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“Dolby’s Top 500 Classic Rock Songs of All Time (250-1)”

250 Bruce Springsteen – “Human Touch”

This is another one where I’m sort of cheating and getting a little anachronistic, selecting a song that put out in 1992 follows Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit… well it was likely written before the release of that album and you’ve gotta commend him for going ahead with it and even scoring a worthy hit while he was at it, on this great titled track.

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249 Black Sabbath – “Fairies Wear Boots”

Black Sabbath’s second album Paranoid makes a strong case for being their best, what with obviously the ubiquitous titled track, “Iron Man” and this hypnotic, multi-tempo album closeur.

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248 The Doors – “People Are Strange”

Jim Morrison could be quite the misanthrope at times for sure, not to probably fully his own fault but still a sort of apocalyptic madman who once uttered “I’m just trying to get my kicks before this whole sh** house goes up in flames” (I guess it’s a good thing he didn‟t have kids).

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247 Canned Heat – “Let’s Work Together”

The musical vehicle behind at least one TV commercial I’ve seen, “Let‟s Work Together” is catchy but more importantly has a boisterous, awesome and funky sound to it (these guys were definitely studio masters) and is that a “long version” on Spotify that‟s three minutes and 13 seconds? That would be a long TV commercial, I guess.

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246 John Fogerty – “Centerfield”

Nothing goes with summer better than classic rock, besides maybe baseball, and you‟ve gotta like Fogerty on this one for getting away from the usual humanistic platitudes and just saying he wanted to lace up the cleats. Also note the nod to the Chuck Berry song “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” in the first verse.

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245 The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar”

What, I have this only 245th? Yeah, at some point in all these lists I start like routinely having a hemorrhage repeatedly at my computer that I can‟t rank everything in the top 10… well really this whole album Sticky Fingers is great and like I say this is the same riff he‟d use to open Exile on Main St.

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244 War – “Low Rider”

Now notice I‟m ranking “top songs” here, not “top recognizable riffs,” in which case this one would not so much win as the other contestants would immediately turn into pillars of salt. This song is so influential that there are three BANDS called “Lowrider” on Wikipedia alone (there‟s certainly a gaggle of classic bands not on Wikipedia too, to give you an idea).

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243 Pink Floyd – “Run Like He**”

I‟m definitely a little bit more of a David Gilmour fan than a Roger Waters one and typifying of Waters this song suffers the glitch of dichotomy where the intro (albeit an awesome intro obviously) doesn’t really fit with the rest of the tune, necessarily. We‟ll forgive him though for the theme‟s jibing with the album‟s and that awesome part in the movie during this track.

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242 Bob Seger – “Against the Wind”

There’s this group called “classic rock classics” on Facebook which sort of bothers me since that’s obviously a redundant phrase, but Seger‟s soap box spiel to an ex-lover here is the type of thing that makes you want to say the word “classic” like 17 times and not get sick of it.

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241 Bachman-Turner Overdrive – “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”

Just great classic rock here, I had to put it on the list: if I may I’d like to relate one amazing story whereby for two days straight I heard this song on my way to substitute teach and on the second day I met a girl I‟d fall in love with and actually get hypnotized by while talking to her. Also once driving around my friend was banging on the dash so hard to this cut I’m pretty sure we almost crashed.

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240 Steppenwolf – “Magic Carpet Ride”

This song is about as bombastic as it gets, opening up with so much majestic sh** that by the time they get to the song it’s a wonder they haven’t all blown out their amps. But, the sound is without question nice and rugged and all the artwork on Spotify connected to this song tends to be pretty cool too.

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239 Aerosmith – “Same Old Song and Dance”

I work with this dude who literally hums the riff to “Miss You” every day… it‟s a tad bit annoying but to the song’s credit I can tell just by his humming what song he has in his head. This one is like that one too, as such benchmarking a key creative step for the band, a plaint of ennui and repetition in tow not hurting either.

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238 Credence Clearwater Revival – “Run through the Jungle”

Ok yeah this song just rocks, with an awesome placement in The Big Lebowski (right before the phantom “handoff,” if memory serves correctly) and its grit and grimness were a definite acquired taste for me.

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237 Queen – “Fat Bottomed Girls”

As stupefying as it is that a gay dude would write a song professing his love for the aesthetic qualities of certain girls, and as mystifying as it is that this song exists at all, of equal head-scratching strangeness is how enjoyable this piece of music is to hear, full of catharsis and Apollonian rock glory all the way.

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236 Janis Joplin – “Piece of My Heart”

A songwriting opus chalked up on Wikipedia to a certain Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns, “Piece of My Heart” finds the flower-haired hippy queen belting out the authoritative version like perhaps only she could have. I mean, I don’t think that‟s how they teach you to sing in grammar school choir… I’ll put it that way.

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235 Eagles – “Take it to the Limit”

It‟s just the FINALITY of this song that grips me, the “one more time,” the grafting a distinctive musical experience using so little unnecessary noise or volume, the fantastic chorus and the repetition of that chorus toward the end too, marking a nice metamorphosis in phrasing.

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234 The Doors – “Light My Fire”

Here we find Robbie Krieger’s songwriting handiwork as is lain out pretty clearly and pithily in the Val Kilmer-wielding biopic, I thought. It’s probably the band‟s most popular song and the one that put them on the map but to make an understatement it’s not quite as DARK as their lead singer‟s poetic muse usually takes them.

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233 Def Leppard – “Pour Some Sugar on Me”

I mean how can you not like this song… it’d be like hating that Culligan man lady or something. Ooh, I’d pour some sugar on her anytime.

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232 KISS – “Rock and Roll All Nite”

Another curious selection here that traverses the bounds of “classic rock” and “oldies” (which again should be differentiated from “classic oldies” for its clientele drinking Margaritas at 7 pm and not prune juice), this I’d have to say is KISS’ favorite number and I remember them busting it out for the ’99 Super Bowl (second Super Bowl song on here).

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231 The Black Crowes – “Hard to Handle”

Now we’re at what I might as well call the Shake Your Money Maker section of the list, named after The Black Crowes’ classic debut album (and probably only good album, and one that had Brendan O’Brien playing keyboards) whereon they would just start unleashing invincible hit after invincible hit, like a Kurt Cobain raised on Muddy Waters and barbecue instead of The Vaselines and mac and cheese.

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230 The Rolling Stones – “Beast of Burden”

It’s very hard not to think I‟ve grossly underrated this song on this list — classic rock would not be classic rock as it is without “Beast of Burden” and particularly this is one of the best songs to relax to, a late afternoon after work, driving home type of song to the hilt.

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229 The Police – “Walking on the Moon”

Here is one of the band’s few forays into reggae and also certainly one of their finer songs. One thing I particularly like about it is the absurd repetition of the phrase “walking on the moon,” as if to render it nonsensical and implicitly value more mundane efforts, all the while mourning our collective gravitation toward the grandiose and theatrical, of course.

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228 Led Zeppelin – “All My Love”

I cannot overstate my esteem for this song — a catchy, radio-friendly number on the band‟s last album In through the out Door (it‟s actually the last song on their last album, aptly enough) written by Robert Plant in dedication to his deceased son Karac. According to Wikipedia, he died in 1977 while the band was on tour.

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227 Supertramp – “Bloody Well Right”

Part of the appeal of this particular cut by the English group Supertramp is just peeling back its endless layers of false or ephemeral meanings — the effeminate verse collapsing into a cocksure, direct chorus… also what’s up with this mix? These guitar stabs are certainly disorienting over that barely audible, ornate keyboard work in the intro.

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226 Steve Winwood – “Higher Love”

As I’ve probably said a million times on this blog but it might bear repeating, Steve Winwood in his career, while playing keyboard with Jimi Hendrix on the Electric Ladyland version of “Voodoo Chile,” also scored a hit with four different musical acts — the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and as a solo artist. That to me is a completely unthinkable feat.

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225 Bruce Springsteen – “Dancing in the Dark”

This song is like “so ’80s” to me, in a way, generally a ’90s kid, with those skinny jeans in the video and the girl with a perm and stuff, but as time goes by its rocking moxie sort of splashes out at me more and more and you’ve gotta like its penchant for attacking everyday dude type insecurities.

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224 Yes – “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

Classic rock is kinda crazy with a spooky little number like “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” a songs stupefyingly un-epic to be a late-career hit from a band built on art rock, a song so vaguely jazz influenced, to boot, that you’d have thought it by Radiohead.

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223 The Rolling Stones – “Honky Tonk Women”

My natural spiel on “Honky Tonk Women” and one I stand by is that it’s power pop written about not being able to get women OFF you, penned by the same dude who wrote “Paint it, Black,” a track lamenting people‟s lack of interest in you. It’s quite the evolution, you have to admit, coming of course to a beautiful head with “Angie,” roughly.

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222 George Thorogood & the Destroyers – “Who Do You Love?”

As far as cover versions gp (“Who Do You Love?” is originally a Bo Diddley romp) this one passes in flying covers in terms of modifying the song in some way, not just karaoke-ing or Guitar Hero-ing it up out there. I always loved the crisp guitar sound and of course his mimicry of the “Bo Diddley Beat” as well.

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221 Derek and the Dominos – “Layla”

I might be crazy but I actually prefer the unplugged version of this song to this electric one, the former being far different both in rhythm and melody (actually there‟s not a bad cut on that whole Eric Clapton Unplugged album). As far as I know these guys don‟t have any other hit singles.

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220 Meat Loaf – “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”

Oh I just had to put this one on… it’s just too weird not to. I gotta “Keep Dolby Disaster Weird.” Also, it seems like in general I’m a little short on rock operas, save a handful like “Layla” and a couple others which I cannot disclose at this juncture.

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219 Joe Cocker – “Feelin’ Alright”

So this Joe Cocker dude tends to fly a little bit under the radar… he did that exceedingly inconspicuous and not terrible cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” and then this song tends to just seep in from the floor boards out of nowhere and immediately become your favorite song, until of course you forget all about it again for a couple years.

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218 Pink Floyd – “Have a Cigar”

It seems like the cultural suffocation element is always in pretty rampant supply with Pink Floyd, the type of thing that probably drove Syd Barrett to insanity. They were hindered first by their thick British accents performing apt beach pop. Then, this song handles the issue of working for a distant, money-hoarding record label who sees them as just another face on the totem pole. My favorite vistas of them are when they let loose and dress up all in pink, looking not too unlike The Rolling Stones, in the process.

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217 Billy Joel – “Only the Good Die Young”

Just the sheer achievement of being to dispel the line “Catholic girls start much too late” and not get lynched is an astonishing stride in itself — then this song’s lyrics are one of those instances where it becomes completely iconic and proverb-level, sort of like “You Get What You Give.”

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216 Norman Greenbaum – “Spirit in the Sky”

The obvious story with this song, per legend, is that Greenbaum released it off of one of his albums, saw extreme success and then quit music entirely, moved to the west coast, became a line cook and didn’t worry about a da** thing, except of course earthquakes. He should be partly commended for like The Doobie Brothers singing about Jesus but not really alienating the agnostic types in the process to badly.

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215 Credence Clearwater Revival – “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

The prouder of the “Who’ll Stop the Rain?”/”Have You Ever Seen the Rain” binary on Chronicle Part 1, probably, this song appears after the other and takes things to a more poignant extent, wielding a vague sort of metaphor that it might be a sort of imaginary “rain” of the mind to which he‟s actually referring. Still, he keeps the imagery universal enough that everybody can relate, which is key.

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214 Led Zeppelin – “D’yer Mak’er”

I probably started liking this song when I was 11 and he** I just never got AROUND to hating it like hardcore Led Zeppelin fans are supposed to. I just never got AROUND to it. Of course, Led Zeppelin haters are more hardcore than their fans. Everybody knows that.

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213 Supertramp – “Breakfast in America”

The British have quite the fixation on America, especially in classic rock, and why shouldn’t they, I guess: this song is the titled track off of the album which features that big fat waitress lady, with the band perhaps trying to sweep all their amorous feelings under the rug, at least temporarily.

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212 Boston – “More than a Feeling”

This is song is obviously so simple in its chorus, made fun of for being such by Nirvana (who profess to have ripped off the rhythm guitar part for “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” even busting into “More than a Feeling” at one show) that it’s easy to forget that it has that face-melting lead guitar sound and a couple pretty well-placed switches from power pop into pseudo-psychedelic noodling.

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211 Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams”

This is one of those cool songs that actually doesn‟t feature the title in the chorus, which suggests a methodical, painstaking approach to songwriting which should be commended. It‟s also funny how prescient and appropriate some of these drama-filled numbers sound now with Lindsey Buckingham kicked out of the group.

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210 The Allman Brothers Band – “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin‟”

Brushing forth on the Allmans’ underrated sophomore effort Idlewild South, this number is simple, direct, melancholy, psychedelic and quintessentially Southern, so classic Allmans, and would make its way onto at least the “Deluxe Edition” of At Fillmore East.

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209 The Clash – “Rock the Casbah”

Who can forget that classic commercial where all those people are trying to figure out the words to this song and finally one dude is like “Stop the catbox!” Safe to say there‟s been a scourge of runaway cat boxes in his parts lately. Anyway, it’s oddly hard to think of a band more popular than The Clash that gets almost zero radio play… this song is probably un-punk enough for just that.

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208 Billy Idol – “White Wedding”

It’s hard to believe but actually one time in Bloomington, Indiana I saw this Billy Idol lookalike with a colored mohawk and everything walking down the street with a boom box blaring “White Wedding.” Now he looked angry, but like appropriately angry, not noxiously angry. He looked like what you‟d think a Billy Idol lookalike blaring “White Wedding” in the middle of the day would look like so I have to give him two thumbs up.

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207 Rush – “Limelight”

On what’s undeniably in my opinion Rush‟s best album, Moving Pictures from ’81, “Limelight” has a compelling way of combining the band‟s bent toward groove and epic with also their catchy songwriting knack, here where they obviously only mention the CONCEPT of an “underlying theme,” instead of actually establishing one, which they’re obviously likewise capable of doing.

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206 Cream – “Sunshine of Your Love”

That’s right this song actually WAS written by Cream, which almost seems hard to believe — it’s not really one of my favorite Cream cuts but to its credit Jimi Hendrix did pick it up and let off a solid instrumental rendition on Live at Winterland, which is now on Spotify as simply the boxed set Winterland.

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205 The Rolling Stones – “It’s All Over Now”

The Grateful Dead would try their hand at this one to pretty decent results but what I recently learned is that it‟s originally Bobby Womack, the great scribe behind “Across 110th Street” which would end up in Jackie Brown.

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204 Van Halen – “Hot for Teacher”

At one point I definitely didn‟t think I‟d ever fall in love with a Van Halen album but I have to say this 1984 rip-roaringly rocks, through and through, a great summer drinking album for when you get off work in the late afternoon, or whenever the he**. This song features in the movie Varsity Blues, during a very entertaining scene indeed.

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203 ZZ Top – “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide”

Existing on the logical syllogism that if a is not b, a is c, translated here to if this ZZ Top song is not on Eliminator, then it‟s good, this number holds up to that model fine, chugging along with a pedestrian but sturdy enough groove and of course that weird off-tempo guitar frill wrinkle after every chorus, to build up to an accelerated guitar solo outro, best of all.

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202 Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin'”

Haha I was wondering where I put this trusty ol‟ number… oh what to say about this one… I‟m sure you sitting at home could do a better job than me, or anyone who plays enough beer pong to think they can take on the world. By the way I saw these hilarious “Party Bros” on Howard Stern, one of whom sank this kill shot in pong at 7 am in an Indian kimono. That sort of sums up this song to me, I guess.

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201 Led Zeppelin – “Dancing Days”

I really can’t stand those douche bags who say they prefer the Stone Temple Pilots version of this song to this original — it’s complete disrespect of the legends and interestingly enough, this song has a HALF-STEP key change from the verse to the chorus, one of the most stupefyingly subtle things to even notice in a song, let alone pull off as a band.

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200 Joe Walsh – “Rocky Mountain Way”

This is a great song but WHOA did I risk getting sick of it when I heard it like 17 times at one Colorado Rockies game in ’03. I think what it might be about is Californians moving to Colorado to avoid the population and pollution problems there, a rather common tactic actually (remember the Eagles are originally from Cali but I think one of them went to U of Colorado… it might have been Walsh).

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199 Guns N’ Roses – “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

This song combines an incredible guitar sound and an unforgettable riff to form something certainly approaching the Guns N’ Roses elite status, picked up for covers material in the highly plagiaristic ’90s by one Cheryl Crow, of course.

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198 The Black Crowes – “Sister Luck”

Good music should HURT a little bit I think and this song is a classic example — it’s got the mournfulness of the blues, like a country boy‟s “Born under a Bad Sign,” or thereabouts, but it’s still quintessentially Crowes for sounding like a Stones song sung by a back woods Southern American snuff spitter.

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197 Tom Petty – “You Don’t Know How it Feels”

One more in the stupefying array of great songs Tom Petty put out in ‟89 or after (“Free Fallin'”; “Learning to Fly”; “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”; et. al.), “You Don’t Know How it Feels” finds Petty getting personal and introspective in an illuminating way, sort of like the sedentary, stoned cousin to “Learning to Fly.”

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196 Black Sabbath – “The Wizard”

What a cool tune here off the band’s 1970 self-titled debut, breaking new ground in heavy metal with harmonica also in tow and of course some tempo changes, which were probably rather compulsory at this point in rock.

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195 Jefferson Airplane – “Somebody to Love”

This song REALLY tries my patience with its message of finding somebody to love, which not only seems obvious but runs counter to other endorsements of solitude like “Be Still” by Big Boi and G-Eazy’s “Me, Myself & I” but at the end of the day it’s a pretty energetic song that placed on everyone‟s coffee tables enough to where I should put it on here.

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194 The Police – “King of Pain”

Sprinkled onto The Police‟s 1983 album Synchronicity along with “Every Breath You Take,” “King of Pain” stands alone as its own little beautiful island of a Police song. Its vocal melody is unforgettable but what I always take for granted is that eerie, two-note keyboard riff, which seems both full of mourning and foreboding at once.

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193 America – “A Horse with No Name”

Entertainingly per Neil Young biography Shakey, one of his relatives called him up when they heard this and told him they loved his new song. Oh, what do you say about it other than that… everybody’s heard it a million times and it’s gorgeous. There, how ’bout that.

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192 Pink Floyd – “Hey You”

This I find to be sort of the quintessential Wall number, with “Another Brick in the Wall” more like a trotting novelty and “Run Like He**” with such an epic intro and disjointed structure — here we sort of delve into the psyches of the characters at hand who are struggling to truly know themselves and their brothers in this machinated world at hand.

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191 Talking Heads – “(Nothing But) Flowers”

This song, possibly an oppositional parody on Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” definitely doesn’t get enough credit for founding the whole gen-x slacker thing of screw beauty, I just wanna sit in a café and feel bad about myself. Ironically, it’s sort of a happy song in its own way, at the same time.

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190 Chicago – “Feeling Stronger Every Day”

This should definitely be considered the elite Chicago song in my book for the emphatic, hearty vocal and the trippy way it has of dissipating into that vocal‟s repetition toward the end. Chicago (band) is an American rock band from Chicago. Lol.

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189 The Black Crowes – “Could I’ve Been So Blind”

And so the bevy of classic songs on Shake Your Money Maker keeps struttin’ in — it’s amazing how well hewn and inspired all these songs seem, this one taking the modal theme of general mourning but turning up the tempo more than some of the more lugubrious numbers.

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188 Supertramp – “Take the Long Way Home”

This song has such an innocent levity about it that I almost feel reticent to research it in any way — I think it should be best enjoyed in its pure form, which is as a nice little nugget of musical vision heard unexpectedly on the radio (or maybe my Spotify playlist of these songs… nudge, nudge).

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187 Led Zeppelin – “Achilles Last Stand”

To be honest this would be kind of a bold selection to play on FM (it‟s 10-plus minutes long and doesn‟t feature a single tempo change) but Zeppelin is such a bulwark of this list and I consider this cut the apex of Zeppelin‟s forays into prog, with their only album after Presence being that pared down, poppy sort of statement that is In through the out Door.

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186 The Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

Yup, this really is the song that‟s usually ranked #1… I never got the premiere appeal of it, plus I have this depressing story of humming the riff in my music class in college and getting called really “bold” for doing it. It’s three friggin’ notes! It should be commended anyway for pointing out how society divides men through toxic capitalism.

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185 Badfinger – “Come and Get it”

Yawn… Paul McCartney wrote all this band’s good songs including this one and even on this cut the lyrics pretty much suck… I even had one readers‟ poll where people‟s assignment was to come up with replacement lyrics for this song and one dude said “If you want it / Here it is / Come and get it / Hurry up and get this song over fast”. Lol.

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184 Fleetwood Mac – “Over My Head”

This 1975 self-titled album was really pretty big-time stuff, with four singles released including this one which tends to sort of fly under the radar but still has that signature Fleetwood Mac sense of surrender and vulnerability that makes them nice and approachable.

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183 John Fogerty – “The Old Man down the Road”

Thus spake Wikipedia: “Saul Zaentz, owner of Fantasy Records, claimed that ‘The Old Man down the Road’ shared the same chorus as ‘Run through the Jungle’, a song from Fogerty‟s days with Credence Clearwater Revival years before.” So yeah — he sued Fogerty for sounding just like himself. And that guy’s name even sounds Jewish, haha. That’s just sad.

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182 Van Halen – “Unchained”

Here’s a classic Van Halen cut with their machismo-filled approach to taking on the day and of course David Lee Roth at the helm — it springs from the band‟s fourth album Fair Warning from 1981 (which of course would be a Warning for the magnum opus that is the album 1984 by them).

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181 Ram Jam – “Black Betty”

This da** SONG gone wild — I witnessed some of my dorm mates rocking out to it one time doing this hoe-down type of dance and that‟s always been a distinct memory. It’s like a tune that exists in transcendence of music theory and resides in people’s psyches as something deeper. This band, a one-hit-wonder, hails from New York City, which is quite surprising, you must admit.

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180 The Animals – “House of the Rising Sun”

Born in 1964, this cut contends strongly for chronologically initial song on this entire list. One thing also I just learned is that it’s actually a cover, originally lain to wax by some traditional artist in New Orleans who’s unnamed — well we should get The Animals credit on their archaeological finding here anyway, I guess.

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179 Aerosmith – “What it Takes”

And then revisiting the stupefyingly unlistenable ’89 Aerosmith album Pump, “What it Takes” rounds things off as the album closeur and has a pretty compelling, convoluted subject matter — it’s about a heartbreak he’s experiencing but he still demands “Tell me what it takes to let you go”, as if he’s more acclimated to that proposition than the other might be at this time.

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178 Journey – “Lights”

I’ve got this ranked as the premiere Journey song on this list and so in a way it’s appropriate that the subject matter handles not really taking on too much excessive responsibility or activity, just enjoying the vistas of your hometown. Journey hailed from San Francisco.

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177 Badfinger – “No Matter What”

This is the elite Badfinger song on this list but really their “best of” makes for a fairly enjoyable listen as a whole, with other reflective sessions like “Carry on Till Tomorrow” and “We‟re for the Dark” shining through with pretty poignant climaxes.

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176 The Allman Brothers Band – “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”

Of course I know this from the band’s A Decade of Hits 1969-1979 collection which seems pretty much perennially glued into my CD player, but apparently it’s originally from Eat a Peach, generally held as their best studio album and nice companion piece to the excellent At Fillmore East.

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175 Supertramp – “Give a Little Bit”

Sort of like “Take the Long Way Home” in its heartbreaking simplicity and beauty, “Give a Little Bit” is the flagship Supertramp song with an incredibly catchy and infectious mantra that everybody could use more of sometimes.

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174 Queen – “We Are the Champions”

The primary talking point about this song would be the band’s performance of it at the 1985 benefit concert Live Aid, wherein Queen, held as the best band at the festival, really especially brought the house down. It’s interesting too that the event was held in ’85 yet this song is so classic rock and ergo un-’80s.

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173 Jethro Tull – “Cross Eyed Mary”

Cementing Aqualung as a “concept album” of sorts with a lyrical reference to said character, “Cross Eyed Mary” is a handy rocker prescient of the band‟s more straight ahead power pop like “Locomotive Breath” and “Bungle in the Jungle.”

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172 Judas Priest – “Breaking the Law”

I remember Beavis and Butthead constantly singing this song and then it was picked up for covers material by The Ziggens, Sublime’s favorite surf-rock native sons, for their awesome live album, and it forms a nice trifecta with “I Fought the Law” and “The Authority Song.”

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171 The Black Crowes – “Seeing Things”

I find the rich emotion on Shake Your Money Maker to come to a meaningful head on this particular number because that gospel-steeped mourning is able to ironically coagulate into the implicitly optimistic conclusion of “I’m seeing things for the first time in my life”.

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170 Bruce Springsteen – “Hungry Heart”

Good God… how is this song not #1… it’s just so awesome, The Boss taking an unflagging look at the pestilent restlessness we all feel sometimes where the grass is always greener on the other side, but paring everything down into that amazingly simple and infectious chorus.

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169 Led Zeppelin – “Misty Mountain Hop”

One of the few songs on which John Paul Jones plays keyboard instead of bass, “Misty Mountain Hop” is a song that always annoyed me a little as a kid, but still relentlessly busts into your psyche and earmarks Zeppelin’s ability to make each and every song distinct and different from all their others.

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168 The Rolling Stones – “19th Nervous Breakdown”

This was The Rolling Stones’ scrappy early days, every bit adversarial and honest, denoting the maladies of humanity in their London town which they still feel fit to call sleepy, always bewildering me. All things are comparatively stated, I suppose.

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167 The Doors – “Love Me Two Times”

One of The Doors’ simpler numbers, this used to be easily one of my favorite guitar riffs to play and it was surprisingly easy too. Also commendable are the climbing keyboard riffs on the part of Ray Manzarek and that anthemic guitar-stab portion of the chorus.

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166 Boston – “Peace of Mind”

This dude I used to work with had this joke about Boston that it was understandable that the members went to M.I.T. because “They play like perfect classic rock.” So what might be more amusing here is that in light of that one of their most important songs is predicated on trolling the act of “climbing to the top of the corporate ladder”.

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165 Grand Funk Railroad – “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)”

Undeniably trippy, this GFR magnum opus is an irreplaceable mainstay of any classic rock list, with its multi-part, epic structure bleeding into that infectious last movement, which has the power to make the night time seem like the day and vice versa.

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164 Credence Clearwater Revival – “Green River”

That guitar just SQUEALS like a back woods banshee on this tune without any question — it makes a great precursor to the even more raucous, minor-chord bound “Commotion,” which directly follows it on Chronicle.

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163 Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Gimme Three Steps”

Earlier on this list I commend the Allmans’ “One Way out” for being like “Gimme Three Steps” but KNOWING it‟s not as good and being ok with that — this song is about as catchy and anthemic as you can get and proof that Skynyrd had a sense of humor to go with their redneck Southern patriotism.

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162 Electric Light Orchestra – “Mr. Blue Sky”

There seemed to be no limit to ELO‟s trippiness in the ’70s and it almost seems to the listener as Jeff Lynne sings this song that there is some little man named “Mr.” in the back of the blue sky controlling it all, doomed by the omnipresent clouds in England but of noble intentions nonetheless.

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161 Steve Winwood – “Back in the High Life again”

I swear to God one time I had this song in my head for like six months straight. I’m generally a fan of all Winwood’s projects (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and so I’m glad for him when he’s able to simplify on projects like these and just unleash a pop mantra straight from the hip.

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160 Talking Heads – “Burning down the House”

The lead track off the band’s excellent Remain in Light followup Speaking in Tongues, “Burning down the House” is undeniably infectious and is probably the best song about a building being on fire, putting it in elite, sophisticated status, of course.

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159 The Who – “Substitute”

The Who are just men among boys without any question and this is one of their staples here, always seeming to show up on every comp. they put out, whether it’s Live at Leeds, BBC Sessions, the early singles collection Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy or what have you. Also I’ve always loved the line “The north side of my town faced east / And the east was facing south”.

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158 Led Zeppelin – “The Song Remains the Same”

Possibly my favorite cover version Umphrey’s Mcgee does (sorry they’re from my hometown and I’ve seen ’em 13 times), “The Song Remains the Same” is the epic opener to the awe-inspiring fifth Zeppelin LP Houses of the Holy, an album so good its sessions would inspire a titled track… that would go on the band‟s NEXT album, that is.

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157 The Allman Brothers Band – “Jessica”

The Allman Brothers story is obviously a sad one, with Duane getting killed in that car crash in the early ’70s, and for how good and unmistakable this classic instrumental is it could still use some guitar help on the part of the founding member. Still, nobody rocks out like this on these hippy instrumentals and this will always be a great summer tune.

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156 Dire Straits – “Money for Nothing”

Since I didn‟t grow up in the ’80s I find it sort of hard to comment on this song. It‟s definitely pretty epochal. Well, there‟s that incessant keyboard riff that‟s so funky — that‟s something for the whole family to enjoy. Also I like how it’s set up as a sort of dialogue of two people watching MTV, one dude going “Look at that fa**ot with the ear ring and the makeup”.

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155 The Band – “The Weight”

Robbie Robertson was again the guilty party behind this one, a nice little melancholy narrative set to refreshingly major chords, in true classic rock form. According to Wikipedia the song is about band member Levon Helm’s personal friend Anne Lee Amsden.

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154 Ted Nugent – “Cat Scratch Fever”

A sort of rubicon track for me on this list, “Cat Scratch Fever” is a song that‟s obviously fairly hard to write about but has a guitar riff which notably is like hilariously simple, sort of like Nirvana’s “Scoff” or the solo to The White Stripes’ “Jumble, Jumble.” There, that might be all I say about Sweaty Teddy today.

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153 Neil Young with Crazy Horse – “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere”

Placed prominently in that Kansas party scene in Almost Famous, this song undeniably rocks in a straight-forward, authoritative sort of way and helped along with followup album After the Gold Rush to catapult Neil Young into super stardom.

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152 Pink Floyd – “Learning to Fly”

Here is where without question my David Gilmour preference shines through on this list. Nobody quite considers A Momentary Lapse of Reason from ’87, that is, to be the band’s landmark album, but this is a song that‟s impossible to forget once you hear it, a shinning gold nugget of pop greatness about getting older and lunging for an increasingly elusive element of self-control.

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151 The Rolling Stones – “Street Fighting Man”

Here‟s that “sleepy London town” again, hehe. Someone get this guy to Tokyo! London is such a one-horse town. You’ve gotta like the balls on this song, obviously, Mick Jagger‟s emphatic way of saying and that verse phrasing that seems all but impossible to parse.

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150 Fleetwood Mac – “Rhiannon”

The authoritative version of this song on Fleetwood Mac is obviously a classic but don‟t forget too about the “piano version” available on Youtube which offers a nice intimate permutation of the proceedings. Also you‟ve gotta like that line “She in the darkness”.

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149 The Black Crowes – “Jealous Again”

This song really grew on me, with some incessant cowbell, a simple, concise chorus and of course just Chris Robinson’s Black and Decker buzzsaw vocals, fully powered and poised for unleashing rock and roll history.

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148 Steely Dan – “My Old School”

This song comes on Steely Dan’s solid sophomore effort Countdown to Ecstasy. My dad graduated high school in ’73 so I always sort of feel bad for him when I hear this song, although I think he had a pretty decent time in high school aside from his peer pressuring, acid-ingesting friends.

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147 Credence Clearwater Revival – “Lookin’ out My Back Door”

Placed robustly in The Big Lebowski (Credence is his favorite band) with his just having gotten some libido enhancer from the doctor ordered by a love interest and seeing him banging on the ceiling of the car in adulation, “Lookin’ out My Back Door” combines the trippiness of psychedelia and the crisp concision of classic rock quite nicely.

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146 Led Zeppelin – “Fool in the Rain”

Earmarking Zeppelin’s explorative later albums and showcasing the band’s sparklingly creative approach to songwriting, “Fool in the Rain” features this incessant but elaborate piano riff and a lot of good ol’ romantic anxiety sort of like The Who‟s “Magic Bus,” hence making it distinct and unforgettable.

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145 The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Stone Free”

“Stone Free” was actually not featured on any of the band’s original studio albums, just released as a single and instead making its way onto both Smash Hits and then later Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix, which I’m pretty sure was my introduction to the guitar great once upon a time.

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144 AC/DC – “He**’s Bells”

Apparently once the introductory theme song to San Diego Padres closeur Trevor Hoffman, this song also has spawned a titular saying which random people will just spout off when they’re having a rough day, an undeniably intimidating and memorable sort of track out of Australia’s noblest sons.

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143 America – “Ventura Highway”

Obviously America is an interesting story what with them all being U.S.-born men each of whom met over IN England when their fathers were involved in certain military efforts. This is obviously one of their gentler numbers which I find to have a sort of hypnotic quality for its simplicity and furnishing of imagery.

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142 Rush – “Fly by Night”

“Fly by Night” opens side b on the relatively little known 1975 album of the same name — it’s got Geddy Lee’s characteristically high voice on it which its main feature, along with vaguely mythological and anthemic lyrics in true classic rock form.

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141 Beatles – “Get Back”

Short of being the best Beatles song, this song to me, the last song on their last album, is when the band undeniably BECAME a classic rock revue, as it casually mentions drugs (grass, in particular) but generally just scoots along and handles the theme of cruising the land of the brave and free.

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140 Billy Squier – “Everybody Wants You”

One of each of the two major Billy Squier singles to feature the word “lonely,” this one curiously ties in themes of “alcohol” and also attraction, but I like it for its ridiculously garage-y, brick and mortar riff that runs through it the whole time, like something that accounts for both frustration and comedy in one strange amalgamation.

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139 Jethro Tull – “Mother Goose”

I was so happy when recently I have another listen to the whole album Aqualung and found this diamond in the rough, which you typically don‟t hear on radio or on greatest hits collections. The flute riff here is good stuff.

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138 Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Call Me the Breeze”

One of the few bona fide 12-bar blues selections in Skynyrd’s catalogue, “Call Me the Breeze” also qualifies as one of their best too, for Ronnie Van Zant’s ability to aurally mimic the old African-American blues guys of the South. You better believe he was feeling the Delta Blues within him, hailing from Jacksonville as they did.

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137 Led Zeppelin – “Going to California”

Wow it’s hard to believe I ranked this song only 137th… actually I think I put it as the second best Zeppelin song on one of my polls one time. But here I’m ranking “rock” and this one is just a “song” that happens to use guitars… it‟s no more rock probably than Merilee Rush. But that falsetto vocal halfway through amazes me every time.

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136 The Doors – “L.A. Woman”

Again, this is another situation where I wish I would have been alive contemporary to this music‟s creation so I could speak on it with a little more authority… this happens to be my favorite Doors album and also their last one and this titled track is a beast of many disguises, losing its mojo to a limping stomp only to gradually accelerando back to the expedited gallop it had originally assumed. Me and my Dad, as writers by nature, would always crack up over the line “You know they are a liar”.

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135 U2 – “I Will Follow”

The first song on their first album, this is a rocking tune, one of the first ever instances of palm muting or some similar guitar technique, and also the work of some masterful Third Eye Blind covers material at the 2000 Q101 Jamboree, in a medley featuring the first half of “Narcolepsy” before it and the second half after it.

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134 Stampeders – “Sweet City Woman”

Now the fact they‟re referring to this chick as a “city woman” made me think by default or process of elimination that these were a bunch of country boys. Wikipedia, however, has them as hailing from Calgary, a very musical town in its own right for its penchant for wielding the excellent band Women and the record label Flemish Eye.

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133 Billy Joel – “Big Shot”

To an extent the act of listening to Billy Joel always mimics the intimidating experience of actually visiting New York (I think he‟s got another song called “New York State of Mind”). This one’s certainly no exception but credit Billy Joel for making all his songs really different from one another and this one almost even takes the mood and form of a fist fight, all tough, tense and disciplined.

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132 Fleetwood Mac – “Don’t Stop”

There are some songs that were considered cool in the ’90s and now sort of lame (“Brick” by Ben Folds Five, “Kiss the Rain” by Billie Myers). This one is sort of the opposite — I remember Bill Clinton getting lambasted by critics for using it in their induction ceremony but now Fleetwood Mac, even more than the Beatles, seems like the favorite “oldie” of any son or daughter of a ‟70s coke head.

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131 Black Sabbath – “N.I.B.”

Chugging forth from their excellent self-title debut (which I don‟t think SPAWNED heavy metal, since Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and Steppenwolf had all put out albums before that), “N.I.B.” is built around this predatory, relentless riff, and I believe was covered by Primus at one point (and yes it was Claypool playing the guitar riff on bass… good ol’ Primus).

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130 The Black Crowes – “She Talks to Angels”

I was disgusted when I was watching the music video to this one time and in shocked disposition I learned that it was a radio edit, only a four and a half minute version instead of five and a half minutes. This song deserves to be epic. It aches, it feels and it’s not goin’ anywhere for a while, at least it shouldn’t.

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129 Cheap Trick – “Dream Police”

Another great album titled track here, “Dream Police” shows Cheap Trick at their psychotic, Midwestern best, forsaking all the REAL problems in Chicago like violence, cocaine and the Blues Brothers and taking to inner, neurotic paranoia which is unadulterated entertainment for us all.

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128 The Doors – “Love Her Madly”

One of the many great songs from Forrest Gump on this list (looking back I can’t believe I ranked “Free Bird” so low), “Love Her Madly is in a scene you‟ve gotta love, Jenny all coked up and bein’ like “These boots were made for walkin’,” and all that jazz. Ah I love me some L.A. Woman, the album.

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127 Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket”

A very high-profile song by a great band here, “Brass in Pocket” is certainly a fun song to sing in a group, particularly if it’s a bunch of good-looking guys, because you‟re just like “I’m special”, and stuff. On a sad note, Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde is a living rape victim, an atrocity which the fine blistering rocker “Tattooed Love Boys” was written about.

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126 Simon & Garfunkel – “Mrs. Robinson”

In general I though The Graduate might have been a tad bit overrated as a film but I give it credit for putting this song and “The Sound of Silence” on the map. And I guess that is the sad hierarchy of things — more people see movies than hear music, especially today, which you could say is a good or a bad thing. We’re an aesthetic society though.

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125 The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Fire”

I know I’m gonna sound like a music nerd here but for how solid the Are You Experienced? version is, I still have to have my Live at Winterland rendition (which now I think exists on Spotify as just the boxed set Winterland… not sure why they had to fix that live album if it wasn’t broken).

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124 John Mellencamp – “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)”

Whoa I’m REALLY cheating here ’cause this song came out in ’95… to the ’90s’ credit Tom Petty hit an extreme growth spurt on Full Moon Fever and beyond, The Black Crowes ushered in the decade in style and here Mellencamp sounds fully creatively rejuvenated, and how ’bout this music video? Absolutely classic.

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123 Elvin Bishop – “Fooled around and Fell in Love”

This is another one of those neo-oldies like “Modern Love” by David Bowie, an undeniably great song but I have to say I was a little thrown off by the fact that this dude actually wasn’t black, given how he sounds. Unfortunately the song struggles from severe second-verse woes (there‟s one version where they actually nixed the verse entirely) but it’s still really catchy.

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122 Dire Straits – “So Far away”

I love all these songs so much and I’ve STILL never listened to this whole Dire Straits album because to be honest like Aerosmith they seem like primarily a singles band but if you forgot about this song… well… let’s just say you’ll thank me for reminding you real quick.

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121 Aerosmith – “Livin’ on the Edge”

This song is launched off of Aerosmith‟s unwieldy 1993 effort which was actually pretty music video heavy, or music video prominent, at least, with its “Cryin'” presence and all that… this song fits into the “classic rock” form a little bit more (I’m sorry I know I’m not defining “classic rock that clearly” since this came out after Smells Like Teen Spirit but it basically has to be influenced by the Stones and not punk).

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120 AC/DC – “Thunderstruck”

I don’t think there’s ever been another guitar “riff” like this one… I consider this the premiere AC/DC song and I was equally amazed when I learned I could actually play this sh** on guitar. Still, that‟s not to take away from their creativity and energy, which soldiers all through this song with incredible might.

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119 Harry Nilsson – “Coconut”

Placed brilliantly at the end of Reservoir Dogs, Harry Nilsson’s most high-profile number (with the possible exception of “Everybody’s Talkin’,” which also made a movie, interestingly enough), this track is a miasma and vibes and goofy delivery. I also give credit to Nilsson for inventing the ’90s “slacker” image, albeit in ’71. I mean, just look at the cover of Nilsson Schmilsson.

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118 The Rolling Stones – “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

Again, there’s probably something phenomenological going on this list whereby I rank the Stones cuts too low by pure virtue of there being so MANY of them and not wanting the top 10 to just be like nine Stones tunes and “Stairway to Heaven.” Here we have definitely a classic number with some unconventional phrasings, the lines “I was crowned / With a spike right through my head”, and perhaps most importantly, some well-placed “watch-it”‘s.

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117 Yes – “Roundabout”

Sorry for the big movie kick but movies are sort of a big deal in America — this one’s not actually IN School of Rock aurally but he mentions it as having the best keyboard solo ever, courtesy of one Rick Wakeman. Also excellent of this album is their rocking cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.”

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116 Led Zeppelin – “Over the Hills and Far away”

This is one of those songs I just really liked a lot the very first time I heard it — it comes three on the excellent mid-career offering Houses of the Holy. Randomly, one time I saw this TV special on this NFL player’s personal life and he picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing this song.

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115 The Troggs – “Wild Thing”

Toggling the oldies/classic rock dichotomy with the proudest chutzpah, this British Invasion anthem made it onto Jimi Hendrix’s Winterland performance as a cover and also spawned the name of a relief pitcher in baseball in the late ’80s, Mitch Williams.

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114 Supertramp – “Goodbye Stranger”

WHOO it looks like Breakfast in America is Supertramp masterpiece of an album, this one trotting along with an almost impossibly infectious groove and maybe more importantly some insight into the psyche of a sensitive rock star, Rick Davies, that he wants things that will “keep me in my youth”.

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113 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”

Well my search to find what album this came from went slightly less than flawlessly since… it‟s not ON an album, rather released for the Greatest Hits effort that spawned in ’93 (yeah it’s hard to believe a lot of these songs are actually from the ’90s).

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112 Canned Heat – “On the Road again”

Wow this has got to be the most underrated classic rock band… I just love that hazy organ sound, the songwriting is great and Alan Wilson‟s voice is so spooky, majestic and soaring. Well here, partly why they fly under the radar so extensively is that Wilson passed away in ’70, a tragedy that almost seems obviated by such a roaring aural delight as the tenderness and poignance of his vocals.

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111 The Who – “Squeeze Box”

Like with The Rolling Stones, the top of this list was definitely in danger of getting clogged with Who songs. Listening to The Who is a religious experience for me. That’s basically the size of it. I stopped going to church when I was 17 and this is now my seminar. “Squeeze Box,” like “Pinball Wizard,” is a more than worthy single with a goofy, absurd premise and an astonishing catchiness.

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110 U2 – “I Still Haven‟t Found What I’m Looking for”

I’m not kidding you: there‟s this AWESOME cover of this song by this black dude named Tomas Doncker on Youtube… I guess I’m a sucker for a good cover sometimes and it’s nice to see how these things can go both ways, racially, like Dionne Farris ripping that awesome “Blackbird.” This is my favorite of the big singles off of The Joshua Tree for its amazing way of combining melancholic contemplation and extreme serenity.

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109 Aerosmith – “Dream on”

I’ve always felt this song to be a rock and roll spectacle worthy of the utmost reverence, one of the most amazing vocal performances of all time and in general just a moving tale of digging your way out of hopelessness, or maybe heroin addiction, as might have been Steven Tyler’s case. The most high-profile evidence of its industry ubiquity would of course be Eminem’s “Sing for the Moment.”

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108 Billy Joel – “My Life”

This is Billy Joel at his rockin’ best (again notice how different from all his other fine songs it is) and the way I think of this song is that though in a way it‟s distinctive it almost strikes the listener as a CREATION of classic rock itself, like the great 38 Special selections, or Journey, like he was just channeling a universal vision that was there anyway and defiantly, fiercely American.

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107 Bruce Springsteen – “Born in the U.S.A.”

Of course nothing is more depressing than when somebody, particularly a politician, thinks this is a patriotic song (well other than that Bon Jovi drum sound, of course), so the fact that I can still enjoy it certainly says something about its valor and convictions.

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106 Talking Heads – “Life During Wartime”

Frothing up out of the band’s third album Fear of Music, here is a tune that combines an undeniably catchy and infectious chorus with the quintessentially Talking Heads characteristic of that busy, pseudo-funky guitar, cementing it as an eternal gem indeed.

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105 Mungo Jerry – “In the Summertime”

I think it’s KIND of a Canned Heat – “Going up the Country” ripoff but still it’s hard to deny the charm of this number. Mungo Jerry is certainly a hard mother to wrap your mind around — he sounds white but is black, British, and once opened for The Jackson 5 (lest this gift poster I used to have be fibbing).

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104 Boston – “Foreplay / Long Time”

As I think I mentioned earlier I once heard this ingenious radio DJ do this thing where he spliced John Mellencamp’s “I Need a Lover” onto the beginning of this song so that you skipped that annoying intro and it formed this continuous stream of great rocking. In particular on this cut I love the acoustic/electric toggling of the chorus‟ rhythm guitar part.

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103 Dave Edmunds – “I Hear You Knocking”

Oh yeah, the proof is in the pudding with this one big time — nobody‟s ever lain down a vocal like that with that predatory raspiness and attitude. According to Wikipedia this song was originally written by Dave Bartholomew.

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102 The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”

With a technique so tight that it sounds like he’s using a whammy bar or echo chamber, Keith Richards laid down one of the premiere rock intros here on this cut. By the way, I wonder when it became convention to replace the words “give me” with the simple dictum “gimme”… praise irreverent linguistic vanguards, I guess.

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101 Cheap Trick – “Surrender”

The only element of this situation more dominant than just how grooving and awesome this song is to hear pretty much anywhere might be just how weird and funny the words are “Mommy… told me ‘stay away / You never know what you’ll catch'”… yeah STD’s were a big presence in American rock and roll I think, without any question… just ask Lou Reed.

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100 The Allman Brothers Band – “Whipping Post”

“Whipping Post” while being a classic number everyone likes I think also represents a meaningful distinction in Allman Brothers songwriting, lain to paper originally by Greg, as per what I’ve gathered was the norm. It‟s likely their darkest tune, with a simple and memorable chorus that‟s mournful and direct.

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99 J. Geils Band – “Centerfold”

J. Geils Band hails from Boston, got some early ink in Creem magazine and harvested their flagship rocker about seeing their old girlfriend in a nudie magazine. This is probably my favorite song of all time to whistle.

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98 The Doors – “Break on through (To the Other Side)”

As far as first songs on first albums go you could do worse than this one (that’s actually surprisingly dicey territory… for example none of the first songs on the first albums of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or Alice in Chains are particularly great, nor Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones).

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97 America – “Sister Golden Hair”

It’s my extreme privilege and honor now to be writing about “Sister Golden Hair,” a catchy and beautiful song of classic rock that will always exist to me as this great statement of celestial anxiety, like The Who‟s “Magic Bus” or “5:15” but even more grounded in a pop convention it wears with style.

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96 Van Morrison – “And it Stoned Me”

It seems like somebody’s always covering this cut, whether it‟s the Grateful Dead or Widespread Panic (usually jam bands, oddly enough), and in general to listen to a Van Morrison greatest hits album is to behold a palpable vial of music history, no less for the collections’ ability to lend copious opportunity for other artist versions.

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95 Led Zeppelin – “The Ocean”

This song caps off the fine form Houses of the Holy with a barely-audible chant by John Bonham, leading into a call of 1-2-3-4 over stick hits. It then pummels its way through five odd minutes of 15/4 time signature power pop greatness, things coming to a head nicely with Plant’s paean to his daughter: “Now I’m singin’ all my songs / To the girl who won my heart / She is only three years old / And it’s a real fine way to start”.

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94 The Police – “Every Breath You Take”

Sure, it’s a pathetic song and it’s a creepy song, to an extent. Yet I put it on here anyway. What does that say about me? Maybe that I’ve been there, which I have, or I just sympathize with general human struggle and to an extent I admire vulnerability — it‟s certainly conducive to melody, anyway.

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93 Beatles – “The Ballad of John and Yoko”

The Beatles’ final UK number one single, this non-album track sprang in ’69 detailing the doomed escapades of the famous couple. I’ve met people who VEHEMENTLY dislike this song and I have no idea why anyone could, with lines like “The newspapers said / Hey what you doin’ in bed / I said we’re only tryin’ to get us some peace” and then also of course the all too prescient “The way things are going / They‟re gonna crucify me”.

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92 Pink Floyd – “Take it back”

This uproarious track from one of the band’s swan songs The Division Bell, 1994, is one I just had to take back in in making this list, especially since it’s like the perfect summer music. I’ve also got it on my “Beach Rock” list.

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91 The Rolling Stones – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

Right about the time of Shaggy’s “It Wasn‟t Me,” which came out when I was in high school, I sort of resigned myself to the sour conclusion that music, even if a tad entertaining and catchy, was always going to be a bit “dumb.” This is sort of like the first “dumb” song in this history of rock and roll, simple, light and full of the sort of stock optimism that can feed speakers on a mass level.

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90 Black Sabbath – “Iron Man”

“Iron Man” is the noble, ruthless beastie on sophomore album Paranoid, helping to round things out with one of the more infectious and memorable hooks of all time, every bit ready for basketball game pep bands or high school cover bands. Wikipedia explains the meaning behind the song, which seems cursorily important, I suppose.

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89 Fleetwood Mac – “The Chain”

That twangy guitar sound in the intro always gave this one a nice, desert-type feel (Buckingham and Nicks are from LA originally) and of course you’ve got to love the raw, vituperative emotion at work here, characteristic of much of this band’s best work.

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88 The Who – “Magic Bus”

The Who were likely the first masters of power pop, laying down this gripping narrative over this incredibly direct chord progression belted out on electric rhythm guitar. In this way, they‟d go on to influence much of the most important ’90s alt-rock like Weezer and of course Pearl Jam, whose singer Eddie Vedder is a professed devotee of them.

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87 Pat Benatar – “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”

Ok why is this list all of a sudden turning into like a pep band slate for a night’s game — eh I guess just the greatness of this song hit me over time, partly because I’m a sports fan and partly because that vocal is just so wolverine and convincing that you actually believe her.

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86 Van Halen – “I’ll Wait”

Again, I can’t stress enough how glorious this 1984 album is and who’d have thought we’d get this type of thing from the band — an earnest statement of love and dedication penned to one person. Whether it was about his “teacher” or not remains another question.

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85 Black Sabbath – “Behind the Wall of Sleep”

I felt a little weird when I noticed that this was actually a studio outtake, re-released on the deluxe version of their self-titled debut but not on the original album… eh it’s such a rocking tune with a fantastic bass outro and it’s sort of a similar phenomenon to The Stone Roses where they just had an overwhelming surplus of classic songs in their burgeoning days.

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84 Pink Floyd – “Time”

Generally a gravitationally popular tune here, “Time” helps to really get the ball rolling on the band’s 1973 classic The Dark Side of the Moon, which came out the year my dad graduated high school and surely soundtracked many of his psychedelic, um, “experiments,” shall we say.

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83 Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”

Now here is a heavy metal band who opened an album, Physical Graffiti, with this track that’s eight and a half minutes long and in which the main RIFF is played by strings, not guitar. Anybody who says Zeppelin lacked songwriting confidence is really on one. Also how ’bout that drum sound?

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82 Edgar Winter Group – “Frankenstein”

One of two instruments on this whole dang list along with “Jessica,” this thing struts along with some serious attitude and what’s easy to forget is just how loosey-goosey and natural it feels, like it was really transposed off of a terrific garage jam session.

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81 Pretenders – “Middle of the Road”

“Middle of the Road” spawns from the band’s third album 1983’s Learning to Crawl (not sure if this is related but I was born two months before it came out so I actually was learning to crawl during it). In general I think a lot of Chrissie Hynde’s lyrics tend to at least loosely handle rape, as that’s sadly something she dealt with in real life before forming the band.

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80 The Allman Brothers Band – “Melissa”

This is one of those songs that’s just so perfect it’s like you don’t want to nudge it too much — short of learning everything about what it’s about I like to just sit back and enjoy it, letting my imagination do all the work. But you’ve gotta love the mention of a “gypsy” in pretty much any song, like U2’s “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?”

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79 Van Morrison – “Domino”

I assume this song is probably about the old jazz great Fats Domino — anyway I think Morrison was definitely a master of subject matter variation. Also this song has a great way of even incorporating trumpets prominently into the chorus, aligning it well with its subject of course.

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78 Electric Light Orchestra – “Don’t Bring Me down”

I discovered this song I think the summer after my Freshman year in college when we were working outside and listening to the radio every day — it was one of my favorites and I was even having anxiety about going back to school and seeing this girl again, which certainly didn‟t hurt its cause.

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77 ZZ Top – “La Grange”

“La Grange.” 77. It’s just 77, mutha, sittin‟ back with some shades on in a Texas town enjoyin’ some bourbon and letting ‘er rip with some of the most simple but stomping classic rock ever laid down, a groove every band afterward likely copied, or at least jammed to a couple times.

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76 The Spencer Davis Group – “Gimme Some Lovin'”

Ironically the work of a British group picked up by the Blues Brothers to mixed results, “Gimme Some Lovin'” is an undeniable classic and more great pulp for basketball pep bands. One interesting story about this band is that they named themselves that because Spencer Davis was the only member who could stand doing interviews, so reporters would always ask for him.

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75 Led Zeppelin – “Ramble on”

Here’s where Zeppelin pared down and packaged themselves perfectly on their second album for radio fame — I almost never rank this song very highly on my best Zeppelin songs list but its catchiness and pliability make it perfect for FM purposes, still toting that vaguely psychedelic Zeppelin tinge, while it’s at it.

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74 David Essex – “Rock on”

I used to not like this song at all, truth be told. More and more, its greatness hit me, as I got older and encountered more tense situations in life. This song takes the tension in the room and body slams it. Also, you’ve gotta love the supernarrative about the doomed stature of creative new rock and roll in the early ’70s, and the song‟s requisite obtuse creativity and eccentricity, to go right along.

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73 Sweet – “The Ballroom Blitz”

Sort of like “Modern Love” in the neo-oldies pool, this famous track from Wayne’s World and that was sample on Paul’s Boutique tromps along with an inimitable swagger, you’ve gotta admit, and also “rocks” to a pretty decent extent considering its rarity on classic rock radio, it would seem.

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72 The Allman Brothers Band – “Midnight Rider”

This song just absolutely has the perfect acoustic guitar riff in the opener. It’s so good I didn’t even get pi**ed when they put it on a GEICO commercial. Also I’m glad I’m finishing this list in summer because this is absolutely ideal summer music — I used to cruise around to this band’s whole greatest hits all the time back in the day on summer break, delivering pizzas or whatever.

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71 Pink Floyd – “Money”

Apparently a favorite show opener of the band, “Money” gets down with its bad funky self in seven-four time signature, a nice creative wrinkle to govern things, and of course offers no shortage of world-weary observations: “Money so they say / Is the root of all evil today / But if you ask for a rise / It’s no surprise they’re giving none away”.

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70 George Thorogood & the Destroyers – “Move it on over”

This song would always crack me up and sink in nicely when I was young in the ’90s, partly ’cause I was obsessed with dogs (particularly “Red Dog”‘s, of course) and partly because I’ve just always been a sucker for this six-eight Chicago blues type format. Thorogood hails from Wilmington, Delaware, by the way, which is a moderately sized town between Philly and Baltimore, the way I understand it.

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69 Fleetwood Mac – “Say You Love Me”

I swear to God this is like the perfect song: someone was blasting it from a stereo a couple houses down my block and during the guitar solo, before I even recognized what song it was, it was like the notes sank into my psyche as some paradigmatic greatness straight from the heavens. Also, the vulnerability factor is back with this one, which we like.

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68 Dire Straits – “Sultans of Swing”

Stupefying incapable, apparently, of compiling a full “classic album” Dire Straits still has an undeniable, kinetically powerful and Velvet Underground-mimicking sense of groove about them, come to beautiful fruition here on this ubiquitous number, which is music about music, always a good thing in my book.

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67 Rush – “Closer to the Heart”

Probably my favorite lyrical message from Rush here even more so than “Freewill,” this cut has a great way of getting its words across and then building up in energy. I also love the version on Exit… Stage Left and that whole live album in general.

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66 Talking Heads – “Swamp”

Like a city boy devolved into a caveman, David Byrne delivers a memorable chorus here composed exclusively of monosyllabic gibberish, surfacing on the band’s third album Fear of Music, which is a concept album about being scared of everything, even “Air”: “Air can hurt you too”. Lester Bangs wrote a great piece about this album and it‟s in one of his books.

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65 Grateful Dead – “Touch of Grey”

I‟m pretty sure this song is like the exact aural manifestation of what being on acid is like — it’s like that trippy, psychedelic cusp where the night time meets the morning and we get that wild array of colors in the sunrise. I heard, though, that Garcia had been doing heroin in the early ’80s and went to jail for it, so that’s something to consider too I guess. “Touch of Grey” opens up 1987’s wholly listenable In the Dark.

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64 The Who – “Pinball Wizard”

I mean as far as just rhythm guitar acoustic parts that are mind-blowing and memorable, I don‟t think it gets much better than this without the help of a slide or some outside apparatus. Also I mention this song in my “Squeeze Box” mini-blurb as having the band’s quintessential sense of humor, which is always a handy provision.

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63 Jethro Tull – “Locomotive Breath”

It should be legal to drag somebody behind a pickup truck through broken glass who says “Jethro Tull sucks”. Impossibly infectious and hypnotic, this song surfaces on the band’s most high-profile album, ’71’s Aqualung (though I still give the slight nod to ’69’s Stand up), nestled right back there at second to last, of all places. And I mean come on, it’s about “locomotive breath,” whatever the he** that is. Only Jethro Tull.

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62 The Rolling Stones – “Mother’s Little Helper”

It certainly doesn’t get much darker or realer than this, coming during the band’s early era when they were scrappy upstarts with nothing to lose, wise and articulate beyond their years and already examining aging and death with an unflinching, sophisticated and artistic eye.

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61 Neil Young – “Old Man”

The greatness of this song hit me I think one Saturday in late winter in college when I was just farting around, going thrift store shopping by myself on foot in Bloomington, not really with any idea what I wanted to do with my life but sort of just feeling like a “professional human being,” which of course sometimes seems pretty doomed in the workforce.

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60 Humble Pie – “One-Eyed Trouse-Snake Rumba”

I’m not gonna lie, it‟s sort of an indignity writing about this song but in general I find this guy really underrated, his sound aligning perfectly with the embryonic days of heavy metal and also his songs weaving in and out of chord progressions with sophisticated subtleties, as it were.

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59 ZZ Top – “Jesus Just Left Chicago”

My vaunted hippie sons Phish picked this one up for a cover for their live album Slip, Stitch and Pass but the ZZ Top version is just too classic, an absurd, iconographic premise summoning in Billy Gibbons‟ burly baritone for some timeless rock and roll oblivion.

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58 Pink Floyd – “Brain Damage”/”Eclipse”

There’s plenty to sink into about this end of Dark Side of the Moon pairing, not the least of which is Gilmour’s ability to sympathize with the insane, saying that they’ve “Got to keep the lunars on the path”, claiming later that “There‟s someone in my head but it’s not me”, and in general wielding an unflagging eye to the acid casualty epidemic that were likely taking place around them at this time.

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57 Steely Dan – “Reelin’ in the Years”

Bubbling up on Steely Dan‟s invincible debut album Can’t Buy a Thrill, “Reelin’ in the Years” is a song that‟s impossible to mimic and hard to even cover, let alone, if the extreme dearth of its replaying by other bands is any indication. It’s certainly not for lack of radio play, anyway.

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56 Led Zeppelin – “Rock and Roll”

They used this one on a car commercial, I remember, and Trent Reznor flew into a tizzy about the artistic denigration… I think it bothered me, an age-old fan of Led Zeppelin IV, for about a year, and then I got over it, gravitating back to this authoritative power pop that can bore a hole in your malaise any ol’ day.

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55 The Allman Brothers Band – “Blue Sky”

The centerpiece on their flagship album, Eat a Peach, “Blue Sky” bests “Midnight Rider” for the incredible and incredibly lengthy guitar solo on the part of one Duane Allman, R.I.P. 1971. If I remember correctly one Dan Aykroyd character on Saturday Night Live hears a troubled caller who‟s on a bad acid trip and asks, “Do you have any Allman Brothers?”

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54 Van Halen – “Panama”

Another classic offering on 1984, “Panama” rocks straight ahead with some of the most swagger of any tune on this list, the band’s tightness and confidence making the simple, garage rock instrumentation sound like an orchestra for boozy back yards.

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53 Van Morrison – “Brown Eyed Girl”

I heard one legend from this Van Morrison fanatic that he originally wanted to call this song “Brown-Skinned Girl,” but his record label wouldn’t let him. Anyway, it’s obviously classic and I personally love how it unleashes an auxiliary chorus after the initial repetition of “You my brown-eyed girl”, a nice creative wrinkle on song structure that the great ones would pefect.

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52 Billy Squier – “Lonely is the Night”

One of Massachusetts‟ proudest two-hit wonders here (perhaps along with the J. Geils Band), Billy Squier pipes in with a da**-near perfect vocal performance… yeah this would be a scary one to handle in karaoke for the sheer pressure of matching that. Juke boxes, yeah it‟s perfect for that especially at night time.

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51 The Who – “Baba O’ Riley”

Oh, how many times when I was 18 did I search for “Teenage Wasteland”… where the he** is that god da** song “Teenage Wasteland”? They’re hiding it from me. I know it. Never trust anyone over 19.

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50 Rush – “Tom Sawyer”

Another great live version and rendition on Exit… Stage Left, this is undeniably Rush’s trademark ditty here, handling the Mark Twain character and I think the general malady of self-righteousness and self-novelizing on the part of various towns people he comes across.

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49 Aerosmith – “Janie’s Got a Gun”

One of the many great singles on the nonetheless head-scratchingly awful album Pump from 1989, “Janie’s Got a Gun” also made I think #12 on my all-time videos list for its musical synergy. Also, you‟ve gotta like Tyler’s getting away from the theme of generally just being a horn-ball, sometimes.

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48 Beatles – “Come Together”

Of course, as we know the last two Beatles albums are sort of like Neptune and Pluto: there‟s an ongoing debate about which one should be considered final, since one was recorded first (Let it Be) and the other one was released first (Abbey Road). Either way, I don’t think there‟s any question the band had devolved fully into classic rock at this point, which of course would presage the layout of the solo work of the three main songwriters in the band.

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47 38 Special – “Caught up in You”

This great cut by 38 Special, their second song on this list, almost has that sort of innocent classic rock spirit that even makes you a little jealous, like they were living the dream. Drew Barrymore picked it up for the soundtrack to her directorial debut, Whip it, which for what it’s worth is an excellent movie all in all.

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46 Tom Petty – “Free Fallin'”

Culling from ’89’s sans-Heartbreakers Full Moon Fever (who’d have thought the timeless, catchy songs were only just beginning at that point) “Free Fallin'” lends itself deceptively to close, analog listen, with that tense, percussive part in the third verse and then of course the funky reverb breakdown toward the end, too. And how about the emotion at work here as well, sympathizing with a girl to the point of self-loathing.

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45 ZZ Top – “Cheap Sunglasses”

Here the Houston, Texas boys penned possibly their most curious, obtuse number, undeniably jazzy, funky and just uproariously rocking, with a guitar solo full of chordal changes that you think will never end, and never want to end.

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44 The Rolling Stones – “Midnight Rambler”

The Black Crowes do a great cover of this song… well they pretty much play it verbatim and at the same speed, and it’s great, which should give you an idea of how awesome this original is which is inconspicuously absent from Forty Licks but did make its way thankfully onto Hot Rocks, the band’s first best-of collection.

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43 The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”

Famous of course for the ubiquitous line “Excuse me while I kiss the sky”, “Purple Haze” I believe spawned the name of a time of weed, or else was written about it when it already existed. I love the Hendrix autobiography Starting at Zero in general and particularly the account of how his whole reason for moving over to England and getting in a band was so that he could “play louder.”

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42 Head East – “Never Been Any Reason”

It doesn’t get much more one-hit-wondery, or wondrous, or coked-up, for that matter (outside of James Brown, of course), than this beery slab of unadulterated classic rock. It’s like a song for drinking, and boning, and blowing sh** up to, as they say in their more cultured mental bouts.

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41 Steely Dan – “Do it again”

Some people say this song “goes nowhere” but I think that may be part of its appeal — it rests on its laurels beautifully and what great laurels they are to rest on, with textural bongos and Donald Fagan’s voice projecting in this impossibly cool sort of half-falsetto. Also I love the tough-love sorts of lessons in life: “In the land of milk and honey / You must put them on the table”, talking about the cards you have to play.

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40 Pretenders – “Back on the Chain Gang”

Part of that ‟80s gang of classic rockers to draw influence from The Velvet Underground and lay down catchy, timeless radio rock music (in which Patti Smith’s work is highly overrated, in my opinion), “Back on the Chain Gang” is the proudest offering from England‟s great Pretenders and is a great song of sympathy and genuine human plight.

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39 The Allman Brothers Band – “Ramblin’ Man‟

I’m a little miffed at myself for putting this one ahead of “Blue Sky” but it’s still a credible enough romper, with a da** near perfect chorus and great narrative about being “born in the back seat / Of a Greyhound bus / Rollin’ down Highway 41”.

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38 Aerosmith – “Sweet Emotion”

What a just perfect, infectious and incessant guitar riff on the part of Joe Perry (whose last solo album wasn’t frickin’ chopped liver) this song is built around and Steven Tyler delivers a masterful vocal too, which sounds every bit in the throes equally of addiction, desperation and artistic vision.

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37 Neil Young – “Heart of Gold”

Is that Neil Young getting FUNKY? Well, that‟s kind of a stretch but he‟s closer to it than anyone could have ever imagined, having a little fun after all on his burdened humanistic quest of what keeps him “searching for a heart of gold”. This cut surfaces on ’72’s Harvest, arguably his best album.

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36 Don Henley – “The Boys of Summer”

What you have with this song, along with almost a Beatles or Oasis level of undeniable pop catchiness and playability, is, going with how Henley resided in LA, keeping things nice, simple and cinematic, dedicating your life to winning back a girl on the accepted, Hollywood type of premise that she’s worth it.

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35 The Velvet Underground – “Heroin”

You might be surprised that I included this song but my dad and I did in fact hear it on FM this one night, my pops worthily pointing out how the highs and lows in volume mimicked the mood swings of intoxication and withdrawal from heroin itself. Also amusing is how I one time ACCIDENTALLY played this tune (I think I was going for “Sweet Jane”) on a juke box in a bar and it was an amazingly tolerable experience.

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34 Van Halen – “Jump”

The greatness of this song hit me when I was about da** near all the way through college, that relentless trotting bassline cementing things into head-nodding territory. Interestingly, also, you don’t get six-string guitar in this song until the solo halfway through, at least to my ears.

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33 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Learning to Fly”

This song pops up on 1991’s Into the Great Wide open (which would also spawn the famous titled track) and is cool I think because it‟s a song written ABOUT touring, the anxiety of pulling into a town and not knowing what to expect, and all that. Sadly, of course, he’d die on tour, like many musicians, on October 2, 2017.

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32 Cream – “White Room”

Sometimes I just sit back and relish the fact that I don‟t live in England and this song is case in point, talking about “Where the shadows run from themselves”… I mean the whole thing just seems like neuroses upon neuroses upon neuroses, sort of like the Beatles line “Pretty little policemen in a row” which yielded the condition of “I’m cryin'”.

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31 Led Zeppelin – “Heartbreaker”/”Livin’ Lovin’ Maid”

Nirvana used to cover this song, I guess, somewhat pointlessly… he** it will always be a great rocker for high school keggers (not that I’d know or anything, heavens no) and anxious drives to work, with the band’s promising early knack for hewing out the authoritative metal riff.

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30 Simon & Garfunkel – “The Sound of Silence”

My personal favorite number on what I thought was an overrated movie The Graduate, this tune‟s got an undeniably cool vibe and is full of various nuggets of lyrical genius such as “Silence like a cancer grows”. I think we‟ve all been there.

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29 Canned Heat – “Going up the Country”

Alan Wilson was back as his free-wheeling self here, talking about “going where the water tastes like wine” and just letting loose and having a good time, not unlike one Mungo Jerry, who like I say I think kind of ripped off this song for “In the Summertime.”

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28 The Who – “Who Are You”

Arguably the greatest use of the whammy bar ever put to record, “Who Are You” has been a big time grower for me, with its relentlessly mean, tough depiction of a drunken escapade sinking in more and more. It’s a late-era song by a band which is also about growing old, I think, and trying to fight for some of the credibility you used to have.

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27 Credence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising”

In a way this was like the first post-punk song, similar to the Pixies’ “Wave of Mutilation,” where these bright, Beach Boys type chords flank unrelenting, apocalyptic words of doom. And no, he‟s not saying “There’s a bathroom on the right”… apparently that was a big joke around when my parents were in high school in the early ’70s.

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26 Jethro Tull – “Living in the Past”

What an impossibly infectious number here, popping up first on the band‟s first compilation album of the same name in ’72, making a five-four time signature sound like freakin’ “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Again, nobody’s perfect, so I don’t pore over the lyrics too closely: it’s obviously vaguely political but that “Let’s go living in the past” conclusion had to have been rather hard-won, especially for how natural Ian Anderson sounds uttering it.

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25 Steely Dan – “Dirty Work”

Of premiere Steely Dan status on this list and emanating from their authoritative first album Can’t Buy a Thrill on which there’s definitely not a bad song, “Dirty Work” again I swear is a song whereon Fagan is like half in chest voice and half in falsetto: his mama and choir teacher must have been proud of him for this one.

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24 Jefferson Airplane – “White Rabbit”

Speaking of unforgettable vocal performance, it certainly doesn’t get much more celestial or paint-peeling than this one, and interestingly enough Grace Slick is actually credited with writing this song as a whole, in lyrics and music, a classic radio tune dedicated to Alice in Wonderland, a children‟s book by Lewis Carroll, made into a film originally in 1951 by Disney.

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23 The Doors – “Riders on the Storm”

The last song on the last Doors album just seems to say it all with uproariously cool, steely-eyed swagger: “Into this house we‟re born / Into this world we’re thrown / Riders on the storm”. Morrison was always at his best when he as his darkest, peering boldly into the bowels of existential matters and relating it back with this beautiful, digestible and radio-friendly poetic concision.

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22 The Who – “Behind Blue Eyes”

“Behind Blue Eyes” surfaces on ’71’s Who’s Next and really sounds ahead of its time, at that: I would have probably pegged it in the late ’70’s around Jackson Browne’s time if I didn’t know better. I was originally introduced to it on the wholly invincible and authoritative 20th Century Masters collection and have always been a sucker for the lines “If I swallow anything evil / Put your finger down my throat”.

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21 Procol Harum – “A Whiter Shade of Pale”

The British Procol Harum find their magnum opus evaporating out of the speakers as this almost comedically sad tale of loss of moxie and mojo… really I’ve never heard a bad song by this band, sort of like a gentler, more psychedelic take on Humble Pie, or a more reflective little brother of Cream, roughly.

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20 The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Hey Joe”

As much as I love the studio version of this tune from the band’s debut album Are You Experienced? (which is actually an old blues traditional and not penned by Hendrix himself), I‟ll always gravitate toward the one from the original Live at Winterland, which features this face-melting, minute-and-a-half guitar intro that really sets the tone. Generally this band’s studio work tended to be a tad overproduced and clean, I think, at least until Electric Ladyland, which was finally produced by the singer himself.

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19 The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil”

It doesn’t get much more perfect for bar juke boxes than this, the extended “woo-woo” session in the last three minutes or so partly to thank. This song dropped on Beggars Banquet about three months after the RFK assassination (which followed MLK by only a few short months), and it’s certainly sad that the pithiest rhetoric of politics of this time probably came from a British act.

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18 Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven”

Yeah I mean… I enjoy this song, clearly given where I ranked it… a lot of people would have certainly put it number one. The lyrics are strong and the melodies spooky and authoritative… if anything I find the sped-up final movement a tad bit disjointed from the rest of it but I’ll always love that middle, mid-tempo portion with the lines “Dear lady can you hear the wind blow / And did you know / Your stairway lies on the whispering wind”.

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17 Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here”

I have this clear memory of, already really liking this song, hearing it in a Philadelphia bar where the mood was really tense and where it seemed like a riot could pretty much break out at any time, and having it even though so soft and ambient be like the exact perfect song for breaking up the tension. I think the Phillies were doing really shi**y. That was probably it. It’s the city’s love song to Ryan Howard.

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16 The Rolling Stones – “Paint it, Black”

You could probably play this riff on a Meijer guitar inside Mount Vesuvius and a person standing outside of it would know immediately what song it was. Ubiquitously, it soundtracks the credits rolling in Stanley Kubrick’s twisted war opus Full Metal Jacket, a slightly odd placement for it since it’s actually just about everyday life, a realm which should be pleasant and sensible, hence making its subject matter all the more painful I suppose.

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15 Black Sabbath – “War Pigs”

“War Pigs” kicks off the band’s second album “Paranoid” in style — this vaunted vocal in the verse delivered just over drums spewing these indignant plaints at the corporate war machine that arguably runs the world. It’s sure to get your head nodding and the subject matter has a nice way of interlocking with the anger represented by the heavy rock groove.

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14 Dire Straits – “Walk of Life”

Sometimes I just sit back and marvel at what it would be like to be Mark Knopfler and to just CONCEIVE of this artistic vision — it’s like going through everything and then experiencing the indescribable joy of just walking, and living, enjoying your time in your own skin and not needing to answer to anyone or impress anyone but yourself. “Walk of Life” features on ’85’s Brothers in Arms and is about the most psychedelic thing we’d get until Lou Reed’s astonishing urban snapshot New York.

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13 Warren Zevon – “Werewolves of London”

This song IS classic rock. There’s arguably no song more irreplaceable in the catalogue of any radio station purporting to represent said style of music. Zevon sadly enough was pretty much a one-hit wonder, although I doubt he’s sweating it too much, a Chicago boy with rock and roll coursing through his veins and still guileless enough to get squeamish before big shots, a pretty common malady among rock stars although usually it’s probably label execs making them sick.

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12 Barry Mcguire – “Eve of Destruction”

I must have heard this song somewhere because it sounded familiar, but my relationship with it got rekindled when I listened to Joe Perry’s whole excellent blues-rock LP from 2018 Sweetzerland Manifesto and heard a cover of it on there, toward the end. Wikipedia dubs the 1965 track a “protest song” but I think it‟s something even better — it’s too humanistic to be a protest, too sympathetic to be adversarial, and its doom saying disposition sounds more appropriate today than it ever has.

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11 Don Henley – “The End of the Innocence”

All of Don Henley’s solo albums seemed to furnish reams of great, classic hit singles, and 1989’s The End of the Innocence is no different, which spawned this astonishingly beautiful titled track, made all the better in my opinion for those nonsensical references to “lawyers” and “armchair warriors,” just showing you that he‟s authentic and he’s living life truly.

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10 T. Rex – “Bang a Gong (Get it on)”

Here the man who gave David Bowie his start in the industry (hiring him on as a touring mime despite an explicit disdain for said individual) hit his stride with an inimitable corpuscle of rock undeniably “classic,” too irreverent to be corny and too “dirty and sweet” to ever be forgotten. It’s one of my favorite songs to hear on juke boxes without question.

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9 Talking Heads – “Once in a Lifetime”

This song sort of just does it all — it’s a little too new to be oldies but it‟s got the literary perspective and eccentric approach to songwriting for “alternative rock,” it seems to weave in soul and disco in its rhythmic traits but at the end of the day I think I plopped it on the right list here, although I doubt its competitors are too thrilled that I did that.

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8 The Who – “Won‟t Get Fooled again”

Now what we have here IS a bona fide protest song, of which sadly Britain tended to specialize in more than the States (were were too busy creating our own new atrocities, probably), but we’re thankful for it anyway for its well-executed epic structure, invincible power chords and last but not least that soul-piercing yowl by Roger Daltrey toward the end.

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7 Led Zeppelin – “When the Levee Breaks”

I think I had this song lower for a while and then I heard it on the juke at this one bar and it‟s just impossible to describe how awesome of a feeling it was, how it married Delta Blues (literally, in subject matter) and heavy metal so perfectly creating a vibe that absolutely everybody could sink into. “When the Levee Breaks” caps off the great Led Zeppelin IV in style and features one of the greatest chorus jumps from minor to major chord ever lain down.

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6 Jethro Tull – “Aqualung”

Guitar Hero can probably thank this cut for being like the only song easy enough for a lot of constituents to keep their gaming machine on… it’s a classic ’71 album titled track, the second straight album opener by the band to embody heavy metal, I’d say, along with “A New Day Yesterday” which more than worthily bats leadoff on Stand up.

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5 Lou Reed – “Walk on the Wild Side”

Songwriting confidence is of undeniable importance in this enterprise and so on this cut you‟ve got to like the absolute lack of guitar virtuosity, even being the original work of a guitar player, to boot, the melody hewn by this impossibly high-pitched and textural bass, then of course to give way to that gorgeous, almost Pink Floyd-like saxophone solo midway through. Wait, Transformer came out before The Dark Side of the Moon, didn’t it?

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4 Buffalo Springfield – “For What it’s Worth”

Earlier on this list I laud the strategy of augmenting one chorus with a larger chorus (I think it was “Brown-Eyed Girl”) but on Stephen Stills’ masterpiece here I’d say he did the right thing in going the Bob Dylan route of having a bevy of little mini-verses and choruses. The result is a four-course meal of great, poignant, politically charged and imagistic psychedelia, which can kind of act as a thumb in the face to and one-upping of Neil Young, who from what I’ve heard wasn’t always overly kind to Stills in their professional relationship.

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3 Yes – “I’ve Seen All Good People”

This is certainly the last song I would have expected to carry a world-weary, blue-collar type of vibe, but that exact thing hit me pretty recently when I was rolling around rocking out to The Yes Album on CD — it’s a song about absolute certainty in life and truly knowing how to be yourself, which is sometimes the hardest thing of all.

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2 Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”

This is Roger Waters’ album, in general, but this particular cut I think has David Gilmour’s inimitable pop sensibility about it: sure enough, Wikipedia has it that the two singers co-wrote the tune, hence definitely representing a feather in the cap of band songwriting plurality and democracy, which we generally probably don’t get enough of. It’s hard to know what to make of the song‟s meaning and maybe that’s part of the point: it’s literally an ode to shutting out the outside world and making yourself dumb to it, when it gets to be too much to take. It’s literally about hiding behind a wall, when you have to.

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1 The Rolling Stones – “Get off of My Cloud”

Ok, I’m done with this list: this is where I sit back, smoke a doobie and just enjoy the best classic rock band of all time doing what they do best, in here probably the most boorish example of “three chords and a lot of balls,” which was famously the band’s signature epithet formulated by Jagger himself, of all people.

 

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