The Top 100 has been brewing in my head since August. I've always rocked to a lot of different types of music-classic rock, disco, new wave, indie, electronica and a little bit of country. I was lucky MR.CHUCK raised me to appreciate it all. I think he fried my brain at an early age. If I stroke out one day and babble about IRS Records in the 1980s, don't stick a ball a newspaper in my mouth let me talk you might learn something. Enough about that-here for your listening pleasure is 100-80 of my top 100.
100.) "Be My Baby"-The Ronettes. I love this song. Ronnie Spector was the original bad girl of rock 'n' roll. The WARDEN loves Ronnie Spector. For an uptight white woman my mother loves her some good soul. The Ronettes were one of the original girl groups to hit the scene. The mix of Phil Spector's "wall of sound" and her tough, but gentle voice makes this song a classic. All I have to hear is the line The night we met /I knew I needed you/ And if I have the chance I'll never let you go- I start jumpin' around like a school girl. I used to sing this song at karaoke to an old girlfriend-the things we do for love.
99.) "Sister Golden Hair"-America. I have this odd love affair with AM radio classics. America was one of those bands who put out great pop songs in the 70s. "Ventura Highway", "The Tin Man", "You Can Do Magic" and my favorite "Sister Golden. I don't know what it is about this song, but every time I hear it makes me think of summer BBQs, sitting on my deck in Chicago, and just chillin' out. The line I tried to make it Sunday/But I got so damned depressed is one of the best opening lines in all of music.
98.) "I Say A Little Prayer"-Aretha Franklin. Franklin often referred to as "The Queen of Soul" did a cover of this great Dionne Warwick song in 1968. I know a lot of people would put "Respect" in their top 100, but I just love her voice. I find myself singing this song in the car all the time. I try to do both the main and the backing vocals-it gets tough.
97.) "Maybe"-Janis Joplin. This song has one of the best intros I've ever heard. The simple blues guitar with the horn section. It reminds me of an Otis Redding song. Joplin singing about a lost love just twists my heart up. I may or may not have listened to this song during a breakup. I highly recommend it on repeat if you've broken up with or missing someone.
96.)"Tenderness"-General Public. Here is some new wave for you kids. I got this record for my 12th birthday. These guys started my obsession with the IRS Label. Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling were the best. These guys knew how to churn out some power pop. MR. CHUCK loves this record too. He used to crank this and we'd dance in the living the room. He's got some great moves for an old burner. I can't
get enough of that SKA beat.
95.) "Suspicious Minds"-Elvis. I can't do a list without putting The King on it. Without Elvis there is no rock 'n' roll. The thing I dig about him is how he mixed rockabilly with rhythm and blues to produce a sound no one had ever heard. "Suspicious Minds" is one of those songs that is timeless to me. The middle when he sings about not letting a good thing die and how he would never lie is priceless. I also like peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
*The Fine Young Cannibals do a great cover of this song
94.) "For Love"-Lush. These shoegazing Brits popped onto the scene in 1992 with the "Spooky" album. Released on the 4AD label it was filled with rich, layered textures with heavy bass lines. Think Cocteau Twins only with rockin' guitars. These guys and My Bloody Valentine were on heavy rotation for me in 1992. 15 years later I still have no idea what the lyrics to this song are.
93.) "Sweet Talkin' Woman"-ELO. I know I've raved about Jeff Lynne in the past, but seriously this guy is a genius. These guys are a burnouts dream. Strings, long instrumentals, and trippy light shows. What more could you ask for? These dudes and Emerson Lake and Palmer (they'll show up later) had the market cornered in big arena bands all the through the 70s. This song does it for me because I love the string arrangement and Lynne's voice.
92.) "Let's Stay Together"-Al Green. No one captures soul music better than Al Green. Green just captures both the sacred and the profane. This song in particular is one of my favorites. Between the horn section, his voice, the rhythm guitar, and the beat it's almost the perfect song. When Green sings Lovin' you whether/Whether times are good or bad /happy or sad just makes this song perfect. I swear if I ever get married I want this song to be played at the wedding/keg party.
91.) "Bus Stop"-The Hollies. The Hollies are probably the most famous of all the British Invasion bands of the 60s. They are a good mix of pop and psychedelic sounds of this time period. This song has some of the best harmonies-these guys might be better than the Beach Boys. MR. CHUCK gave me the original 45 of "Bus Stop" when I was 10. I played it over and over again. Yeah, I know, I'm a complete DORK.
90.) "It's Too Late"-Carole King. What can I say I'm a sucker for the Tapestry record. The WARDEN played this until my ears bled when her and MR. STRONG got a divorce. I used to cringe whenever I heard anything off of this record. One day I decided to sit and give it another listen-I was hooked. King is probably one of the best singer-songwriters of our time. I know it's kinda girlie, but what can I say deep down I'm just a girl.
89.) "Reflections"-The Supremes. The beginning of the Motown Sound on here. I love Motown. The Supremes personify what Motown was in the 60s. 12 number one hits from 1964-1969-that is amazing. I love the laser sounds at the beginning. The simple 4/4 beat is great and Diana Ross' voice is perfect. Thank you Berry Gordy for giving us The Supremes.
88.) "Family Affair"-Sly and the Family Stone. Not being much of a "Peace and Love" type of girl it's interesting that I love Sly and the Family Stone. These dudes were all about the love. Sly Stone with his giant afro and tight leather pants made for an eyeful. With Sly and the Family Stone "psychedelic soul"came to life out of the Bay Area. I once asked MR.STRONG if one song could be the soundtrack of his life what would it be-he said without skipping a beat "Family Affair". Interesting for a man who is not all about the love.
87.) "Time of the Season"-The Zombies. MR.CHUCK is to blame for my love of the Zombies also. He had all these old 45s around the house. One day he just handed them off to me and said "Here. Go sit down, listen, and think. When you're done come back with the 10 you like the best and tell me why you like them." I was 10. MR.CHUCK's odd homework assignment was what started it all. I still make a list of my top 10 heavy rotation albums and bring it to Chicago with me to discuss and be graded. Sometimes he's pleased other times he just shakes his head in disgust asking me where he failed. "Time of the Season" is one of those songs I never get tired of. The beginning with the drum intro gets me every time. What's your name?/ Who's Your Daddy?/ Is he rich like me?
86.) "It's A Mistake"-Men At Work. I don't need Zach Braff to remind me how good Men at Work are. These quirky Australian guys put out 2 great albums in the early 80s. Business As Usual and Cargo are just pure power pop albums. Colin Hay the dude who fronts this band has a great voice. The synth-pop sound takes me back to early MTV and seeing these guys with their weird story like videos. Pick up some Men at Work.
85.) "California Dreamin'"-The Mamas and the Papas. John Phillips might be one of the underrated songwriters to come out of the 60s. I realize that during that time there were a lot of songwriters. But, this song in particular resonates with me. I just love the feel of the song and the harmonies between John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliot, and Denny Doherty.
84.) "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away"-The Beatles. Released in 1965 on the Help album. John Lennon wrote this tune when he was heavily influenced by Bob Dylan. The song is mostly acoustical with little or no percussion. The simplicity of this song is what does it for me. How could she say to me/ love will find a way?/ Gather around all you clowns/Let me hear you say...and then it ends with a beautiful horn movement. Genius. There will be more Beatles later in the list.
83.) "I Was Made to Love Her"-Stevie Wonder. MR. STRONG is a huge Motown fan. The harmonica at the beginning sucks me in every time. I know I ragged on Stevie earlier in the year for being a hack, but when I listen to this old stuff it makes me realize how amazing he is. Forget, "Ebony & Ivory" go out and pick up anything you can up to Songs In the Key of Life-you won't be disappointed.
82.) "The Only Living Boy In New York"-Simon and Garfunkel. It was tough to pick a tune from these guys-there are so many. I picked this one because I love the harmonies. Paul Simon's voice is just perfect. Even though they were breaking up Bridge Over Troubled Water might be their best work. Simon's high vocals and Garfunkel's harmonies make this record a classic. It's a bit on the mellow side, but well worth it.
81.) "Hold Me"-Fleetwood Mac. There are people out there who don't like the Mirage album. I'm one of the few who do. "Hold Me" is my favorite track because Christine McVie wrote it and sings lead with Lindsey Buckingham. McVie doesn't get enough love in my eyes. I like Stevie Nicks, but come on every once in a while it's good to mix it up. There will be more Fleetwood Mac-I can't help myself.
80.) "Caravan"-Van Morrison. What can really be said about Van. I love the Moondance album. I like to listen to it late at night. Van put out some killer records before getting into Jesus. This on just makes me weak in the knees. It's a song about gypsies and the radio. If you have half a brain you should own this record.
*there is a great live version of this on The Band's "Last Waltz"
Well there's the beginning of the list. Now that I sit here and look at it-it's kinda girlie. Oh well I promise more boy rock has we move further down the list.