And now, a conversation I had at a Super Bowl party in the early ’90s.
Some Kid: Do you like Ted Nugent?
Me: I don’t really know any of his songs.
Some Kid: No, I mean as a bow-hunter.
And now, a conversation I had at a Super Bowl party in the early ’90s.
Some Kid: Do you like Ted Nugent?
Me: I don’t really know any of his songs.
Some Kid: No, I mean as a bow-hunter.
I wrote a feature for work about movies based on Vonnegut books, and I’d planned to link to it today, but it’s not up yet, so here’s a playlist I just made:
My wife Jackie recently moved her blog from MySpace to some snazzier WordPress-powered digs. The site’s called I’m aJar and features stuff like cute pictures of our cute kid being all cute and whatnot:
Meanwhile, we ordered some CDs (Modest Mouse, Patty Griffin and Fountains of Wayne) and concert tickets (The Hold Steady and Fountains of Wayne again) this weekend, so here’s a little playlist I threw together in celebration. You’ll notice I finally figured out how to resize the player. Neat.
I was reading a blog called We Love America More Than Anyone last night and noticed they had some posts with some cool embedded audio players. Turns out they come from a site called Project Playlist. You can take any mp3 files online and add it to an embeddable playlist.The lists are limited to 75 songs, but users can make unlimited lists. Also, obviously, if a file gets yanked from the web, it disappears from your playlist. The one thing that really bugs me is you can’t seem to customize the size without cutting off the scrollbar.
If I ever get around to my long-planned WordPress redesign of this blog, I think I might try to incorporate a permanent Project Playlist doohickey. In the meantime, here’s a playlist I made:
Late last year, I came across the snoozetastic list of the 500 best songs ever that Rolling Stone puts out about once a year, and I got to thinking that it’d be fun to compile a better and differenter list. So I emailed a bunch of writers, and a project was born.
A month later, I’m surprised how much goddamned math was involved. I’m also surprised how willing so many people were to be a part of it. It took a lot more time than I expected, but it was a lot of fun for me, and I really appreciate everyone who contributed.
Some people sent me 100 songs ranked 1 to 100, while others sent alphabetical lists. One person sent a top-10, while another contributor turned in a top-130. I didn’t mind at all though, I just wanted people to be honest and send me an interesting collection of songs, and everyone filled that request perfectly.
I know this is the kind of thing that just begs to be ridiculed, especially since after the top-150 or so, I had to do a lot of God-playing. But, whatever. It’s my blog. If thinking of it as a list of “favorites” rather than a list of “bests” helps you get through it without blowing your top over the absence of any Leadbelly or Abba, then have at it.
Anyway, without any further ado, I present the top-500, followed by the lists that were fed into the big compilation machine.
1. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers â€“ Roadrunner
From the first car my dad owned growing up in Detroit to figurines covering most of the house I inherited from a nice old lady and even the sign wielding bird from the cartoon, ‘Roadrunner’ seemed like it was going to be more than personal to me from the very beginning. Between Richman’s throaty Boston call to action and the ‘limited’ chord structure, I was sure I had to be the only one under the age of 25 to put this on the best road mix ever made, until Sarah Vowell (This American Life) declared it the best song to put on the best road mix ever made. Although forced to share, I drive a little more recklessly every time it comes out of my car stereo.
-Scott St. Clair
I used to work with this socially retarded computer programmer who had an obsessive knowledge of Joan Jett. The first time I played “Road Runner” in the office, he got really excited that I was playing that “Joan Jett song.” I calmly explained to him that it was a Jonathan Richman song, when what I wanted to say was, “What kind of fucking Joan Jett fan doesn’t know that 99% of her hits are cover songs?!! You smell like baloney!!!”
Anyway, I showed him the liner notes, but I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t believe me.
As with many songs on the list, itâ€™s gotten kinda overplayed and overwritten about, but the Stop and Shop mentioned in the lyrics was the same one I went to as a kid growing up.
2. Joy Division â€“ Love Will Tear Us Apart
3. Velvet Underground â€“ Sweet Jane
â€¦because it gives you fifteen seconds of lush music that bubbles up quickly and then fizzles away, leaving you with stripped down VU music–Lou singing, or at least speaking in singsong, while the band coolly strums. It feels like it was a classic the first time it was played, and it’s launched infinite covers.
Despite the efforts by the Cowboy Junkies efforts to ruin this song by putting a flowery dress on it and stuffing it full of Tampax, this song still has some asskicking left in it. If you happen to like the cover version, congratulations, you’re an asshole.
4. Weezer â€“ Say It Ainâ€™t So
I was playing a made-up version of “20 Questions” with my friend John where I was trying to guess whichever band he was describing. He told me that this particular band was very influential, and that whether or not they admit it, everyone has this band’s first album. “Everyone you know likes them. They were really popular.”
“Was it … The California Raisins?” I guessed, which sent us into such a raucous, teary-eyed, pants-pissing laughter I had to pull the car over to avoid killing everyone on Second Avenue.
Needless to say, he was talking about Weezer.
5. The Who â€“ A Quick One While Heâ€™s Away
More like six quick ones… this song is several shorter songs all rolled up into one Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang! Dang! nice package.
6. The Rolling Stones â€“ Sympathy for the Devil
No top songs of all time list is complete without this song about how fucking awesome the Lord Satan is. I have a lot of sympathy for the devil, he inspires rock and roll songs like this,while lame ass Jesus only seems to inspire John Tesh and Republican Congressmen.
7. The Ramones â€“ Judy is a Punk
The title of this song is a bit misleading, as it turns out Jackie is a Punk, and Judy is just a runt. This horrowing tale of two young women and their journey from Ramones fans to the Symbionese Liberation Army terrorists is um, well you see… ok, I don’t know what the fuck this song is about.Trust me it’s awesome.
8. Pixies â€“ Gigantic
How good is this song? My fucking mom likes this song. She asked me nicely to put it on a mix CD too; I didn’t even try to force it on her. My favorite part about the Frank Black/Kim Deal wars is that everyone thought that Black was just an asshole but obviously all of the talent behind the pixies. Then the Breeders put out sick records and Black had like, one good song. It’s like, a victory for feminism, or something.
-Scott St. Clair
9. The Beach Boys â€“ God Only Knows
I can and have listened to this song dozens of times in a row and never ever tire of it. To my ears itâ€™s the most perfect combination of sounds ever assembled. I have dissected it from every possible angle; listening to the a cappella tracks, the instrumental tracks and the various studio outtakes and nearly each and every time I hear something new.
My favorite Beach Boys song by some miracle doesn’t mention hot-rods or surfboards even once. Paul McCartney once called this song “The Greatest Single Ever Made”, a statement which made Brian Wilson crazy just like every other stimuli know to man.
10. Prince â€“ Kiss
11. Siouxsie & the Banshees â€“ Cities In Dust
12. Pulp â€“ Common People
13. The Smiths – There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
No self-disrespecting Smiths fan can deny singing “And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us/To die by your side, well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine” about some unrequited love (or about some pasty kid who wears black on the outside, ’cause black is how he feels on the inside).
14. Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
Only recently did I learn that this song is about Peter leaving Genesis and the excitement and fear that comes with change and leaving something so stable. All this time I thought it meant something more profound than that. I felt kind of jipped, but I still like the song enough to put it up here. It was a tie between this or â€œFamily Snapshotâ€, but I found out what thatâ€™s aboutâ€¦and now I think that song sucks.
Because I’m a big geek and was way into Peter Gabriel a long time ago, I got to appreciate this song before it was co-opted by movie trailers and whatever the hell else they’re using it for these days. However, if you can look past all that crap, it really is a fantastic transcendent song, inspired by Gabriel’s mental struggle to break away from Genesis and start a solo career. His first eponymous album, on which this song appears, tanked big time (as did its follow up, also eponymous), but it’s a really interesting collection of songs. Each track is a stab at a different musical genre, and with the exception of one nod to his Genesis fan base, it sounds completely unlike anything he’d done before.
15. Foo Fighters â€“ Everlong
16. Zombies – Time of the Season
Looking back through a screen of gangster rap and post punk braggadocio, it’s rather difficult to discern how bad ass it is to sing ‘what’s your name, who’s your daddy, is he rich like me?’. It’s fucked up that we’ve been singing it since we were kids, in the same vain as Joe Walsh’s ‘Life’s Been Good To Me’.
-Scott St. Clair
17. Public Enemy – Welcome to the Terrordome
Outside of Ferris Bueller, few people realized the power of the sampler
quite as much as Public Enemy did. By taking bits of everything and somehow swirling it all together, they created instrumental tracks that matched the righteous power of Chuck D’s voice. “Welcome to the Terrordome” takes this to the extreme, with so much energy and force that it seems in danger of exploding at any moment.
18. The Damned – Neat Neat Neat
19. The Beatles – In My Life
Itâ€™s pretty much reached â€œYesterdayâ€ territory for schmaltzyness, but I always stop and listen to it.
20. Hank Williams â€“ Iâ€™m So Lonesome I Could Cry
The motherfucker was 29 when he died. 29! I didnâ€™t learn how to shave properly until I was 30. My life has been a complete waste.
21. The Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love
22. New York Dolls – Personality Crisis
23. Elvis Presley â€“ Suspicious Minds
24. Queen with David Bowie â€“ Under Pressure
Although, the single greatest performance of this song was by Vanilla Ice in his a cappella defense of â€œIce Ice Babyâ€ on VH1.
25. Beastie Boys â€“ Get It Together
26. David Bowie â€“ Rebel Rebel
27. The Breeders â€“ Cannonball
28. Screaming Trees â€“ I Nearly Lost You
All I need from the grunge era is the Nirvana catalogue, Siamese Dream and this song. The rest can go the way of my flannel collection.
29. James Carr – The Dark End of the Street
My favorite ballad of all-time. I once made a mix tape of 18 different versions of this song. This is the original and the best.
30. New Order – Perfect Kiss
So many bands have tried to fuse rock and electronic music, mostly with terrible results. The Perfect Kiss weaves the two together in a way that makes it both obvious and obscure.
“Blue Monday” and “True Faith” might be more popular, but for my money “The Perfect Kiss” is the definitive New Order song. It has it all, from the big synth chords to the off-kilter lyrics to the killer Peter Hook bassline solo. And don’t forget the sampled frog croaks.
31. Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold
The pinnacle of the Manchester sound takes a funky breakbeat and mixes in psychedelic guitars and a vocal that sounds like another instrument. An odd combination that has yet to be duplicated.
Forget the Happy Mondays. If you are looking for the best example of the
so-called “Madchester” era you need go no further than “Fools Gold” by the Stone Roses. Itâ€™s a stoned-out blend of psychedelic rock, dance and raregroove funk that launched a thousand imitations (most notably the first Blur album, though there were many more).
32. Van Morrison â€“ Into the Mystic
This song makes me want to drive somewhere where thereâ€™s no traffic and lots of trees. It makes me feel unabashedly good.
33. Ben Folds Five â€“ Alice Childress
“Alice, the world is full of ugly things that you can’t change. Pretend it’s not that way; that’s my idea of faith.” Admittedly, I am easily romanced by cynicism. Maybe because everything else is just so hollow and disingenuous. I don’t know. I don’t care. All I know is that when I found this song as the shining light on some shitty sampler CD way back, I listened to it about 50 times in a row.
34. Stooges – Loose
35. The Kingsmen – Louie Louie
36. Jimi Hendrix – Fire
37. T. Rex – 20th Century Boy
38. MC5 – Kick out the Jams
39. Sam Cooke â€“ A Change is Gonna Come
40. The Police â€“ So Lonely
Back before ska was so embarrassing, bands like the Police actually sounded introspective launching into Kingston breakdowns, teasing the listener before launching into depressing choruses of Sting pleading for lost love. Everyone sends up synchronicity, but for my money, give me the furthest fucking thing from that pitiful Wreckless Eric rip-off ‘Fields Of Gold. The best Police songs are total downers, back when Copeland and Sting actually liked one another, back before Sting was a regular on Oprah and could sing a duet with Bette Midler without anyone batting an eye.
-Scott St. Clair
41. The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Wilson put some ungodly number of studio hours over a ten month period in for this song. He spent 50 grand, drove every studio musician in California insane, and then shut himself in his room for two years. At this point, Wilson is missing a few screws and personally, I attribute it to leaving a good part of his sanity on those 90 hours of tape reel. I don’t care if it’s Dick Purtanâ€™s favorite song, you have a duty as a record-nerd to love it like you love your mother.
-Scott St. Clair
42. The Kinks – You Really Got Me
43. U2 â€“ Pride (In the Name of Love)
This track has pretty much everything going for it â€¹ a great guitar hook, uplifting lyrics and an anthemic chorus. The perfect example of U2 at its most epic and optimistic, this song refuses to be defined by the 80s the way a lot of other songs from the period do.
44. The Church â€“ Under the Milky Way
â€¦ because, hell, I thought this was Echo & the Bunnymen for years and once I found out it wasnâ€™t, I was very disappointed in Echo & the Bunnymen. Theyâ€™re not so great. The Church, for that matter, arenâ€™t anything at all, except for this. This song gives me the shivers.
45. The Beatles â€“ A Hard Dayâ€™s Night
46. Public Enemy – Fight the Power
Angry black men tell us exactly why they are angry and why everyone else should be.
I know every word to this song, and I’ll sing it for you even if you don’t want me to.
47. 808 State â€“ Pacific
For me, this is perhaps the most influential electronic music track of all time. Without discovering 808 State back in 1990, I might never have discovered techno and the rave scene, and I might never have become a dj or started buying my own synthesizers and drum machines. This was one of the few early electronic songs that showed that dance music could become less stipped-down and more soulful, without having to resort to wailing house divas.
48. The Sonics – Psycho
49. Clash – Lost In the Supermarket
50. James Tommy & the Shondells – Crimson & Clover
51. Ride – Vapour Trail
This is probably Ride’s signature song, one of those rare moments where
everything comes together to produce a sum that’s greater than its parts.
The guitars and boy-in-a-dream vocals set it up, and it’s game over by the
time the strings come in at the end. Beautiful springtime guitar pop that is
hard not to hum along to.
52. Lloyd Price – Stagger Lee
53. Modest Mouse – Float On
Just because itâ€™s their most popular doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s not also their best.
54. David Bowie – Heroes
55. The Pretenders – Back On the Chain Gang
56. The Outsiders – Time Wonâ€™t Let Me
57. Iggy Pop – The Passenger
Trainspotting has come and gone. This song has not.
-Scott St. Clair
58. The Smiths – How Soon is Now
59. The Pixies – Debaser
60. Elvis Costello – Radio Radio
61. The Clash – Clampdown
62. Led Zeppelin – Black Dog
63. Mott the Hoople – All The Way from Memphis
The greatest song ever written about touring. The song seems to imply that all rockerswind up washed up, broke, and/or on parole. But you know, I’m sure your band “Acid Reign” will be different.
64. Elliott Smith – Needle in the Hay
Oy, this idiot kid.
65. Elvis Costello â€“ Pump It Up
Other songs about masturbating that deserve to be on this list are “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors and “She Bop” by Cindy Lauper.
66. The Clash – Train in Vain
Yeah, yeah, yeah; the only Clash song on my list is the one they were too embarrassed to even list on their album because they feared it sounded too commercial. Iâ€™m a white guy who lives in the burbs and owns a Leaf Hog. So tell me something else I already know, why donâ€™t you?
67. Bruce Springsteen â€“ Atlantic City
This song is so haunting, I think itâ€™s actually haunted. Iâ€™m pretty sure Bruce died in the future and his ghost went back in time and sang the back-up harmonies on the chorus to this song. One thingâ€™s for sure though, I never want to go to Atlantic City less than when Iâ€™m listening to this song.
68. Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
Long before Sir Mix-a-Lot, one sexy bisexual buck-toothed “champion” made you sit up and take notice of the ladies who have “more to love.”
69. Morrissey â€“ Suedehead
â€¦because for Morrissey, this actually qualifies as a happy song.
70. Ray Charles – What’d I Say
71. ? and the Mysterians – 96 Tears
72. David Bowie – Lady Stardust
This is not the version from the original release of Ziggy Stardust. This is the demo version extra track from the re-release of the album, with just Bowie singing and playing piano. Because I’m that’s how sad I am.
73. Bob Seger – Ramblinâ€™ Gamblin Man
74. The Kinks – All Day and All Of The Night
75. Joy Division – Transmission
76. Dave Matthews Band – Two Step
77. The Shins â€“ Caring is Creepy
I don’t even care that Zach Braff has a Shins fixation.
78. Nirvana â€“ In Bloom
79. Hedwig and the Angry Inch â€“ Origin of Love
When I read Aristophanes’ monologue in The Symposium back in college, I said to myself, “Somebody should write a song about this, and it should be featured in a movie about a transvestite rock singer with a mutilated dick.” I’m glad somebody else thinks like me.
80. REM – Fall on Me
81. Stephen Stills – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
82. Bruce Springsteen â€“ Born to Run
83. Guns â€˜N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
84. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers â€“ American Girl
85. Smokey Robinson – Tracks of My Tears
This song covers the exact same tears as “Tears of a Clown.” Two great songs about the same exact puddle of “Whaaaa! Whaaaa! I’m a baby!” I don’t generally identify with wittle crybabies, but something about the whole “I make so many jokes because I’m a sad pathetic mess” sums up… my entire existence :-(
86. The Isley Brothers – Shout Parts 1 & 2
87. The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t it Be Nice
When I was a kid, my family made a cross-country move every few years – a psychological experiment that just wouldn’t end. During the 40 hours in the car, listening to “oldies” and already missing the friends I’d left behind, this song never rang truer. It would be nice to be older, spending happy times wherever the hell I wanted.
88. T Rex – Cosmic Dancer
89. The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
90. Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate Love Song
91. The Jam â€“ Going Underground
92. Elvis Costello – Allison
93. Lauryn Hill – Everything is Everything
94. The 13th Floor Elevators – Youâ€™re Gonna Miss Me
95. Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot
Sonic Youth was always great with taking a wall of sound and adding melody. This song is the best example of their ability to pull it all together and make great rock music that was instantly their own.
96. The Buzzcocks – What Do I Get?
If the Sex Pistols could play their instruments they would be the Buzzcocks.
-Scott St. Clair
97. Dexyâ€™s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen
Sure, it took you a long time to decipher those lyrics. But if your video features a bunch of overalls-clad violin-playing yokels and people still love the song? Well, you’ve got yourself a winner, there, Dexy.
98. Rocks Off – The Rolling Stones
99. Television – Marquee Moon
100. Dolly Parton – Jolene
Plenty a’ scorned lady has composed a vengeance song about her cheatin’ man; But Dolly takes the road less travelled, begging the beautiful Jolene not to take him, “just because you can.”
101. The Smiths – Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Feeling sorry for oneself was never so beautiful. The Dream Academy’s instrumental cover of this song (used in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off during the museum scene) followed McCartney’s advice, successfully taking a sad song and making it better.
102. ELO – Mr. Blue Sky
…because this song will make you happy, even if you just witnessed a bloody murder-suicide pact between your wife and her secret lover in your living room.
103. Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
104. Eric Burdon and the Animals – House of the Rising Sun
One of the best prison songs ever written, my Dad would play this for me when I was a little girl. Years later when he finally taught me to play the guitar, this was the only song I wanted to learn – and the only song I still know how to play.
105. Joy Division â€“ 24 Hours
106. New Order – Blue Monday
107. Neil Young – The Needle and the Damage Done
108. Public Enemy – Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
109. Nirvana – Come as You Are
110. My Bloody Valentine – When You Sleep
111. New Order – True Faith
112. Orbital – Halcyon and On
113. Queen – Somebody to Love
114. Run DMC – It’s Tricky
Much like being president, rapping is hard work. Just try not to tap your Adidas long with this hip hop classic – it’s not that easy.
115. Depeche Mode – Halo
116. The Pixies â€“ Bone Machine
117. Janis Joplin – Me & Bobby McGee
118. Fleetwood Mac – Never Going Back Again
119. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
120. Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart
121. Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland 1945
I think this was the song that made me want to have Jeff Mangum’s baby. Not give birth to his baby, but have the baby, as in “sleep with,” because then maybe she/he would invite me to me his/her dad, and I could say “I really love In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” over and over again until he went upstairs and waited till I’d left.
122. Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World
123. Beastie Boys – Hey Ladies
Paul’s Boutique represents the greatest one-album leap ever in the history of music. Licensed to Ill is a good album, but I don’t think even the most rabid Beastie Boys fan anticipated that they’d be able to follow it up with something as innovated and textured as Paul’s Boutique. I sure didn’t.
124. Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long to Stop Now
Almost left this off only because it was me and my high school sweetheartâ€™s song and I donâ€™t want her to think that Iâ€™m, like, still holding a torch for her by putting it on my list. So if youâ€™re reading this, ex-high school sweetheart, Iâ€™m totally over you. And why are you reading Tobeyâ€™s blog and not mine?
125. INXS – Never Tear Us Apart
126. Dead Boys – All This and More
“Ya got dents in your head that tell me all the beds you’ve been shoved on.” Does punk rock romance get any romancier?
127. The Darkness â€“ Get Your Hands Off of My Woman
I have an idea for a video for this song. It would essentially just be one long, violent, destructive bar brawl. I don’t think I’ll ever get to make that video.
128. The Clash – White Man in Hammersmith Palais
129. Violent Femmes – Add It Up
There was one summer I spent in Wildwood, NJ, during which my friends bought shitty beer (with a fake ID) and I listened to the Violent Femmes’ eponymous album every single night. We’d all stop what we were doing to sing along with the counting part. I was the only one of the group that did not get laid that summer.
130. Everclear – Santa Monica
131. Luna – California All the Way
132. The Gun Club – She’s Like Heroin To Me
133. Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale
134. Flaminâ€™ Groovies – Shake Some Action
135. Matthew Sweet â€“ Sick of Myself
136. Buddy Holly – Rave On
137. Modern English – I Melt With You
138. Jim Carroll Band â€“ People Who Died
139. Buddy Holly – Everyday
140. The Knack – My Sharona
Only for the guitar solo, which is one of the best of 80s.
141. Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye
I think Jeff Buckley is living on an island with Tupac and Biggie.
142. Pearl Jam – Black
143. The Flaming Lips – Waitin’ For A Superman
144. Rolling Stones – Monkey Man
A couple years ago, I was driving down Route 168 in South Jersey, and I saw this guy walking along the side of the road. I swear to god, the guy was wearing rags. Not dish dishrags, but what primitive people probably wore before they learned to sew and have shirts dry cleaned. And it wasn’t a cave man Halloween costume. The guy looked like he’d accidentally stepped through some sort of wormhole while trying to find his back to mud hut. I don’t know why I told you that story. I has absolutely nothing to do with this song.
145. The Hives â€“ Hate to Say I Told You So
146. Spoon â€“ Lines in the Suit
147. Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her
148. Etta James – At Last
149. Dinosaur Jr. â€“ Freak Scene
150. Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
151. Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime
â€¦because this is not my beautiful house or wife. Just how did I get here?
152. Blur â€“ Girls & Boys
153. Echo & The Bunnymen â€“ Lips Like Sugar
154. NWA â€“ Express Yourself
When I was in seventh-grade, this kid Ray told me he got an NWA tape, and I thought he was talking about a wrestling video. Yes, I was that cool.
155. Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers – Chinese Rocks
156. Simon & Garfunkel â€“ Cecelia
157. The Police – Bring on the Night
158. Big Star – September Gurls
159. Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper
Two words: More cowbell.
â€¦because, actually, itâ€™s got exactly the right amount of cowbell.
160. Cornershop – Brimful of Asha
â€¦because everybody needs a bosom for a pillow.
161. Stone Temple Pilots – Big Empty
162. The Beatles â€“ Why Donâ€™t We Do It In the Road
163. The Steve Miller Band – Take the Money and Run
164. Dead Boys – Sonic Reducer
165. Massive Attack â€“ Unfinished Sympathy
â€¦because itâ€™s the best old-school Moby song thatâ€™s not made by Moby.
166. Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army
A long time ago, I decided that I wanted a pair of glasses just like Elvis Costello, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. After years of looking, I finally found them, but so did everybody else on Earth.
167. Marshall Crenshaw â€“ Cynical Girl
168. Gang of Four – To Hell with Poverty
169. Pavement – Summer Babe
170. Happy Mondays – Step On
171. Lou Reed – Vicious
172. X – Los Angeles
This is an excellent song to crank up and shout along with while driving on the open road, especially if headed west, or actually leaving Los Angeles. That is, once you get past the lyrics about “niggers and jews.” However, it’s perfectly fine to sing out that part about “every Mexican that gave her alot of shit,” as well as, “every homosexual and the idle rich.”
173. The Postal Service – Such Great Heights
Thereâ€™s nothing I can really say about the Postal Serviceâ€™s music other than that if you donâ€™t like this, then, brother, thereâ€™s something wrong with you.
174. The Beatles â€“ Blackbird
Itâ€™s hard to say which is the best Beatles song, but Blackbird seems to embody much of what makes the Fab Four the greatest pop band that will ever be. Itâ€™s beautiful and catchy at the same time, and it sounds simple and effortless, despite being intricate, complicated and enigmatic. Even though itâ€™s just Paul and a guitar (and some tweety sound effects), itâ€™s somehow quintessential Beatles.
175. The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
176. Prince – Sexy Motherfucker
177. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – One with the Birds
Way back in the early stages of what I like to call “My Great Will Oldham Obsession: 2000-2012*,” a friend of mine lent me an EP called Blue Lotus Feet, issued under Oldham’s moniker, Bonny “Prince” Billy. It was essentially a slapdash collection of five simple acoustic covers of Hare Krishna songs, with the A and B side of a single tacked onto the front. The two halves didn’t fit together at all. But thirty seconds into the first song, I’d already melted into my chair. The song is ridiculously beautiful, with a melancholy veneer that masks an underlying misanthropy and caustic wit. If there were any justice in the world, this song would have been embraced by the mainstream years ago, used to sell compact cars, overlaid on the trailers for romantic comedies, added to the obligatory wedding-DJ set list, and we’d all already be sick of it. Sadly, however, the song isn’t even available through conventional means. It’s out of print. (*Note: In 2012, I will actually meet Will Oldham due to some random circumstance, find out he’s a prick, and my heart will be shattered into 9,000 little pieces.)
178. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
In college I made a really bad book using found materials for my Introduction to Visual Art class based around this song. Itâ€™s my favorite song from my favorite album by my favorite performer. Van Morrison is old and fat and grumpy now, but back when he recorded this he was young and fat and grumpy and he made what to me is the most beautiful and soulful music I have ever heard.
179. Rolling Stones – Satisfaction
180. They Might Be Giants – Ana Ng
181. The Afghan Whigs â€“ Rebirth of the Cool
182. The Grateful Dead – Ripple
183. Bjork – It’s Oh So Quiet
184. Pearl Jam – Hail, Hail
The ultimate wedding song.
185. Doves – Here It Comes
â€¦ because I just love this band and picking one song representative of their oeuvre is nigh impossible, but this one illustrates that, just as presentation can enhance a mealâ€™s taste, the positioning of a song in its track list can change everything. (See: the Track 3 Rule.) Lost Soulsâ€™ opening track, â€œFiresuite,â€ is a trancey instrumental, mellow and unfocused, and thenâ€”Bang! Here it comes. When this albumâ€™s ready to move it lets you know: â€œThis is a call, a call to allâ€¦â€
186. Wu Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
There was nothing like this before, and nothing like it since. The clearest picture of black inner city America ever painted comes from 9 MCs from Staten Island and Brooklyn speaking about the gritty reality of their lives.
187. The Cure – A Forest
The perfect example of the “classic” Cure sound, “A Forest” manages to combine many contradictory elements in one trackâ€¹it’s atmospheric yet energetic, simple yet worth multiple listens. This is also THE definitive Cure live track, with many concert versions approaching 15 minutes long and a free-form bliss that most bands would be able to duplicate.
188. Bobby Gentry – Ode to Billy Joe
It wasn’t a baby they threw over the bridge – it was a doll. She wasn’t pregnant; Billy Joe killed himself because he had a wild night of sex with the local preacher. Just ask Robby Benson.
189. Brenton Wood – Gimme Little Sign
190. Built to Spill â€“ You Were Right
A long time ago, I read something that made me think Iâ€™d really like Built to Spill. But when I happened to catch a song off Keep It like a Secret, it didnâ€™t quite tickle my fancy, so I forgot about them for a while. Later, I heard Ancient Melodies of the Future playing in a friendâ€™s car and realized I needed to give BTS another try. Now, theyâ€™re my favorite working band and Keep It like a Secret is my favorite of their albums. You Were Right is the kind of song I could probably listen to on a loop for the rest of my life and never get tired of. Itâ€™s a song about music and the way songs can take on greater, unique meaning and lives of their own and become more than just simple tunes. I guess it makes perfect sense that that describes this song perfectly for me.
191. Bob Dylan – Buckets of Rain
192. Sinead Oâ€™Connor – In This Heart
193. Liz Phair – Extraordinary
194. Run DMC – My Adidas
195. The Flying Burrito Brothers – Sin City
The Flying Burrito Brothers, though they have a name sounds it would be better suited for an unfunny novelty band that opens for improv troupes, have recorded songs that would make Jesus Christ smile as he was looking down from the cross. This is one of those songs. It mixes religious iconography with subtle sardonic humor into a twisted morality tale and lays it all over tinkling honky-tonk piano and pedal steel guitars more gorgeous than anything produced by Nashville in generations.
196. Elvis Costello – What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?
197. Jackie Wilson – Lonely Teardrops
198. James – Laid
199. Roy Orbison – Crying
200. Johnny Cash â€“ Folsom Prison Blues
201. U2 â€“ Bad
This is good as rock â€™nâ€™ roll gets.
202. The Buzzcocks – Why Can’t I Touch It?
Punk music for the massage parlor.
203. Radiohead – Let Down
â€¦ because it lures you in with a sweet, simple, and hopelessly optimistic melody that picks up percussions, vocals, and thunder along the way until itâ€™s nearly drowningâ€”and when everything crashes and recedes, that plucky lilâ€™ melody sings alone, clearly and confidently. When the song ends, youâ€™re so full of stupid courage youâ€™re ready to fight bare-knuckle.
204. Chuck Berry – The Promised Land
205. Godspeed You! Black Emperor â€“ Moya
GYBE!’s brand of instrumental art-rock is an acquired taste, but it really rewards the attentive listener with complex songwriting that no one else can pull off. “Moya”, from the “Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada” EP, is like listening to a giant waveâ€¹it starts sofly and keeps building and building until it finally crests, crashing down with one of the best musical payoffs I have ever heard. Epic.
206. The Kinks – Days
207. The Shins â€“ So Says I
This song goes from frantic to rollicking to sweet and back again in less than three minutes, and as far as melodies go, it really doesnâ€™t get any better than this. A perfect song.
208. Elvis Presley – That’s All Right (Mama)
209. Beck – Beautiful Way
210. Cheap Trick – Dream Police
211. Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock – It Takes Two
212. Tom Waits – Ruby’s Arms
Do you remember mix tapes? That was back before Napster and mp3 blogs. Back then, my friends and I would hoard music and then sporadically spend three hours hunched over our stereos, meticulously transferring songs onto 90-minute audio tapes in just the right order. That was how music was disseminated in my tribe. When I listened to “Ruby’s Arms” for the first time (as the closing track on The Platonic Heterosexual Friend Mix from my friend Matt), I think I was still confusing Tom Waits with John Waite (that shitty singer from Bad English). So, when I heard the cheerless brass intro, like from a dejected Salvation Army band, I was intrigued, and by the time the song was over, I was suicidally depressed. It sat unlistened-to on that tape for a while after that, and I told Matt that just because I didn’t listen to his tape very often didn’t mean I didn’t like it. It wasn’t until years later, after I’d gotten my head out of my ass, after I picked up Rain Dogs on a whim from a remainders bin, that I went out and bought Heart Attack and Vine. Then I lay on my bedroom floor with my headphones and tried to induce tears as Tom yelled “Jesus Christ! This goddamned rain!”
213. Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road
214. Elliott Smith – Angeles
215. The Who – My Generation
216. Al Green – Letâ€™s Stay Together
217. Living Colour â€“ The Cult of Personality
218. Neutral Milk Hotel – Two-Headed Boy
â€¦ because when the Mountain Goats covered this tune, the lead singer (I donâ€™t know his name and Iâ€™m not looking it up) prefaced the performance with an advance apology in the event he ruined the song by misstating lyrics. There was someone in the audience, he told them, who â€œprobably is living and dying with this wonderful song.â€ Had I known Neutral Milk Hotel when I was still young and hopeful enough to live and die by my favorite songs, Iâ€™d have been that person, happy just to hear the song played, no matter how badly. The warning was not mere humility; though he gets the words right, they still mangle the song. For one thing, thereâ€™s a harmonica (!), but really the problem is theyâ€™re having too much fun. â€œTwo-Headed Boy,â€ as originally sung by N.M.H., is not fun at all. Itâ€™s clumsy and awkward and earnest. The band is mysteriously absent; itâ€™s just Jeff Magnum and his guitar and he almost never stops singing long enough to take a breath, especially when you most expect him toâ€”immediately before or after belting out the long and high ones (on which his voice shrills so painfully you wonder how anybody let him on stage), and you get winded just listening to him. But the songâ€™s artlessness is the source of its strength and its appeal; when he sings that heâ€™s â€œcreating a radio play just for two,â€ it sounds like heâ€™s telling the truth.
219. A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray
Ethereal acid house that gave the rave movement its start. Hearing this for the first time changed my life.
220. Swervedriver – Never Lose That Feeling / Never Learn
Swervedriver never got the attention that some of its “shoegazer”
contemporaries received, which is unfortunate considering how accomplished of a band they were. “Never Lose That Feeling / Never Learn” is an ambitious track that spans over two parts and more than 11 minutes. “Never Lose That Feeling” is a good up-tempo piece of jangly rock, but it’s when the song switches to the “Never Learn” section that it really becomes special. The temp slows, the vocals disappear, and the song becomes a phenomenal piece of instrumental soundscape with a noticeable jazz influence.
221. The Replacements – I Will Dare
222. The Rolling Stones – Jumpinâ€™ Jack Flash
223. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers â€“ The Morning of Our Lives
Hereâ€™s how it works with Jonathan Richman: You start listening to his music because itâ€™s quirky and fun, but you keep listening because the songs are about the most genuine things ever recorded. Jonathan really means what he says, and itâ€™s refreshing, startling and addicting.
I actually stopped listening to Jonathan Richman for an entire year. I was attempting to get over the lowest and most trying time of my life, and there was just too much attached to that music. When I finally got around to listening to it again, this song was the natural place to start. Jonathan is the only person on earth who can say, â€œYou’re okay, dear. There’s nothing to feel inferior about. You can do it,â€ and have me completely believe it.
224. Van Morrison – Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)
Apparently, Van Morrison has other songs besides ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. Although this song belongs personally to many less sorority girls, it’s just as totally gay and you can sing it at the top of your lungs while driving and I won’t hate you for it.
-Scott St. Clair
225. Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell
226. Faith No More – Epic
227. Belle & Sebastian – The State I’m In
This song has slowly snuck into my top ten over the past few years, solely for the reason of me being a total douche. I know this. I resisted Belle & Sebastian for years, but I can’t help myself. I love them, and I love this song. It (like most of their other songs) is a completely self-contained short story or movie. It has characters without forcing them into trite relations. It’s somehow both funny and pathetic. After its five-minute running time, I feel like I digested something substantial. And, I’m a total douche.
228. Jerry Butler and the Impressions – For Your Precious Love
229. Chris Whitley â€“ Power Down
â€œThe day you can kick into a chorus the way Whitley shoulder-checks the chorus on Power Down. I will marry you,â€ I said to her.
â€œIâ€™m an administrative assistant, not a musician. And youâ€™re drunk. Do you have an appointment?â€
â€œIs Lee here today?â€
230. Neil Young – Old Man
There is something to say about a song that motivates you to write the perfect eulogy for your father.
231. Jay Z – Girls Girls Girls
232. The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
233. Aimee Mann â€“ Save Me
234. Teenage Fanclub – What You Do to Me
235. Prince and The Revolution – Darling Nikki
236. Nirvana â€“ Smells Like Teen Spirit
237. The Police – I Burn for You
â€¦ because the Policeâ€™s ten best songs were not released as singles, and this one, possibly the best, didnâ€™t even make it onto an album.
238. PFM – The One and Only
Dreamy, sexy, music that defined the sound of atmospheric drum+bass. The bouncing bass frames a unique vocal sample and machine gun breaks.
239. Slowdive – In Mind (Reload remix)
Few remixes of rock songs ever make good dance tracks. Most are completely throwaway. So it would be easy to explect that this remix would be rubbish, especially considering thatr the original “In Mind” was one of Slowdive’s most trifling songs. But Reload (aka Global Communication) isn’t just any remixer, and he totally transforms the track into something immensely epic and satisfying.
240. John Lennon – Mother
241. Todd Rundgren – Couldnâ€™t I Just Tell You
242. Prince – Pop Life
243. Nirvana â€“ Drain You
244. Cole Porter – Miss Otis Regrets
245. Isaac Hayes – Theme From Shaft
246. Faith No More – Be Aggressive
247. The Handsome Family – Weightless Again
This song, like “The State I’m In,” is a perfectly constructed short story. In fact, most short stories aren’t constructed this well. Its narrative toggles back and forth between a disaffected couple traveling across country together and doomed American Indians lost in the woods several centuries earlier. But the real brilliance is in the details. (The Indians have to drag burning wood around with them because they’ve forgotten how to start a fire. The narrator’s wife compares their first sexual experience to when she’d learned to float.) Somehow, both stories are bound together with a defeatist chorus: “This is why people OD on pills or jump from the Golden Gate bridge; anything to feel weightless again.” The overlying mood is evocative of gothic folk literature. It smells like burning leaves.
248. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing
249. Nick Drake – Things Behind The Sun
250. Little Richard – Long Tall Sally
251. Elvis Presley – In the Ghetto
252. The Cure – Close to Me
253. Elliott Smith â€“ Rose Parade
254. Talking Heads â€“ Psycho Killer
255. The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
One of the most unabashedly exuberant rock songs ever. Every time this comes on, someone has their hands in the air.
256. John Lee Hooker – Boogie Chillen
257. Otis Redding – Try A Little Tenderness
258. The Beatles – Iâ€™m Only Sleeping
259. The Supremes – I Hear a Symphony
260. Patty Griffin â€“ Mad Mission
261. Guns N’ Roses – It’s So Easy
262. Mr. Bungle – The Girls of Porn
263. Beck â€“ Novacane
I had to get a Beck song on this list, and I figured it should be from Odelay, because that’s the one I always go back to. I chose this one because it’s noisy and dirty, and I really enjoy screaming “NOOOVAACAAAANE!!!!”
264. The Allman Brothers – Blue Sky
265. Husker Du – Eight Miles High
This is what happens when you take a jangly hippie folk song and throw it in a blender with some amphetamines. It gets infinitely better and more passionate and impressive than the original.
266. Wilson Pickett – Land of 1,000 Dances
267. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
268. Morrissey â€“ Boxers
â€¦ because itâ€™s a standard Morrissey song-tale of crushing defeat. â€œLosing in front of your home town . . . Your weary wife is walking away.â€ I like crushing defeat.
269. Nick Drake – River Man
270. The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
271. Eric B & Rakim – Microphone Fiend
The spare beat and rumbling bass provide Rakim a platform where he can spit about why he loves hip hop. And he does it better than anyone else.
272. Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe
273. Belle & Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane
This is a great song with a ’60s mod-feel, the title track from an EP, that for some reason reminds me of Breaking the Waves. However, it almost didn’t make the list because I usually have to skip past the loud swirling ending when I listen to it on headphones. It makes me dizzy.
274. Tom Waits â€“ Innocent When You Dream (78)
275. Southern Culture On The Skids – Fried Chicken and Gasoline
276. The Scorpions – Rock You like A Hurricane
277. Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
278. Stevie Wonder – Superstition
279. Johnny Cash – Sunday Morning Coming Down
If a song was a hangover… It’s weird how I can talk to my deep-woods NASCAR uncle about how much we love the same man. It’s also weird how much time he spends thinking about Dale Earnhardt’s moustache and Dick Trickle’s pit crew, and I’M the one who supports gay marriage.
-Scott St. Clair
280. Aretha Franklin – Nessun Dorma
281. David Bowie – Suffragette City
282. The Beatles – The Ballad of John and Yoko
283. Depeche Mode â€“ Policy of Truth
284. Tom Waits – I Donâ€™t Wanna Grow Up
285. The Replacements – Color Me Impressed
286. Pavement – Range Life
For the longest time, I didn’t like Pavement. I bought Slanted & Enchanted and I just couldn’t get into it. Then I got Brighten the Corners and I my opinion was lukewarm. But I wanted to be into Pavement. I had so many friends whose opinions I respected who loved them. Every so often, I’d go back to the albums and try really hard to like them, but it wasn’t there for me. Then one day I heard Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and something just clicked. It was like a switch switched in my head. Suddenly, I got it. I went back to the other Slanted and Corners and it was like hearing them for the first time. I bought Terror Twilight and Wowee Zowee. I hunted down rare mp3s. (I never got to see them live, because by that time they’d disbanded.) But for me it all started with Crooked Rain.
287. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band â€“ Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles
288. When in Rome – The Promise
â€¦ because it starts with ticklish, taunting keyboards slicing through the whooshing echoes that are only heard in mid-to-late 80s British New Wave one-hit-wonders (see about ten other songs on this list). When he sings â€œI’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say / I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be,â€ he sings it confidently; it sure ainâ€™t poetry, but itâ€™s honest and true to anyone whoâ€™s ever been tongue-tied and forlorn and as close as you can get to begging without losing your dignity.
289. Pearl Jam – Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmastime)
Ed Vedder doing his best Ed Vedder impersonation. And it’s a Christmas song.
290. Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the Both Of Us
Sparks never got enough recognition here in the USA for their genious album art, hilarious and smart lyrics, and catchy pop melodies full of foot-tapping sing-along-ness. You either love Sparks or you’ve never heard of them. If you have heard them and you don’t love them, then you and I can never get married, and not to put too fine a point on it, but this whole world ain’t big enough for the both of us.
291. REM – Find the River
292. New Order – Age of Consent
293. Sloan â€“ Deeper than Beauty
I used to listen to this song and think to myself, â€œSomeone should start a band thatâ€™s just an electric guitar and drums all stripped down like.â€ Yet the doctors still donâ€™t believe me that Jack White is reading my thoughts!
294. The Streets – Has It Come To This?
295. Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train (live)
296. Al Green – You Ought To Be With Me
297. Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown
298. AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
You know how prog rock sucks? Yeah…
-Scott St. Clair
299. Belle & Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap
I don’t know what an Arab Strap is. Are they talking about the band? Whatever it is, it sounds dirty. (Update: I just did a google search and discovered that arab strap is “a sexual aid for horses that helps their penises to point in the correct direction.” Supposedly, B&S is making fun of Aidan Moffet, the lead singer of the band Arab Strap.)
300. Billy Bragg & Wilco â€“ California Stars
301. Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
302. Tommy James and the Shondells – Crystal Blue Persuasion
303. Wilco â€“ Iâ€™m the Man Who Loves You
304. Crash Test Dummies – Afternoons and Coffeespoons
305. Metallica – Fade To Black
306. NWA – Straight Outta Compton
This is another one of those times where I wished I wasnâ€™t white. These guys were SCARY as HELL. When this cassette came out, I ran to Tape World to purchase it. It was like instant sociology and a gateway to a world far far removed from the sheltered suburb my parents worked to so hard to ensconce me in.
307. Chuck Berry – Roll Over Beethoven
308. The Byrds – Hickory Wind
309. Eddie Cochran – Somethinâ€™ Else
310. Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence
311. Bedrock – For What you Dream Of
John Digweed and Nick Muir’s track came to exemplify progressive house’s golden age. The Renaissance anthem is an unbridled trip through slow-burning vocal house with a heavy beat that shakes people onto the floor.
312. Radiohead â€“ Idioteque
â€¦because it takes you to another planet. Must I explain why Kid A is good?
313. The Lemonheads – Into Your Arms
314. The Seekers – Georgie Girl
This one eeks its way into first place as the poppiest song on my list, if not ever. I feel kinda smarmy for loving this song as much as I do. I know a girl who also loves it and makes her cats dance along to it. Her cats hate “Georgie Girl.”
315. Django Reinhardt – Tears
316. They Might Be Giants â€“ Sheâ€™s an Angel
317. New York Dolls – Trash
318. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Gathering Storm
319. Nirvana – Verse Chorus Verse
320. Joan Armatrading – Down to Zero
321. Journey – Whoâ€™s Crying Now?
322. The Romantics – What I Like About You
323. Nick Drake – Time of No Reply
324. Elvis Costello – Blame It On Cain
325. Jerry Lee Lewis – Crazy Arms
326. Portishead – All Mine
327. Stone Roses – She Bangs the Drums
328. Smokey Robinson – Donâ€™t Look Back
329. TNT – 10,000 Lovers (In One)
This song makes me want to be a 14-year-old girl from New Jersey with high hair and zebra-striped pants.
330. Beck – Fumes
331. Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
332. Belle & Sebastian – Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying
I sing this song to myself a lot at my work desk.
333. Paul McCartney & Wings â€“ Band on the Run
This couldâ€™ve been split up into like eight complete and awesome songs, but Paul was like, â€œFuck that, take the best parts and put â€˜em all together!â€ There are more great songs in this one song than on all of Flaming Pie.
334. Billy Bragg- Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards
The first person to make a T-shirt saying “the revolution is just a t-shirt away” gets 20 bucks from me.
-Scott St. Clair
335. Norman Whitfield – Car Wash
336. Pere Ubu – I Hear They Smoke The Barbecue
337. Mannheim Steamroller – Deck the Halls
338. Rolling Stones – Letâ€™s Spend the Night Together
339. XTC – The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
340. The Outfield – Your Love
341. Global Communications – The Way
342. The Spinners – Iâ€™ll Be Around
343. The Cars – Just What I Needed
344. Underworld – Born Slippy
â€¦ because if this song went on for days, those would be a few pretty good days.
345. Nick Lowe – I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock & Roll)
346. Eric B and Rakim – Follow the Leader
Yeah, the Sugar Hill Gang was great and everything, but we all know they were too damn happy to truly reflect what was going to be so great about rap: scaring the crap out of white people. Ten years ahead of his time, Rakim was the first MC with the flow and shitty attitude intelligent enough to upset your parents. No MC worth his salt doesn’t hold Rakim as the godfather of rap.
-Scott St. Clair
347. The Cure â€“ Just Like Heaven
348. Four Tops â€“ Bernadette
â€œBernadetteâ€ is not really a hidden treasure in the Motown vaults, but itâ€™s one of those tunes that never really got the acclimation it deserved because there was just simply so much being issued of Hitsville at the time. Itâ€™s formulaic Motown, to be sure, right down to the dramatic chord changes, lyrics and buildups. But crank the bass and hear James Jamerson wail on the bass guitar like itâ€™s his last moments on earth. Anyone who plays bass guitar needs to study this track inside and out.
349. The Rolling Stones – Happy
350. Bad Company – Feel Like Makin’ Love
351. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
352. Apples in Stereo â€“ Winter Must Be Cold
353. Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
354. Bob Wiseman – Ship at Sea
Here’s a song you’ve never heard of. Do you know why? Because nobody’s fucking heard of it. Bob Wiseman is a strange but addictive singer/songwriter, and In Her Dream is an eclectic, funny and sad album, but it sold about 13.7 copies and is currently available on Amazon for about 69 cents.
355. Barrett Strong – Money (Thatâ€™s What I Want)
356. The Shins – Saint Simon
357. The Beach Boys – Sloop John B
I dunno what it is about this song. Something about a corn-eating drunk on a boat really makes me smile and leaves me longing for home.
358. The Killers – Mr. Brightside
359. The Minutemen – History Lesson, Part Two
360. Faces – Ooh la La
361. The Dead Kennedys – Holiday in Cambodia
I take some small amount of comfort in knowing that due to the unfortunate current political climate, Jello Biafra’s caustic social satire and East Bay Ray’s piercingly grating guitars are suddenly very relevant again. The world may suck, but at least I don’t have to feel old listening to Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables seven times in a row.
362. Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne
363. Uncle Tupelo – The Long Cut
Jeff Tweedy is my favorite celebrity to see in Chicago and not talk to.
-Scott St. Clair
364. The Strokes â€“ Soma
Yes. I’d love more cocaine. Thank you.
365. Led Zepplin – Immigrant Song
366. Sam Cooke – That’s Where It’s At
367. Cream – Sunshine of Your Love
368. Van Halen – Panama
This is how “ease the seat back” became my euphemism for touching your wiener.
369. Roxy Music – 2 H.B.
Brian Eno before he was launching the careers of 10,000 massage therapists.
-Scott St. Clair
370. Bonnie â€˜Princeâ€™ Billy â€“ The Way
371. Fiona Apple – I Know
372. Tom Waits – Ol’ 55
The very first track off the very first Tom waits album, before he started to sound like himself, but with all the same themes as the rest of his early work (melancholy, love, loneliness). Supposedly, he was unhappy with the final product. It sounded too soft rock and not barroom-jazz enough for him. What does he know?
373. Temptations – I Wish It Would Rain
â€œI Wish It Would Rainâ€ took on new life for me recently, as Iâ€™m currently doing research on Roger Penzabene..they lyricist behind this song. His wife had been unfaithful to him, and he found out..but couldnâ€™t leave her. He penned I Wish It Would Rain, and then later committed suicide just weeks before the single went gold. I always loved the despair and melody of this song, but just attributed to the magic that was Motownâ€™s juggernaut production staff and David Ruffin, who has one of the most distinctive voices in soul music.
374. James Brown – Cold Sweat
375. Ryan Adams – La Cienaga Just Smiled
376. Jeru the Damaja – How I’m Livin’
377. New Order – Temptation
378. Ricky Nelson – Believe What You Say
379. Genesis – Supper’s Ready
What can I say? I was not a cool kid. I was a virgin through high school. I played Dungeons & Dragons in my backyard. I made (what I thought were art) films with my video camera instead of getting drunk in the woods. Of course I liked Peter Gabriel-era Genesis! And when I discovered that Foxtrot contained a 23-minute (almost a full album side) song that began with a married couple sitting down to a quiet dinner and ended with a cathartic Revelations-style Armageddon (complete with dragons rising from the sea), somehow managing to work in shape-shifters, a mountain of human flesh and a cross-dressing Winston Churchill along the way, of course I was gonna run right out to Sam Goody, buy it on tape and listen to it repeatedly in my beat up Ford Escort as I drove around the South Jersey suburbs. What do you expect? It’s not like I was gonna scare any girls away.
380. Papas Fritas – Weâ€™ve Got All Night
381. The Ronnettes – Be My Baby
382. James Brown – Mother Popcorn
383. The Shins – Mineâ€™s Not a High Horse
384. Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
That tappity-tap drumstick action is impossible not to re-enact on the steering wheel. I am so ready, Freddy.
385. Toots and the Maytals – Time Tough
386. The Clash – Death or Glory
If I ever get a tattoo (which I won’t ever) it’s gonna read, “Those who fuck nuns will later join the church.”
387. Outkast – B.O.B.
It’s just too damn bad if you don’t like rap, these dudes are more innovative, interesting, and listenable then anything going on in any other genre. On top of that, it’s completely tasteless and reflective of the fact that we forget how we’re at war and have been for the past ten years. It’s like some shitty science fiction movie where indie kids dance and celebrate while the music grimly forecasts the state of the world. Did that happen in Blade 3?
-Scott St. Clair
388. The Beatles â€“ Lady Madonna
This was the first Beatles song I loved. Before I got into this song, The Beatles were like oxygen: I realized they were great, but I didnâ€™t think about them much. Then, when I was in like eighth grade, I heard Past Masters, Volume II and I finally got it.
389. British Sea Power – Carrion
390. Van Halen â€“ Hot for Teacher
391. Dismemberment Plan – What Do You Want Me to Say
392. Sex Pistols – Holidays in the Sun
393. Prince – When Doves Cry
394. Guns â€˜N Roses – One in a Million
Immigrants and Faggots. ‘Nuff said.
395. Mos Def – Ms Fat Booty
396. Radiohead – High & Dry
397. The Band – Up on Cripple Creek
398. The Left Banke – Pretty Ballerina
399. Steely Dan – Bad Sneakers
At first, second or twelfth listen, Steely Dan didn’t seem like the kind of band I could relate to, let alone become obsessed with. But, thanks to my brother’s tenacity, I did eventually. I found that buried beneath their soft jazz/classic rock veneer is a bubbling cauldron of bile. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are two of the most disaffected songwriters of the past several decades. When I finally got their songs, I spent a full summer listening exclusively to their music, which didn’t make my coffee shop co-workers very happy.
400. Camper Van Beethoven â€“ Pictures of Matchstick Men
401. Love – Seven & Seven Is
402. The Chemical Brothers â€“ Setting Sun
403. The Shangri-Las – Leader of the Pack
404. The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
405. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation
406. The White Stripes â€“ Hello Operator
407. Mogwai – Stop Coming to My House
408. David Lee Roth – California Girls
409. D.V.D.A. – What Would Brian Boitano Do? Pt. II
D.V.D.A. is Trey Parker’s heavy metal band, and this version of the song played over the ending credits of South Park: Bigger, Louder, Uncut. It’s also available on the soundtrack. In this sequel, Brian Boitano eats a whole fuck load of really spicy chicken wings.
410. Madonna – Into the Groove
The most synthetically produced, symmetrically perfect dance song ever made. Itâ€™s also Madgeâ€™s finest hour.
411. The Who – I Canâ€™t Explain
412. The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man
413. Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast
A creepy, anthemic song that somehow makes you root for Satan. Like if Satan stabbed me with a trident in the middle of this song I would for some reason think it’s perfectly fine.
414. Johnny Thunders – Born to Lose
Born To Lose (or Born Too Loose as it is ofter referred to on shitty bootlegs) is similar to pot, it’s a like a gateway drug into harder Johnny Thunders stuff like “Too Much Junkie Business”. If your life long ambition is to be found dead and bloated in a seedy New Orleans Hotel, this is the song to get you started.
415. Kim Wilde – Kids in America
Do yourself a favor: rent the movie Reckless. You’ll see fully (frontally) nude Aidan Quinn, banging Daryl Hannah on a boiler room floor. You’ll see the very best dance scene from any 80s movie as the two turn a school dance on its ear thanks to some well-chosen Romeo Void. And you’ll celebrate “Kids in America” as they tear up the school from the inside out. Most. Fun. Ever.
416. Richard & Linda Thompson – Dimming Of The Day
417. Public Enemy – Bring the Noise
418. McFadden and Whitehead – Ain’t No Stopping Us Now
When I was 9 I was a disco prince. I had every Donna Summer album and I lived for watching my favorite disco stars perform on Solid Gold and Don Kirschner. I pretty much have no stomach for the stuff these days. But this song still transcends all that.
419. Atomic Kid – Versus
420. Old 97s â€“ Buick City Complex
This song says more about living in Flint than a dozen Michael Moore flicks could.
421. Ratt – Round and Round
422. De La Soul – Keepin’ The Faith
De La Soul is Dead wasn’t half as popular as Three Feet High and Rising even though it was twice as good. I’ll never understand that.
423. New Edition – Cool It Now
I was in second grade when this song first hit my ears, and it was probably the first of many times in my life where I wished I wasnâ€™t white, so I could be as cool as these cats were.
424. Donovan – Season of the Witch
425. The Five Du-Tones – Shake A Tailfeather
426. Yeah Yeah Yeahs â€“ Maps
Although I think all their songs would be better if you added a clip of Bono shouting, â€œYeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!â€ at the start.
427. Beastie Boys – Hold It Now
428. The Smiths – That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
429. Peter Laughner – Amphetamine
430. The Long Winters – Stupid
431. Brendan Benson – Jet Lag
432. A Tribe Called Quest â€“ Scenario
I can’t tell you how many times I rewound this song, just to hear Busta Rhymes growl, “Rawr! Rawr! Like a dungeon dragon!”
433. Ween â€“ Voodoo Lady
434. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Breaking the Girl
435. Marvin Gaye – Whatâ€™s Going On
Yeah, okay. Iâ€™m sure thereâ€™s going to be a lot of people with this song on their list. And well they should. Because itâ€™s an anthem and one of the most honest, passionate, spiritual songs ever written.
436. Them – Don’t Look Back
437. The Police â€“ Roxanne
If you ever need a litmus test of a great song, try this: It still sounds great when you teach it to your five-year-old summer campers, to be performed in a talent show in front of their parents–and the parents don’t give a shit that their babies are singing about a hooker because it sounds so unbelievably awesome.
438. Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians – Railway Shoes
439. Built to Spill â€“ Carry the Zero
440. Chris Isaak – Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing
441. Sam & Dave – Soul Man
442. Merle Haggard – I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am
443. Tommy Tutone – 867-5309/Jenny
444. Badly Drawn Boy – Everybodyâ€™s Stalking
445. Missy Elliott – The Rain
446. Gladys Knight and the Pips – Midnight Train to Georgia
447. The Cure – Killing An Arab
448. MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e â€“ Dr. Feelgood
449. Green Day – Walking Contradiction
This song makes me want to throw things. Or ride a bicycle down a stairwell.
450. The Ramones – I Want You Around
451. Miles Davis – In A Silent Way
452. Prince – Little Red Corvette
453. The Smashing Pumpkins – Cherub Rock
454. Broken Social Scene – Capture the Flag
455. Eels â€“ Itâ€™s a Motherfucker
When I first heard this song, I was working at a college radio station and it was on a radio-friendly version of Daisies of the Galaxy. Whenever the word â€œmotherfuckerâ€ was sung, they dubbed over it with a walkie-talkie-sounding â€œmonstertrucker!â€ Even then, I liked the song, but it was kind of a funny song to me. It wasnâ€™t until a couple years later that I heard the original, unedited version and I realized this is one of the saddest, most beautiful songs ever.
456. Wu-Tang Clan – Shame on a Nigga
Why did God have to take Dirty? Couldn’t he have taken Ghostface Killah instead?
457. Funkadelic – (Not Just) Knee Deep
458. Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side
459. Bob Marley and the Wailers – Redemption Song
460. Radiohead – Bulletproof
461. Roger Miller – King of the Road
462. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds â€“ The Mercy Seat
463. Dâ€™Angelo â€“ Devilâ€™s Pie
Remember how soul had that revival in the 90s? No you don’t, that was just D’angelo. Maxwell sucked.
-Scott St. Clair
464. Steve Earle – Guitar Town
465. Prince – Pussy Control
466. The Carpenters – Close To You
467. Afghan Whigs – Fountain and Fairfax
468. The Meters – Cissy Strut
469. English Beat – Save it for Later
470. BTO – Takinâ€™ Care of Business
471. Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone
472. The Ramones â€“ I Wanna Be Sedated
Every time I hear it, I sing “I want a piece of bacon,” and every single time it makes me laugh. Sue me.
473. The Flaming Lips â€“ Fight Test
This song was reverse-engineered from crashed UFO. Itâ€™s that catchy.
474. Queens Of The Stone Age â€“ First It Giveth
475. Blur – For Tomorrow
476. The Association â€“ Along Comes Mary
477. Phil Ochs â€“ When In Rome
478. The Shirelles â€“ Will You Love Me Tomorrow
479. Gang Starr – Code of the Streets
480. The Stills â€“ Yesterday Never Tomorrows
481. The Cars â€“ My Best Friendâ€™s Girl
482. Built to Spill – Broken Chairs
483. AC/DC â€“ Whole Lotta Rosie
484. Frank Zappa – Pink Napkins
Pink Napkins is a moment of profound beauty and quiet contemplation in a career known for pushing limits with great disregard to modern music â€“ a beautiful flower in a field of commercial manure. Itâ€™s a slow jam with minimal accompaniment and static chord changes, and itâ€™s ripe with some of the best clean toned guitar playing Iâ€™ve ever heard. On par with some of Stevie Ray and Hendrixâ€™s finest solos. Donâ€™t believe me? Check it for yourself. Youâ€™ll be glad you did.
485. The Verve – On Your Own
486. Jimi Hendrix â€“ All Along the Watchtower
487. The Smashing Pumpkins â€“ Soma
488. Ella Fitzgerald â€“ Stormy Weather
489. Dead Kennedys â€“ Too Drunk To Fuck
About a week ago, I was at a bar that was featuring a night of old school punk, and this song came on, I did my best impersonation of 17-year-old Dennis and started hopping and flailing all over the place. Only, the 17-year-old Dennis didn’t smoke a pack of cigarettes a day (at least), and 31-year-old Dennis had to sit down midway through this three-minute song.
490. Sonic Youth – Dirty Boots
One of my teenage fantasies I never got to live out was to somehow have something similar to the music video for this song happen to me.
491. Oasis â€“ Sheâ€™s Electric
492. Grandaddy â€“ He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot
I was clued into this album about four years after the fact, but better late than never. Any band that sings about broken hearted suicidal alcoholic robots is a band I can wholeheartedly endorse. This opening track leaves the listener poignantly wondering, “Did you love this world, and did this world not love you?”
493. Travis â€“ Why Does it Always Rain on Me?
494. The Traveling Wilburys – Last Night
495. Sebadoh – Dramamine
496. Stevie Wonder â€“ Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away
497. Tommy Stinson â€“ Not a Moment Too Soon
498. Iron & Wine â€“ Naked as We Came
499. Paul Simon – The Boy in the Bubble
500. W.A.S.P â€“ Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)
One of the most touching, contemplative love songs ever written by a man who wore a buzzsaw codpiece.