With Amy Gutmann’s Stand-Up & Vote event on campus this Wednesday, Oct. 2, Street’s been inspired to create a one–of–a–kind playlist mashing up John Legend’s best hits and patriotic classics. These 62 minutes are a celebration of civic participation and one of Penn’s favorite alums. Whether you end up snagging those coveted Irvine tickets or listening from Houston Hall, this playlist is for you.
“All of Me” — John Legend
This song cemented John Legend's status as a household name, and it's one of his best songs to date“All of Me” from his fourth studio album Love in the Future is one of his best songs to date. This lead single from his fourth studio album Love in the Future is one of the best–selling digital singles of all time. The beautiful ballad—dedicated to Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen—is one of those songs that pulls at the heartstrings, even on its millionth play on the radio. It's truly a song from a Legend.
“American Pie” — Don McLean
Heartfelt, yet infectiously catchy, this American classic is a nostalgic ode to rock and roll's origins and biggest influences. The tune honors the death of rock and roll performers Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, and in 2017, the Library of Congress selected this song to be preserved in the National Recording Registry for its cultural and artistic significance.
“Glory” - John Legend and Common
This collaboration between rapper Common and John Legend was written for the 2014 historical drama Selma, which depicts the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery held by Martin Luther King in 1965. It’s a powerful song that captures the resilience and strength of the movement, and serves as a necessary reminder of America’s troubling legacy of disenfranchising African–American citizens.
“We Didn’t Start the Fire” - Billy Joel
One of the most notable list songs of all time, this single by Billy Joel rapidly mentions more than 100 historical events from between 1949 and the song’s release in 1989. Having the ability to sing the chorus of this song is as impressive as being able to recite Nicki Minaj’s verse in “Monster.” It’s an information overload, but it perfectly captures an era of American and World history.
“Ordinary People” - John Legend
“Ordinary People” is John Legend at his best. Stripped back and simple, this song captures love with pure emotion and sincerity. Leaning primarily upon piano and vocals, this ballad proves that sometimes less is more, and it's sure to leave the audience in tears when performed live.
“American Teen” - Khalid
While most patriotic songs come from earlier generations of music, Khalid’s “American Teen” is one of the standout America–themed songs of our generation. It’s not a celebration of this country’s achievements, but rather an honest account of the experience of growing up in the age of the internet and social media. It’s a song that doesn’t seek to define a specific type of “American,” and instead captures general feelings of being young and free.
Looking to celebrate civic engagement and John Legend's return to campus? Check out the full playlist on Spotify: