We all know the story of "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" as sung by Jim Croce. And the grim tale of Maxwell Edison, as told to us by the Beatles in "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." And thanks to the 1970s one-hit wonder group Looking Glass, we know about the girl named "Brandy" who fell in love with a sailor, but couldn't steal his heart from the sea. The list goes on and on - it shows what imagination many songwriters from the 60s through the 80s had, to come up with so many memorable characters and set them to music. Sometimes the songs weren't about a particular person, but tried to teach some sort of moral lesson (like "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin.) I don't doubt that musicians today are still using fictional or non-fictional characters as inspiration, but if they are I'm just not hearing them that often. Do you think Katie Perry is capable of weaving such a fantastical tale as the ill-fated romance of Lola and Rico as could only be told by Barry Manilow in "Copacabana"? I think not. So, to remember what it was like here's my list of the 25 best and/or most memorable storytelling songs. May they long live forever on the radio waves. 1. Space Oddity - David Bowie 2. American Pie - Don McLean 3. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant - Billy Joel 4. Alice's Restaurant - Arlo Guthrie 5. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes 6. Take A Letter, Maria - R.B. Greaves 7. Luka - Suzanne Vega 8. Cat's in the Cradle - Harry Chapin 9. A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash 10. Billy, Don't Be a Hero - Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods 11. Shilo - Neil Diamond 12. The Hurricane - Bob Dylan 13. Copacabana - Barry Manilow 14. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) - Bruce Springsteen 15. The Gambler - Kenny Rogers 16. Rocky Raccoon - The Beatles 17. Come Dancing - The Kinks 18. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce 19. Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Reilly 20. Last Night by The Traveling Wilburys 21. In the Ghetto - Elvis Presley 22. The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun - Julie Brown 23. Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses 24. Paradise by the Dashboard Light - Meatloaf 25. Leader of the Pack - The Shangri-Las Honorable mentions - Bobby Darin wrote two superb storytelling songs, Me & Mr. Hohner and Long Line Rider, that only die-hard (like me) Darin fans would know about. As it is with most lists, I know I'm bound to miss quite a few examples. So let me know in your comments which ones you would add.
Hi, I'm Pam - thanks for visiting Go Retro! If you've ever been called an old soul like I have, or you were lucky enough to actually live during the mid-20th century in America, then you're in the right place!
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