The Joy of Lists

Earlier in the summer, I submitted my Top 50 pop/rock songs after 1950 to Will at godihateyourband as part of a quest to name the Top 100 songs after 1950. I spent way too much time thinking about it--making lists, remaking lists, setting up rules (country music was eliminated from my list because, well, just because). Thank God for deadlines, as I clearly could have spent the better part of the year putting the list together. And that would've totally cut in to my "Rock of Love" watching.

Anyway, the Top 100 has now been unveiled. Check it out. And below is my Top 50, complete with my disclaimers before and after. If you want me to defend anything, just let me know.

I feel obligated to note that I intentionally eliminated country songs from the process just to make it slightly easier for me. So, apologies to Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Harlan Howard, Cindy Walker, Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Jerry Reed, Tom Russell, Joe Ely, and any number of other writers in the country genre that would've made the cut if I hadn't imposed my restrictions. I imagine they are all heartbroken, or at least the ones who are still alive are.

1. Crying--Roy Orbison
2. It Makes No Difference--The Band
3. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right--Bob Dylan
4. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On--Jerry Lee Lewis
5. Like A Rolling Stone--Bob Dylan
6. Good Vibrations--Beach Boys
7. I've Got Dreams to Remember--Otis Redding
8. Be My Baby--The Ronettes
9. Spirit in the Sky--Norman Greenbaum
10. 25 Miles--Edwin Starr
11. Dry River--Dave Alvin
12. Keep Your Distance--Richard Thompson
13. Baba O'Riley--The Who
14. Tush--ZZ Top
15. I Fought the Law--Bobby Fuller Four
16. Save the Last Dance for Me--The Drifters
17. Twistin' the Night Away--Sam Cooke
18. Won't Get Fooled Again--The Who
19. Irene Wilde--Ian Hunter
20. Will You Love Me Tomorrow?--The Shirelles
21. A New England--Billy Bragg
22. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?--Elvis Costello
23. Papa Was a Rollin' Stone--The Temptations
24. Funk #49--James Gang
25. Promised Land--Chuck Berry
26. Poor Poor Pitiful Me--Warren Zevon
27. Travelin' Band--Creedence Clearwater Revival
28. Sympathy for the Devil--Rolling Stones
29. And Then He Kissed Me--The Crystals
30. Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?--The Ramones
31. Tracks of My Tears--Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
32. God Only Knows--Beach Boys
33. War--Edwin Starr
34. Green Onions--Booker T and the MGs
35. Goin' Up the Country--Canned Heat
36. Dance to the Music--Sly and the Family Stone
37. Born to Run--Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
38. Mas y Mas--Los Lobos
39. Fortunate Son--Creedence Clearwater Revival
40. God Give Me Strength--Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach
41. I Can't Turn You Loose--Otis Redding
42. Bridge Over Troubled Water--Simon and Garfunkel
43. Let's Go Crazy--Prince
44. Misirlou--Dick Dale
45. American Girl--Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
46. Bernadette--Four Tops
47. Summertime Blues--Eddie Cochran
48. Get Back--Beatles
49. Sunday Sports--Bottle Rockets
50. Castanets--Alejandro Escovedo

The above list was accurate on 3:07 p.m. on June 25, 2007. It is subject to change at any point thereafter.


tadeja said...

I don't think I could ever pick a top 50 across all of the genres I listen to. Perhaps I could list 50 for R&B (but, I'd have extreme difficulty establishing the criteria for R&B vs. Soul vs. Funk). Or maybe 50 for Electronic (did you just gag?). Or Hip Hop. Or Gospel. But everything? I couldn't do it.

Kudos on the double appearance by Otis, gotta love him.

I noticed most of the songs, if not all, are decades old. Nothing new out there for you?

What would be in your top 50 for Country? And how long would it take you to compile?

Mr. Bad Example said...

The reason for the heavy leaning on older songs is, I think, twofold. First is because they have withstood the test of time. It's just too hard to say if recent songs will have the longevity of the songs I went with. Second, I'm just generally of the opinion that most of the great songs have probably already been written. That's not to say that there aren't a lot of really, really good songs--just that I think they have a hard time measuring against what came before.

My Top 50 for Country would probably take until the end of the year. I could think of 50 real good ones pretty quickly, but then I'd obsess over the list because I'd think I was forgetting something.

Maybe I'll put it together before year's end.