Saturday, October 29, 2005

Just one more song meme

SSTOL regulars know that I greet memes with roughly the same alacrity as I would, say, urinary catheterization. However, since almost every blogger I read has taken on this musical list, I figured I'd doodle it in as I waited for decent cards to fall my way in an online hold 'em tournament.

As have others, I edited out several artists with whose music I am utterly unfamiliar, or with whom I have so little convergence that citing "favorite songs" from their catalogs would be an exercise in futility. And I added a few here and there, just because I can.

Favorite Beatles song:
From the early raw period — either "You Can't Do That" or "I Saw Her Standing There."
From the late experimental period — "I Will."
From the category of "Beatles song everyone else hates" — "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."

Favorite solo song by a former Beatle: "Photograph," Ringo Starr.
Which is funny, because I’m still not sure Ringo has any talent.

Favorite Bob Dylan song: "Gotta Serve Somebody."
Yeah, I know, all the ex-hippies got bent out of shape when Bobby Z. found religion. But this is still one of his most perceptive — and entertaining — lyrics, from his quasi-Christian period.

Favorite Dylan cover: "Quinn the Eskimo," Manfred Mann.
You'll not see nothin' like the mighty Quinn. Eventually the basis for a fun movie starring Denzel Washington. (No, Denzel does not play an Eskimo.)

Favorite Prince song: "Nothing Compares 2 U."
One of the most emotionally powerful pop songs ever written.

Favorite Michael Jackson song: "Black or White."
Even at his most self-servingly preachy — after all, this song really isn't about race relations; it's about public perception of Michael's image — the Thriller can still work it when he wants to.

Favorite song that most of your friends haven't heard: "Gone," The House Jacks.
Possibly the best unknown song in popular music history.

Favorite Police song: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic."
Quite a few reasonable choices, but this one always leaps out at me.

Favorite song from a movie: "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz.
Picking just one favorite movie song is about as futile an exercise as picking just one favorite movie, but if you were going to pick just one, this would be a good one to pick.

Favorite Blondie song: "The Tide is High."
By a peroxide whisker over "Heart of Glass" and "Rapture." I love me some Debbie Harry.

Favorite Genesis song: "That's All."
Tough call. I like a lot of Genesis stuff, but almost nothing rabidly enough to put the "favorite" tag on it.

Favorite song by an ex-Genesis member:
"In the Air Tonight," Phil Collins.
Although if I'd said either "Sledgehammer" or "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel, I wouldn't argue with myself.

Favorite Led Zeppelin song:
"Rock and Roll."
"Black Dog" is right up there.

Favorite INXS song: "Suicide Blonde."
Not a fan, really, but I liked this song.

Favorite Weird Al song: "I Lost on Jeopardy!"
Does that surprise you?

Favorite Pink Floyd song: "Money."
Love that seductive bass line.

Favorite U2 song: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Story of my life.

Favorite disco song: "On the Radio," Donna Summer.
All of the anti-disco backlash tended to bury the fact that, given the right material, Ms. Summer was Whitney Houston before there was a Whitney Houston.

Favorite The Who song: "Baba O'Riley."
When I was between colleges, I worked in a drug store for a manager who started every day by playing "Baba O'Riley" at maximum volume on one of the stereos in the electronics department. I still love it anyway.

Favorite Elton John song: "Your Song."
Thirty-five years later, Sir Elton still hasn't recorded anything superior to his very first hit.

Favorite Clash song: "Rock the Casbah."
By default — it's the only Clash song I know.

Favorite David Bowie song: "Golden Years."
Became the theme song for a really bizarre TV series of the same name, in which an elderly man — the beneficiary/victim of a top-secret government experiment — retrogressed in age.

Favorite Johnny Cash song: "Flesh and Blood."
My antipathy for country music is legendary, but I always loved Johnny Cash. This pick could just as easily have been "I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire," "Man in Black," or even "Daddy Sang Bass."

Favorite Elvis song: "A Little Less Conversation."
Hearing this at the start of each week's episode of Las Vegas makes me smile.

Favorite Billy Joel song:
"She's Always a Woman."
Not Joel's biggest hit, but a seriously underappreciated ballad.

Favorite Bruce Springsteen song: "I'm On Fire."

Favorite Bruce Springsteen cover: "Fire," the Pointer Sisters.

Favorite cover by Bruce Springsteen: His blistering live version of Edwin Starr's "War."

Favorite Squeeze song: "Tempted."

Favorite non-Squeeze song by the guy who sang lead vocals on "Tempted": "I Need You," Paul Carrack.

Favorite Beach Boys song: "God Only Knows."
Only Brian Wilson's descent into madness prevented the Beach Boys from truly becoming America’s version of the Beatles. As it is, they were darned close.

Favorite Dire Straits song: "Sultans of Swing."
Especially the album track, which includes the best verse in the song — the one edited out of the radio single.

Favorite Elvis Costello song: "Alison."
My aim is true.

Favorite song by a singer whose band used to back Elvis Costello: "Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do," Huey Lewis and the News. (Most of the members of the News had been members of Clover, which was Costello's backup band before he put together the Attractions.)

Favorite cover by Huey Lewis and the News: "When I Write the Book."
An absolutely masterful rendition of Nick Lowe's wickedly retrospective tune.

Favorite Guns N' Roses song: "Sweet Child O' Mine."
I'm a mite surprised that I even have a favorite GNR song, but I do. In fact, I think Appetite for Destruction was one of the few truly great rock albums of the 1980s.

Favorite Jimi Hendrix song: "The Wind Cries Mary."
I can hear Jimi.

Favorite John Mellencamp song: "Jack and Diane."
I saw this guy open for Heart back when he was still known as John Cougar. His live band at the time sucked, but you could tell that he was onto something.

Favorite Paul Simon song: "Loves Me Like a Rock."
Could just as easily be "Graceland" or "Kodachrome."

Favorite Simon & Garfunkel song: "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Lightning in a bottle.

Favorite Queen song: "Fat Bottomed Girls."
But you knew that by now.

Favorite Sting song: "Fragile."

Favorite cover of "Fragile": The Los Angeles a cappella jazz ensemble Sixth Wave.

Favorite Tracy Chapman song: "Give Me One Reason."
Give me one reason why not.

Favorite Van Morrison song: "Moondance."
I saw Morrison live once, at San Francisco State University when I was a student there. Not much of a live performer, but his music dazzles.

Favorite XTC song: "Rook."
The second-best song ever written about a blackbird.

2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

Incidentally Paul Carrack is one of my favorite male vocalists. I love Don't Shed A Tear.

6:08 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

One of mine too, Janet. Carrack's a marvelous talent. That he isn't one of the biggest stars in pop music is one of the greatest injustices of the business. That most people don't even associate his name with two of his best-known performances ("Tempted" and Ace's "How Long") is another.

8:00 AM  

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