When I was a kid I loved The Guinness Book of World Records, I bought each year’s edition for quite a few years. And then one year, there came a new book
My god, I was in heaven reading this book. Page after page of lists of biggest this, oldest that, best of something else.
I’ve always been fascinated with lists, which is likely why I’m so intrigued by Sirius XM’s effort to rank the 1,000 best Classic Rock songs ever.
Just the scope of the effort fascinates me. It’s one thing to list the top 10 movies of the year or the best Mexican restaurant in town or to identify the three books you’d want with you on a deserted island. But to rank 1,000 songs out of the thousands and thousands of classic rock songs that have been recorded over the years? How do you even begin?
Well, Sirius XM did it and they’re playing and replaying the 1,000 throughout this month. I wrote a few days about about the top eight songs. Since then, whenever I get in the car, I’ve avoided sports talk and other Sirius stations and gone straight to the station playing this list. Each time, I get exposed to a different part. Tonight, the drive home began with
Let It Be by the Beatles. I’m somewhat surprised this wasn’t higher. It’s such a classic, beautiful song. It is a part of the foundational work of the Beatles.
Le Grange by ZZ Top. So, yes, this song is ahead of Let It Be? Seriously? I’ve never been a fan of ZZ Top. I can’t think of one of their songs that I actually want to listen to when it comes on. But they are responsible for my best eggcorn. They have a song titled I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide. For years, no decades, I thought it was I’m Bad, I’m Asian White. No, really I did. But beyond that, I can’t understand why a ZZ Top song would be in the top 50 all-time.
We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions by Queen. I love the first half of this duo. A song just stripped bare of any frills with great lyrics. And, you know, it’s Queen.
Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. Here’s an artist I never really knew much of or paid much attention to until the last few years. It’s primarily because of Spotify that I discovered him and became a fan of his. Brown-Eyed Girl is another one of those classics. As is Into the Mystic. He definitely deserves a spot here for this song.
Highway to Hell by AC/DC. Yeah, sure. I’m good with this. Any band that can write and perform songs like Big Balls deserves a spot. I’m not sure Highway to Hell is their best song (and I don’t know if they had anything higher on the list) but it certainly is representative of AC/DC. I won’t deny that I may have owned a few AC/DC albums in my time and that this song was a part of my life.
Baba O’Riley by The Who. Won’t Get Fooled again was The Who’s song that made it to the top eight and I suggested they had other songs I would rate higher. This is definitely one of them. Just great sound and feel to this song. Teenage Wasteland!!!
Runnin’ Down a Dream by Tom Petty. Yes, I know that this is probably considered his best song, but it’s never really done anything for me. And other than a couple of his songs, I’ve never really been a huge fan.
My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. Oh please. Why? Just why? Really? This is in the top 40? Is it just because he was a Beattle and he has to have a song of his own up here. Blech.
Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. I get this. It’s a pretty incredible song. But here’s the thing about Led Zeppelin for me — at some point, once you hear a couple of songs, you’ve kind of heard all of them, haven’t you? Of course, you can say that about a lot of musical acts — AC/DC, for example.
Over the Mountain by Ozzy Osbourne. I song I am pretty sure that I have never heard before. And it’s in at #38? I’ll never understand this one.
So, there you have it. My commute home took ten songs that range from Tom Petty to Ozzy Osbourne.
In the portions of the list I have heard, I’ve heard one Rush song (Tom Sawyer), no Yes songs, no Def Leppard, way more Judas Priest than I thought possible, Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher at 172 (a travesty — the song shouldn’t be anywhere in the top 10,000), no Guns ‘n’ Roses, no Boston, one Supertramp song, one Loverboy song, no Bruce Springsteen, no Dire Straits
I seriously would love to be able to listen to the entire list of songs, but that’s impossible. So, I finally found somebody who has put the list together and posted it. It’s here. I now know that Queen has a dozen songs on the list with Bohemian Rhapsody in at 16. That Rush has a half dozen or so. Dire Straits and Guns ‘n’ Roses are represented. As is Boston and Bruce.
I could spend days looking at this list and pondering. Except that I just did something. I typed in the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones into the search box to see which one had the most songs. I can’t imagine another group or solo artist topping them. Sadly, the Rolling Stones have the most songs on the list. The most over-rated rock band in the history of all rock and roll music! I’m done with this.
I need another list.