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My Best Top 100 Tracks
That's the Way I've Always Heard it Should Be.
I've loved this track from the first time I heard it. It was the first hit for Carly Simon from her debut album Carly Simon in 1971. Lyrics by Jacob Brackman, music by Carly Simon.
From their second studio album of the same name in 2007, Blackbird features a great guitar solo or it's maybe a duet ? by Tremonti and Kennedy. Guitar magazine called it the greatest guitar solo of all time. Ahem, maybe the reviewer was a real Alter Bridge fan.
Born to Run
The Boss. Born to Run was the first single released from his third studio album of the same name. Released in 1975 it finally brought fame to Springsteen. His best song in my opinion.
More Than a Feeling
From their award winning debut album Boston in 1976. This is one of America's biggest selling albums at over 17 million sales. Written by founding member of the band, guitarist and keyboard player Tom Scholz.
Rollin' in the Deep
From her second album titled 21 in 2011. I like the album as it has a taste of folk, soul, blues and country and you can't say that about many albums. For me Rollin' in the deep comes out just on top. Released as a single just before the album 21 was released.
Close My Eyes Forever
Lita Ford & Ozzie Osbourne
Ford has sung this with many other rock stars but none quite hits the spot as the Ozzie duet does. This was Lita Ford's second solo studio album titled Lita and was produced by Ozzie's wife Sharon Osbourne in 1988. Ozzie needs no introductions but you may not know that Lita Ford started out with Joan Jett in the all female band The Runaways.
No ! It's not a mistake. This is my favourite 100 songs and if I could pick more than one track per artist there would be at least one more from Deano. This song was first heard in the 1953 film The Caddy with Jerry Lewis. This huge hit became Deano's signature tune and was known all over the world.
Take Me to the Church
Irish guy from County Wicklow, fairly new on the scene. He released his debut EP which included the track Take me to the church in 2013. Hozier included the single again on his self titled first album Hozier in 2014. Perhaps I like him because he comes from Bray, where a couple of my good friends are from. It's a good song though and been covered a few times already.
Another Irish guy but a bit of an older one this time. I'm not a great fan of Van Morrison but his 1970 Album Moondance is a gem. The title track is full of blues, rock, folk and soul. A brilliant array of musical instrumentation, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, wind, percussion.
I like Rod the mod and I thought he should be in my top 100 tracks. Deciding which track was a bit difficult. I like Mandolin Wind, Handbags and Gladrags but Maggie May won out. Rod wrote the song for his 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story.
There was always something about Donna Summer that I found most appealing. When I found that she started her career as a hard rock singer,
I realised what it was. She even had Skunk Baxter rocking into a guitar solo on this track.She released this as the lead single for her 1979 album Bad Girls.
Difficult to choose one of Jackson's singles but this one just wins out for me. Having witnessed Orianthi and Jackson performing this track at Wembley I feel this is the most exciting.
The song didn't get very good reviews when this single was released from his 1988 album Bad but reaching No 1 in the US
It's All Over Now Baby Blue
Not the only cover in my list and Richie Havens has recorded a lot of covers especially Dylans. Seen this guy a couple of times and he is just great live. This track only just beat his live version of Freedom, which I heard at the Isle of Wight Festival 69/70.
Very nearly everybody has covered this Dylan track from his 1965 album Bringing it All Back Home but Havens, who had been singing it for a few years, finally released a recording on his 1970 album Stonehenge.
Diamonds and Rust
I must be in a folk rock mood. Talking about Dylan, Havens and now the fabulous Joan Baez. This track describes her relationship with Bob Dylan, diamonds and rust.
The song is from her gold album of 1975 Diamonds and Rust and is considered by most of her critics including me, as her best. I can listen to this several times over.
This is a bit of a jump. Frank Sinatra. If I listen to Frank, I have to listen to just him all day or maybe mix it up a bit with Satchmo, Ella Fitzgerald et al, the only Jazz I can listen to. But, this is one track that I can listen to at any time and in any mood. You can't say that about many songs.
" The summer wind came blowin' in from across the sea
It lingered there, to touch your hair and walk with me "
What an opening lyric. Just so soft ! The song was originally German and translated by Johnny Mercer and sung by several people until Sinatra featured it on his 1966 album Strangers in the Night.
The Righteous Brothers
A lot of folks would probably put You've Lost that Loving Feeling before Unchained Melody but not me. The title comes from the original 1955 version which was written for a movie called Unchained.
There are many versions but when the Righteous Brothers version came out as a solo by Bobby Hatfield in 1965 it quickly became a favourite. It's fame was resurrected once again when it was used as the theme for the 1990 movie Ghost.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Some of my friends would think I would prefer the Creedence Clearwater version but nobody has sung this as good as Marvin Gaye.
An old quiz question as the first recording was not the first released and neither of these were Marvin Gaye. To clear up the confusion the first recorded version was The Miracles who released it in 1968 and the first released version was Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1967. Marvin Gaye released the track on his 1968 album In The Groove.
Simon and Garfunkel
There's a vocal hook in this track that is better than anything I've heard. I'm not a huge fan of Paul Simon and even less a fan of Garfunkel, who just sits and does very little, but I really like this from their award winning album of 1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water. There's a great version by Emmylou Harris also.
The song is about loneliness and poverty and was recored in many different locations, even positioning a drum kit in front of an elevator shaft to get the memorable crashing sound.
Stand By Me
Ben E King
When King wrote Stand By Me he wanted the Drifters to record it, but they decided it wasn't for them. Luckily King decided to record it himself. The song is one of the ten most earning songs of all time and was used as the title track for that great movie Stand By Me. King featured the recording on his 1961 album Don't Play That Song. The track has been covered hundreds of times not least by John Lennon.
Famous Blue Raincoat
This is another guy that makes it hard to choose the best track. At the end it came to Famous Blue Raincoat. I love the track, they way it is contrived and the story attached to it. It is sung as a letter to Cohen's brother who was guilty of stealing his girlfriend. At the time of writing Cohen had his raincoat stolen.
From his 1971 album Songs of Love and Hate.
A great song. Everyone knows it's about the plane crash that took the life of Buddy Holly as well as Richie Valens and the Big Boppa in 1959 " the day the music died ". The song is from McLean's album of 1971 American Pie. It only reached No 2 in the UK but a shortened version by Madonna got to No 1 in 2000.
Ashes to Ashes
From Bowie's Scary Monsters album of 1980 and the title track of that great TV series of the same name. Another difficult choice from a really huge portfolio but his revisit to Major Tom and that track, Space Oddity, being my second choice, I had to go with this.
I'm not a real fan of Elton John. I've always thought of him as a clown and a pub pianist from Watford. I saw him once at Crystal Palace bowl. He put on a big show but Rory Gallagher and Tir Na Nog were better. This track is good though.
Quite different for Rush, bassist Geddy Lee ditches the guitar for a synthesizer and produces one of their best songs and a regular player on the radio. From their 1981 album Moving Pictures, this is the only Rush track I like, but why the critics call it hard rock I cannot imagine. This is Rush catching up on the progressive rock scene.
For The Love of God
Not the only instrumental in my top 100. Steve Vai has an interesting history. He started out with Frank Zappa who eventually gave him a start. He had been taught to play guitar in the early seventies by Joe Satriani. This track comes from his 1990 album Passion and Warfare.
I may have included this track just so I could look through all the photos of the Wilson sisters to choose one for this bio. I chose Nancy but it could so easily have been Ann. This is their best known track from their second album of 1977 Little Queen. The title is probably what the sisters thought about their early record company when one of the execs tried to spread a rumour of an incestuous relationship between the sisters, just to gain publicity. Needless to say they dropped that record company pretty quick.
Turn the Page
A song about bands being on the road and the hassle they encountered. Seger was touring with the Silver Bullet Band when something a guy in a roadside cafe said triggered thoughts for a song. Bands were always getting ribbed for their long hair and getting called girlies and the bands would retort " put another record on " or, " come up with something different " or " turn the page ". Seger featured the track on his 1973 album Back in 72.
Ride a White Swan
Marc Bolan said that he got the title from a time when someone spiked his drink with LSD. I'm pretty sure that it didn't bother him too much. I love this song because it brings back memories of sitting over coffees in an all night cafe waiting to hear where that nights party was being held.
Bolan had recently changed from an acoustic line up and shortened the bands name from Tyrannosaurus Rex to T Rex and was starting to get some acclaim. This single from 1970 was just before he entered his glam rock period.
Marc Bolan died as a passenger in a car crash in 1977. He had never learned to drive, ironically saying that he feared death from driving cars.
Ace of Spades
Motorhead are one of the great British bands and in my opinion this is their best track. It was released as the lead single from their 1980 album of the same name Ace of Spades. A great bass intro by the late lamented Lemmy Kilmister. Great track in the car.
A Day in the Life
Now, when John, Paul, George and Ringo put this as the last track on their 1967 album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, do you think they had any idea that this track would be voted by most people and all the critics as the best Beatles track.
I took a long while to really get the Beatles and I'm not sure I'm there yet as can be seen by my placing, what I see as their best at number 71. It is good though.
Strange guy Ted Nugent. A real hard rocker. This particular track stands out from his portfolio though. Actually he only performs part of the lyrics, most of which are sung by Derek St Holmes who joined Nugent as a rhythm guitarist. It’s the stand out lead guitar solo though, that gets him in this list. The track is a single from his 1975 album Ted Nugent.
Most of the rock critics would put this track much higher in the list. It’s a great record but as I explained earlier The Beatles are not my favourite band. The album is great and this is the best track from it but 69 is as high as I would put it. Could you listen to it twice over? I couldn’t.
I’m not a massive fan of drum solos. I would usually get to the bar when the drum solo was on. John Panozzo uses this track to hike his drum solo when played live. I still can’t rave about it. The song is about an outlaw awaiting the hangman. It’s unusual in that songwriter Tommy Shaw who usually played lead guitar on his writings asked James Young to take lead on this track. A classic rock radio favourite the track is from their 1979 album Pieces of Eight.
Blinded By The Light
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
You may or may not know that this song was written by and recorded first by Bruce Springsteen on his debut album Greetings from Asbury in 1973. The single was poorly received and didn’t chart anywhere. Along comes Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in 1976 and takes the song to No 1 in the US and a top ten favourite all over the world. The single sprung from their 1976 album The Roaring Silence. The Boss probably wasn’t too miffed as it would prove to be his only No1 as a songwriter.
Riders on the Storm
During the sixties and seventies I listened to the Doors quite a bit. Unfortunately I never quite got the hype that was coming out of America and the mouths of some British critics, especially mags like Sounds and NME. As I’ve always been a cowboy fan ( John Wayne no less ) and this song alludes to being inspired by a cowboys song, Ghost Riders, I can listen to this quite often. The album L A Woman is pretty good for 1971 but I like this track just a bit more than Love Her Madly.
Whisky in the Jar
Whisky in the Jar is a song I could listen to without the music. Not many songs in this list hark back to the seventeenth century. A well known Irish folk song which has been covered by bands as far apart as The Dubliners and Metallica. I much prefer this version from the early seventies even though Metallica won a Grammy for their 1998 version.
You Really Got Me
Another song with a strange history. The song written by Ray Davies was recorded twice, two completely different versions. One was a blues version and the second was rock influenced. They decided to release the second version on their 1964 album Kinks. Ray’s brother Dave plays a very heavy guitar riff that has proven to be a precursor to Heavy Metal.
Edge of Seventeen
Love her. She is so good. She really rocks. Difficult to choose her best track but as she features later with the band Fleetwood Mac I get a choice of two. I love the lyrics:
“ Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song
Sounds like she's singing
Ooo, baby, ooo, ooo “
From Stevie’s debut solo album Bella Donna in 1982.
In the Air Tonight
More history. This track was written during a period of grief and anger following Collins divorce from his wife. It has become a signature tune and is heard regularly on TV and radio. Known for a fabulous melodramatic piece of drumming the single was taken from his debut solo album Face Value in 1981.
Juke Box Hero
A great track from the eighties this was the third single from the album 4. They must have taken ages to come up with the album title in 1982. The song is about a fan who because he has trouble getting into concerts decides to buy a guitar and become a star himself and how he struggles to stay as a Juke Box Hero.
Walk On The Wild Side
I like Lou Reed and all his solo stuff but I never quite got his band Velvet Underground. Too much talking. This track has a chequered history as it deals with drugs and oral sex and during the seventies when this was released they were taboo subjects on radio in the US and the UK. This is a single taken from his second solo album of 1972 Transformer.
A Horse With No Name
I couldn’t tell you another song by this band and I only know of one album and that is because it is eponymous ie America from 1971. They must be a one hit wonder for me. Never mind, this single is excellent.
We're An American Band
Grand Funk Railroad
Grand Funk’s first No 1 in the US. A huge hit. Maybe the switch of vocals to the songwriter Don Brewer may be responsible. From the 1973 album of the same name this is a great hard rock track.
Bad to the Bone
I didn’t know where to place this song. I thought that around halfway was about right. The song harks back to Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters especially the guitar riff. When first released on the album of the same name in 1982 it wasn’t much of a success but continual playing as descriptive music in films and commercials has brought the song to the fore. Love it when he sings “ bad to the bone “.
Can't Find My Way Home
Another track where I have a few choices for the artists. The song was written by Stevie Winwood for the band Blind Faith on their Blind Faith album of 1969. Blind Faith featured Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Winwood and an old acquaintance of mine from The Farinas, Ric Grech. The Farinas, from Leicester who used to be nearly resident at Baldock, my home town, were to become The Family.
Don't Bring Me Down
Electric Light Orchestra
This song was originally from ELOs 1979 album Discovery but Jeff Lynne also had some success with his 2012 version released on the Mr Blue Sky compilation album. I always thought of ELO as a pop group, mainly because all their songs appeared to be written to sell singles. A lot of people disagreed with me. That’s life.
Carry On Wayward Son
I always found Kansas to be a most underestimated band, especially in the UK. This maybe because it is difficult to pigeonhole the band. Are they classic rock, progressive rock, folk rock, heavy rock? They’ve played it all and this is the best. This track reminds me of other progressive rock songs so there I’ve placed it. It’s from their 1975 album Leftoverture.
The Guess Who
Another underestimated band in the UK. As they were Canadian they probably had some work to do in the US as well. This is a great track. Lenny Kravitz covered it but not as good as the original. This is from their 1969 album of the same name.
I probably couldn’t play this twice over but of course I wouldn’t have to as every time you turn on the radio it seems to be on everyone’s playlist. A real raunchy rocking track from Cooper’s fifth album of 1972 and by the same name.
Live And Let Die
Paul McCartney & Wings
I couldn’t have Guns and Roses for this track as they appear later, but in any case this is a great track from McCartney and Wings. A very good movie and the soundtrack is excellent as you would expect from a Bond movie. There’s something about McCartney that I just don’t like but I have to admit he is a brilliant songwriter. From the 1972 album of the same name it was the biggest Bond theme hit for many years.
The Eagles received a Grammy in 1977 for this single voted “ record of the year “. It very nearly didn’t make it as a single as, being over six minutes long, the record company thought it too long to release as a single. As the band had put so much into the track they held out and refused to budge. Lucky for us, as the track may have ended up in album obscurity. It was included on their 1977 album of the same name and at the close of the track features a great guitar battle between Glen Frey, whose idea the song was, and new boy from ’75 Joe Walsh.
Up Where We Belong
Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
Beautiful song from the film and album of 1982 An Officer and a Gentleman. I love the Buffy St Marie version with the throaty lyrics and native American accent but I think this version is more polished ( and Buffy features elsewhere ). I’m a big fan of big Joe and I miss him a lot. He seemed to deliver every song at a perfect pitch and an interesting voice. I loved the film as well, brilliantly acted.
Kiss From a Rose
The song that causes more arguments than any other and Seal refuses to discuss the lyrics so it seems that each answer to the question “ does he sing grey or grave” is correct depending on your point of view. I’ve put it in the mixer and he definitely sings “ grey “. Anyway the song is about using cocaine, so grey fits. Strangely this song may never have seen the light of day had not it featured in the 1994 movie Batman Forever.
Buffy St Marie
This is the Buffy features elsewhere. A powerful movie that makes me squirm every time I watch it. I’ve always had a lot of sympathy for native americans ( even though I am a cowboy fan ) and I listen to Buffy St Marie quite a lot. This is a track from 1970 that I listen to over and over again, powerful like the movie.
Since You've Been Gone
It’s quite amazing that this band ever managed to achieve any recorded music. They’ve had more line ups than any other band. This was mainly due to Ritchie Blackmore continually sacking members that he had only just hired. He even sacked recruits from his previous band Deep Purple after spending precious time trying to recruit them. Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell were the only two spared his Alan Sugar tactics. This track from their 1979 album Down to Earth was their first commercial success.
Everybody Wants Some
One of the best rock guitarists of all time Eddie Van Halen was a real showman and alongside his two brothers and great vocalist David Lee Roth Van Halen became very popular during the 80s. Roth left the band to be replaced by Sammy Hagar in 1985 but Roth has since rejoined the band after a falling out with Hagar. I think this track is better than Jump although that one reached the top. From the 1980 album Women and Children First.
I Feel Like Making Love
From the 1975 album Straight Shooter this band were one to receive the title supergroup. Meaning the members had found fame with other bands before coming together. The best known members being Paul Rogers and Simon Kirke from Free. Mott the Hoople’s Mick Ralphs played lead with King Crimson’s Boz Burrel on bass guitar were the other members. The press have often struggled to place their genre, but for me classic rock sounds best.
Sultans of Swing
Every time Dire Straits released a single or album you just had to go out and buy it. Not only were they easy to listen to but they were regular diet for parties. The girls just loved them, where Zeppelin, Floyd, Hendrix and Sabbath may have struggled. For me this is their best by far. The track had to be recorded twice as the record company didn’t like the first version. Sometimes Dire Straits are too “ nice “ and need to rock it up a bit. Early recording for their first album Dire Straits in 1977.
Emerson Lake & Palmer
Not the version by The Verve, although I do like that one, but not enough for this list. This track always reminds me of living in a flat in Hitchin and wet afternoons and listening to music. This piece of vinyl from 1970, the album Emerson, Lake and Palmer, very nearly wore out during the early seventies. Amazingly this song was written by former King Crimson frontman Greg Lake when he was 12 years old. The track features an early Moog Synthesizer solo by former Nice keyboardist Keith Emerson.
Sweet Child of Mine
Guns and Roses
Getting a bit raunchy now with Guns and Roses. I saw these live at Milton Keynes Bowl, a great venue for the acoustics due to the mounding. I had three sixteen year olds in tow. Actually it was my daughter and two friends. My daughter has good taste in music. Great track that started G&R on the road to stardom. Mind you, with their line up, I don’t know why they didn’t make it earlier. Must have been the material. The track is from their 1987 debut album Appetite For Destruction. It also features one of my favourite guitarists Slash.