What’s So Great About Rock-N-Roll?


CollageIt’s simple. Rock-N-Roll has transformed the modern world like no other art form in history. It revolutionized every corner of the Western World and has had an important influence everywhere else it has been heard.

So we, at SongMango, fly our spaceship (the one at the top of this page, in fact) to celebrate, instigate and propagate Rock-N-Roll. We pay deep homage to the form’s basic building-block – the individual song.

How many Faces of Rock-N-Roll can you identify? (see key below)


In celebrating and showcasing the best – the time-tested as well as our hunches for future classics – we hope to preserve and carry on Rock’s power and glory, not to mention its shameless, feel-good predilections.

Rock-N-Roll gives us, the faithful, an ageless exhilaration, a mainline rush of electrified energy, a glow we can always bask in and tap for strength.

On our Mission, we celebrate the 60-year-old genre’s fundamental cultural importance via the Mango’s DNA Source Songs™. The genetic, song-by-song body of work will take you on a deep-space trip into the brilliantly edgy, boundary-busting, 800-pound gorilla of a sound stretching from Chuck Berry, Elvis and Bo Diddley to The Beatles, from Neil Young to Nirvana, from Led Zeppelin to the White Stripes, from Little Richard to the Arctic Monkeys, and all of their artistic, fire-breathing brothers and sisters in arms. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. We’re on a Mission from the Rock gods.

The list of greats is dense from the start and stretches out into the future, though momentarily the scene may not be as clear cut as it once was due to technological changes and an unprecedented proliferation of new and rising bands.

But, we should all have faith.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye
Hey hey, my my

–Neil Young from “Hey Hey, My My” (Into The Black), 1979

At SongMango we couldn’t agree more with Neil: Rock-N-Roll can never die. But Rock will need some help keeping the flame lit as the musical landscape shudders, shakes and shifts.

The Mango wants to illuminate (and instigate) the kind of free-wheeling lifestyle and headspace that goes along with loving Rock-N-Roll, because a big part of this raucous breed of music is attitude – a wild free spirit, living on the edge, going crazy (in a good way) amidst an increasingly buttoned-up world.

A Group Effort

There’s no doubt it will take some hard work to keep the roof-raising, bad-boy-and-girl genre alive and kicking while delivering greatness and grit. We will all need to participate. Nuestro mango es su mango.

Collage2aSongMango will propagate Rock-N-Roll by identifying and analyzing the richest, tangiest, topmost layer of songs and their sublime connections. The Mission is to break it all apart, put it back together in a commonsense way and help it grow and grow.

We dissect.

We map.

We connect dots.

We tie contemporary music back to the roots from which it flows.

We explore where Rock-N-Roll comes from, where it is right now, and where we think it’s going. Yes, we’re opinionated, but we think your opinion counts as much as ours and we provide a number of forums for visitors to air their vital viewpoints.

We want to give you 30,000-foot, 5,000-foot and ground-level views of the global phenomenon, putting all the far-flung pieces in context so you can see its many ties and seductions, and its impact not only on the world of music but on the world itself (the one with the atmosphere around it, at least for now).

Woodstock roadWith a little help from our friends, we will map the most influential, break-the-mold songs that carry the master DNA of Rock-N-Roll. This work is for your enjoyment, enlightenment, and at times your consternation, as a member of the almighty Rock Populi.

Rock-N-Roll has always been everyone’s to revel in. Without all of us there is no genre and there is no music. There is no crazy, full-bodied fun. There is no howling at the moon (metaphorically of course, but then again, maybe not). You are the ultimate judge of what makes great Rock-N-Roll, and what makes Rock-N-Roll great.

Critics and Experts Vs. You and The Mango

Collage 4aAt SongMango we employ a grassroots, bottom-up approach to determining the best Rock-N-Roll songs of all time. Although we feel as free as any other spirits to give our opinion, we don’t tell you what’s great – like other top-down industry “experts” and “critics.” You, the Rock Populi, tell us what’s great and what isn’t.

No matter who’s doing the telling, the reason a great song is great has to be clear and pretty much inarguable. It’s a big tent, though, and if you
think we’re the only ones who can fill it, you’re crazier than you know.

And here’s the kicker, ladies and gentlemen and children of the Rock-N-Roll future: We listen! And through your help and input, SongMango will produce the most accurate content, lists, maps and anatomies ever to have existed. It will be incredibly gratifying. We promise.

Collage 5We want this electric, red-hot run through nearly six decades of bone-thumping beats, the highly charged feelings, love, regret, hope and social commentary in songs to never end. We want the raw emotion and edge that built Rock-N-Roll into a global powerhouse to go on forever.

Rooted in its 1950’s origins, much of that brilliance snapped, crackled and popped in the 1960s and 1970s, the first Golden Era of Rock-N-Roll. We are lucky to have a vast vault of material to embrace and enjoy. We want to live to experience the second and possibly even the third Golden Era. We want our kids and grandkids to know the glory of shaking, rattling and rolling deep into the night.

Hop on board the spaceship (watch your head) and take a bite of the Mango. We believe there will be another Rock-N-Roll heyday. All it takes is a long view and a good shot of enthusiasm to bring it into focus. It may be upon us now. Leave the cynicism, snideness and bad vibes down below. Free yourself to soar.

We can all help make it happen. In fact we all have to help make it happen. We want to answer the questions that Don McClean asked in “American Pie” with a resounding “Yes”:

Do you believe in Rock-N-Roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?


Some, not all, of the people who have helped build or are building the hallowed House of Rock-N-Roll:

Panel 1
Elvis Presley, Amy Winehouse, Bo Diddley
Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, David Bowie
Aretha Franklin, Jack White, Jimi Hendrix

Panel 2
Neil Young, The Ronettes
Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia
Axl Rose, Alice Cooper, James Brown

Panel 3
Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Grace Slick
The Beatles

Panel 4
Sly Stone, Linda Ronstadt, Keith Moon
Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett, Julian Casablancas
Melissa Etheridge, Mick Jagger, Bill Haley

Panel 5
Jim Morrison, Aimee Duffy, Little Richard
Koko Taylor, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison
Jimmy Page, Otis Redding, Lou Reed