Good Song

I have been taking Music and Theater classes at the local community college including a couple of songwriting and composition classes. On one particular day the topic of discussion was what makes a song good, or bad for that matter. Now I don’t really think there is a definitive answer but it got me to thinking and I began to sketch, what might be considered a poem, using the titles of songs. Well I finished it and shared it with my instructor who said that he would have to look some of them up. I counted ninety-seven (97) song titles when I wrote it. How many can you identify? (Answers on Sunday)


What makes a good song good?
What makes a good song bad?
What makes a bad song bad?
What makes a bad song good?

Sometimes a good song is …
A trip to Butterfly Lake after a summer on Indian Lake
A Night Flight to the Harvest Moon
Or simply enjoying the Moonlight in Vermont
Or Three Flights Up in a Hangdog Hotel Room
Where you have some Room to Move
While you Plan Your Revolution with Rocky Racoon
And All The Young Dudes down on Gasoline Alley

Maybe a good song is …
Getting over a case Poison Ivy
Or Going to New York when The Sun is Shining
Or downing One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
With a bowl of Jambalaya and a plate of Home Grown Tomatoes
While a Bad Brahma Bull is a Grazin’ in the Grass
Or drinking White Lightin’ with Jim Dandy down on Main Street
Or getting Hurricane Drunk, Love Drunk,
Or Stoned Immaculate with Pretty Little Adriana

Perhaps a good song is …
Found under Black Skies, swimming in Black Water,
Running from a Black Country Woman or simply fading Back to Black
Or when you’ve got the Black Mountain Blues
Or even the Black Mare Blues
A Long Black Veil or a Long Black Train
A cup of Black Coffee or a taste of Black Velvet
Sailing with Black Jack Davy on Black Diamond Bay

I remember when a good song was …
Riding in the Oklahoma Hills
Smokin’ with Sioux City Sue or Smokin in the Boy’s Room
Going up the Country to The Hanging Garden for a date with Sugar Magnolia
In The Garden of Eden or In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
A String of Pearls for a Delta Lady Cryin over Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Serving 30 Days in the Hole after being tied to the Whipping Post
Because I Fought the Law and now I’m ‘Buked and Scorned

But sometimes a really good song is …
Is Maggie May on a plush Chelsea Morning
Amie, Angie, Brandy, Jean, Little Jeanie, or Rene
Melissa and an Oak Fire in the Winter Time
Who tears from the Smoke of a Distant Fire
Mama Lou, Betty Lou, Peggy Sue, and Runaround Sue my Leather Angel
Clair, Denise-Denise, Judy in Disguise, and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Layla, Susanne, My Cherie Amour, Mandy, Candy Girl,
And Roxanne on the Mean Street,
Sylvie, Matilda, and any Brown Skin Girl
Sulky Girl, Pretty Girl, Border Town Girl, Cinnamon Girl,
Mountain Girl, Naughty Girl, and the Danville Girl
Good Girls, Beautiful Girls, West End Girls, Girls on Film, Girls, Girls, Girls
And the Last of the American Girls

What makes a good song good?
What makes a good song bad?
What makes a bad song bad?
What makes a bad song good?

What makes a song anything at all is being heard
Is in the ear of the beholder
And if those ears number in the millions
You’ll fall down backwards rich

“And that’s all I have to say about that.”

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