Indy saw somewhere that the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” had been named the top song of the 20th Century, back at the turn of the century. I recall hearing that, too, but it seems MTV and Rolling Stone Magazine placed it as number two, behind the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Indy was too young to remember “Satisfaction,” so we looked it up on YouTube.
“And that was one of the best songs of the 20th Century?” Indy asked, incredulously.
“You have to admit it’s catchy,” I replied, shrugging.
“Really? Whatever happened to ‘Over the Rainbow’?” Hmmm, I asked myself the same question. I know I was a little disappointed in the determination at the time, as I was rooting for “Stairway to Heaven.”
“I guess ‘Over the Rainbow’ was too old to be the best.”
“I can’t buy that,” Indy shook his head. “‘Over the Rainbow’ is classic. It’s timeless. It’s certainly better than ‘Satisfaction’.”
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t look at what criteria was used by MTV to make the choice. Maybe it was genre specific, and maybe they didn’t work at it very hard, since they had this monster deadline approaching. I’m sure someone out there can explain it.
The issue is subjective, and the results would be tainted by the voters’ demographics. Ask music lovers for the top songs of the last 100 years (allowing the past 12+ years of the new millennium into the ballot box), and you might get a different result. Ask folks who aren’t necessarily MTV viewers or Rolling Stone readers, and things look different. In 2001, an education project from RIAA, NEA, and Scholastic called “Songs of the Century” came up with Indy’s “Over the Rainbow” on top (top 365 songs of the \”Songs of the Century\” project courtesy of Wikipedia). Even that list has its detractors.
Whose to say what song was the best of the last century, or even the best of the last week? To each his own, and if Indy prefers Judy Garland to Mick Jagger, well, maybe I can agree there, too!