Ok, phew. Well, this was impossible. I had a list of about 100 songs from which I had to cull 10? Are you kidding me? So, I had to have a Stones song, and a Bruce song and a Beatles song AND an Allmans song. So I got those. Actually everything fell into place pretty well. The only heartbreaker for me is that I just could not fit “Werewolves of London” on here. Sorry Warren.
Anyway, without further ado here are my top ten songs. I will publish a list of the next 10 or 20 “just misses” in a later post. I hate to have them go unheard. Other than the first two, the order is pretty random. I could easily move any of them up or down on any other day.
1. Layla – Derek and the Dominos. I don’t know how you can top this. A great song with a great hook that everybody knows. Two top-notch guitarists, unrequited love, a wild slide solo. And then the most beautiful piano solo I’ve ever heard in a rock song topped off with Duane’s bird call at the end.
2. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynrd. If I am driving around and this song comes on, I cannot leave the car until the solo is over. Further, I must drive up onto the highway REALLY FAST to fully enjoy it. To this very day, such an awesome song. I love songs that end with long guitar solos, probably due to this tune.
3. Brown Sugar – Rolling Stones. There’s at least five Stones songs I could pick but again, perfection. The intro, the “woo-woo,” the (late, great) Bobby Keys sax solo, the nasty “couldn’t get away with ’em today” lyrics. Where do they come up with this shit? I ask you.
4. Hotel California – The Eagles. I wasn’t even a particularly big Eagles fan as I wasn’t into their brand of soft country-rock. But man it is a long way from “Peaceful Easy Feeling” to this. A masterpiece. Nuff said.
5. Whipping Post – The Allman Brothers Band. Gregg wrote this after he spent time in California. I believe I read that he had nothing to write with and wrote it with a burnt matchstick on an ironing board or something. I’m good with the studio version but it’s the live versions that are awesome. Covered by everyone from Zappa to American Idol contestants to some jam band I recently heard on Sirius called Leftover Salmon.
6. Rosalita – Bruce Springsteen. Bruce has done a lot of stuff in the 40-some odd years since this came out. But for sheer raucous, unabashed exuberance, you cannot beat this. BTW, that’ll be me next to you at the concert singing this at the top of my lungs, badly. Hey, I paid for my ticket too. Plus, you’re drunk.
7. Reelin’ in the Years – Steely Dan. Please. Three perfect guitar solos (Elliott Randall), at least one of which Jimmy Page said was his favorite of all time. We need another Dan today. Randall lives in the UK now and has done tons of studio work. But he is highly esteemed for these legendary solos.
8. Hey Jude – Beatles. I guess if you put my feet to the fire and I had to pick one, this is it. But I will need a Top Ten Beatles post one day for sure. The Beatles will appear and re-appear during the life of the blog at random unplanned moments.
9. Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2. From the militaristic intro to Edge’s ringing guitar to the incredible lyrics. The band wanted to do a song about Ireland’s troubles but had to be careful not to become targets. It has not lost one iota of its power.
10. Dazed and Confused – Led Zeppelin. I listened to the first album relentlessly. This song is as good as Zeppelin ever gets IMHO. A great song, great vocal, exciting guitar. A shame that Jimmy Page felt the need to “borrow” extensively. Just give the guy who wrote it credit. Well I’ll do that here. His name is Jake Holmes. So you know, I love ya Pagey but fuck you.
That’s my list. If you’re out there, feel free to post yours.