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Fifty Songs Ever Songwriter Should Know

So in the current issue of American Songwriter, which is their Country Music issue Peter Cooper has put together a list of 50 songs every songwriter should know. They are not necessarily the top fifty Country schools but songs that they are 50 songs that every songwriter should know. Here’s the first 25 songs:

1 “Lost Highway” – written by Leon Payne – recorded by Hank Williams

2. “The Gambler” – Don Schlitz – Kenny Rogers (writer, artist)

3. “Silver Wings” – Merle Haggard

4.” L0ng Black Veil” – Marjohn Wilkin and Danny Dil – Lefty Frizzell

5. “Sunday Morning Coming Down” – Kris Kristofferson

6. “Ode to Billie Joy” – Bobbie Gentry

7. “Gentle on My Mind” – John Hartford – Glen Campbell

8. “You Don’t Know Me” – Cindy Walker and Eddy Arnold – Ray Charles

9. “Mama, Bake a Pie (Daddy Killed a Chicken)” Tom T Hall

10.” Desperados Waiting For a Train” – Guy Clark

11. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” – Hank Williams

12. “Rosalie’s Good Eats Cafe” – Shel Silverstein – Bobby Barer

13. “Coat of Many Colors” – Dolly Parton

14. “Dang Me” – Roger Miller

15 “Whiskey Lullaby” – Jon Randall and Bill Anderson – Brad Paisley

16. “Mr Bojangles” – Jerry Jeff Walker – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

17. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” – Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam – George Jones

18. “Rain Just Falls” – David Halley – Jimmie Dale Gilmore

19. “Funny How Time Slips Away” – Willie Nelson – Billy Walker

20. “A Year of Good Roses” – Jerry Chestnut – George Jones

21. “Pick Me up on Your Way Down” – Harlan Howard – Charlie Walker

22. “I Still Miss Someone” – Johnny Cash

23. “City of New Orleans” – Steve Goodman – Arlo Guthrie

24. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” – Loretta Lynn

25. “Pancho and Lefty” – Townes Van Zant

Songs in bold are in my collection. So there’s about six songs on the list that  don’t recognize including the number nine song “Mama Bake a Pie (Daddy Killed a Chicken)”. So I made list of the ones I didn’t know (The ones that are underlined)  and I am going to listen to them! The next twenty five will come later today!

But for now here is one of my all time favorites that checks in at number 5 Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

Here’s what Peter wrote about the song in the American Songwriter article:

Kristofferson gives us a portrait of desolation, complete with humor, drama and linguistic specificity. It is a four-and-a half minute song, and Kristofferson doesn’t ease up on a single line. There’s an a.m. beer, and a “cleanest dirty shirt” and a “laughing little girl” and so much detail and drama. You could write a book about this song.

Like I said you can check out the full list and all Peter’s comments in the May/June issue of the magazine!