My Favorite Rock Songs (1) – Top Ten

Recently, when Ginger Baker died, I re-blogged my post about Cream. Now that I have four years of posts, it made me realize it might be a good idea to periodically re-blog stuff that I dd when I had, like, one follower. So from October 2015, an oldie but goodie. 

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.

23 thoughts on “My Favorite Rock Songs (1) – Top Ten

    1. Well, there’s that too. But think about it – you have tons of back pages. I’ve got 4 years worth and to date you are the only one to go back and read all that stuff. When i did the Cream thing it was new to some people. So I can definitely play both the lazy card and the “here’s an oldie but goodie” card

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll be following your lead. I have a back log so I’m in good shape but a revisit would be an idea for sure.
        As far as picking 10 . I couldn’t do it. That’s why I do my singles thing, so many. I do like quite a few on your list
        (Went for a stroll today and took Mayall’s ‘Empty Rooms’. I know what you think of his lyrics. There’s a tune on there that would probably fit a take opposite of your “Favorites”. I was chuckling thinking of your aversion to his words)

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        1. I wrote this 4 years ago. I assume they’d all still be favorites although half of them might be cliches or songs everybody’s tired of hearing by now. And yeah, Mayall’s a great bluesman but he needed his own Bernie Taupin. A bluesier one.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Geeez…how could you not include Warren Zevon. Obviously, Wiervolves is his most famous, but what about “Carmalita” and ” Poor Pitiful Me” on Simple Dreams. At least you appreciate and know good music from the past. This stuff today is pure crap.

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    1. I know. Thirty lashes with a wet noodle for me. So close. I have an occasional series called “A Song I Love.” Maybe I’ll feature one of those on that and make it up to the late, great Mr. Zevon. 🙂

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  2. Man, I have to tip my hat to you; I could never list 10. I don’t think so anyway. Maybe I’ll think it over. I have been considering doing some lists of late, so… y’know.

    Hey Jude, though. Oooft.

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        1. I once did a post on Desert Island Discs. And that was interesting as it forced you to think about what you really liked. So were you to do one, what are the 10 you can’t live without?

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        2. … and the cogs start turning. Off the top of my head:

          The Afghan Whigs – Honky’s Ladder, Joe Henry – Bob & Ray, Richard Buckner – This Is Where, Queens of the Stone Age – In the Fade, REM – Strange Currencies, Masters of Reality – Doraldina’s Prophecies, Tom Waits – Hold On, Mark Lanegan – Kingdom of Rain, Stone Temple Pilots – Atlanta

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        3. Wow, do we have different tastes. I know and like some of those bands (Queens, REM, Pilots) know some of their names (Whigs, Masters, Lanegan) and know and am lukewarm on one (Waits.)

          I might just make a Spotify list out of these and give a listen, adding only Hey Jude for a little Beatle flavor. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Haha. Probably the only time Hey Jude would be among my favourite tunes, that’s for sure!

          I could probably pick a different 10 tomorrow, cause I don’t have any Stones, Crowes, Pearl Jam, or Cash on there.

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        5. I was thinking about this and I like the idea of making a note each month of what I would consider my 10. Do it for a full 12 months just as an exercise to see which tracks become staples. So, this is my first list… I’ll post about my ten next November!

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  3. The two here that hold up really well for me are ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Layla’ – lots of energy and I never really get sick of them. ‘Rosalita’ is great too, but I’ve barely ever heard that on the radio.

    ‘Hey Jude’ is a well-written song, but a long way down my list of Beatles favourites. Just drags on way too long, especially the coda.

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  4. Hi Jim – good to meet you this week…

    My Top Ten overlaps with yours a bit (especially the Bands, but is (obviously) more UK-centric…

    Layla – Derek & the Domino’s
    Warrior – Wishbone Ash (one of my ‘all time’ favorite bands)
    Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
    Eagles – Hotel California
    Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
    Cream – White Room
    Bryan Adams & Tina Turner – It’s Only Love
    Dire Straits – Tunnel of Love
    Roxy Music – Do the Strand
    The Beatles – Norwegian Wood

    There are a whole bunch of other bands that are not represented here, but could have been on another day: Yes; Barclay James Harvest; Supertramp; Fleetwood Mac; Santana; Rory Gallagher; Free; The Moody Blues; The Doors; Bowie, etc…

    BTW – I have seen every band here except the Beatles (just a little too young), Cream, (although I have seen Eric, Jack and Ginger separately) The Doors (ditto), and the Eagles…

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    1. Funny but Rich asked he if we had discussed music but frankly it never occurred to me. Why would we, eh?

      I like just about everything in your list but I am no fan of Bryan Adams, Roxy Music I can take or leave. As to Wishbone Ash, it may surprise you to learn I’ve seen them live as recently as April of this year. Do a search for them in the search bar on my page and you’ll find some interesting info on the wide disparity of time between instances of seeing them.

      Like you I could easily come up with 10 more. And I probably will have a second, more modern list out one day in the near future. Glad to see you’re part of the tribe.

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      1. I have seen Wishbone Ash a bunch of times in the last 15 years or so, in the UK and around New England. They are playing the Bull Run on 9th September and the Tupelo on 1st October on their 50th Anniversary tour. I will be at one of them !!!

        I also saw them a number of times ‘back in the day’, including a New Year’s Eve show at the Marquee in London which also happened to be Andy’s stag night. He and Pauline got married the next day, and Pauline told me that she got into ‘huge’ trouble from her parents because she wasn’t supposed to see Andy the night before the wedding – and of course she went to the show.

        Fun times…

        I also have a couple of interesting Robert Plant stories. growing up in the West Midlands in the late 60s and early 70s meant that we ran into Robert and Bonzo all the time – including in my local village pub !!!

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        1. That must have been quite the thing hanging around with those folks. Bull Run and Tupelo are my favorite clubs. I go – or went -there all the time. I finally had to take a break because I was burning out on it. Now I’m a little more selective. You can find some of those stories as well if you’re so inclined.

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