Monday, August 8, 2011

Top 5 greatest songs of all time (according to Rolling Stone)

List from Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs of all time

The other day I made some stupid grandiose claim (wholly unaided by mind altering substances such as chocolate, icecream or dinosaur lollies) that my favouritest rock song ever, ever, ever in the history of rock songs was Carry on, wayward son by Kansas. So much so that it pains me - as in shooting-sharp-pains-in-my-chest pains me - to see that we don't have a copy of it catalogued on any of our umpteen numbers of compact discs. It's quite likely it *is* sitting on one of our discs somewhere but the track list just hasn't been added to a library record *cue tears* I should've known better than to make a statement such as that because someone - namely a sibling (pick one, any one, I have eight) - was going to call me on it. Sure enough, one of my (many) sisters responded with, 'Favouritest rock song? Yes. Ever? No.' And I fired back with, 'This is *my* list. It's *my* favouritest rock song.' There's nothing like siblings to remind me that mentally I'm forever five years old and always a sentence away from a childish I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I type of retort. Her comment did get me thinking, though. Is there a definitive list of all time rock songs? Whose list is it? How credible is it? And, of course, the sixty-four thousand dollar question: did I agree? After a quick and dirty Google-fu session I got distracted, not by an ultimate rock list so much as the all encompassing Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs of all time list and OH. WOW. It certainly provoked comment at our dinner table, and what a mission to get through it/read it aloud without ending up shouting each other down (because in our family he/she who shouts the loudest wins). And as for my questions? Totally disregard them! I did :)

Query: What one song would you have had on this list? And yes, Carry on, wayward son by Kansas is totally acceptable :-)



Honourable mention:
  • Good vibrations by The Beach Boys
  • Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
  • Hey Jude by The Beatles
  • Smells like teen spirit by Nirvana
  • What'd I say by Ray Charles


  • Respect by Aretha Franklin - copy on Respect : the very best of Aretha Franklin [compact disc]
    What you want, baby, I got it
    What you need, you know I got it
    All I'm askin' is for a little respect when you get home
    Hey baby, when you get home, mister...


    Originally released by Otis Redding (Otis of Dock of the bay fame) in the mid-1960s that is forever, in my mind anyway, linked to Aretha Franklin's 1967 version (seen it performed in The Blues Brothers? If not, remind me how I know you again...?) that is all attitude and power. And then some.

    What's going on? by Marvin Gaye - copy on Classic Marvin Gaye [compact disc]
    Picket lines and picket signs
    Don't punish me with brutality
    Talk to me
    So you can see
    Oh, what's going on
    What's going
    What's going on
    What's going on...


    What's going on? - a crossover hit for Gaye - was the title track of his What's going on? album of 1971 and talks about the troubles of the time, something that makes it timeless. It has been covered quite a few times since.

    Imagine by John Lennon - copy on Working class hero : the definitive Lennon [compact disc]
    Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today...


    Imagine, by Lennon, was released in the early 1970s and, in an interview, was declared (by Lennon) to be as good as anything he'd written with The Beatles. I have no idea if that's true or not - whether it's as good as anything he wrote with The Beatles, that is - because I was never a Beatles fan. In spite of my dad playing their stuff to me over and over, so three things went WHOOSH over my head: 1) The Beatles hype and 2) the whole idea of Yoko Ono being responsible for the breakup of the band and 3) Lennon's life post-Beatles. My somewhat-shamefaced confession: I don't even like this song *ducks*

    (I can't get no) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones - copy on Rolled gold + [compact disc]
    When I'm drivin' in my car
    And that man comes on the radio
    He's tellin' me more and more
    About some useless information
    Supposed to fire my imagination
    I can't get no, oh no no no...


    The Rolling Stones (I would never, *never* refer to them as The Strolling Bones!) who, apparently, can't get no satisfaction *cue droll look* Written in the mid-1960s by Jagger, Richards and Oldham, (I can't get no) Satisfaction has one of the most distinctive opening guitar riffs I've (the world?) has ever heard and is, I would venture, one of their most iconic songs. In the interests of full disclosure (like I'm selling you a house or something), I am not a Stones fan, although I do loves me some guitar.

    Like a rolling stone by Bob Dylan - copy on Dylan [compact disc]
    How does it feel
    How does it feel
    To be without a home
    Like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone?


    Dylan wrote Like a rolling stone in the mid-1960s and...I have no clue what it means, really. A while back I included a Leonard Cohen book - Poems and songs in a Top 5 post - and what I had to say about Cohen I would also apply to Dylan: "I am not a fan, nor a non-fan, of Dylan's music. It has just never appealed to me. I have always considered him a poet, much like I do Leonard Cohen, which always drives some people nuts when I say that because they passionately tell me he is a genius. And I believe he is, but I prefer to read his lyrics/poems rather than hear them put to music. That, to me, is his true magical ability - his writing."

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