Music: Greatest Songs of All Time — A Challenge

Postcard_Abbey_Road

Abbey Road, London, UK — Many of us, young and old, associate pieces of music with the most important aspects of who we are. A few years ago, some of us tried an exercise that turned out to be very interesting.  It started when I was asked to list my choices for the Top Five GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME. As I made my list, I learned a few things right away:

  1. I discovered that there were at least 15 songs that I couldn’t drop from my TOP FIVE list
  2. I learned that “All Time” is a very long time.
  3. I decided that “songs” had to include a few longer pieces of music not normally called songs.

SO, today I am challenging you (yes, YOU) to create your own “All Time” list.  My challenge is to submit a response to this post that answers three questions:

  1. What is your list of the twenty GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME?
  2. What is wrong with your list?
  3. What makes your list excellent?

If you will send your answers as a response (click on the link at the end of this post) I will publish them here (with first names or nicknames only). I hope you will accept the challenge. We’ll see what conclusions we can draw from our lists.

I have started the ball rolling with my own.

My Twenty Greatest Songs of All Time

1.  Here Comes the Sun — Beatles
(This whole side of Abbey Road IS this song)
2.  The Perfect Time to Be In Love — T. Jones and H. Schmidt
(from The Fantasticks, 30th Anniversary Tour) *
3.  Me and Bobby McGee — Janis Joplin
4.  Sing! Sing! Sing! — Benny Goodman
5.  Watching the Wheels — John Lennon
6.  Things We Said Today — The Beatles
7.  Sleeps Judea Fair — Hugh McKinnon (as sung by Grace Cathedral’s Men’s/Boy’s Chorus)
8.  (It’s Not That Easy Being) Green — Kermit The Frog and Frank Sinatra
9.  One For My Baby, and One More for the Road — Frank Sinatra
10. Such A Night — Elvis Presley
11. Hope of Deliverance — Paul McCartney
12. Prelude and Fugue in A Minor — Johann Sebastian Bach (as performed by E. Power Biggs)
13. Cantata No. 140: Sleepers Awake (Wachet Auf, choral version) — Johann Sebastian Bach
14. Rhapsody in Blue — George Gershwin
15. Three’s A Crowd — Dave Brubeck
16. Cakewalk Into Town — Taj Mahal
17. Chantily Lace — The Big Bopper
18. When You’re The Best There Is — Chuck Mangione
19. American Pie — Don McLean
20. Maybe I’m Amazed — Paul McCartney

What’s wrong with my list?

  • Only one from Elvis
  • Only two from Sinatra

    DAN_ABBEY_ROAD_CROSSWALK

    Dan Crossing Abbey Road

  • Only one Broadway show tune
  • No Moody Blues (John, can you fix that?)
  • No Bob Dylan (but how many would it take?)
  • No John Mayor and no Pearl Jam (but it’s early and “All Time” is a very long time)
  • No Peter, Paul, and Mary (inexcusable!)
  • Richie Havens is missing!

What makes my list excellent?

  • The Beatles are at the beginning, middle and end (although some claim that the first 126 songs should be Beatles — Jody?)
  • JS Bach is represented with both organ and choral pieces
  • Athletic achievement is well represented with the Mangione piece
  • The Fantasticks is second only to Abbey Road (representing dozens of Broadway tunes that should be listed)
  • American Pie serves as a summary and represents some missing artists (Dylan, Stones, Buddy Holley  . . . )
  • No disco.

What do you think? Please click on “Comments” below and paste in your answers.

I can hardly wait to see YOUR lists.     DS_logo

*   You wonder how these things begin. Well, this begins with a glen. It begins with a season which, for want of a better word we may as well call- September. It begins in a forest where the woodchucks woo, and the leaves wax green, and vines intertwine like lovers; try to see it. not with your eyes, for they are wise, but see it with your ears: the cool green breathing of the leaves. And hear it with the inside of your hand: the soundless sound of shadows flicking light. Celebrate sensation. Recall that secret place. You’ve been there, you remember: That special place where once- Just once- in your crowded sunlit lifetime, you hid away in shadow from the tyranny of time. That spot beside the clover where someone’s hand held your hand and love was sweeter than the berries, or the honey, or the stinging taste of mint. It is September- before a rainfall- a perfect time to be in love.

— El Gallo, The Fantasticks

19 Responses “Music: Greatest Songs of All Time — A Challenge”

  1. Jody says:

    Dan, I would say either “watching and waiting” or “The question” for the Moody Blues entry. I’m really excited to see Taj Majal on your list! I suppose I would have selected “take a giant step,” although that one may be on my perfect song list.

  2. Jody says:

     
    1.  Something—Beatles
    2.  Here Comes the Sun–Beatles
    3.  Strawberry Fields Forever–Beatles
    4.  First Day of My Life—Bright Eyes
    5.  Tupelo Honey—Van Morrison
    6.  Shine—David Gray
    7.  Kashmir—Led Zeppelin
    8.  And it stoned me—Van Morrison
    9.  At the bottom of everything—Bright Eyes
    10.  Allison—Elvis Costello
    11.  Imagine—John Lennon
    12.  I don’t know what it is—Rufus Wainwright
    13.  Fake plastic trees–Radiohead
    14.  If the brakeman turns my way—Bright Eyes
    15.  All things must pass—George Harrison
    16. Old Man—Neil Young
    17.  God Only Knows—Beach Boys
    18.  Friend of the Devil—Grateful Dead
    19.  Chinese Translation—M. Ward
    20.  Big Yellow Taxi—Joni Mitchell
     
    2. What is wrong with your list?
    My list has a glaring absence of the Blues.  I hope to make up for that in the future.  Also, this list was put together rather quickly, and is in no particular order.  However, number 14 (If the Brakeman turns my way—Bright Eyes) does have the best line ever written in a song:  “First the mother bathes her child,
               then the other way around.
    ​The scales always find a way to level out.”
     
     
    3. What makes your list excellent?
    It includes lots of Bright Eyes!  Conor Oberst is, without a doubt, the best songwriter of all time.  I’m not biased, just listen to the lyrics.

  3. Papa Dan says:

    Jody, this is a great list! It reminds me of deficiencies in my own list. It makes me want to make a list of “How could I have forgotten that one?”: All Things Must Pass, Something, IMAGINE, and Big Yellow Taxi. I loved Tupelo Honey since the day it was released. It has some great lyrics:
    “You can’t stop us on the road to freedom
    You can’t keep us, ’cause our eyes can see
    Men with insight, men in granite
    Knights in armor intent on chivalry.”

    I love the fact that there are so many on your list I haven’t heard.
    One more thing: So, your “perfect song list” is different from your “Greatest of all time list?” I’d like to know more about that.
    Thanks.

  4. Donald says:

    Dan
    My initial thoughts:
    I tend to like songs based on the music rather than the lyrics. I rarely listen to the lyrics in fact except where noted below. I only recently listened to the lyrics to Paul Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard and realized what it was about however, I have always liked the song’s musio since it first came out.
    I do think you were musically sacrilegious in not explicitly calling out a Dylan song and I would go with All Along the Watch Tower for the music (I am partial to Dave Mathews’ version of this song). Not only did you leave out Dylan but you also left off Leonard Cohen. My list would include Cohen’s Hallelujah and/or Bird on a Wire (for both the words and the music). Speaking of Hallelujah songs with intense music, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus would be on my list I think. And speaking of songs with a religious tone, John Newton’s powerful Amazing Grace would come to the fore.
    I agree with McLean’s American Pie.
    With regards to Moody Blues, I would cast a vote for The Question or Nights in White Satin but the later only because it was the first song I heard by them.
    I am glad to see Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee.
    I think Jethro Tull’s Locamotive Breath would make my list, again, mainly for the driving music but also to hint at Ian Anderson’s poetry ability.
    I need more time to put my list together.

  5. Papa Dan says:

    Donald, I agree with your assessment that a list (mine) without a Dylan song is musically sacrilegious — but, like the Beatles, there are so many. In retrospect, Dylan is in several categories all his own. The context of the album Highway 61 Revisited (Like a Rolling Stone, Gates of Eden, etc) is so different from that of New Morning (If Not For You, If Dogs Run Free, Went to See the Gypsy), his collaboration with Johnny Cash (Girl From the North country), all deserve to appear on the list in some form. And then his recent wonderful album Modern Times (When the Deal Goes down, Workingman’s Blues, Nettie Moore, etc) is a whole new Dylan — at once powerful and tender. We NEED to see your list and I want to see your Number One!! Looking forward to it when it is finished.

  6. Dan- You have asked of us a huge task, thoughts of which have been keeping me awake nights and early mornings. I cannot pin down individual songs or composers in some cases so you will have to be content with group listings. I cannot assign numbers 1-20 except in the case of Time After Time listed as #1 at this time of my life and September Song for #2.

    Joe votes for You Are My Sunshine and Cruisin’ Down The River (Highway)

    Here goes:
    TIME AFTER TIME
    SEPTEMBER SONG
    RHAPSODY IN BLUE
    INNAGADDADAVIDA
    ALL OF SCOTT JOPLIN’S WORKS
    ALL THE SONGS FROM THE MOVIE, CAMELOT
    ALL OF THE SONGS FROM THE MOVIE, CARO– USEL
    ALL OF THE SONGS FROM OKLAHOMA
    ALL OF THE SONGS FROM SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS

    THE PIANO SOLOS JOSE ITURBI PLAYED IN MOVIES (CAN’T REMEMBER THE NAMES OR COMPOSERS)

    STEVE MARTIN’S KING TUT
    FRANK SINATRA’S THE HO– USE I LIVE IN
    ALL OF GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA WORKS

    A NOCTURNE I ONCE PLAYED ON THE PIANO THAT TOUCHED ANN BILLECI TO TEARS WHEN I WAS A CHILD (CAN’T REMEMBER THE COMPOSER)

    MOOLIGHT SONATA(COMPOSER?)
    RUSTLE OF SPRING ”
    BUMBLE BOOGIE ”
    CLASSICAL GAS ”
    MACARTHUR PARK ”
    GENE KELLY’S SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
    ALL OF FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS’ SONGS

    JEANETTE MACDONALD AND NELSON EDDY DUETS

    SONGS BY ROGERS AND HART
    SONGS BY ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN
    SONGS BY IRVING BERLIN
    We can’t forget the composers, (can we?) as we remember the ones who sang their songs. I wish my memory wasn’t fading. I cannot remember them as I used to.

    Then there are some rather whimsical songs that come to mind like The Coffee Song, Brooklyn Bridge and I Begged Her (Frank Sinatra)
    Dan, there are just too many great songs and all for different reasons such as lyrics, melody, feelings they evoke in us, happiness they bring us, memories good and bad they bring us.
    Then there are church songs, such as I HAVE LOVED YOU and ON EAGLES’ WINGS

    Happy Birthday, O Christmas Tree, Over the River and Thru the Woods, America the Beautiful…
    THE BEAT GOES ON as the list goes on. It will be hard to stop thinking about great songs I should have listed.

    WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS LIST? TOO SHORT.

    WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS LIST? IT MADE ME THINK ABOUT ALL THESE GREAT SONGS.

    Thanks for asking us to think and bringing forth such great memories.

  7. Lew (Dan's 'Brother' from Salinas) says:

    I tend to like what I like, despite ratings
    and popularity. These are not in any order:

    Girl From Yesterday – Eagles
    More Than Words – Extreme
    Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
    Follow Me – Peter Paul & Mary
    Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
    Pipeline – The Duo-Tones
    Light My Fire – Doors
    Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
    Here Comes The Sun – Beatles
    Creepin In – Nora Jones and Dolly Parton
    Surfin USA – Beach Boys
    City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie
    Top Of The World – The Carpenters
    Color My World – Chicago
    Find My Love – Fairground Attraction
    Me & Bobby McGee – Janus Joplin
    Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
    Dancing In The Streets – Mammas & The Pappas
    The Lucky One – Alison Krause
    Georgia – Willie Nelson

    What is wrong with my list is that it is from my time, not all time. It also does not include songs from the artists listed below, which I very much like. Any one of them could be on my Top 20 or be the entire Top 20. My favorites tend to mirror what is happening now, and what is going on in my life. As I approach 60 years on the planet, I realize that there are far too many songs that I have not yet heard. I was totally enchanted with Nora Jones a few years ago. She made me realize that there is new talent in the wings. I am hoping that your blog will tune me in to some new voices that I will consider as Top 20 favorites in the future.

    The Grateful Dead
    Jim Croce
    John Denver
    Classical Music
    Linda Rondstat
    Olivia Newton John
    Eric Clapton
    Elton John
    The Surfaries – Wipe Out
    Sonny & Cher
    Simon & Garfunkel
    Lovin’ Spoonful
    Ray Charles
    Elvis Presley
    Garth Brooks
    Ramsey Lewis
    Maria Muldaur
    The Big Bands
    Broadway Musicals
    U2
    We Five
    The Tractors – Baby Likes To Rock It
    Madonna
    Richie Havens
    Neil Young
    Kenny Rogers
    Jackson Browne
    Glen Miller
    George Benson
    Frank Sinatra
    Fats Domino
    Donnie & Marie Osmond
    Bing Crosby
    B.B. King
    Allison Crowe

    What makes my list excellent is that it mirrors my eclectic lifestyle. I like music. I like some genres better than others, but I am always open to listening to a new artist. I love to dissect songs, and listen to the parts that make the whole song work. The different instruments, the rhythm, the beat, the vocals, the backup singers, the reaction from a live audience, etc. Music is essential to my life. I think it is one of the strongest bonds that holds Lew and Dan together as brothers.

  8. Ben says:

    1, Daughter – Pearl Jam
    2, I walk the Line – Johnny Cash
    3, Breathe – Pearl Jam
    4, Bobby Jean – Bruce Springsteen
    5, Setting Forth – Eddie Vedder
    6, Motion Pictures – Neil Young
    7, Girl don’t tell me you’ll write – The Beach boys
    8, Unemployable – Pearl Jam
    9, Half a Person – The Smiths
    10, Polar Opposites – Modest Mouse
    11, No Ceiling – Eddie Vedder
    12, Substitute – The Who
    13, Feeling like I do – Superdrag
    14, Blame it on Cain – Elvis Costello
    15, Mother – John Lennon
    16, Gonna See my Friend – Pearl Jam
    17, Boys don’t cry – The Cure
    18, Save you – Pearl Jam
    19, Rearview mirror – Pearl Jam
    20, Party Girl – Elvis Costello

    What’s wrong with my list??
    I’m tempted to say nothing, but… there are really 3 problems: 1) too much Pearl Jam, 2) not enough Pearl Jam, and 3) no Beatles (although John makes an appearance). I’d also really like there to be more Neil Young, but I guess I enjoy his music within the context of his albums, so picking out individual songs is no easy task. There are zillions of songs I’ve left off; their absence is very “wrong.” I miss them…

    What makes my list excellent?
    To me, Eddie Vedder is the greatest song writer, so his pearl jam and solo music make my list excellent. Also, you’ve got to love a list with Johnny Cash on it.

    Idea: top ten albums of all time!!!? ready, go.

  9. Joe III says:

    Agreeing with Bunny (my mom) substantially, I am afraid I have to decline your challenge as impossible to accomplish. I am not new to this position, having laughed for years at the impossibility of my brothers Steve and Dan’s endeavor to choose their top 100 songs of all time, limiting themselves to the Billboard Top 40. Last I heard, they had gotten to the S’s or T’s after what seems like 6 or 7 years. I continue to insist that I couldn’t even choose my best 500 or 1000 songs, and definitely wouldn’t find most of my favorite songs among the Top 40!

    As Bunny pointed out, there are so many entire albums from folk, rock, pop, or soundtracks that qualify as complete “symphonies” whose completeness and balance exceed the values of individual songs, but that contribute 4 or 5 great songs that belong individually on a list.

    There are entire soundtracks from musicals including many each from several composers (chances are that if I leave one out, it’s an omission — I’ve purposefully decided NOT to get up and search through my collection, and not to look anything up on the web or this won’t get written at all — okay, I didn’t turn out to be that disciplined, nor my memory that good, although I haven’t filled in ALL of the blanks):

    Lerner and Loewe: The Little Prince, Camelot, My Fair Lady, etc.
    Rodgers and Hammerstein: Carousel, Oklahoma, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, The King and I
    The composers of the Astaire and Rogers films: Cole Porter, The Gershwins, Dorothy Fields, and that other prolific early guy I can’t remember
    Stephen Sondheim: Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Company, A Little Night Music, etc. etc.
    Andrew Lloyd Webber:: The Phantom of the Opera, Song and Dance, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoast, etc.
    Misc.:The Fantasticks, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown!, The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz

    Best Pop/Rock Symphonies with 4 or 5 or more candidates for best songs include:

    The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles (The White Album), Let It Be, Abbey Road
    Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed (Tuesday Afternoon, Nights in White Satin), To Our Children’s Children’s Children (Watching and Waiting) etc.etc.including the one that includes Question which was impressively on several lists so far
    Judy Collins: Wildflowers, In My Life, Who Knows Where The Time Goes (thanks also to Leanard Cohen here — we often leave out the composers)
    Donovan: Catch the Wind, Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow, Wear Your Love Like Heaven, A Gift From A Flower To A Garden, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Barabajagal
    The Doors: The Doors
    Neil Diamond: Velvet Gloves and Spit, Moods, Serenade, Beautiful Noise
    Carole King: Tapestry
    Tim Moore: Tim Moore, Behind Closed Eyes
    Spanky and Our Gang: the albums with Lazy Days, Leavin’ on a Jet Plan, If You Could Only Be Me, and Sunday Will Never Be The Same, and Commercial, with Sunday Mornin’, And She’s Mine, and Like to Get to Know You, and with Give a Damn and Yesterday’s Rain
    Marc Cohn: Marc Cohn (w/ “Walking in Memphis”)
    Simon and Garfunkel: Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, Sounds of Silence, Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme, Bookends, and Bridge Over Troubled Water (a full house! — five albums and five masterpieces!)
    John Denver: Poems, Prayers and Promises, Back Home Again, Seasons of the Heart
    Carly Simon: Anticipation, No Secrets, Torch
    Don McLean: American Pie
    Richard Harris: MacArthur Park, My Boy (thanks to Jimmy Webb for those too!)
    Art Garfunkel: Angel Clare, Scissors Cut (Jimmy Webb again on both)
    Paul McCartney: McCartney, Ram
    John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band, and the one with Imagine on it

    Then there are the Best Pop/Rock Symphonies of all time that no one else has ever heard because I found them in the 10-for-a-dollar bin at used record stores: Paul Parrish, Stephen Sinclair, Michael Katakis

    Consider that I had 200 LPs (that’s 2000+ songs) in my collection when I left high school for college — that was before I acquired these great albums in college, each at least half full of great songs:
    Elton John’s first (Greatest Discovery, 60 Years On, Your Song, The King is Dead, Take Me to the Pilot)
    James Taylor — Sweet Baby James (Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, etc.)
    Gordon Lightfoot — If You Could Read My Mind

    Now, I should mention that I am a long time collector of LPs (1400 before I started replacing at most a few hundred of them with CDs) and CDs (~2700 at last count). About a third of those are classical (which I’m totally avoiding here, but would agree with the few others have listed), so figure I now have 24,000 songs I’ve purchased that I could choose from, plus hundreds of Top 40 stuff I know well, but haven’t bought!

    The best albums that I love tremendously that Dan bought and then decided he didn’t like and gave to me:
    The Rascals — Groovin’
    Dionne Warwick’s first album (thanks, Burt Bacharach and Hal David!) and Thanks, Dan!
    Lovin’ Spoonful

    or that Dan introduced me to, or gave me as presents:
    Quicksilver Messenger Service
    Peter Paul and Mary: Album 1700
    — better not start that list, it could take all night — thanks, Dan!

    And there are the individual old songs that I heard in the last day or two with echoes from the past and evoked others from the same time:
    Stand by Me
    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
    That’s All
    Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter
    A Song for You
    Drift Away

    And the great songs recently out or otherwise prominent during just the few months when I fell in love for the first time:
    She’s A Lady (John Sebastian)
    Time of the Season (who?)
    Days of Future Passed esp. Tuesday Afternoon and Nights in White Satin)
    You Made Me So Very Happy (BS&T)
    Feelin’ Alright (Traffic)
    Crimson and Clover (Tommy James and the Shondells)
    Follow Me (Mary Travers, but written by John Denver)
    Legend of a Girl Child Linda (Donovan)
    All of The Fantasticks
    My Father (Judy Collins)

    And from the few months when I fell in love for the second time:
    Send in the Clowns (Judy Collins)
    Could It Be Magic? (Barry Manilow)
    Mandy (Barry Manilow)

    Must stop here and head to dinner!

    What’s wrong with this list?
    Well, it’s a total affront to Dan’s request, but it’s from the heart! And there’s really so much that missing! What’s really wrong with this list is that unlike Dan’s list, there’s almost nothing from recent times. I notice that there are a lot of songs on others’ lists that I haven’t even heard of. I must find a way to hear some of them somehow.

    What’s good about my list?
    Well, for the most part, if others put someone on your list of artists that you should have included and I didn’t include them, it’s probably a conscious choice. I don’t mind that I’ve left off Bob Dylan (although Judy Collins and Simon and Garfunkel sang some great songs he wrote that I’d rather hear them sing) or the Rolling Stones (Angie is really the only Stones song I’d put on a list — there, I got one in!) or Elvis (I got nothing! not even an afterthought!) . But what’s best about my list is that I need to get a bunch of this stuff off the shelf and into the CD player, or in too many cases still, the turntable!

  10. Papa Dan says:

    Joe, This is a wonderful list, as is your mom’s. You reminded me, as others have, of songs that belong on my “How could I have left that one off my list?” list. “It Can’t Happen Here” by the Mothers of Invention belong in the top half as does “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi. Several songs from the play You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (“Book Report,” “Suppertime,” “Happiness”). Spanky and Our Gang! (wasn’t the song “Commercial” on that album?) As for your comment that what’s wrong with your list is that “it’s a total affront to Dan’s request” you might decide that the “total affront” lists I’ve gotten here have contributed a lot to our recollection of the great music that helped make us who we are, eh? Thanks for that, to you and others. Besides, how could I expect anything less from a guy I grew up with who has purchased 24,000 songs and still listens to many of them? Your list is exactly what I hoped it would be — except how could you have left off “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, “And When I Die” by BS&T, and “Beginnings” by Chicago (how COULD we?). Thanks for your contribution.

  11. Andrea says:

    What, no Barry Manilow? Sorry, I was a teenager when he was at his peak. I don’t even think I can limit myself to 20 Barry songs, but one of my faves is “Lay Me Down,” a song that no one has ever heard (off the same album as “I Write the Songs”). The chorus: Lay me down, roll me out to sea, calling on a mighty wave to cover me, lay me down, roll me out to sea, heaven if you’re ready, shine your light on me.

  12. Bunny says:

    Dan and Joe really sent shivers down my spine (or was it my heart?) How could I miss Nights in White Satin (I still remember where I was when I first heard it: driving down “A” street in Antioch.) And Simon and Garfunkel and how about “Father and Son”? and Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago? Don’t forget Rosemary Clooney (She hated C’mon-a My House but everybody else loved it at the time). And of course Barry Manilow! We could go on forever!

  13. Nou says:

    1. I Will – The Beatles
    2. You and I – Jason Mraz
    3. Crush – Dave Matthews
    4. Australia – The Shins
    5. Paris Sunrise #7 – Ben Harper
    6. Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders
    7. Wild Horses – Rolling Stones covered by the Sundays
    8. The Three of Us – Ben Harper
    9. Perfect – Alanis Morrisette
    10. Wish You Were Here – the original by Pink Floyd and also the cover by Rodrigo y Gabriella
    11. Dyer Maker – Led Zepplin
    12. Yellow – Coldplay
    13. Sand in my Shoes – Dido
    14. Hear Me Out – Frou Frou
    15. A Thousand Things – Jason Mraz
    16. Crystal Ball- Keane
    17. If Not for You – Bob Dylan
    18. Belle – Jack Johnson
    19. Twenty Questions – Beastie Boys
    20. Chan Chan – Buena Vista Club
    21. Waiting in Vain – Bob Marley and the Wailers
    22. The Heart of Life – John Mayer
    23. One – Metallica
    24. All in the Family – Mary J Blidge
    25. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service

    What’s wrong with my list?
    Too much Jason Mraz, not enough classics, no real hip hop from when I was growing up. No Hall and Oates, CCR or Stevie Wonder. This is not an exhaustive list and can change from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute with minor changes and additions.

    What’s good about my list?
    It’s diverse and says a lot about who I am and what I like. I do believe that Ben Harper is a guitar god as are Rodrigo y Gabriella. I’ve seen over half of the artist perform live and believe that seeing the band live has enhanced my opinion of the song and artist exponentially.

  14. Matt says:

    Matt’s Top Twenty-Five
    1. George Harrison – All things must pass
    2. Beatles – She came in through the bathroom window – really i like
    the whole second side of Abbey road as one song but this part is my
    favorite.
    3. Pearl Jam – Off He goes
    4. Cat Stevens – Ruby love 🙂
    5. Cure – Mint Car
    6. Neil Young – Music Arcade
    7. Dave Matthews Band – Why I Am
    8 Counting crows – Rain king
    9. John Mayer Trio – Another Kind of Green
    10. Jack Johnson – Broken
    11. Eddie Vedder – Rise
    12. Otis Redding – Dock of the bay
    13. Smashing pumpkins -cover of Fleetwood Mac’s – Landslide
    14. Zwan – El Sol
    15. Bon Ivor – re: stacks
    16. Pearl Jam – elderly woman behind the counter
    17. Pearl Jam- untitled before mfc on …
    18. Coldplay- 42
    19. Beck – Earthquake Weather
    20. Cake- cover of Gloria gainer’s -I Will Survive
    21. Coldplay – Death and All of his Friends
    22. Smashing Pumpkins – Lily
    23. Cat Stevens – The Wind
    24. Pearl Jam – The End
    25. Pearl Jam – Unthought Known

  15. Bunny (Dan's Sister) says:

    Dan,

    “I was walkin’ along, mindin’ my business,” to quote Johnny Mercer, when I suddenly remembered a great song about how people feel when they fall in love: Orange Colored Sky! Look online for this song in Johnny Mercer’s version. His original words are the best of all those available from him and other artists who recorded it in the 50s.
    Bunny: Are these the right lyrics?:
    I was walking along, minding my business,
    When out of an orange-colored sky,
    Flash! Bam! Alakazam!
    Wonderful you came by.

    I was humming a tune, drinking in sunshine,
    When out of that orange-colored view
    Flash! Bam! Alakazam!
    I got a look at you.

    One look and I yelled “Timber”
    “Watch out for flying glass”
    Cause the ceiling fell in and the bottom fell out,
    I went into a spin and I started to shout,
    “I’ve been hit, This is it, This is it!”

    I was walking along, minding my business,
    When love came and hit me in the eye,
    Flash! Bam! Alakazam!
    Out of an orange-colored sky.

    (Musical Interlude)

    One look and I yelled “Timber”
    “Watch out for flying glass”
    Cause the ceiling fell in and the bottom fell out,
    I went into a spin and I started to shout,
    “I’ve been hit, this is it, this is it!”

    I was walking along, minding my business,
    When love came and hit me in the eye
    Flash! Bam! Alakazam!
    Out of an orange-colored, purple-striped, pretty green polka-dot sky
    Flash! Bam! Alakazam! and goodbye

  16. Bunny says:

    Oh, yes! These are the right ones. It occurs to me that most of the lyrics are phrases we use to express delight in something. “hit me in the eye”, “Timber”, “I’ve been hit”, “this is it”, etc. Great lyrics.

  17. Matt says:

    You know what would be fun?… I had a thought that came from reading through these but specifically from Lew’s note here. I want to hear the little gems that other people have listened to over and over that I have not ever heard. A book club style exchange. Lew is right! There is a new songwriter out there every day that I am sure is amazing. I would love to go through and listen to ALL of these lists and talk them out with the list writer. Very fun stuff Dad, now think of a way to keep it going
    Merry Xmas!
    Matt

  18. Paul says:

    Greatest Songs Of All Time… as people have pointed out, very problematic. I would have, perhaps, a little better success choosing my top 20 songs as of right now, but even that is subject to change.

    There is so much music that is an important part of my life, indeed of who I am, in some way, for different reasons. At any given time, if I make myself aware of it, there is likely to be a song going through my head. I am reminded of pieces of songs from things people around me say or do, or from experiences, or just thoughts in my head. Often, one song will be dominant in my head, or a line from a song, or a bit of melody. Sometimes this song changes throughout the day, while other times the same song can dominate for days, even weeks at a time. What is annoying is when I song I don’t even really like gets stuck in my head. There must be something I do like about it, something that makes my brain repeat it over and over.

    Music is a very personal experience. It touches us in many ways under many different circumstances for many reasons. This can make it easier to identify prominent songs in our lives, or it can make it harder, because it causes us to reflect on parts of us associated with some very powerful emotions and ideas.

    Thanks for starting this post, Uncle Dan! It is a wonderful topic of exploration. I’ll have to think on it some more, and then I may have further things to share.

    Paul

  19. Jody says:

    Hi Dan, I know I mentioned it before, but my brother and I are interested in the idea of the “perfect” song and “perfect” album. Though the ideas are highly subjective, so too is music itself. So, a “perfect” song is a little gem of a song. It is just as beautiful at the end as it was at the beginning. We generally think of shorter, slow songs, with “Something” and “Here comes the Sun” being the models for this genre. The Perfect album is extremely consistent, obviously, and may have an overall story arc, such as Beck’s “Sea Change”. What are others “perfect” songs and records?

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