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This playlist has been shaping itself for the past couple of months after I discovered that I was picking a lot of songs with "rock," "roll," or "rock and roll" in the song title.
I then started stripping out the straight up "folk" or softer stuff, and started alternating bands and artists between the 60's-70's classic era with rock 'n' roll songs from the 80's on. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are always the exception for me, as that band is one of the best five bands of all-time and stand next to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. (I'll let you pick the other band.) I'm not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, but Bruce and Tom carried the torch through the 80's and 90's and helped keep rock 'n' roll front and center until it wasn't.
As the playlist progressed, I just stopped my natural selection process of hearing songs on my trail runs and just started thinking about songs with "rock," "roll" in the title, or songs that struck me as the essence of rock 'n' roll. For example, The Doors Light My Fire certainly does that for me. The video I picked from their 1967 performance on Ed Sullivan must have shaken "the establishment" to the core with his, "I don't give a f*** attitude." Jim Morrison's performance of that song on that show is quiet memorable from my 7th grade brain.
The Byrds are one of my favorite bands and perfect to start this thing off as they were pioneers in blurring the lines between folk and folk-rock, psychedelia, and then, country and country-rock. If you love rock 'n' roll, you can never forget The Byrds.