Friday, February 11, 2011

The List

I recently bought a new CD, my first in a long time: Rosanne Cash's The List.

The story behind this album is that, after graduating high school, Rosanne went on tour with her dad, the legendary Johnny Cash. In a conversation with him about music, he kept mentioning songs, to which Rosanne would reply, "I don't know that one." It happened frequently enough to disturb the Man in Black to the point of jotting a list he called "100 essential country songs." The songs on my new CD are thirteen items on that list.

In the liner notes (a main reason I still love the actual, physical media), Rosanne mentions the songs as part of her musical geneology: those songs which came before and helped shape the songs she'd discovered and loved in her own time. I have to admit: of the thirteen, only two of the songs are familiar to me, and all of them are somewhat obscure (in my limited musical experience) and not exactly my genre of choice. However, if Johnny Cash made the list, and Johnny's in *my* musical geneology, then obviously every song he thought of that day on the tour bus is also part of mine.

This led me to think of making my own list, and as I drove my daughter to her dance class last night, the need for this was confirmed. I put on the CD and had her listen to Heartache by the Numbers, a duet Rosanne sings with Elvis Costello. The song itself is catchy enough, and their version includes such a deep and rhythmic guitar solo I thought for sure the little girl in the back seat would find something to appreciate. When it was all over, she said to me, "What's so special about that?"

My dear girl, you are *so* missing out.

And so I present my list of 100 Essential Rock Songs. It isn't so much a list of songs essential to understanding or appreciating rock (I'm vastly underqualified to make such a list), but those songs which have helped define and shape the person I've become, at least up until now. They all have some special quality or meaning that I consider essential, and therefore all have at least a small connection to my Core.

Don't flame me; I know there are egregious, almost criminal omissions. About half the list popped spontaneously into my head during the remaining ten minutes of the car ride to dance class, and had to be reconstructed later. About a quarter of it came from a quick perusal of the musical library on my computer, and the rest came from sources outside my immediate reach, because, though I can certainly come up with 100 songs I think are amazing and awesome, I know there are songs that have shaped me which I own no copies of, and haven't heard in many years, so I went looking for some of those. Some of these are personal favorites, some are what I think is representative of the artist's work, and some are truly what I consider "essential" in one's musical exposure. Certainly each meets at least two of these criteria. On the obvious omissions, I've concluded that 100 are not enough, and even if it were, everyone's 100 would be different than everyone else's. I invite any of my three or so readers to make a comment and add their own full or partial lists.

I'm cheating a little; where multiple artists are listed, I imply that each artist's version of that song should be listened to, contrasted, and appreciated separately. With all due humility, here is my list:

2. Almost Cut My Hair, Crosby, Stills & Nash
3. Am I Evil, Metallica
4. And it Stoned Me, Van Morrison
5. Aqualung, Jethro Tull
6. As I Am, Dream Theater
7. Back in Black, AC/DC
9. Black Magic Woman, Santana
10. Blue on Black, Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
12. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
13. California Dreamin, Mamas and Papas
14. Cemetary Gates, Pantera
15. Come on in my Kitchen, Robert Johnson/Allman Bros. Band
16. Crazy Train, Ozzy Osbourne, Tribute to Randy Rhoades album
17. Cult of Personality, Living Colour
18. Descending, Black Crowes
19. Do You Feel Like We Do? (Live), Peter Frampton
20. Domino, Kiss
21. Dream On, Aerosmith
22. Eight Miles High, Byrds
23. Even Flow, Pearl Jam
25. Everything is Broken, Dylan/R.L. Burnside/Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
26. Fearless, Pink Floyd
28. Fire And Rain, James Taylor
29. Flying High Again, Ozzy Osbourne/Tribute album
30. Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash
31. Guitar Shop, Jeff Beck
32. Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Credence Clearwater Revival
34. Holy Diver, Dio
35. Hotel California, Eagles
37. I Am the Highway, Audioslave
38. I Shall Be Released, Bob Dylan/The Band/Nina Simone
40. Imagine, John Lennon
41. Instinct Blues, White Stripes
43. Kashmir, Led Zeppelin
44. Knocking on Heaven's Door, Bob Dylan/Guns N Roses
45. Life By the Drop, Stevie Ray Vaughn
46. Light My Fire (full length), The Doors
47. Lines in the Sand, Dream Theater [1,2]
48. Lithium, Nirvana
50. Living' on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
51. Mama Told Me (Not to Come), Three Dog Night
52. Manda Una Señal, Maná
53. Master of Puppets, Metallica
54. Maybelline, Chuck Berry
55. Mellissa, Allman Bros. Band
57. Nights in White Satin, Moody Blues
58. One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, George Thorogood
59. Pack Up, Eliza Doolittle
60. Piece of My Heart, Janice Joplin
61. Purple Haze, Hendrix
63. Rock This Town, Stray Cats
64. Roundabout, Yes
65. Runaway, Del Shannon
66. Sea of Heartbreak, Gibson/J. Cash/R. Cash-Springsteen
67. Slaves and Bulldozers, Soundgarden
68. Sledge Hammer, Peter Gabriel
70. Something Beautiful, Lynn Miles
71. Sometimes, Ours
72. Somewhere Down A Lazy River, Robbie Robertson
73. Space Oddity, David Bowie
74. Star Spangled Banner, Jimi Hendrix
75. Strawberry Fields Forever, The Beatles
76. Sweet Baby James, James Taylor
77. Sweet Child O' Mine, Guns N Roses
78. Sweet Euphoria, Chris Cornell
80. That's Alright Mama, Elvis Presley
81. The Distance, Cake
82. The Flame, Cheap Trick
83. The Great Gig in the Sky, Pink Floyd
84. The Pretender, Jackson Brown
85. The Weight, The Band
86. Think About Your Troubles, Harry Nillson
87. Thinking Of You, A Perfect Circle
88. Trouble, Coldplay
89. Voodoo Child, Hendrix/Stevie Ray Vaughn
90. Walking Blues, Robert Johnson/R.L. Burnside (acoustic/electric)/Eric Clapton
91. Wander This World, Johnny Lang
92. War Pigs, Black Sabbath
93. Welcome to my Nightmare, Alice Cooper
95. Whipping Post (Live recommended, not required), Allman Bros. Band
96. White Moon, White Stripes
97. White Room, Cream
98. Yesterday, The Beatles
99. You Got It, Roy Orbison
100. You Know I'm No Good, Amy Winehouse

Much thanks to the posters on YouTube, and apologies for possibly crappy versions of otherwise amazing songs. I found what I could, knowing these links may all be dead someday anyway.

1 comment:

  1. 69 revision:

    2 link is dead