Essential Oldies Playlist: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield
Mainstream pop jams have a time and place, but even their most die hard fans can admit that hearing the same songs on a non-stop radio loop gets tiring. If you’re looking to freshen up your iTunes library and find some new music, take a break from the endless search for the new “it” band and try looking to some of these old classics to jam out to! If you like current folk bands like The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, and Fleet Foxes, listen to some of these folk legends that inspired these modern artists’ current indie folk stylings. Listen to these mellow, melodic, and melancholy 60’s songs and then add them to your essential oldies playlist!
1. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” – Bob Dylan
This classic song by folk legend Bob Dylan is taken right off of his chart-topping 1963 album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” and is widely recognized as a song about his girlfriend at the time, Suze Rotolo (who can be seen on the front of the cover to the left), but Dylan was sure to clarify that it is not a love song. Rather, “It’s a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better… as if you were talking to yourself.” In any case, the slow and melodic tune is an essential addition to your oldies playlist.
2. “GIrl From the North Country” – Bob Dylan / Johnny Cash
This song is another great Bob Dylan classic from his mellow 1969 album, “Nashville Skyline,” and features the one and only Johnny Cash. Hearing these two amazing artists side by side is slightly mind-blowing as they seem to be from such different eras — Johnny Cash prominent in the 50’s and early 60s, and Bob Dylan seemingly picking up where he leaves off in the 60s on throughout the 70’s — but in reality, they are not far apart in age or musical ability; they are both insanely talented folk/rock musicians with folk roots. This song was also featured in the movie “Silver Linings Playbook” and on the “Silver Linings Playbook” soundtrack, which is certainly also worth a listen!
3. “Blackbird” – The Beatles
The Beatles released their sprawling self-titled double album [white] in 1968, which is packed full of classic songs like, “Back in the USSR,” and “Ob-la-di Ob-la-da,” and nestled in the depths of this album is the beautiful little two minute long song, “Blackbird.” This lovely and short ballad is recognized for its simple yet unconventional chord progression and fingerpicking but can be easily forgotten among such a dynamic album and the Beatles massive collection at large. The Beatles have so many well-known hits that it can be hard to keep track of them all, but these small treasures like, “Blackbird” that you know, but oftentimes forget, are what make the Beatles so great.
4. “April Come She Will” – Simon & Garfunkel
Simon & Garfunkel should be a staple in any oldies playlist; this song off their 1966 album, “Sounds of Silence,” in particular is one that everyone needs to hear, and once you do, you’ll never stop. It’s one of those songs that is so beautiful that every time you hear it, you wish it would never end. The song is an enchanting tribute to a past lover that describes her personality through the graceful change of the seasons, and the poetic lyrics are inspired by a nursery rhyme that she had recited. The song famously appears on the soundtrack of the classic ’60s movie, “The Graduate.”
5. “For What It’s Worth” – Buffalo Springfield
The first iconic notes of this song ring out for several measures over a simple guitar beat: the singlehanded soundtrack for the 60’s era. This bluesy folk song off of Buffalo Springfield’s self-titled 1966 album put them on the nationwide map and became a sort of protest anthem written by Stephen Stills during the aftermath of the Sunset Strip riots in ’66 and ’67. This is a mellow jam and an iconic song with a lot of history and copious amounts of musical talent that undoubtedly deserves a spot on your essential oldies playlist.
Do you love these folk legends? What are your favorite folk rock songs of the era? Share yours in the comments below or shoot me a tweet @JenksUOhMeASoda