Thursday, March 22, 2007

25 Rock n Roll and Country Rock Songs

Time to wind up the song season. This time it's my list of the greatest rock n roll and country rock numbers. This list is slightly longer than the other two, primarily because the King kept on making too many appearances in the list, and I just could not keep out any of his best stuff.

25. Elvis Presley – Love me Tender: Sung to the tune of "Aura Lea", a sentimental Civil War ballad, this has Elvis singing with little or no musical accompaniment. And yet manages to sound just awesome.

24. George Jones - She Thinks I Still Care: Anne Murray also has a cover version of this song, and even that one's really good. I think it's probably the lyrics.

23. Elvis Presley - It's Now Or Never: The King's take on "'O Sole Mio" makes the Neapolitan song sound incredibly romantic.

22. Anne Murray - You Needed Me: Murray's rich alto voice breaks the boundaries between country rock and pop, but who cares? For those of you who haven't heard this Canadian lady, you don't know what you're missing.

21. Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing: I know many of you think this song should belong to my rock list, but I insist that this earliest of their hits is more rock n roll.

20. The Beatles - All My Loving: Paul's inspired vocals and Harrison's Nashville-influenced guitar solo on this country-ish Beatles number makes it special for me.

19. Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock: For me, this is the quintessential rock n roll number, and the best from the early Elvis era.

18. Bill Haley & His Comets - Rock Around The Clock: the companion piece in spirit to the one above, this is heady rock n roll.

17. Elvis Presley - Blue Suede Shoes: Try listening to this song in conjunction with the two above. Pure old rock n roll magic!

16. The Beatles - You Really Got a Hold on Me: This Beatles cover of a hit from The Miracles has outlived the original. Reason perhaps is the vocal superiority. Features Lennon on lead vocal with George on close harmony.

15. Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode: This song arguably had much to do with the establishment of the guitar as the lead instrument in rock and roll, rather than the piano or the tenor saxophone, both of which had been in the running since the emergence of the genre. The riffs and guitar licks are truly memorable...

14. The Beatles - Love Me Do: The Beatles first single has some funky bluesy harmonica by John, and some fantastic high-energy lead vocals by him and Paul with George cheerfully donning the harmony vocals part again.

13. Elvis Presley – Don’t Cry Daddy: This little-known number (by Presley's standards, not by anybody else's!) is hauntingly beautiful.

12. The Beatles - Let it Be: This is Paul at his balladic best. God know why John was not so fond of it...

11. Don McLean - American Pie: Don's allusive song about Buddy Holly's death is an epic song of the spirit of America. This is high poetry, not some soon-to-be forgotten love lyric.

10. Elvis Presley - The Girl of My Best Friend: Another rather obscure number by the King, this song inspires amorous feelings about other people's wives and girlfriends...probably because of the hypnotic vocals.

9. Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds: How can this man sing so well?

8. Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door: Over 150 covers of this song have been sung, including one rather good one by G 'n R, but the greatest living poet in the English language deserves to be in this list if only because of what he's done to music over the years.

7. Elvis Presley - In The Ghetto: Another great one by the lord of all he surveys...what more can I say about him?

6. John Denver - Country Roads: John Denver's ode to West Virginia is really good, in spite of all it's popularity!

5. Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight: "Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?" the man asked in a concert, showing the versatility of the lyrics!

4. Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy: Hmmm...everyone know the refrain to this one and joins in gustily, after forgetting how the rest of the lyrics went!

3. The Beatles - Hey Jude: Now what can you say about an eight minute song with a two minute fade? Don't bother, there's a reason why this is by far the most popular Beatles song.

2. Elvis Presley - She's Not You: This is my favourite Presley number, and I can't really tell you why. But it rocks...

1. John Denver – Annie’s Song: Probably the single most romantic song ever written. The song has become a standard expression of love for many people, due to its grand imagery and the fact it could apply to anyone - after all, Annie Denver is not mentioned by name in any part of the song.

Monday, March 19, 2007

20 Favourite Pop Songs

Carrying on with my musical musings, here's my list of my favourite pop songs. Unlike rock, pop is not really a genre, just a name given to popular vocal-driven songs of any era. Hence the presence of disco, soft rock and blues numbers in my list.

20. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean: Though I am no fan of Wacko Jacko, I can't deny his status as a performer. This song is my numero uno among Jackson's chart-busting success stories.

19. Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive: Falsetto never sounded so cool.

18. Rolling Stones - Satisfaction: The original bad boys' attack on the status quo finds its place on most lists. Deservedly so.

17. Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven: Clapton's heart-rending eulogy to his son sure tugs at the heart-strings.

16. Madonna - Like A Virgin: The Queen of Pop reinvents herself every five years, but her earliest mega-hit still remains her best.

15. Wham - Careless Whispers: Silken magic. Sugary sweet melody, but works for me.

14. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You: For sure lung-power, Houston takes the cake in this one.

13. ABBA - The Winner Takes It All: Thank ABBA for the music...the magic lingers on.

12. Carpenters - Yesterday Once More: The siblings knew how to soothe the ears lovingly.

11. Roy Orbison - Oh, Pretty Woman: They keep on rediscovering this song every decade. Proof of its evergreen magic.

10. The Eagles - Hotel California: Whichever version you prefer, this song really rocks.

9. Carpenters - Top of the World: A really upbeat number that never fails to pick up my spirits.

8. ABBA - Mamma Mia: Another one from the Swedish group. No wonder only Elvis and the Beatles outsell them.

7. Simon and Garfunkel - The Sounds of Silence: Eerily beautiful.

6. Billy Joel - Piano Man: Though Uptown Girl and River of Dreams may find more takers, for me this is the quintessential Billy Joel number.

5. John Lennon - Imagine: Don't look for the Beatles in this list, but Lennon's immortal ode to world piece is a priceless pop gem.

4. That Thing You Do: This rocking number from the movie soundtrack about a fictional band never fails to set me foot-tapping.

3. ABBA - Dancing Queen: No really a dance number, even with that title. But one heck of a peppy tune.

2. Cliff Richard - Evergreen Tree: The bachelor boy's ode to immortal love is probably the most romantic song I've ever heard.

1. Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water: This song haunts me. Probably something to do with Garfunkel's vocals. Or maybe it has something to do with those lyrics...

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Greatest Rock Songs Ever

For no particular rhyme or reason, today I’m putting together a list of what I feel to be the 20 greatest rock songs ever. Please note that I said "rock" songs - that means certain artists and certain songs aren't eligible to enter this list. Maybe some other day, I’ll compile a list of the 20 greatest non-rock songs.

20. R.E.M.: Everybody Hurts: I'm not really a R.E.M. fan, but this one is something special.

19. Beatles: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds: I love the atmosphere this song creates. It has a very cool, almost inexplicable vibe to it that just draws you in as a listener.

18. U2: Pride (In the Name of Love): I love Edge's ringing guitar and Bono’s impressive vocal performance is truly awe-inspiring.

17. Aerosmith: Dream On: The original "power ballad", and possibly Tyler’s best lyrics.

16. U2: Bad: An intensely emotional sound is what sets this apart.

15. Bob Marley: Redemption Song: This song is the story of Marley’s life, and a call to future generations to "sing these songs of freedom."

14. Metallica: One: The greatest true heavy metal song ever put to tape.

13. Aerosmith: Sweet Emotion: I love this song for the swagger it presents.

12. Beatles: Revolution: A strong melody, good playing, and a song that actually has something to say.

11. Tom Petty: Free Fallin: I don't know a solitary soul who hates this song. That alone is enough to get it on the list.

10. Guns N Roses: November Rain: It's not often that an 8 minute epic becomes a band's biggest hit. But such was the case with G'nR and November Rain.

9. Aerosmith: Walk This Way: Probably the best known guitar riff ever.

8. AC/DC: Highway to Hell: Those opening chords just sound like you're starting on a trip to hell. A whole lot of people can relate to being on a highway to hell.

7. The Doors: Roadhouse Blues: Sounds like a band on a musical rampage. No matter how many people think it’s great, it actually is!

6. Guns N Roses: Paradise City: A six plus minute long hard rock epic, this has one of those unforgettable and great hard rock choruses, not to mention some all around fantastic playing.

5. The Doors: Light My Fire: I love the Doors. More accurately, I love Jim Morrison. Enough said.

4. Queen: Hammer to Fall: I honestly think this has some of guitarist Brian May's best work. It's certainly an under-rated song by a band that had so many great ones.

3. U2: With or Without You: What else can be said about this song? It's probably one of the two or three best songs to come out of the 1980s, and it remains just as inspirational and hopeful now as it did then.

2. U2: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: I honestly feel that this is the most honest song ever written.

1. Pink Floyd: Another Brick in the Wall Part II: The only Pink Floyd song on the list. It is almost impossible to calculate how much this song, and the album it was a part of ("The Wall") influenced other bands and artists, but to say it was great is an extreme understatement.

In case you noticed it yet, this list still looks incomplete. That's because the single greatest rock song is not on this list. That's because that song is beyond this list. This one is beyond controversy, beyond argument…and beyond belief…

And that song is...

#Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody: NO song has it over this one.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Old Questions

The Questions
Why do things go wrong?

Why do I still remember?
Why can I not move forward?
Why am I afraid to move back?

Why does it get so difficult to breathe each time I remember you?
Why do my eyes take on a different light When I look at your old photos?
Why does my voice break each time I mention you in passing?
Why are we apart?
Why are we still alive?

The Answer

I can't deny

Never shall try
Someday these arms
Shall chain you again
If to the cosmos
Our love belongs
Then it shall survive
Every death we die
Remember me do
Till you close your eyes
That day swears
To also close mine…

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Loser

I hear a silver laugh in the pale moonlight. It sings to me of quicksilver emotions, and of quicksand promises.

It asks me if I could desecrate the temple which I built with my own hands. It asks me if I could defile my idol even if it had feet of clay. I had long worshipped at the altar in silent awe, but my bared heart got a hollow reply, a cacophony of broken dreams.

I had but a small wish, like the child who sought the moon. And now on the sands so white, I see writ a single word. And the waves roar along: "Loser..."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Will Survive

You can try hurting my sensitivity or violate my personal space. But if try to emasculate the free striding gait of my original thought, I will not just lie back and shriek impotent abuses at my violator.

I have broken through the shackles, leaving behind the placental comforts of familiar domesticity. I will never allow the solitary voice to be lulled into silence by the air polluted by senile worshippers of mediocrity.

This too, shall pass...and I will survive...