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Great American songs

My Mom Thinks I'm Cool
16:56 / 03.02.09
my students want to learn about American culture and also study the slightly poetic English you tend to find in songs, and I'm looking for suggestions on what we could go over.

so far we have done:

the Beastie Boys - Fight for your Right
Ella and Louis - Summertime
Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues

my problem is that if it's left up to me, everything will be from the 80s or earlier, and there won't be any hip-hop because I know shit about hip-hop.
Eek! A Freek!
17:25 / 03.02.09
For hiphop lyrics you could check out the work of Michael Franti the man behind Spearhead and Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy: Very political and intelligent.

For pure Americana you could also research Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and John Cougar Mellencamp. For more current versions of the like, perhaps try Brighteyes or Wilco.
20:50 / 03.02.09
How about Bobby Womack´s famous song Across 110th Street? A beautiful song with lyrics about drugs and pimps that doesn´t glorify these topics.
22:18 / 03.02.09
How about the songs recorded/compiled by Harry Smith, Alan Lomax or Joe Bussard.
Woody Guthrie as well perhaps. This Land Is Your Land being a very obvious example.
18:12 / 04.02.09
An ESL class? Why not try Simon & Garfunkel?

Or "With Whom to Dance" by the Magnetic Fields.
My Mom Thinks I'm Cool
21:44 / 05.02.09
thanks for the suggestions!

I'll definitely add Simon and Garfunkel to the list, along with Mellancamp. some of the other people I'll have to look up. Springsteen was already planned.

I guess the idea is pretty vague and subjective. something like, if one of my students goes into a karaoke bar and sings one of these songs, the rest of the bar will go "fuck yeah!". vaguely classic songs in the sense that they somehow represent american culture or the time they were made, or influenced later stuff.

and, of course, they should be things that I like.
Eek! A Freek!
21:50 / 05.02.09
(There's some Canadian classic Americana such as Don McLean's "American Pie" and The Guess Who's "American Woman")
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