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The Albany Music Lover 500

carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com
Steven Tyler and Aerosmith’s classic’s “Sweet Emotion” and “Dream On” are among their best ever.

carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com Steven Tyler and Aerosmith’s classic’s “Sweet Emotion” and “Dream On” are among their best ever.

If you’re a music lover — and I know there are a lot of you out there — you’re likely to read this. There’s something about compiling and comparing lists that resonates with music people. There’s not an “American Top 40” for nothing.

(If you’re not a music lover, this is not for you. You’ll question the reasoning behind such a project and whine that it’s too long. You’re excused to move on to the squawks or the Sports section.)

The idea for compiling this list came to me when I was discussing favorite songs with another (way cooler) music lover. I started out with a group of 10 to 15 songs and thought I’d do a Top 40 or maybe even a Top 100. Little did I realize that my little plan would turn into an obsession.

I spent hours upon hours — literally — gathering songs that were meaningful to me and collecting them into a semblence of order. The list kept growing and growing until it started turning into an unmanageable beast. So I settled on a Top 500 and started the arduous process of ranking them.

And even after I finished and proudly gathered all these songs into this list, the songs kept coming. Within three days of “finishing” my initial list, I came up with 50 or so songs that I just couldn’t leave out. So they replaced others that made the original cut.

Before you delve in, be forewarned: This is not some collection of the top-selling songs or the opinions of a group of experts. This is one person’s — who happens to be a music fanatic — Top 500 ... at this time. (Along with Top 10 choices from fellow music lovers.) A week from now, the list would no doubt change.

THE TOP 65:

To start the ball rolling, I decided to come up with the songs that are my absolute favorites. When I was satisfied I’d listed all such songs that fit the criteria, I was stunned to find I had 65. This group is built around what I’ll call the Beth Hart “L.A. Song” Corollary (which I made up): If you listen to a song and, as soon as it’s over, you want to hear it again and then again and you don’t get tired of it, it makes this list. Here, then, the best of the best:

  1. BLACK — Pearl Jam: There’s no more passionate singer than Eddie Vedder. Here, he’s at his best with perfect accompaniment by the boys in the band.
  2. BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER — Simon & Garfunkel: The most beautiful voice (Art Garfunkel) and one of the greatest songwriters (Paul Simon) in pop music history.
  3. STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN — Led Zeppelin: This song just turned 40 years old(!), and its impact hasn’t diminished a bit.
  4. RAIN — The Beatles: Picking your favorite Beatles song is like picking a favorite offspring. Tall order. Ringo is excellent here.
  5. LAST GOODBYE — Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Amazing vocals, even better guitar work.
  6. HEARTBREAK WARFARE — John Mayer: Forget the lame/racially insensitive comments of this musical pretty-boy. Dude can play guitar and he can sing.
  7. RIGHT NEXT DOOR (BECAUSE OF ME) — Robert Cray: If you like your blues with a compelling storyline, here you go. “In the silence I can hear them breaking hearts ...” Devastating.
  8. THE LOW SPARK OF HIGH-HEELED BOYS — Traffic: Don’t ask me what it means; it’s a head-trip of spacy/jazzy piano, guitar and mood swings. And that voice you hear is Steve Winwood.
  9. CALIFORNIA LOVE — Tupac (fea. Dr. Dre): This is where rap’s greatest poet was headed when he was gunned down. Dre adds the perfect amount of menace.
  10. THE ISRAELITES — Desmond Dekker & the Aces: A doo-wop-meets-Chuck Berry — with a dash of reggae — ‘60s gem that was way ahead of its time.
  11. SINK LOW — Monroe Brown: I still mourn the break-up of these Albany boys who were on the verge of stardom when they imploded. They left us some great memories, though, the best of which is this beauty.
  12. AENIMA — Tool: Listen to this song with headphones, and turn it up loud. The music is incredible; the lyrics absolutely amazing, especially the advice for those worried about California falling into the ocean: “Learn to swim.”
  13. YELLOW LEDBETTER — Pearl Jam: Don’t go on the Internet to try and find the words to this classic: No one gets it right. Just listen to Stone Gossard’s guitar and be mesmerized.
  14. PAPERBACK WRITER — The Beatles: This classic was on the same single as “Rain.” Best single/B-side ever? No doubt.
  15. BANDITOS — The Refreshments: These guys are best-known for playing the theme to TV’s “King of the Hill.” This song is a work of art with one of the best kicker lines ever: “I’ve got the pistol, so I’ll keep the pesos.”
  16. AMEN OMEN — Ben Harper: If you want to explain what “hauntingly beautiful” means, play this song. Enough said.
  17. WARMTH — Incubus: Psychedelia with a message, and great guitar.
  18. MOMENT OF SURRENDER — U2: Spiritual? Secular? A little of each? Who cares ... wonderful.
  19. UNCHAINED MELODY — The Righteous Brothers: Play this for your lady. If it doesn’t work, give up and become a monk.
  20. L.A. SONG — Beth Hart: Ragged heartbreak in 4:32 with a touch of redemption.
  21. SNOWBLIND FRIEND — Steppenwolf: The best drug song ever; John Kay is the perfect one to tell the tale.
  22. SOUTHERN BAND — Henry Gross: A lost track that is as great today as it was 35 years ago. Classic line: “Them that’s talking funky’s got that Southern drawl.” Preach to me, brother.
  23. I GOTTA FEELING — Black Eyed Peas: Absolutely impossible to get out of your head once it crawls in. Will.i.am turns electronica into 21st-century funk.
  24. GOING TO CALIFORNIA — Led Zeppelin: For those who think of the Zep only as metal monsters.
  25. CHAMPAGNE HIGH — Sister Hazel: Cleverest lyrics ever; tragic tale of the one that got away.
  26. THE PRETENDER — Jackson Browne: The theme song for those of us who daily “struggle for the legal tender.”
  27. REQUIEM FOR THE ROCKETS — Neil Young: If this song doesn’t make you cry, you have no heart.
  28. COPPERHEAD ROAD — Steve Earle: If you grew up in the rural South and you don’t like this song, move. Steve proved that country could rock with the best of ‘em.
  29. TIME HAS COME TODAY — The Chambers Brothers: The ultimate head trip. See if you can keep up with the “TIME!” shouts while being “psychedelicized.”
  30. CLOSER TO FINE — Indigo Girls: Perfect harmony; perfect acoustic guitar accompaniment. Classic lyrics.
  31. THORN IN MY PRIDE — The Black Crowes: That organ intro ... WOW! The Robinson brothers at their best.
  32. SLOW DANCING — Johnny Rivers: One of the sexiest songs ever recorded in Rivers’ perfect white-boy soul voice.
  33. CATCH THE WIND — Donovan: The ultimate hippie contemplates one of life’s great mysteries.
  34. SUPERSTITION — Stevie Wonder: The ... funkiest ... song ... EVER!
  35. FREE FALLIN’ — Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: TP’s great Southern drawl to perfect effect and wonderful acoustic guitar.
  36. WALKING IN MEMPHIS — Marc Cohn: The ultimate Elvis’s ghost song, complete with backing choir.
  37. WORD UP — Cameo: So funky it’s almost nasty ... “W-O-R-D ... UP!”
  38. TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS — Otis Redding: Dawson’s own sweet soul man pouring his absolute heart out.
  39. SWEET EMOTION — Aerosmith: Perfect intro, perfect drum kick lead-in, perfect song.
  40. THE ADVENTURES OF RAIN DANCE MAGGIE — Red Hot Chili Peppers: Released this year, an amazingly wonderful song that even fulfills the need for more cowbell.
  41. KEEP ON SMILING — Wet Willie: When Southern rock ruled, these Macon boys were the best at it.
  42. DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN — Lee Michaels: The stop-start dynamic and Michaels’ soulful lament are two elements that make this one of the most underrated tunes ever.
  43. INSTANT KARMA — John Lennon: Life supplies the pay-back; John supplies the piano and vocals.
  44. CRY TO ME — Solomon Burke: This is why “Baby” ended up in Johnny Castle’s bungalo in “Dirty Dancing.” What woman could resist?
  45. LIGHTNING CRASHES — Live: Existential lyrics over an eerie, driving beat.
  46. SMOKE FROM A DISTANT FIRE — The Sanford-Townsend Band: The first song to use “Don’t let the screen door hit you on your way out” as a kiss-off, with tasty sax and drums.
  47. TIE DYE ON THE HIGHWAY — Robert Plant: Find me a better intro to a song. As Alonzo told Jake in “Training Day”: “You just can’t do it.” Plant’s best post-Zeppelin song.
  48. BRICKYARD ROAD — Johnny Van Zant: A moving tribute to his tragically killed brother, Skynyrd singer Ronnie.
  49. LONELY TEARDROPS — Jackie Wilson: The definition of soul ... and you can dance to it.
  50. SHE TALKS TO ANGELS — The Black Crowes: A drug-laden passion play with amazing church organ.
  51. ALL I KNOW — Art Garfunkel: That voice again; his post-S&G best.
  52. QUINN THE ESKIMO — Manfred Mann: This is how you turn a Dylan song into your own. (See also Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”)
  53. YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT — The Rolling Stones: Mick’s best vocals ever.
  54. A DAY IN THE LIFE — The Beatles: An incredible Lennon/McCartney slice of real life.
  55. COOL CHANGE — Little River Band: Great harmonies in the chorus; the coolest song ever.
  56. GEORGIA RHYTHM — Atlanta Rhythm Section: ARS + Buddy Buie = Southern rock at its best.
  57. PROUD MARY — Ike & Tina Turner: The “nice and easy” intro is so good Ike and Tina top the originals: CCR.
  58. THE ENTERTAINER — Billy Joel: A cautionary tale about the cutthroat music industry.
  59. SAME OLD LANG SYNE — Dan Fogelberg: If you’re feeling melancholy, play this. Just stay away from sharp objects and weapons while you listen.
  60. SUNSHINE — Jonathan Edwards: Two minutes of up-beat pop with a defiant attitude.
  61. DIAMONDS AND RUST — Joan Baez: Amazing imagery — “Our breath comes out white clouds, mingles and hangs in the air ...” — as only Joan can do it.
  62. LONELY AT THE TOP — Jamey Johnson: One of the best single lines ever: “It may be lonely at the top, but it’s a b---- at the bottom.”
  63. JUMP INTO THE FIRE — Nilsson: The drums, the building pace and the frenetic, out-of-control ending won’t let you get your breath until the song is over.
  64. WORDS — The Bee Gees: Beautiful. Here’s my one shot: “It’s only words, but words are all I have to take your heart away.” Sighhhh ...
  65. I LIKE YOU — Donovan: It may not be love, but I definitely like you. And, for now, that’s enough.
  66. I BELIEVE WHEN I FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU — Stevie Wonder: The perfect love song; Stevie as loverman rather than funk master.
  67. ON BROADWAY — George Benson: Sure, the Drifters did it first, but this bluesman did it better.
  68. IMAGINE — John Lennon: Few songs have ever had more of a lasting impact; spare and beautiful.
  69. AMERICAN GIRL — Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: As Tom said, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” A truly great song (perfectly placed in “Silence of the Lambs.”)
  70. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS — Metallica: This song had headbangers crying “Sellout!” The monsters of metal doing a — gulp — semi-ballad? At least after James Hetfield screams “Yeah, yeah!” rock ensues.
  71. INTERSTATE LOVE SONG — Stone Temple Pilots: No less a luminary than Darius Rucker (Yo, Hootie) said at a Pensacola concert in 1999, “Unless Paul McCartney or REM does another song, this is the best song of the ‘90s.” Can’t argue.
  72. SPELLBOUND — Poco: Exactly how this love song leaves you feeling.
  73. HELPLESS — Neil Young: The complementary haunting ballad to “Requiem” (No. 27).
  74. SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL — Rolling Stones: Pure evil, put to a samba beat. You’ll fall in love with the “woo-woos.”
  75. DAUGHTER — Pearl Jam: A cautionary tale with a great driving beat.
  76. KASHMIR — Led Zeppelin: The Zep go all Middle Eastern to great effect.
  77. REVOLUTION — The Beatles: Best guitar intro ever, punctuated by Lennon’s pierceing scream.
  78. DARK HORSE — George Harrison: A throwback song that finds the “quiet Beatle” at his best.
  79. SLOOP JOHN B — The Beach Boys: The best song by one of pop music’s truly American groups.
  80. TAPER JEAN GIRL — Kings of Leon: This one early song proved to be a foreshadowing of the greatness that followed.
  81. STRANGE CURRENCIES — REM: The godfathers of radio rock at the height of their powers.
  82. WHITER SHADE OF PALE — Procol Harem: Mystical lyrics with some of rock music’s most soulful vocals ever recorded.
  83. MONTEGO BAY — Bobby Bloom: Try not to smile — or dance — when you hear this reggae-tinged blast of sunshine.
  84. THE PUSHER — Steppenwolf: Rates only behind “Snowblind Friend” as these metal masters’ greatest drug song.
  85. IN THE ARMS OF AN ANGEL — Sarah McLachlan: This, not the sappy movie, is why so many people went to see “City of Angels.”
  86. BRIDGE OF SIGHS — Robin Trower: Maybe the greatest psychedelic guitar song ever recorded.
  87. WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD — Gordon Lightfoot: The tragic true tale of a ship that went down in Lake Superior, wonderfully sung.
  88. MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION — Paul Simon: Superb guitar with a rolling reggae rhythm.
  89. END OF THE INNOCENCE — Don Henley: Hidden in the galloping piano and the Eagles drummer’s one-of-a-kind voice is a lot of angry social commentary.
  90. BABA O’RILEY — The Who: It’s the “teenage wasteland” song; great keyboard intro and wonderful Roger Daltry vocals.
  91. SWEET CHILD O’ MINE — Guns n Roses: Right there with “Revolution” as the greatest guitar intro ever.
  92. RONNIE — Metallica: More rock than metal; Hetfield’s vocals are menacing.
  93. BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO — The Beatles: This is Lennon’s song, but McCartney’s bass line steals it.
  94. CANDLE IN THE WIND — Elton John: Before Lady Di, this was a stirring tribute to Marilyn “Norma Jean” Monroe.
  95. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED — The Firm: Jimmy Page’s guitar and Paul Rogers’ vocals. What’s not to love?
  96. JEREMY — Pearl Jam: A tragic tale of a young boy who grew tired of being mocked and ignored. (The video is incredible.)
  97. TURN THE PAGE — Bob Seger & the Silver Buller Band: This is what life is really like on the road for rock warriors.
  98. ENTER SANDMAN — Metallica: Who else could turn a child’s prayer into a horror story?
  99. LONG AS I CAN SEE THE LIGHT — Creedence Clearwater Revival: Great soul vocals by John Fogerty, perfectly used at the end of “State of Play.”
  100. MANDOLIN WIND — Rod Stewart: A lovely, Celtic/country beat with mandolin and slide guitar.
  101. AND WHEN I DIE — Blood, Sweat & Tears: An R&B/soul rouser from one of rock’s most underrated bands.
  102. HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN — The Animals: A cautionary tale that originates in the Big Easy.
  103. MAKE ME SMILE — Chicago: Most excellent drums; even more excellent vocals.
  104. EVERYBODY HURTS — REM: You feel as much as you hear Michael Stipe’s pain.
  105. WHIPPING POST — The Allman Brothers Band: Gregg Allman’s affectively gruff voice mixed with one of the best improvisational bands ever.
  106. YOU OUGHTA KNOW — Alanis Morissette: Here’s the real angry white female. Do not make her mad.
  107. JUMP AROUND — House of Pain: A little Irish hip-hop for a change of pace.
  108. FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH — Buffalo Springfield: A call to arms during the turbulent late ‘60s: “There’s something happening here” indeed.
  109. LAST RESORT — The Eagles: Hendley’s inspired vocals recounting the tragedy of man’s love for commerce over nature.
  110. LATE IN THE EVENING — Paul Simon: Reggae guitar with a little NYC cool that only Simon can supply.
  111. OTHERSIDE — Red Hot Chili Peppers: Great harmonies on top of Grade A rock/funk.
  112. THE BOXER — Simon & Garfunkel: Simon’s tragic American tale.
  113. ALREADY OVER ME — Rolling Stones: The Stones doing straight-on soul? Believe it.
  114. SOUTHERN CROSS — Crosby, Stills & Nash: Exquisite harmonies, wonderful imagery.
  115. MILLWORKER — James Taylor: Working woman’s blues in that distinctly JT voice.
  116. THE RISING — Bruce Springsteen: The song that helped America recover from 9-11.
  117. TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD — Rufus: Super funky debut for Chaka Khan and the boys.
  118. SKY BLUE AND BLACK — Jackson Browne: One of the greatest love songs ever written.
  119. WEREWOLVES OF LONDON — Warren Zevon: Wonderfully clever lyrics, unforgettable piano.
  120. SOUTHERN MAN — Neil Young & Crazy Horse: The reason Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama,” great ragged guitar.
  121. FORTY-FIVE — Shinedown: A unique look at dealing (not so well) with life’s problems.
  122. THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER — Robert Earl Keen: With REK — one of a few whose songwriting puts him in Dylan territory — the party never ends.
  123. REBEL ROUSER — Duane Eddy: Been around for 50-plus years and keeps getting better. Amazingly ahead-of-its-time guitar.
  124. HERO OF THE DAY — Metallica: Heavy metal surf guitar? You bet.
  125. 911 — Wyclef Jean: With Mary J. Blige backing you, how can you lose?
  126. YESTERDAY — The Beatles: McCartney’s most beautiful tune.
  127. YOU’RE MY HOME — Billy Joel: Simple but straightforward love song.
  128. COMFORTABLY NUMB — Pink Floyd: A “Wall” classic with amazing Gilmour guitar.
  129. WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN — The Who: An enduring anthem that still speaks to our governmental failures.
  130. SPANISH HARLEM — Aretha Franklin: Ben E. King’s version was wonderful; the Queen of Soul’s was better.
  131. BOTHER — Stone Sour: When he's not with Slipknot, Corey Taylor and his Iowa boys do soulful ballads.
  132. COWGIRL IN THE SAND — Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Typically great guitar noise by Neil and the Horse.
  133. HOW DO YOU STOP — James Brown: A little introspection from the King of Soul.
  134. NATURE’S WAY — Spirit: In between the psychedelia, there’s this lovely ballad ... but it fits.
  135. ANGEL EYES — Jeff Healey Band: A lucky guy counts his blessings.
  136. EMPIRE STATE OF MIND — Jay-Z: Replaces “New York, New York” as the Big Apple’s signature song.
  137. DON’T STOP BELIEVING — Journey: From the building piano to the shrieking guitar intro to Steve Perry’s excellent falsetto, a perfect rock song.
  138. SMOKE ON THE WATER — Deep Purple: The most copied guitar riff ever; a true story of a band adventure.
  139. LAYLA — Derek & the Dominoes: Clapton and Duane Allman swapping unforgettable guitar lines.
  140. MOLLY’S CHAMBERS — Kings of Leon: Early KOL, discovered on a Volkswagen commercial; a great driving beat.
  141. IF YOU COULD ONLY SEE — Tonic: An underrated song from a vastly underrated album (“The Lemon Parade”).
  142. CLOCKS — Coldplay: Amazing piano, the British supergroup’s best.
  143. IN THE AIR TONIGHT — Phil Collins: No, this didn’t really happen. But who can forget that one-of-a-kind drumbeat that Mike Tyson loved so well in “The Hangover.”
  144. NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS — Ike & Tina Turner: Country funk and Tina at her sassy best.
  145. STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 — The Brothers Johnson: Definitely one of the most chill-enducing songs ever.
  146. RAMBLE TAMBLE — Creedence Clearwater Revival: John Fogerty shows off his guitar chops.
  147. UNDER THE BRIDGE — Red Hot Chili Peppers: A down-and-dirty true story of singer Anthony Keidis’s drug addiction.
  148. GIMME SHELTER — Rolling Stones: The perfect compliment to “Sympathy” ... “Love is just a kiss away.”
  149. HOLLY HOLY — Neil Diamond: The ever-enduring singer’s best.
  150. OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY — Led Zeppelin: Perfectly executed slow-fast dynamic.
  151. LIVING FOR THE CITY — Stevie Wonder: A sad, gritty tale of a young man swallowed by the big city.
  152. YOUR SONG — Elton John: One of the Rocket Man’s greatest gifts.
  153. UNFORGIVEN — Metallica: A recurring theme for the hardest rockers ever.
  154. LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE — Eminem (Fea. Rihanna): An opposites pairing that works; Slim Shady pours out the passion.
  155. ORANGE CRUSH — REM: The jangliest, coolest tune by Athens’ best.
  156. CHAMPAGNE SUPER NOVA — Oasis: Beatles soundalikes’ most memorable song.
  157. LAY DOWN (CANDLES IN THE RAIN) — Melanie: A powerful little-girl voice backed by a rousing choir.
  158. BORN TO RUN — Bruce Springsteen: Every would-be lone wolf’s theme song: “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”
  159. AMERICAN IDIOT — Green Day: Biting political commentary, excellent drum shuffle beat.
  160. INDIANA WANTS ME — R. Dean Taylor: Crime doesn’t pay, but R. Dean’s vocals do.
  161. CUMBERSOME — 7 Mary 3: Pure, raw-dog rock.
  162. WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS — The Beatles: One of George’s classic Beatles tunes.
  163. NIGHT MOVES — Bob Seger: The theme song of every horn-dog teenage boy who ever lived.
  164. CALIFORNICATION — Red Hot Chili Peppers: Great drums, a perfect mid-tempo rock song.
  165. TOM SAWYER — Rush: The prog rock veterans’ greatest classic tune.
  166. IN YOUR EYES — Peter Gabriel: Yeah, I see John Cusack holding up that boombox every time I hear it, but it’s Gabriel’s greatest.
  167. CAPTAIN JACK — Billy Joel: Ah, the life of a spoiled, discontented suburbanite
  168. WAR PIGS — Black Sabbath: The hardest-rocking political statement ever made.
  169. AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT — John Mellencamp: Back when he was “Cougar,” a soulful love song.
  170. RAMMSTEIN: Rammstein: A song (sung in German) so hard it will literally scare you.
  171. FIRE ON THE PONTCHARTRAIN — The Lost Trailers: Be forewarned: This is retribution, Trailers-style.
  172. UP AROUND THE BEND — Creedence Clearwater Revival: Another great Fogerty guitar intro, some of Creedence’s best swamp rock.
  173. FIRE AND RAIN — James Taylor: JT’s plaintive, soulful voice is like no other.
  174. MOTHERLESS CHILDREN — Eric Clapton: Further proof of Clapton’s guitar diety.
  175. GOOD RIDDANCE (TIME OF YOUR LIFE) — Green Day: Poignant look back on life’s good stuff.
  176. GOODNIGHT SAIGON — Billy Joel: An homage to the real Vietnam.
  177. ACCIDENTALLY LIKE A MARTYR — Warren Zevon: The mad genius took a break from his strange tales to tell a beautiful love story.
  178. GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS DAY — Paul Simon: Simon, a slide guitar and a 1920s preacher ... a strange combination that’s surprisingly perfect.
  179. MIRACLES — Jefferson Starship: A dreamy, powerful love song.
  180. TICKING — Elton John: Tragedy strikes when an angry young man goes over the edge.
  181. TRUE COLORS — Cyndi Lauper: No frills, just a beautiful, spare song of love.
  182. MOTHER — John Lennon: Part primal scream therapy, part sad autobiography.
  183. IT NEVER RAINS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — Albert Hammond: Excellent piano rolls, the other side of California dreaming.
  184. MONSTER — Steppenwolf: Hard rockers doing social commentary.
  185. GAMES PEOPLE PLAY — Joe South: Wasting life while trying to one-up our “friends.”
  186. OUTA SPACE — Billy Preston: Wonderful intergalactic funk.
  187. TUESDAY’S GONE — Lynyrd Skynyrd: Great Southern harmonies and slide guitar.
  188. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH — John Denver: Theme song to a way of life.
  189. LET HER CRY — Hootie & the Blowfish: Rucker’s most impressive singing.
  190. ONLY GOD KNOWS WHY — Kid Rock: When the K-I-D became the M-A-N.
  191. SELLING THE DRAMA — Live: Head-trip of a song, to great effect.
  192. HEY JUDE — The Beatles: Paul’s great piano/vocals; everyone’s unforgettable “na-na-na-nas.”
  193. DUNCAN — Paul Simon: One man’s story, beautifully told.
  194. MAGGIE MAE — Rod Stewart: Not your classic love story, but great, ragged vocals.
  195. THAT LADY — The Isley Brothers: Wonderful vocals mixed with funky, effects-laden guitar.
  196. LIKE A STONE — Audioslave: One of rock’s best voices (Chris Cornell) at its best.
  197. FOOLED AROUND AND FELL IN LOVE — Elvin Bishop: More great classic Southern rock.
  198. THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS — Bruce Hornsby & the Range: An underrated singer/songwriter at his best.
  199. HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF — Duran Duran: Great drums, vocals and backing “ohhhhhhs.”
  200. SUMMER OF ‘69 — Bryan Adams: Perfect tale of a perfect time.
  201. RAINY NIGHT IN GEORGIA — Brook Benton: The kind of soul that makes you proud to be from the Peach State.
  202. SWEET MELISSA — The Allman Brothers Band: Gregg Allman’s sweetest vocals.
  203. 25 OR 6 TO 4 — Chicago: Follows the Chicago formula: excellent harmonies, great drums, and that perfect horn section.
  204. PRIDE IN THE NAME OF LOVE — U2: A passionate tribute to Martin Luther King.
  205. CRASH INTO ME — Dave Matthews Band: Perhaps the sexiest rock song ever recorded.
  206. YOU REALLY GOT ME — The Kinks: Forget Van Halen’s cover, this raw original is perfect.
  207. YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL — James Blunt: Sure, it was overplayed, but it’s still a great song.
  208. IRIS — The Goo Goo Dolls: The ultimate love song: “I’d give up forever to touch you.”
  209. HOTEL ILLNESS — The Black Crowes: Perfect mix of old-time blues, soul and rock.
  210. CABALLO DIABLO — Charlie Daniels Band: A little Spanish guitar to tell the tale of a man and a devil horse.
  211. NIGHT SWIMMING — REM: Stipe’s most moving vocals, great piano.
  212. NIGHT SHIFT — The Commodores: One of the most wonderful and underrated soul songs ever.
  213. SISTER CONTINE — Rusted Root: These guys should be bigger; their passion is relentless.
  214. REELING IN THE YEARS — Steely Dan: Smart, ironic vocals with great guitar in the mix.
  215. 3 A.M. — matchbox 20: Listen to the acoustic version, it will break your heart.
  216. THE LOAD-OUT/STAY — Jackson Browne: A tribute to the roadies mixed with a little Maurice Williams.
  217. MAN IN A PURPLE DRESS — The Who: Pete Townsend’s response to the priestly abuse of children.
  218. MAYBE I’M AMAZED — Paul McCartney: Paul’s most stirring and stark love song.
  219. LOLA — The Kinks: We don’t know what Lola really is, but we love hearing her (its?) story.
  220. I AM, I SAID — Neil Diamond: Affirmation from Brother Love.
  221. HIGHER LOVE — Steve Winwood: Two great voices: Winwood and Chaka Khan. Perfect mix.
  222. UMBRELLA — Rihanna: Jay-Z adds little to this great tune (a couple of “hnyeahs”), it’s Rihanna who brings the fire.
  223. GOODBYE MY LOVER — James Blunt: Amazingly touching break-up song that had Michael Scott crying at “The Office.”
  224. GREAT SUBURBAN SHOWDOWN — Billy Joel: Witty take on boring life in the suburbs.
  225. DESPERADO — The Eagles: You can just imagine the tumbleweeds rolling by in the background.
  226. WONDERFUL TONIGHT — Eric Clapton: A tribute to lasting love.
  227. BECAUSE THE NIGHT — Patti Smith: Punk’s godmother does Bruce and does him right.
  228. SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH — Dan Hill: A passionate look at love/lust.
  229. FREAK ON A LEASH — Korn: Try finding any singer who pours himself into a song more than John Davis.
  230. LADY BLUE — Leon Russell: A stirring, haunted ballad.
  231. UNDER THE BOARDWALK — The Drifters: One of many greats from one of early rock’s greatest groups.
  232. SUSPICIOUS MINDS — Elvis Presley: The King at the height of his powers.
  233. SMOOTH CRIMINAL — Michael Jackson: The heir to Elvis’s pop throne at his best.
  234. NETHER LANDS — Dan Fogelberg: Great strings, wonderful soaring vocals.
  235. WILD NIGHTS — Van Morrison: One of rock’s greatest singers having a grand time.
  236. HELLO, I LOVE YOU — The Doors: Just the right amount of Jim Morrison behind churning, funky guitar.
  237. MASSACHUSETTS — The Bee Gees: More great three-part harmonies.
  238. CRIMSON AND CLOVER — Tommy James & the Shondells: A psychedelic pop candy treat.
  239. US AND THEM — Pink Floyd: The ultimate cool-cut on the great “Dark Side of the Moon” album.
  240. FAST AS YOU — Dwight Yoakam: One of country music’s great voices, a true country holdover.
  241. HEY YA — OutKast: This is when the whole world caught on: Hip-hop had taken over pop music.
  242. WHITE ROOM — Cream: More Clapton greatness.
  243. GREEN TAMBOURINE — The Lemon Pipers: A little ‘60s head trip with effects.
  244. THE LAST THING I NEEDED — Willie Nelson: No one tells a sad tale like Willie.
  245. CANDY-O — The Cars: Great funky keys over otherworldly vocals.
  246. MACK THE KNIFE — Bobby Darin: Perhaps the coolest dude — other than Sinatra — ever recorded.
  247. THERE’S NO ROOM FOR YOU HERE — The White Stripes: Jack White’s guitar literally screams, a really stunning song.
  248. PASSAGE TO BANGKOK — Rush: Around the world to the most exotic locales in slightly more than 3 minutes.
  249. WHEN DOVES CRY — Prince: The Purple One shows off his guitar and vocals.
  250. TINY DANCER — Elton John: Lovely vocals and — of course — piano from Sir Elton.
  251. ALL RIGHT NOW — Free: One of the best pure rock songs ever.
  252. FORTUNATE SON — Creedence Clearwater Revival: A raging anti-war Fogerty rant.
  253. PURPLE RAIN — Prince: A soulful, shimmering beauty with one of the greatest fade-outs ever.
  254. WORKING CLASS HERO — John Lennon: A hard-hitting slice of working-man life.
  255. DREAM ON — Aerosmith: The Idol judge’s greatest lyrics ever.
  256. JUNGLELAND — Bruce Springsteen: Let’s all watch sadly as the ambulance drives away from this tragic tale.
  257. I’VE BEEN LOVING YOU TOO LONG — Otis Redding: South Georgia soul at its absolute best.
  258. LIGHTS — Journey: A lovely slow-building tune with Perry’s amazing vocals.
  259. GROOVIN’ — The Rascals: The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
  260. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? — Jimi Henrix: The guitar master shows off his one-of-a-kind magic.
  261. IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT — REM: Try to keep up with this fun apocalyptic blast.
  262. LOVE SONG — Tesla: Wonderful guitar and vocals ... from a hair metal band? You bet.
  263. THE END — The Doors: The ultimate ‘60s nightmare/head trip.
  264. IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME BY NOW — Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes: Check out Teddy Pendergrass’s amazing vocals.
  265. SIXTH AVENUE HEARTACHE — The Wallflowers: Bob Dylan’s kid, Jakob, comes into his own.
  266. DUST IN THE WIND — Kansas: An existential answer to life’s ultimate question.
  267. NO MATTER WHAT — Badfinger: An underrated band and song with marvelous ringing guitar.
  268. ROCK ME ON THE WATER — Jackson Browne: A modern-day spiritual with amazing vocals.
  269. DISARM — Smashing Pumpkins: The best song on a classic album (“Siamese Dream”) that showcases Billy Corgan’s talents.
  270. MANDOLIN RAIN — Bruce Hornsby & the Range: Great singer/songwriter/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist: The total package.
  271. HARMONY — Elton John: An often overlooked gem in a catalog full of them.
  272. PEACEFUL EASY FEELING — The Eagles: The ultimate, laid-back California sound.
  273. REBEL REBEL — David Bowie: Shimmering guitar and those mind-blowing lyrics.
  274. WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE — The Animals: Evidence of Eric Burden’s greatness; he should be mentioned alongside greats like Lennon, Jagger and Davies.
  275. GARDEN PARTY — Rick Nelson: A laid-back, fun look at one artist’s refusal to sell out.
  276. ERUPTION — Van Halen: This IS Van Halen, nothing but guitar magic.
  277. SULTANS OF SWING — Dire Straits: A bouncy little tale that ends in a guitar frenzy.
  278. STAY — Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs: This will get you dirty dancing.
  279. WITHOUT YOU — Nilsson: An achingly beautiful love song.
  280. KEEP ON LOVING YOU — REO Speedwagon: The tune that brought the Speedwagon to the masses.
  281. REMEDY — The Black Crowes: Slinky backing vocals, rock musical perfection.
  282. SECOND CHANCE — Shinedown: Brent Smith’s powerful voice backed by excellent guitar.
  283. KEY WEST INTERMEZZO — John Mellencamp: The perfect bar song ... but remember: “I saw you first.”
  284. I’M NO ANGEL — Gregg Allman: The lead Allman’s whiskey-soaked voice at its best.
  285. WHITE AMERICA — Eminem: Marshall cleverly biting the hand that feeds him.
  286. WISH YOU WERE HERE — Pink Floyd: The thinking man’s heavy metal.
  287. WHAT YOU WANT — The Beastie Boys: The funkiest organ intro ever with marvelous punk vocals and banging drums.
  288. COME MONDAY — Jimmy Buffett: Ahh, the tough life of the rock star.
  289. AMERICA — Simon & Garfunkel: Perfect images of this country through the eyes of one of its greatest writers.
  290. SOMEONE SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT — Elton John: When Sir Elton and Bernie Taupin owned the pop charts.
  291. STAY WITH ME — Faces: A good slice of nasty rock fun.
  292. ROCK-IT — Herbie Hancock: For the deep thinker who still likes his music funky.
  293. CRUEL SUMMER — Bananarama: The perfect summer song.
  294. WICKED GAME — Chris Isaak: Lovely vocals that go from sexy lows to impossible highs.
  295. IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG — Luther Ingram: A little soulful church organ behind Luther’s confessions.
  296. SUNSHINE SUPERMAN — Donovan: More head-tripping over cool mellotron.
  297. ROMEO’S TUNE — Steve Forbert: A wonderful Dylan-like tunesmith who should be way more famous.
  298. TANGLED UP IN BLUE — Bob Dylan: Speaking of the master: One of his greatest stories set to a driving guitar beat.
  299. RUNAWAY — Del Shannon: The perfect ‘60s-era rock song.
  300. RING OF FIRE — Johnny Cash: Whose voice is better than the Man in Black’s? No one’s.
  301. AL GARIMASU — Jefferson Starship: Grace Slick goes deep and shows her naughty (but sensitive) side.
  302. ME AND BOBBY MCGEE — Janis Joplin: Blues queen does country, courtesy of Kris Kristofferson.
  303. THE FUTURE — Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s gravelly voice is perfect for this tale of future horrors.
  304. END OF THE LINE — The Traveling Wilburys: Here’s all you need to know: Dylan, Harrison, Orbison, Petty, Lynn.
  305. THE LEGEND OF BILLY THE KID — Billy Joel: Clever comparison of the famous outlaw and a “boy with a six-pack in his hands.”
  306. COWBOY — Kid Rock: Wonderful changes of pace, great lyrics and the incomparable Joe C. (Respect)
  307. HONEYSUCKLE BLUE — Drivin’ n Cryin’: Kevn Kinney’s amazing voice on top of even more amazing guitars.
  308. TAKE TIME TO KNOW HER — Percy Sledge: Great advice sung with heartbreaking emotion.
  309. WHAT I’VE DONE — Linkin Park: The one band that outlived the “mook rap” label ... because they’re that good.
  310. I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU — Hootie & the Blowfish: A little bouncy fun with a killer Dylan reference.
  311. ROCKET MAN — Elton John: Well-placed outer space synth noises with a Bowie-like guitar strum.
  312. SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT — Nirvana: One of the few songs that literally changed the face of rock music.
  313. GEORGIA — Charlie Daniels Band: One of the best musical tributes to the Peach State ever.
  314. SISTER GOLDEN HAIR — America: Ode to the girl you can’t forget ... great “Umm-bop-do-wah” backup.
  315. I’M YOUR CAPTAIN — Grand Funk Railroad: One of rock’s best rhythm sections — Don Brewer and Mel Schacher — ever.
  316. THE WORLD I KNOW — Collective Soul: The best of these Atlanta boys’ many great hits.
  317. YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING — The Righteous Brothers: Girls melt as soon as Bobby Hatfield sings, “You never close your eyes ...” in that voice.
  318. PARANOID — Black Sabbath: Ozzie and the boys come out with guns — and guitars — blazing.
  319. I’LL BE GOOD TO YOU — The Brothers Johnson: Love the fuzz-tone guitars and the laid-back vibe.
  320. DIALOGUE (PART I & II) — Chicago: What they said didn’t matter as much as the way they said it.
  321. MEMPHIS — Johnny Rivers: Everybody’s done this song, no one better.
  322. BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE — Jethro Tull: Perfect song for the Tull’s Renaissance Fair-rock.
  323. RUN FOR THE ROSES — Dan Fogelberg: If you like horses, you’ll love this song. Of course, with the late, great Fogelberg’s voice, you’ll love it anyway.
  324. WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE — Steve Winwood: Heavy ‘80s synth that wasn’t cheesy, due primarily to Stevie W’s pipes.
  325. I SEE GEORGIA — Drivin’ n Cryin’: A wonderful comeback from ‘80s rock heroes.
  326. ME AND MRS. JONES — Billy Paul: The most soulful argument for infidelity ever to hit the Top 40.
  327. DORAVILLE — Atlanta Rhythm Section: Rollicking guitar/drums and perfect vocals.
  328. THE SAD LEGEND OF DANNY BOY — Floater: A little Irish pub/heavy metal combo that works.
  329. ORDINARY PEOPLE — John Legend: An amazingly heartfelt ballad.
  330. ALWAYS WITH ME, ALWAYS WITH YOU — Joe Satriani: One of the guitar great’s most memorable slices of controlled guitar fury.
  331. SOMEWHERE DOWN THAT CRAZY RIVER — Robbie Robertson: The Band frontman sings/mumbles his way through a great lesson learned.
  332. UNCLE ALBERT/ADMIRAL HALSEY — Paul McCartney: Free of the Beatles, Sir Paul engaged in some excellent whimsey.
  333. YEAH — Usher (Fea. Lil Jon, Ludacris): Most hip-hop hits grow old quickly. This one stands the test of time ... never gets old.
  334. KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR — Bob Dylan: A defeated gunslinger’s dirge.
  335. DO IT AGAIN — Steely Dan: Musically masterful, lyrically compelling. A truly great rock song.
  336. SUPERFLY — Curtis Mayfield: Best song on best movie soundtrack ever.
  337. THE WANDERER — Dion: Reason No. 1 all the ladies loved them some Dion.
  338. CLOSER — Kings of Leon: From the first notes, this song announced the Kings’ arrival as rock heavy hitters.
  339. GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME — Chairmen of the Board: Dripping with soul ... and then there’s that “... and our love will surely grow, dddrrtt” bit that gets me every single time.
  340. 18 DAYS — Saving Abel: Perfect rock lover’s lament.
  341. CRY LIKE A BABY — The Box Tops: Proof that Alex Chilton was one of rock’s most underappreciated auteurs.
  342. THIS CAN’T BE LIFE — Jay-Z: A heart-breaking take on personal loss.
  343. BALL AND BISCUIT — The White Stripes: Jack and Meg do the blues, and Jack’s guitar rules.
  344. WHITE RABBIT — Jefferson Airplane: An Alice in Wonderland head trip, complete with all the illicit drugs you could ever want.
  345. MIDNIGHT RIDER — The Allman Brothers Band: Western swing with the Brothers’ great Southern rock touches.
  346. CULT OF PERSONALITY — Living Colour: Hard rocking take on how we view celebrity in America.
  347. KING OF THE ROAD — Roger Miller: Those finger snaps made this country great as cool as Sammy Davis any day.
  348. TAXI — Harry Chapin: Life don’t always work out the way we want, but Harry makes the best of it.
  349. PEOPLE GOT TO BE FREE — The Rascals: A great slice of Philly soul.
  350. SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES — The Platters: No one does the crooning thing better than these classic soul rockers.
  351. HANG ON IN THERE BABY — Johnny Bristol: A last great slab of soul before disco screwed up pop music for a decade.
  352. WHAT’S GOING ON — Marvin Gaye: Hot buttered soul with a conscience.
  353. THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE — Neil Young: A stirring tribute to a drug casualty.
  354. NOTHING LIKE US — Michael Penn: You can mix a driving rock beat with opera? Michael Penn can in this great “Anniversary Party” cut.
  355. MONSTER — Kanye West: Everyone says Nicki Minaj steals the show, but Yeezy and Jay-Z hold their own.
  356. DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD — The Animals: More of Eric Burden’s best “good intentions.”
  357. PIED PIPER — Crispien St. Peter: Fun organ and excellent vocals from this one-hit wonder.
  358. I’VE CHANGED — Josh Joplin Group: This song will break your heart, and make you love it.
  359. AT 17 — Janis Ian: The battle cry of all teen drama queens who haven’t quite blossomed.
  360. SHANNON — Henry Gross: One word for this excellent sad lament: Dog-gone ... literally.
  361. SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE — Cream: A little guitar sludge that’s the heaviest of heavy metal.
  362. 96 TEARS — ? and the Mysterians: Farfisa organ and those great Tex-Mex vocals.
  363. VASELINE — Stone Temple Pilots: Love the funky wah-wah guitar break.
  364. THANK GOD I’M A COUNTRY BOY — John Denver: Yeah, it’s the Atlanta Braves’ seventh-inning stretch song, but you can hear Denver’s smile as he sings.
  365. IF I WERE A BOY — Beyonce: All hail Aretha’s heir to the soul diva throne.
  366. RIVER OF TEARS — Eric Clapton: One of the most heart-breaking songs ever recorded made more impressive by Clapton’s vocals and wailing guitar.
  367. DOESN’T REMIND ME — Audioslave: A fun song that brings out the joy in Chris Cornell’s voice.
  368. HURDY GURDY MAN — Donovan: The echo effects are almost spooky but they work.
  369. ALL IN THE FAMILY — Korn: A hilarious John Davis-Fred Durst insult battle.
  370. SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD — The Lost Trailers: The raw Trailers when they were at their peak.
  371. LIAR — 3 Dog Night: Spooky echoed vocals with great guitar accompaniment.
  372. TWILIGHT TIME — The Platters: For lovers ... back in the day.
  373. I WANT YOU BACK — The Jackson 5: Back when Michael was still happy, normal and black.
  374. HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY — George Jones: A true tear-jerker, arguably the best country song ever.
  375. FLY LIKE AN EAGLE — The Steve Miller Band: Love the music and vocals way more than the doesn’t-quite-get-there social commentary.
  376. SHAPES OF THINGS — The Yardbirds: Wonderful guitars, even better drums.
  377. SEX AND CANDY — Marcy Playground: One of the most laid-back hits ever.
  378. DREAM WEAVER — Gary Wright: GW brought some funk to the synthesizer with this monster hit.
  379. 30 DAYS IN THE HOLE — Humble Pie: Steve Marriott’s voice was incredible; Peter Frampton’s guitar was magnificent.
  380. NEED YOU TONIGHT— INXS: Funky/sexy vocals with great guitar.
  381. MY OWN PRISON — Creed: Scott Stapp’s vocals approach Vedder level ... high praise indeed.
  382. JUDY IN DISGUISE (WITH GLASSES) — John Fred & His Playboy Band: The bass run rules this goofy, fun song.
  383. ONE WEEK — Barenaked Ladies: Try to keep up in the choruses. Can’t do it. Once they get past “Chicka the China, the Chinese chicken ...” I’m out.
  384. LOSER — Beck: Cool stoner anthem ... love the shouted asides like “get crazy with the Cheese Wiz.”
  385. THE CROSSROADS — Bone Thugs-n-Harmony: The emphasis here is on the “harmony” part.
  386. RUN-AROUND — Blues Traveler: Best use of harmonica in a modern rock song.
  387. DAZZ — Brick: A club soul hit with wonderful guitar. Thank goodness there was no disco or jazz in this one.
  388. OHIO — Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The ultimate fight-the-man protest song honoring the “four dead (war protesters) in Ohio” at Kent State University.
  389. HOTEL CALIFORNIA — The Eagles: An absolute classic with Henley’s great vocals, excellent drums and a mysterious story line.
  390. BLACK — Sevendust: It measures up in some ways to the No. 1 tune of the same name; great intro.
  391. IN THE GHETTO — Elvis Presley: The King’s tragic tale may not have been particularly great, but his heart — and voice — were in the right place.
  392. HIGHER AND HIGHER — Jackie Wilson: Your spirits soar as Jackie testifies.
  393. TELL IT LIKE IT IS — Aaron Neville: One of the most amazing voices ever at its best.
  394. WE JUST DISAGREE — Dave Mason: The way Dave tells it, life really is pretty simple.
  395. BILOXI — Jimmy Buffett: A soulful look at life on the Gulf as only the Parrot King can tell it.
  396. BAKER STREET — Gerry Rafferty: Love the sax/guitar combo and the bongos.
  397. KILLER QUEEN — Queen: No mistaking Brian May’s guitar or Freddie Mercury’s voice.
  398. NEVER MAKE A SAINT OF ME — Rolling Stones: Mick testifies like a soulful preacherman.
  399. I HOPE YOU DANCE — Lee Ann Womack: If you have a child you love, you tear up every time you hear this song.
  400. RESURRECTION SHUFFLE — Ashton, Gardner & Dyke: Shuffle is right; the drums are perfect and mix finely with the mumbled vocals and horns.
  401. GO ALL THE WAY — The Raspberries: Too rock for bubblegum; too bubblegum for serious rockers. Excellent guitar.
  402. DANCE WITH THE DEVIL — Cozy Powell: OK, drummers, you want to prove you got game? Play this.
  403. CHATTAHOOCHEE — Alan Jackson: Real country among a gaggle of posers.
  404. WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE — Bon Jovi: “Loaded six-string on my back ...” Classic.
  405. ODE TO BILLIE JOE — Bobby Gentry: We’ll always wonder what the singer was throwing off the Tallahatchee Bridge, but great raw vocals and excellent acoustic guitar are what make the song.
  406. STELLAR — Incubus: Some songs just spark incredible memories. This is one for me.
  407. STILL WATER — Daniel Lanois: Always the producer (U2, Dylan), Lanois shines with his own material.
  408. SAVE TONIGHT — Eagle-Eye Cherry: One of those ‘90s chill songs that gets better with age.
  409. WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES — Joe South: A little Southern testifying from one of the region’s best.
  410. THE BALLAD OF CURTIS LOWE — Lynyrd Skynyrd: Academy of Country Music posers take note: This is what country people really sound and live like.
  411. JAILHOUSE ROCK — Elvis Presley: You might have to boogie with a wooden chair or “the cutest jailbird you’ll ever see” ... hmmm ... but you’ll rock to this classic.
  412. OVER, UNDER, SIDEWAYS, DOWN — The Yardbirds: Wonderful guitar, but what else would you expect? The ‘Birds’ lineup included Clapton, Beck and Page!
  413. FLOWERS ON THE WALL — The Statler Brothers: Cool country that uses four-part harmony without being corny.
  414. POKER FACE — Lady Gaga: This song announced the coming of a new superstar, one worthy of the title.
  415. WICHITA LINEMAN — Glen Campbell: Listen to it now; it’ll break your heart.
  416. FOX ON THE RUN — Sweet: The synth doesn’t detract from this great rock/punk hybrid.
  417. SWEET SUZANNE — Buzzin’ Cousins: John Mellencamp, Dwight Yoakam, Joe Ely, John Prine, James McMurtry ... quite a combo.
  418. HOLD ON I’M COMING — Sam & Dave: The ultimate New York brass and sweet Southern soul duo.
  419. WOODSTOCK — Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: No one does harmonies better; perfect tribute to a seminal event.
  420. SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN — Johnny Cash: Kris Kristofferson writes the greatest songs; great artists make them even better.
  421. HIGHER — Creed: These guys may have burnt out, but at their peak no grunge/rock sounded better.
  422. BANG A GONG (GET IT ON) — T Rex: Amazing piano-over-guitar leads and Mark Bolan’s unique vocals.
  423. GLYCERINE — Bush: Spare music — guitar and cello — with Gavin Rossdale’s perfectly harsh vocals.
  424. PLEASE COME TO BOSTON — Dave Loggins: A marvelous folk song with some cool effects-laden guitar thrown into the mix.
  425. PEPPER — Butthole Surfers: Awful name, wonderful music. Chugs along, well, “like an avalanch, coming down the mountain.”
  426. I AM THE HIGHWAY — Audioslave: One of rock’s great vocalists with one of its greatest guitarists.
  427. YOU KEEP ME HANGING ON — Vanilla Fudge: The guitar’s so heavy, they could have called themselves Vanilla Sludge.
  428. FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE — Roberta Flack: Beautiful lyrics, wonderfully sung. (A huge hit thanks to Clint Eastwood’s “Play Misty for Me.”)
  429. ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE — Brewer & Shipley: The condition these guys were no doubt in when they did this fun, folky tune.
  430. STRANGLEHOLD — Ted Nugent: The Nuge mumble/sings the lyrics, but it’s his guitar that rules.
  431. A COUNTRY BOY CAN SURVIVE — Hank Williams Jr.: Should be required listening for all the wannabe “country boys” and their empty 10-gallon hats.
  432. FAST CAR — Tracy Chapman: A heartbreaking tale of poverty beautifully sung.
  433. THUNDERSTRUCK — AC/DC: These guys’ best work has a sameness to it, but when it’s this good, you can’t overlook it.
  434. RELAX — Frankie Goes to Hollywood: The ultimate dance-floor hit.
  435. PEOPLE GET READY — The Impressions: Straight-on gospel-soul powerfully sung.
  436. MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW — Dan Tyminski: No, that wasn’t George Clooney (or the Soggy Bottom Boys) singing this hit. But they made it look great.
  437. THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN — Thin Lizzy: The ultimate all-my-rowdy-friends together again song.
  438. THE BOONDOCKS — Little Big Town: Excellent harmonies, wonderful lyrics.
  439. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN CRAZY — Waylon Jennings: This is a true country rebel with a cause.
  440. RAMBLIN’ MAN — The Allman Brothers Band: Duane Allman and Dicky Betts offer a slice of twin guitar heaven.
  441. SCARY MONSTER — Skrillet: Listen to it with one of the people you love most in the Cracker Barrel parking lot. It’s amazing.
  442. SEND ME ON MY WAY — Rusted Root: Fun African rhythms with a little jug-band/Celtic musical mix.
  443. MACON — Jamey Johnson: The best country singer working today doing one of his best.
  444. I AM A ROCK — Simon & Garfunkel: Great S&G harmonies on another Simon classic.
  445. WISH YOU WERE HERE — Wyclef Jean: Clef funks up Floyd just right.
  446. SEND LAWYERS, GUNS AND MONEY — Warren Zevon: Rock’s ultimate madman calls for reinforcements.
  447. RIGHT ‘ROUND — Flo Rida: Try sitting still while this plays. You can’t. Ke$ha’s backing vocals are sublime.
  448. PROUD MARY — Creedence Clearwater Revival: A true classic song from one of America’s greatest groups.
  449. SOME OF SHELLY’S BLUES — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: These guys form the truest country/rock hybrid band of all time.
  450. FREE BIRD — Lynyrd Skynyrd: It’s an anthem because it deserves to be; the guitar work is incredible.
  451. SHELTER FROM THE STORM — Bob Dylan: Dylan may be a spokesman for his generation, but he knows how to speak to the ladies, too.
  452. TELEPHONE ROAD — Steve Earle: One of music’s greatest voices belongs to one of its greatest songwriters.
  453. UP ON THE ROOF — James Taylor: JT’s mellow vibe adds just the right touch to this soul classic.
  454. HUSH — Deep Purple: Great organ intro; a hard take on a rather tame original.
  455. GOLDEN YEARS — David Bowie: People remember Bowie as a great showman; they sometimes forget he is also a great singer/writer.
  456. TICKET TO RIDE — The Beatles: Byrds-like jangly guitars with Lennon’s great vocals.
  457. I AM MINE — Pearl Jam: Get Eddie stirred up, and he’ll throw the wrath of God at you.
  458. RAPPER’S DELIGHT — Sugarhill Gang: What better way to get ready for athletic competetion than listening to a little “A-hip, a-hop, a hip to the hippity ...?”
  459. TUSH — ZZ Top: Just a little band from Texas, with a big, big guitar sound.
  460. THANK YOU — Led Zeppelin: The Zep doing a love song? Believe it. And they do it well.
  461. GHOST OF TOM JOAD — Rage Against the Machine: Bruce’s original was a folkie. This remake is a driving, angry diatribe.
  462. LEADER OF THE BAND — Dan Fogelberg: A heartbreaker of a song.
  463. SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN — Poison: If you gotta do hair metal, it doesn’t get any better than this.
  464. PIANO MAN — Billy Joel: The trademark tune by one of rock’s greatest storytellers.
  465. ALL SUMMER LONG — Kid Rock: Two parts Zevon’s “Werewolves,” one part Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home” = a great party song.
  466. RIGHT NOW — Van Halen: Sorry, purists, but Van Halen was better with Sammy Hagar. Here’s proof.
  467. IT STONED ME — Van Morrison: Van the Man’s unbelievably soulful voice at its best.
  468. SHAMBALA — 3 Dog Night: Great vocals over excellent keyboards.
  469. STAND — Sly & the Family Stone: Nobody’s flakier than Sly Stone today, but back in the day he was the king of all things funky.
  470. TAKE ON ME — A-Ha: Sure, there’s a place for ‘80s synth rock when it’s this good.
  471. MY GOD — Jethro Tull: A classic from the masterful “Aqualung” album.
  472. HOLLER BACK — The Lost Trailers: The Trailers are best seen live; this captures the fun of their live shows.
  473. STAN — Eminem: Dido’s chorus fits perfectly with Em’s tale of an obsessed fan.
  474. DROPS OF JUPITER — Train: Great piano, great drums, great vocals, great lyrics ... great song.
  475. GOT TO GET A MESSAGE TO YOU — The Bee Gees: The best death row song to crack the 500.
  476. HERE’S A QUARTER, CALL SOMEONE WHO CARES — Travis Tritt: The perfect kiss-off song in TT’s great Georgia twang.
  477. WALKING TO NEW ORLEANS — Fats Domino: Fats ain’t walking any further than the refrigerator, but this classic oozes Big Easy sleaze.
  478. TRAIN TRAIN — Blackfoot: That locomotive intro’s enough to sell me; the excellent harmonica and guitar are bonuses.
  479. GREEN ONIONS — Booker T & the MGs: The coolest song by the coolest studio musicians ever.
  480. HANKY PANKY — Tommy James & the Shondells: A little innocent fun with a naughty beat.
  481. WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS — Led Zeppelin: One of (with “Moby Dick”) John Bonham’s (Respect) drumming tours de force.
  482. HOLIDAY INN — Elton John: An album cut that finds the Captain in great voice.
  483. SEX MACHINE — James Brown: This song is so funky it’s nasty ... in a good way.
  484. YOU NEVER EVEN CALLED ME BY MY NAME — David Allan Coe: Clever lyrics in typical “outlaw” style.
  485. RUSTY CAGE — Soundgarden: Kim Thayil is one of rock’s great underrated guitarists. Here’s proof.
  486. HEARTBREAK HOTEL — Elvis Presley: We’ve all made our way down “to the end of Lonely Street.”
  487. PINK HOUSES — John Mellencamp: A simple, acoustic-driven song that develops into a rave-up of a rocker.
  488. JUST DROPPED IN TO SEE WHAT CONDITION MY CONDITION WAS IN — Kenny Rogers & the First Edition: Before Kenny went country, he was messing with people’s minds in this psychedelic classic.
  489. ROAM — B-52s: Nobody does punk-rock fun like the B-52s.
  490. HURT — Johnny Cash: A Nine Inch Nails stunner that the Man in Black turned into a sad but fitting farewell.
  491. ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM — The Everly Brothers: Great tune from the pens of the great Boudleax and Felice Bryant.
  492. DOWN IN THE BOONDOCKS — Billy Joe Royal: Here, ladies and gentlemen, rural Irwin County.
  493. BAD BLOOD — Neil Sedaka (Fea. Elton John): A great comeback for Sedaka with a lot of help from EJ.
  494. CHERUB ROCK — Smashing Pumpkins: Corgan in one of his finest moments.
  495. CLOSER TO THE HEART — Rush: Love the a capella intro and the classic lyrics.
  496. JOLE BLON — Buckwheat Zydeco: A perfect introduction to the wonders of zydeco music. (Hear it on “The Big Easy” soundtrack.)
  497. THUNDER ISLAND — Jay Ferguson: A great pop/rock song that revels in the joys of love ... sigh ...
  498. SPIRIT IN THE SKY — Norman Greenbaum: Love the nasty fuzz-tone guitar and one Jewish guy’s expressions of love for Jesus.
  499. ONE — Metallica: All hail Lars Ulrich ... the drums here are amazing.
  500. IN THE END — Linkin Park: A perfect ending to the best music ever made ... until I think of the 847 or so others that I missed.

Comments

Supes0611 2 years, 8 months ago

This is a freakin fantastic list!! Inspired me to take on my own beast and compose a list.

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