I think of the term “X Factor” as being the “special sauce”. An indescribable quality in something or someone that you can’t quite put your finger on. Something or someone that is original and delightful. Something or someone who is memorable to you. Something or someone who is super freaking cool.
Last week I was listening to one of my favorite channels on Sirius XM, Classic Rewind, when DJ Kristine Stone announced in her smooth-as-silk voice the “My Perfect 10” challenge. She explained that subscribers were invited to email them their “perfect 10” tunes from the classic rock “cassette era”.
Side note: do you remember those? Those pieces of cheap plastic you could pop into that old cassette player to listen to your favorite tunes? Or maybe you were like me as a Gen X’r who would put a blank cassette in, position it next to your boom box, and tape your favorite songs that played between all those commercials on your local (it was all local in those days, kids) rock station.
Anyway, the idea with Classic Rewind’s “Perfect 10” challenge is that provided you emailed your list to them, you could potentially hear your specially crafted “perfect 10” tunes on the channel on, you guessed it, 10/10.
My first thought upon hearing this was that this was an idea I can get behind. Listening to rock songs during the cassette era (mid-70’s through the 80’s) was what led me to become such an enthusiastic rock and roll fan.
What qualifies these songs as having the “X-Factor” for me is that for every single one of them, I pause my thoughts, crank up the radio and sing along. Until the bitter end. I marinate in these songs. Feel their beats pulsing through my veins. Jam out in my truck to them. Dance around my living room to them.
So here’s my “Perfect 10 X -Factor” classic rock song list:
- The Load Out/Stay by Jackson Browne
- Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad by Meatloaf
- You’re my Best Friend by Queen
- Turn the Page by Bob Seger
- Young Americans by David Bowie
- Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh
- All My Love by Led Zeppelin
- Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
- Band on the Run by Paul McCartney and Wings
- Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas.
I realize that despite being a teenager in the 80’s, all but one of these songs (Free Fallin’) was produced in the 70’s. I suspect that’s on account of being a Gen X’r who adored her older brother and sister (one graduated high school in ’75 and the other in ’77) and their taste in the music of the day. Perhaps I would have been better off compiling a “Perfect 10 X Factor” list of songs from the Classic Vinyl (another one of my favorite Sirius XM channels)?
But I’ve always been one who tries to stay in the current. I am a big fan of newer and younger musical artists, ones who have put out music during my adult life. Like Jack White.
I think he is absolutely amazing. He commands the stage. He is such a gifted guitar player and performer. As an appreciator of well done rock and roll and cool characters, allow me to share the epic performances by this cool cat, performed last Saturday night on SNL:
So, what musical artists and/or songs possess that “X Factor” according to you?
***Header image courtesy of https://www.quotemaster.org/Rock+And+Roll
2 thoughts on “Alphabet Soup Challenge: X Factor Classic Rock From a Gen X Perspective”
My mom is an avid music fan; almost all of my early childhood memories include vinyl playing. The first cassette tape I remember her buying was Meat Loaf. After the steady diet of Tom Jones, Helen Reddy and the like, I did not care for Meat Loaf at first. I came around, though, and now that’s one of my favorite albums. That song in particular holds up extremely well! Seger is another favorite of ours. We’ve seen him in concert twice. Good stuff.
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Hey thanks for your comments! I bet Bob Seger is great in concert. Sounds like your mom has eclectic taste in music. Very cool!
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