50 songs of all time
one song per artist) (updated July 2008)
Born to Run
set out to write the greatest rock song ever, and who's to say he
didn't succeed? Bombastic, epic, romantic, dense, this song demands
attention. A breakthrough for Springsteen also in terms of situating
his heroes palpably in the "American Dream". A driving, powerful,
Love Minus Zero (No Limit)
the midst of his word-tripping in 1965, Dylan created this - a modest,
serene love song. Still wordy, the opening line is "My love, she
speaks like silence." It is a paean to a woman who doesn't exist,
who perhaps can't exist. But the timeless, flitting melody
wills her into our consciousnesses.
Dylan's "Sara", a directly biographical love song, blurring the
art/reality line. Smith can invest her music with anthemic power,
and to do so with a love paean is bold. Almost impossible to listen
to without breaking down. "My soul surrenders, astonished to death".
Life and death, ultimately, are one.
redefined pop music as something that can be emotionally rich as
well as entertainingly light. Deep in their best songs, there is
no kitsch, only beauty and majesty. "SOS" is the sweetest and saddest
lost-love song in existence. "Where are those happy days? They seem
so hard to find."
I Want to Hold Your Hand The Beatles
must have been a revolution in 1963 - the excited, staccato intro,
the tantalising build-up, and then Lennon's double-tracked vocals,
with handclaps, and the sublimest guitar fill at the end of each
line. Even now, this is the sound of pure energy and joy - joy at
creating music, joy at simply being alive.
Ever Fallen in Love?
Buzzcocks' signature single in a body full of great work. Masters
of the explosive introduction (see "Orgasm Addict" or "Paradise"
also), here the song starts on a high and never lets up. But it's
a high of romantic angst - the sound of their buzzing guitars and
drums is like the sound of a frantic, breaking heart.
the midst of Big Star's debut album's glam-like rock songs, is this
- a breathtakingly tender acoustic guitar ballad. Chilton sings
of the experience of being 13 and in love, and he captures the ache
of that perfectly. But the song is not nostalgic - it affirms innocence
as a potent force no matter what age one is.
Stray Cat Blues
The Rolling Stones
track on Beggar's Banquet, it is astonishing that this song
actually exists. A no-holds-barred auto-portrait of sexual predatory
with under-age girls, its lasciviousness practically leaps from
the speakers. The guitars are particularly cutting, and listen for
Jagger's excited yelp mid-way through.
Mr. Tambourine Man
Dylan cover is a revelation. It's the same glorious song (well,
a shortened version of it), with the same meaning, but it is transformed
musically into a richly-layered, harmony-filled folk-rock hymn.
It is an inspired rendering that, unbelievably, enhances (but doesn't
overwhelm) the original.
emotion, tender hope, slacker stylistics, wig-out wonder - this
is the world of Norman Blake. "Come on over / Break some bread /
Close the window / And we'll lay on the bed." Norman, I wanna thank
you for providing us with such incredibly beautiful and spiritual
songs. Your ragged innocence is uplifting.
The Good Life Weezer
Going Underground The
Love Will Tear Us Apart
Career Moves Loudon
Like a Hurricane Neil Young
Happy X-mas John and Yoko
The Lady Came From Baltimore
The Ship Song Nick Cave
Confide in Me Kylie Minogue
White Noise Stiff Little Fingers
Seven Minutes to Midnight
There is a Light that Never Goes Out
Superstar The Carpenters
Anarchy in the U.K. The Sex
Happy Together The Turtles
High Fidelity Elvis Costello
You Keep Me Hangin' On
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Kool Thing Sonic Youth
Could You Be the One?
Come on Eileen Dexy's
Touch Me The Doors
A Song From Under the Floorboards
Halloween The Dead
Deny The Clash
Rid of Me P J Harvey
The Happy Song The Box
Reach Out I'll Be There
The Four Tops
Little Fury Things Dinosaur
Broken Face The
Made of Stone The Stone
Letting Go Wings
Red Pony The Triffids
Like a Prayer Madonna
Love Song The Cure
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
The Mamas and the Papas
Only the Lonely
Edge of Reality Elvis