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The B List: Six songs their mother should have taught them

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 21, 2013 - An added bonus from family vacations is that you learn things about your kids -- even when they are adults -- and yourself.

During our recent visit to Vancouver, we went to Grouse Mountain. I took the gondola and spent an hour and a half with coffee and a mystery. My son and daughter spent the same time making their way up via the Grouse Grind, aka nature’s Stairmaster.

We wandered together further up the peak, where lumberjack presentations, two grizzlies and birds of prey provided entertainment. As we talked about staying for the next show or heading on to Capilano, the sound system started a familiar tune.

My daughter looked at the two of us and looked around, evidently seeing lots of people mouthing the words to what had to be a familiar tune.

“What is that?” she asked.

I stopped in my tracks.

I had failed her. Now this parental lapse doesn’t rank with the fact that she still can’t ride a bicycle. But it seems to me that parents of my age have a responsibility to pass along pop classics to the next generation. She, however, had no memory of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”


That led me to think what pop songs I would expect my kids to know. Such a list is entirely personal. Here’s my Top 6. What’s yours?

“Me & Bobby McGee” – the Janis Joplin version (and I’m afraid they might think “Mercedes Benz” is part of the song)

“On the Road Again” – Willie Nelson somehow started every trip

“Drift Away” – the Dobie Gray album is worn out

“Respect” – Aretha Franklin’s anthem is timeless

“Hey Jude” – and a grand selection from the Beatles

“Sweet Caroline” – truth be told, they had to listen to a lot of Neil Diamond in their youth – and they survived.

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.