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Experience October/November 2023

Friendship: A Playlist

Douglas Denton Church, Gerald Joseph Todaro, and Seth D Kramer

Friendship: A Playlist Ignjatovic

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When it comes to friendship, it might be easiest to ask which artist hasn’t written a song on the topic. Here are our favorites:

  • “Lean on Me,” Bill Withers [], 1972—The opening verse says it all: “Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but, if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow. Lean on me when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on!”
  • “You’ve Got a Friend,” Carole King [], 1971—Doug likes the Carole King version more than the James Taylor version but says they’re both great. “While Carole claims it’s not about anyone in particular, I doubt that. Best guess?” he asks.
  • “That’s What Friends Are For,” Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight [], 1987
  • “I Will Always Love You,” Dolly Parton [], 1973—Doug says the Whitney Houston version may have sold more copies, but it’s really Dolly’s farewell song to Porter Wagoner. “I remember watching the Porter Wagoner show on Saturday evenings, and it was clear that Dolly was the talent,” he says.
  • “You Got a Friend in Me,” Randy Newman [], 1995—“Written for an animated movie I’ve never seen, it’s just the classic Randy Newman style,” says Doug.
  • “Friends in Low Places,” Garth Brooks [], 1990—“Garth sings a lot of songs about heartbreak and moving on, good friends and good whiskey help,” Jerry says.
  • “Memories,” Maroon 5 [], 2019—“One of the few songs where I listen to the lyrics,” says Jerry. “If you’ve lost a close friend, hearing the lyrics to this song brings back memories that will haunt you for days.”
  • “With a Little Help from My Friends,” The Beatles [], 1967—“The line I remember,” explains Jerry, “was ‘I get high with a little help from my friends.’ It was about this time that Panama Red hit campus. I can’t confirm or deny the veracity of that statement.”
  • “Waiting on a Friend,” The Rolling Stones [], 1981—Jerry notes, “Surprisingly, Mick Jagger takes a break from his heart pumping dance songs and sings about the comradery of his bandmates.”
  • “Stand By Me,” Ben E. King [], 1962—“This song’s history is more about anti-racial issues and copied by many artists,” says Jerry. “But back in the day, if you were a teenage boy about the time girls edged out your preoccupation with sports and you just got dumped, solace was found with your buddies. I spent a lot of time with my buddies.”