#kernels  #top10songs50yearsago


A kernel is a lesser-known song that upon release may not have been commercially successful but in most instances was critically acclaimed either upon release or years later. We have unearthed kernels for you to discover, beginning in 1962. Kernel songs are all listed here and appear gold in colour throughout the site. The editors are Christian Jordan, Greg Korn and Tyler Korn.

Song Artist Year
Song To Woody Bob Dylan 1962
"Song To Woody" is one of the first songs written and recorded by Bob Dylan, dedicated to one of his greatest inspirations, Woody Guthrie. Dylan first visited Guthrie in early 1961 at Greystone Hospital in New Jersey. The song is written in a similar style to that of Woody Guthrie and uses the melody from Guthrie's song "1913 Massacre". “Song To Woody” first appeared on Bob Dylan’s self-titled debut album released in 1962. (G.K. 13 May 2023)
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) Darlene Love 1963
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is a pop song originally sung by Darlene Love and first appeared on the 1963 compilation album, “A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records”. The song was written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry. Darlene Love’s stunning vocal and emotion - and the Phil Spector production - make this one of the greatest Christmas songs ever released. Leon Russell was the pianist for the recording. The Darlene Love version of the song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 until 2018. The song has since become a Christmas standard. (G.K. 18 May 2023)
Alone Again Or Love 1967
Including elements of folk, jazz, classical and psychedelia, “Along Again Or” is both ornate and catchy. It alternates between hushed acoustic passages and swelling orchestral strings and horns. There’s tension throughout the song between the sunny melodies and dark lyrics, with the orchestration punctuating Arthur Lee’s pronouncement, “And I will be along again tonight my dear.” (C.J. 9 May 2023)
I'm Waiting For The Man The Velvet Underground & Nico 1967
"I'm Waiting For The Man" showcases the Velvet Underground’s pop side and their hard-driving, rock side. It's insistent drumming, ragged guitar, and pounding piano are propulsive proto punk, capturing the jittery energy of the junkie waiting around for "the man" to bring him his fix. (C.J. 14 May 2023)
The Old Man's Back Again (Dedicated To The Neo-Stalinist Regime) Scott Engel 1969
Noel Scott Engel, better known by his stage name Scott Walker, transformed from a teen idol in the 1960s to a virtuoso, baroque-pop singer. “The Old Man’s Back Again (Dedicated To The Neo-Stalinist Regime)” tells the mournful tale of the Soviet Union invading Czechoslovakia and “undoing” the gains they’d made toward liberation and reform in the Prague Spring. Not exactly a typical theme for a pop song, but without knowing it (and it’s easy to miss), it plays as a funky, orchestral pop song with a deceptively complex arrangement. (C.J. 15 May 2023)
All The Madmen David Bowie 1970
A beautifully written song about mental illness – David Bowie has said that the song was written about his half brother, Terry Burns, who had schizophrenia and was an inmate of Cane Hill Hospital (featured on the original U.S.A. cover of “The Man Who Sold The World”). Bowie sings in “All The Madmen” - “I'd rather stay here with all the madmen, than perish with the sad men roaming free, and I'd rather play here with all the madmen, for I'm quite content they're all as sane as me”. At the time of this song’s release, mental illness was a taboo subject. “All The Madmen” features Mick Ronson’s guitar versatility, the infectious percussion of Mick Woodmansey, unusual voice effects, and bass by Tony Visconti. Ronson and Woodmansey would soon become members of the Spiders From Mars. (G.K. 15 June 2023)
Oh! Those Sweet Bananas Hackamore Brick 1970
The boys in Hackamore Brick had clearly been spending a lot of time listening to the Velvet Underground’s fourth album when they recorded this song. This is a catchy, art-pop song full of strange double entendres that careen into each other as the song rushes forward. Fruits and vegetables never sounded more sensual! (C.J. 8 May 2023)
War Pigs Black Sabbath 1970
While "War Pigs" didn't initially receive much in the way of critical reception or radio play, it has come to be considered one of the best Heavy Rock and Metal songs of all time. It has stood the test of time and remains a large influence on sludge and doom metal. The complex structure, use of empty space, wailing guitar riffs, Ozzy Osbourne's stand-out vocals, and a wicked bass progression are instantly iconic, and the anti-war sentiment reflected in the lyrics is a theme that is timeless. (T.K. 6 May 2023)