Songs That Shape Rock-n-Roll

DNA Source Songs™ — A deep dive into the gritty, boundary-busting, 800-pound sound spanning Elvis to The Beatles from Neil Young to Nirvana from Led Zeppelin to Jack White and all their artistic, fire-breathing brothers and sisters in arms. These are the elite songs that make Rock-N-Roll the biggest, baddest musical genre on earth.

FOOTAGE: The First Time Johnny Cash Played "Man in Black"

There aren’t many instances when a song – one that will become hugely influential – has been performed live for the first time and the audience has truly understood the significance of the moment. This week’s “Coolest Thing” captures one such instance.

Johnny Cash debuted his now-classic “Man in Black” on February 17, 1971, at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University. It was a tense time in America’s history as civil unrest and the tragedies of the Vietnam War threatened to tear the country apart.

According to Cash, who was 38 at the time, “Man in Black” was conceived after he visited the Vanderbilt campus and talked with students about the challenges facing the country. He then returned the following week to perform the song live for the very first time.

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ONE OF DYLAN'S MOST POWERFUL SONGS
Ain't it just like the night?
Bob Dylan
Written by Bob Dylan

“Visions Of Johanna” is fraught with images of the drifting, unpredictable muse of the heavens, beginning with one of the most powerful lines in rock music:

The ghost of electricity
Howls in the bones of her face…

Dylan’s lyrical work – always spinning along like its own synoptic gospel, telling the same story in the same order with different words – reaches a zenith in “Johanna.”

Dylan dishes two types of muses in the song. One is earthbound, available and sexual. The other is ethereal, capricious and inspirational on a different plane. The latter is the Madonna and/or the Mona Lisa and the Johanna of “Visions Of Johanna.”

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Mapping The DNA of Rock-N-Roll

SongMango identifies, profiles, analyzes and celebrates the greatest, most influential Rock-N-Roll songs of all time, both past and present. SongMango captures and showcases the elite group of songs that represents the source DNA of Rock-N-Roll – those seminal, bomber songs that embody, enrich and sustain the edgy, high-octane monster musical genre of bands from Cream to The Grateful Dead from Nirvana to Alabama Shakes from Springsteen to Trigger Hippy. Through its unique “Rock-N-Roll DNA Mapping Project” – an extensive work in progress – SongMango traces and maps out (ultimately, in 3-D double-helix fashion) the songs that have shaped, and continue to shape, the most unpredictable, most raucous musical genre on the planet. The SongMango DNA Map will serve up a detailed, song-by-song visual accounting of the evolution of Rock-N-Roll, where it came from and where it’s going, as well as where its genetic strengths and weaknesses originate.