey Joni external link Sonic Youth (also mentions 1964, 1957, 1962)
1963 Life in a Northern Town Dream Academy
1965 The Boston Rag external link Becker/Fagen (Steely Dan)
1965 Nineteen Paul Hardcastle (Date is very relevant to song, the title of which refers to the age of the average American soldier sent to Vietnam. But how could I displace "Mustang Sally"? Even Ian Hill, who sent this one in, agrees.)
1965 Camouflage external link Stan Ridgeway (Date is, again, very relevant to song. & same comments apply.)
1965 1965 external link Lambretta
1966 Heard it on the X ZZ Top
1969 Hotel California The Eagles
1969 1969 external link Sisters of Mercy (from the album Some Girls Wander By Mistake)
1969 My Hooptie Sir Mix-a-Lot
1972 Me and the Major Belle and Sebastian external link
1973 This is the Sea external link The Waterboys
1975 The State I'm In Belle and Sebastian external link (Also mentions 1995)
1975 The Killing of Georgie, Parts I & II Rod Stewart
1975 One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces external link Ben Folds 5
1975 War Movie Paul Kantner
1966, 1967 Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner external link Warren Zevon {co-written with David Lindell}. Congo War and the years '66 and '67.
1980 Crush (1980 ME) external link Darren Hayes
1980 1980 Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
1980-81 80-81 Pat Metheny, recorded with Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, and Dewey Redman.
1983 1983 John Mayer
1984 1984 Spirit (on the album The 13th Dream a.k.a. Spirit of 84)
1984 Sexcrime(Nineteen Eighty-Four) Eurythmics Spirit of 84)
1985 Ashes in the Wind external link Ben Vezner, recorded by Kathy Mattea
1988 Before Your Time Sarah Slean
1990 hotelofthelake1990 (instrumental) Durruti Column
1990 Candy Girl Iggy Pop
1992 The Big Heat Stan Ridgway
1992 Get out! Sublime, also mentions 1993
1993 Fuck This Town external link Robbie Fulks (Definitely some misogynist/homophobic lyrics here, but, hey, isn't that what country music used to be all about?)
1997 Bonnie & Clyde Tori Amos
1998 Destroy 1998 Trumans Water external link (instrumental)
1998 August 87th, 1998 Jazz Passengers (instrumental)

The all-time also-ran is "This Old Town" by Janis Ian external link (recorded by Nanci Griffith on "Other Voices, Other Rooms"). It mentions 1929, 1931, 1944, and 1956, but by the time my cousin Rachel Myr got it to me Feb 8, 1999, all of these years had already been taken. I could have let it beat out "Beans, Bacon, and Gravy" (which Rachel also mentioned, as Charles Clinton did even sooner), but I kind of like the idea that a mere 3 days into this process something could lose on 4 counts.

Similarly, Pete Seeger's fine I Mind My Own Business (King Henry) external link is trumped by hits for '63, '64, and '65. I guess it can have 1520 all to itself, though.

In February 2005, Gerry Myerson from Australia sent be a great list of additional songs. He writes, "Some of these songs are (in my opinion, of course) terrific and possibly worthy of appearing on your list. I'd particularly encourage you to try to find recording of Cold Missouri Waters, The Pound a Week Rise, Galveston Flood, Year of the Drum, and Hey Nelly Nelly." Right now, I don't feel like going back and revising the whole thing, so here is his list, separately.
1900: Galveston Flood. Traditional, recorded by Tom Rush in the early 60s, probably by a lot of other people.
1908: Douglas Mawson. Written and recorded by Andy Irvine, Irish singer-songwriter. Irvine appears here a few more times.
1910: Barry's Boys. Written by June Reizner, recorded by the Chad Mitchell Trio. Makes fun of Barry Goldwater.
1914: Year of the Drum. Written by Wendy Joseph, recorded by Australian band Wongawilli.
1915: Mrs Barbour's Army. Written and recorded by Alistair Hulett, Scottish singer-songwriter. About a housewife who organized a rent strike in Glasgow.
1917: Molasses. By Tom Rowe, recorded by Australian band The Roaring Forties. Tells the true story of Boston's great molasses flood.
1917: The Hungry Mile. Written and recorded by Australian singer-songwriter Peter Hicks. He appears a few more times.
1918: Silken Dreams. By Anne Hills, recorded by Herdman, Hills, Mangsen.
1923: The Best of the Barley. By Brian McNeill, recorded by Ed Miller. Song also mentions 1929 and 1930.
1931: '31 Depression Blues. By Ed Sturgill, recorded by New Lost City Ramblers.
1932: Gladiators. The best of the Andy Irvine selections on this list, about radical agitators in Australia during World War 1 (one of whom is deported and sneaks back into Sydney in 1932).
1938: Prisoner 562. By Ian MacKintosh and Oswald Andrae, recorded by Dick Gaughan.
1944: Raoul Wallenberg. Another Andy Irvine song.
1949: Cold Missouri Waters. By James Keelaghan, about a forest fire that killed 13 firefighters in Montana.
1949: In the Days of '49. Not to be confused with the traditional ballad, Days of '49, which is about the 1849 gold rush, this is an Alistair Hulett song about labor unrest in Australia in 1949.
1949: Unsung Heroes. Peter Hicks again.
1952: Bentley and Craig. Written by Ralph McTell (of Streets of London fame), recorded by June Tabor.
1954: Links on the Chain. Phil Ochs' song about the unions' reaction to the civil rights movement.
1960: The Pound a Week Rise. By Ed Pickford, recorded by Dick Gaughan, also by Sydneysider Judy Pinder.
1963: Hey Nelly Nelly. By Jim Friedman and Shel Silverstein, recorded by Judy Collins. Also mentions several years in the 1800s.
1975: The Sweet Breath of Freedom. Peter Hicks again. Song also mentions 1983.
1978: Garnett's Homemade Beer. Do you know the Stan Rogers song, Barrett's Privateers? Garnett is Stan's younger brother, and this song is a parody written by their friend, Ian Robb.
1988: Michelle. Not the Beatle tune, this one is by Australian Enda Kenny, about an Irish swimming champion.
1988: One Day in October. Peter Hicks again.

Contributors: Joe Mabel, Marina Snyder, Matthew Mabel, Kasmir Zaratkiewicz, Michael Jacques, Ty Thorsen, Charles "Charles" Clinton, Rachel Myr, Jude Hudson, Michael P.J. Stopa, Simon Hill, Kevin Richart, Simon Briercliffe, Karen Terry, D Barnes, Bill Spaniel, Ian Hill (no relation to Simon), Peter Inwood, Robert Smith, Andy Henderson, David Ford, Helene Kaplan, Neil Stewart, Richard Hudson, Michael Takasaki, Brian Clough, Richard L. Hess, Phil Plante, Gary Mathews, Eleanor McGinn, Peter Humphreys, Erik Bauer, George Gibson, Thoroughly Modern Jenna, Thomas Lirén, Todd Bruder (who I assume is the same person as "t bruder", also a contributor), Andrew Baio, Des Devlin, Thomas Liren, Rusty Watrous, "Alaric (att)", Peter Vollan, Charlie Munro, with late, but excellent additions from Gerry Myerson.

Charles Clinton relied heavily on search engines. Ian Hill and Michael Takasaki also admit to some use of search engines, but clearly draw on extensive musical knowledge.


First posted February 5, 1999
Last updated January 30, 2011
The master of this document is http://www.joemabel.com/songs.htm