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Love her or hate her, you have to admit Liz Phair knows her '70s music. And she knows how to pick a good TV show. In fact, she's kind of made a cottage industry out of both of those things with her involvement in CBS' Swingtown, which, I'm thinking, would have ended up becoming a minor hit of the 2007-08 network TV season if it had debuted when it should have in January instead of being derailed by the writers' strike.

Instead, it has been languishing in summer-replacementland, first on Thursday nights, and now on Fridays (not a good sign). Probably only Liz and the uber-suburbany folks of Winnetka, whom this show is really about, are watching Swingtown as it is now. CBS programming boss Nina Tassler says she's undecided about bringing the show back, perhaps as a mid-season replacement for next winter. The ratings, of course, suck.

Too bad. This show is so well-written, it's an instant classic. Created by Phair's Winnetka childhood pal Mike Kelley, it's not so much about ripping apart the hypocrisy of suburbia's penultimate hour as it is about gently dissecting it. It's no Taxi Driver, to be sure, but it's not Jonathan Livingston Seagull either.

It's got just the right combination of real affection for the superficiality of the '70s - its ridiculous feel-good psycho-babble masquerading as an authentic successor to the rage of '60s - and a dead-on depiction of the subtle undercurrent of foreboding over changing sexual and familial roles that everyone deep-down knew would end up leading to something nobody bargained for, even as they were popping their 'ludes, drinking their Harvey Wallbangers and trying to tell themselves it was all good in the crowded space just beneath the smiley-face bedsheets.

Oh, and did I say it's got group sex? On CBS? And drugs? On CBS? And lots and lots of rock 'n' roll? Which is where the ever-debatable Liz comes in. On the show, she has teamed with TV and film score producer/musician Evan Frankfort and Marc "Doc" Dauer (now playing in Minnie Driver's band) to whip up the music for Swingtown, which is really just as important a character as any of the intermingling marrieds. The three compose the incidental music for the show (which, to be honest, is not all too inspiring). Liz sings the show's opening theme song.

But way more importantly, she helps pick out the playlists of the actual '70s songs used to punctuate the emotional and dramatic points being made. In what also seems to be a first, CBS has teamed up with to highlight the show's song selections. The list here from seems to be a compilation of the songs sampled on the 13 episodes of Swingtown that have been filmed so far. All in all, a list I could really see Liz grooving to in her retro moods while holed up in her girlie room after a hard day at New Trier: A lot of familiar titles, as well as few that are a bit on the subversive side.

Kind of like the show itself: On the surface, it seems like everything is all Average White Band on the North Shore . That is, until the stylish neighbors invite you over to their special basement room, and you notice Kool is gettin' down with the whole Gang.


1. Julie London, "The Good Life"

2. Brick, "Dazz"

3. Average White Band, "Pick Up the Pieces"

4. John Lennon, "Jealous Guy"

5. Commodores, "Machine Gun"

6. Golden Earring, "Radar Love"

7. Norman Greenbaum, "Skyline"

8. Three Dog Night, "Joy to the World"

9. Johnny Nash, "I Can See Clearly Now (Single Version)"

10. Rita Coolidge, "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher"

11. Deep Purple, "Smoke on the Water"

12. Captain & Tennille, "Love Will Keep Us Together"

13. Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Sweet Home Alabama"

14. Stealers Wheel, "Stuck in the Middle With You"

15. Van Morrison, "Moondance"

16. T-Connection, "Do What You Wanna Do"

17. Redbone, "Come and Get Your Love"

18. Free, "All Right Now"

19. Blue Swede, "Hooked on a Feeling"

20. George McCrae, "Rock Your Baby"

21. David Bowie, "Golden Years"

22. David Bowie, "Ziggy Stardust"

23. King Harvest, "Dancing In the Moonlight (Original Recording)"

24. The Emotions, "Best of My Love"

25. Orleans, "Still the One"

26. James Taylor, "Fire and Rain"

27. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Fortunate Son"

28. The Three Degrees, "When Will I See You Again"

29. Smokie, "For a Few Dollars More"

30. The Doobie Brothers, "What A Fool Believes (live)"

31. Vanity Fare, "Hitchin' a Ride"

32. Carly Simon, "Nobody Does It Better"

33. Bob Dylan, "It Ain't Me Babe"

34. The Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

35. Stonewall Jackson, "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo"

36. Earth, Wind & Fire, "Shining Star"

37. Cheryl Lynn, "Got to Be Real (Single Version)"

38. The Tymes, "You Little Trustmaker"

39. Paper Lace, "The Night Chicago Died"

40. Johnny Bristol, "Hang on in There Baby"

41. Lobo, "I'd Love You to Want Me"

42. Little River Band, "Reminiscing"

43. The Hollies, "The Air That I Breathe"

44. T Connection, "Do What You Wanna Do"

45. Joe Cocker, "Bye Bye Blackbird"

46. Phil Ochs, "Song of My Returning"

47. Smokie, "Living Next Door to Alice"

48. Robin Trower, "Day of the Eagle"

49. Carpenters, "We've Only Just Begun"

50. Stealers Wheel, "You Put Something Better Inside Me"

51. Carole King, "It's Too Late"

52. The Allman Brothers Band, "Can't Lose What You Never Had"

53. The Dramatics, "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get"

54. Norman Greenbaum, "Spirit in the Sky"

55. Dobie Gray, "Drift Away"

56. Three Dog Night, "Shambala"

57. Looking Glass, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"

58. Melanie, "Brand New Key"

59. KISS, "Shout It Out Loud"

60. Eric Clapton, "Hello Old Friend"

61. Helen Reddy, "I Am Woman"

62. Parliament, "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)"

63. Barry Manilow, "Mandy"

64. Steve Miller Band, "Space Cowboy"

65. Kool & the Gang, "Jungle Boogie"

66. Neil Diamond, "Cracklin' Rosie"

67. Captain & Tenille, "Shop Around"

68. Bobby Darin, "Call Me Irresponsible"


From the Beachwood jukebox to Marfa Public Radio, we have the playlists you need to be a better citizen of the Rock and Roll Nation.


Posted on July 28, 2008

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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