The six songs of rock

Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin in his fantastic book – which I recommend- This is your Brain on Music, tells the story of how John R. Pierce -in his 80s at that time- asked him to select six songs which would represent the whole rock. Pierce had already listened to Elvis Presley, so Levitin omitted Elvis on his list. Here you are those six songs. Any comments?

1. Long Tall Sally, Little Richard

2. Roll Over Beethoven, Beatles

3. All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix

4. Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton

5. Little Red Corvette, Prince

6. Anarchy in the UK, Six Pistols

Apparently John R. Pierce was not familiar with rock n’ roll and he asked Daniel Levitin to play six songs for him, six songs which would convey all what is “important” to know about rock. The interesting thing is that Pierce was an expert in psycoacoustics and when he listened to those songs, he said that what he really liked was the timbre of rock. He was not so interested in the songs and rythms. It was the timbre what defined rock… at least for Pierce.

Michael Thallium
Global & Greatness Coach
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