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Photo courtesy of John Halpern. Visit:

The trouble with classic rock ‘n’ roll music is that so many of the melodies, harmonies and rhythms of the songs that came out in the 1960s and 1970s were so original, so interesting, that we never really had to pay much attention to the lyrics.

Growing up in that era and plugged into the great FM stations of the time, I would often get lost in the mesmerizing guitar riffs and irresistible drum beats and bass lines put out by the Beatles and Rolling Stones and Cream and Beach Boys, along with all the other great musical acts from that era. And because of that, many of those great lyrics from those great songs often became nothing more than background noise for me.

It’s pretty amazing how much I missed.

I’m convinced now that some of the most innovative and relevant rock lyrics came out of the 1960s and 1970s. The words to many of those songs captured one of the most exciting and, at the same time, frightening periods in our nation’s history. They also provided a brutally honest retrospect of the feelings of the reckless youth of the time.

And here I am, decades later, and I’m still catching up.

So, I invite you to join me now as I take a journey back in time to reacquaint myself with some of the greatest rock lyrics ever written, and what they mean to me.

Joe Halpern

  1. Bruce Springsteen always makes you want to rock out. My favorite song is Darkness on the Edge of Town but all of his lyrics are great. Thanks for sharing this video Joe, brings back fond memories…

  2. Tom O'Rourke permalink

    On “Let It Bleed” post:

    Good song, great album. Great album cover too.
    Nice slide guitar and a sound that is like a precursor to Exile on Main Street.
    Also the first time anyone said “come” in a song to my knowledge. And perhaps not again until Start Me Up.
    Didn’t know about the syringe reference, but it makes sense.
    Great job, Joe!

  3. Can we make a request? How about some Rolling Stones lyrics?

    • No way are we going to keep the Stones out of this blog, Ben. A future post will breakdown the classic tune “Let It Bleed”

  4. Gordon Macdougall permalink

    I quoted Skynyrd in my senior yearbook. Freebird, natch. (Almost went with Boston’s Peace of Mind…) I know what you’re saying about the music being so powerful, but I think many songs had lyrics that were, as Aline writes, transformative. Kansas, for instance, had some poetic words in there, as did Fleetwood Mac and others. Yes? Hmmmm….! I’m with Aline: Thanks for the blog, good start! In the poetic words of the Ahnold, I’ll be back!

  5. Aline Bernstein permalink

    But when we did pay attention to the lyrics, they were transformative. How many of us remember quoting a song lyric in our high school yearbook profile? For me it was Here Comes the Sun. And I didn’t even like the Beatles! (Was in the Stones camp.) Nice start to your blog Joe, look forward to reading more.

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