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The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects

1. I FOUGHT THE LAW by the Bobby Fuller Four.

This is what you listen to after you’re banned from the biggest shopping center on the coast between Seattle and San Francisco.

When a misunderstanding about how ‘that’ got into your pocket results in going home while your friends go to the mall, the only mall, the words “I fought the law and the law won” has deeper meaning.

The law won then, the law wins now, but the fight continues.

2. PANCHO AND LEFTY by Townes Van Zandt.

Best friends forever, BFF, until…

From a certain age we can look back and see where friendships started, and where some ended.

“The day they laid old Pancho low, Lefty he split for Ohio, where he got the dough to go, ain’t one ever know.”

The mystery of broken relationships still haunt the dream of a perfect world.

Lefty did what he had to do? Do you do what you have to do, too?

3. STAND BY ME by Ben E. King.

When troubled times stir up the sort of emotional storms that take others down, hearing Stand By Me is a booster shot.

It’s especially strong when you hear it with someone who’s stood by you.

“I won’t cry, I won’t cry, I won’t shed a tear, just as long, as you stand, stand by me.”

It’s not too much to ask for.

4. FIRE by Bruce Springsteen.

This one works best when your kids are in middle school and you’re all in the car.

“I’m driving in my car, turn on the radio, I pull you close, you just say no.”

Except this time you pull your baby over and she scoots across the seat. The kids in the back start yelling. They know what’s next.

“Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah, Baby you can bet, Their love they didn’t deny.”

There’s Mom and Dad bopping to The Boss. It doesn’t get any better…or worse.

5. I WANNA BE SEDATED by The Ramones.

Here’s the easy listening anthem to turn up when it’s all too much.

Nothing’s going right, the roof leaks, the car makes a weird new sound, young people zoned out on X-Box.

What to do?

“Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated, Nothin’ to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated.”

The good part for clean living, right thinking, boomers singing along: is sedation enough.

You’ve got problems, overwhelming problems, and you just want to check out. Go ahead and take a minute, or three.

Sing along with The Ramones. They wrote lyrics for this magic moment, lyrics you can remember.

“Ba-ba-bamp-ba ba-ba-ba-bamp-ba I wanna be sedated
“Ba-ba-bamp-ba ba-ba-ba-bamp-ba I wanna be sedated
“Ba-ba-bamp-ba ba-ba-ba-bamp-ba I wanna be sedated
“Ba-ba-bamp-ba ba-ba-ba-bamp-ba I wanna be sedated.”

Sing it, or yell it hard enough, and you’ll feel sedated without the drowsy after effects.

Now fix the roof, the car, and get crazy on Call Of Duty.








About David Gillaspie


  1. Great list man, looking forward to part 2!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      This might be a good time to drop a five song list of your own?

      Band joke: “How many garage bands play Mustang Sally?”

      “Apparently all of them.”

      • So many to choose from, which means so many left out…. but here’s a few signs of the times, anyway…

        1. Teenager in Love, Dion — Simpler song from 1959, a nominally simpler time

        2. She Loves You, The Beatles — Just one of many indications that the musical landscape was about to change forever. Almost half of all American households watched this song played as part of the Beatles’ first Ed Sullivan appearance.

        3. My Generation, The Who — A song about declaring one’s place in society while simultaneously rejecting it serves further notice that the times are indeed a’changin’.

        4. Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye. Marvin’s was actually the third recorded version of this Motown hit; Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Gladys Knight and the Pips both laid it down before Marvin.

        5. Miss You, The Rolling Stones — Jump ahead ten years to 1978 and listen to how even the Stones were laying down disco backbeats… changed times, indeed.

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