On Choosing The Pictures To Illustrate Steve Crawford’s “Greatest Songs” Series

Written by | June 24, 2020 6:51 am | No Comments


Among the myriad of pleasures of running rock nyc choosing the picture to illustrate Steve Crawford is high up on the list. Crawford is a book writing, linguistic tightrope walker who is less poetic than stoic in his prose, he is the king of cutting to the chase, his grammar is better than mine, and except for correcting the occasional typo all I get to do is choose the picture and excerpt (and a dumb one line for the link on Facebook, where we get 15% of our readership).

Steve started contributing his “Greatest” series in February 2016 with “The 100 Greatest American Rock ‘n’ Roll Bands” before covering  country music greatest and then the 1950s, 1970s, 1960s,1980s, 1950s, and has just started the “Greatest 1990s”. I’m hoping for a “2010s” and “2020s” with no commitment yet from Steve.

So off I go to check out what picture to use and it isn’t as easy as it looks.

Here is the link to the current “Greatest Songs”.

I drove myself crazy trying to decide what picture I needed to illustrate the post. So crazy I posted it an hour later than usual.

The picture should be:

1 – from an artist well known enough to be click(ish) bait.

2 – A good picture.

3 – Somebody with a reason to be the star. For instance, choosing Chuck Berry whenever possible is a self evident truth.

So we come to “The 500 Greatest Songs of the 1990s: 480 to 471” and I read it through and started thinking about pictures and boiled it down to four:

1 – “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” En Vogue – here I get Curtis Mayfield (who wrote it), Aretha Franklin (who sang it on one of the greatest albums of all time, Sparkle).

2 – “Something to Talk About,” Bonnie Raitt – I don’t know if Raitt will make another appearance on the list, so I would want to take advantage of this one. Also, it reminds me of a trip I made to Chicago to see a girl (an extended nightmare but whatever).

3 –  “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next,” Manic Street Preachers – their best song on their best album

4 – “Lump,” The Presidents of the United States of America. – Their only hit and it’s a goodie so now or never time.

The case against

1 –  En Vogue: Yes, a great song and Aretha’s version blows it out the water.

2 – Bonnie Raitt  – There must be more, right? Plus, I don’t much like it.

3 – Manic Street Preachers – It isn’t a populist take, they aren’t big in the States and it sucks as click bait.

4 -The Presidents of the United States of America: They are the least significant choice here.

Then I got En Vogue and POTUS out of the picture and wanted to use MSP and Bonnie but went with Bonnie because Tex Ritter will never show here and she deserves the nod. But I really wanted both… and the picture I found is so powerful it alone is worth seeing from the socialist agitprop rockers is used here



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