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Five Great Rock Songs
This is a very personal choice of my favorite rock songs. These five songs all have something in common: they were recorded four decades ago, between 1965 and 1971, at a time when rock music reflected and influenced political changes - these songs are excellent examples for that; it was handmade music, free from the synthetic overproduction we find nowadays in popular music; and we, our children and our grandchildren are still listening to this music, a fact that in my opinion will not change in the next four decades. Let's listen again to these five wonderful songs!
John Lennon - Imagine
"Imagine" became Lennon's signature tune and was written as a plea for world peace. Published in 1971 on an album with the same title, the song would later become an anthem for anti-war movements. Former US President Jimmy Carter said, "In many countries around the world - my wife and I have visited about 125 countries - you hear John Lennon's song 'Imagine' used almost equally with national anthems."
Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone
Recorded in 1965 and released on Bob Dylan's album "Highway 61 Revisited", "Like a Rolling Stone" is one of the most celebrated recordings in rock history. It is a song directed at a woman who once lived a life of privilege but has now experienced a reversal in fortune. Dylan himself commented, "I'm not gonna be able to make a record better than that one... Highway 61 is just too good. There's a lot of stuff on there that I would listen to."
Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower
Recorded in 1968, this song is considered as one of the best cover versions ever recorded. Composer Bob Dylan has described his reaction to hearing Hendrix's version: "It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn't think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day."
The Doors - The End
First released in 1967, "The End" was most famously used in Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 anti-war film Apocalypse Now, in which its dark, poetic passage marked the film's descent into the surreal. The sound of helicopter rotors from the beginning of the film are often included in recordings of the song. However, this version of the song is also incomplete, and the sounds of a jungle replace most of the lyrics in the second half of the song.
Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity - Czechoslovakia
Published in 1969 on the album "Streetnoise", this song was a direct reaction to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In 1970, Julie married jazz pianist Keith Tippett and became a jazz vocalist. In 1984 she performed at the Jazzfestival in the Slovak capital Bratislava, in a quintet together with her husband and three German musicians.