Sunday, December 02, 2007

Greatest American Rock and Roll Songs

This is my final installment in a series of posts on American Rock and Roll. In the first one, I took at look at the 20 Greatest Musicians. [See also: Jeff's list at Aún Estamos Vivos.] In the second, I came up with a list of 20 Greatest Albums.

Trying to determine the Greatest Rock and Roll Songs is an impossible task for one person. There are simply too many possibilities to come up with a good list. That didn't stop me, of course, but I recognize that the process is flawed.

UPDATE: Normally, I'm not one to come up with a list of the "Greatest" anything. As Steve suggested in his comment, it may be better to stick with a "Favorites" list. But I wanted to explore something different in this series of posts. To go beyond myself, if possible. There's a different thought process involved in trying to determine the "Greatest." The idea was to be more critical in my thinking about the music. To see if I could overcome personal prejudices and be more objective. I didn't fully succeed in the end. (Let someone else argue for Madonna!) But I enjoyed the experiment. [I'm also not comfortable dealing in strict categories like "rock and roll," as opposed to Soul, R&B, Blues, etc. Nor do I like nation-specific lists. Again, though, it was an experiment to challenge my normal thought process.] So, while it may be impossible for one person to come up with a list of the Greatest American Rock and Roll Songs, I'll say that these 50 choices would be the ones I would submit to a group of people trying to determine such a list. And just for the record, a list of my favorite songs (or musicians or albums) would look very different from what I've offered.

In the end, it looks like I've come up with a playlist for a Classic Rock station, which is the last thing I wanted. But, really, some of these tunes have been played to death for a reason: they were great. Still, I'm particularly interested in getting suggestions from the rest of you, especially for more recent tunes. (That is, after 1974.)

A lot of great rock and roll comes from musicians who weren't necessarily our best artists. And maybe they never produced a consistently fantastic album. But they had moments of brilliance, blessed little epiphanies of kick-ass rock and roll. Maybe that's due in part to the early and powerful influence of radio and the singles format, I don't know. Few people probably remember Mountain, and fewer still could name one of their albums, but as soon as you hear "Mississippi Queen," you know the gods of rock and roll were working overtime that day.

I've chosen 50 songs, because it was impossible to limit myself to 20. Also, I wanted to give you a chance to hear the songs yourself, so I created a Finetune playlist, and that requires a minimum of 45 songs, with no more than 3 songs per artist. I could've easily chosen more than 3 by Dylan or Hendrix, but it seemed like a reasonable limit to work within.

I don't have any numeric order this time - I'm just giving you the playlist, which is alphabetical by musician. And I'm not discussing any of the songs.

With one exception.

I've included Hendrix's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" from Woodstock. Obviously, Jimi produced many other songs that were musically superior. But there's always been something profound to me about this performance. Here was an African-American musician, only a few years after the abolition of Jim Crow laws, and only 16 months after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., taking the national anthem - at the height of the Vietnam War - and transforming it into something utterly and uniquely his own. It's as if he had imagined a new America and by sheer creative force poured out a sketch of it through his guitar. This was a new country. A more inclusive country. A rock and roll country. This was the America where I wanted to live. I still play it on the fourth of July when I can. It's truly a revolutionary song.

[Marvin Gaye's version may even be better. Recorded during the "Sexual Healing" period, he gave us a recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that you could make love to. I kid you not.]

One other note - I was considering: Link Wray's "Rumble," but Finetune didn't have it. (That's terrible!) I haven't heard it in a while, but in my memory, it seems like it was a pretty damn good song. According to Wikipedia, Pete Townsend said of Wray and the tune: "He is the king; if it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I would have never picked up a guitar. . . . I remember being made very uneasy the first time I heard it, and yet excited by the savage guitar sounds." So, there you go. I need to get a recording of it again.

So please offer 5 or 10 of your own "Greatest American Rock and Roll Songs." If they aren't on my own list of 50, I can add them to the Finetune playlist. (As long as they have them.)

Rock on!

Original List of 50 Songs

Aerosmith: Back In the Saddle
Bill Haley & His Comets: Rock Around The Clock
Bob Dylan: Like a Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan: Tangled Up In Blue
Bob Dylan: Visions Of Johanna
Booker T. & The MG's: Green Onions
Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run
Buddy Holly: Peggy Sue
Chuck Berry: Johnny B. Goode
Chuck Berry: Roll Over Beethoven
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Born On The Bayou
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Susie Q
Elvis Presley: Heartbreak Hotel
Grand Funk Railroad: I'm Your Captain/Closer To Home
Grateful Dead: Uncle John's Band
Iron Butterfly: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
James Gang: Funk #49
Janis Joplin: Me and Bobby Mcgee
Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit
Jerry Lee Lewis: Great Balls Of Fire
Jimi Hendrix: Star Spangled Banner
Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watchtower
Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Little Richard: Good Golly Miss Molly
Lou Reed: Walk On The Wild Side
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Free Bird
Mountain: Mississippi Queen
Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit
R.E.M.: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Ray Charles: What'd I Say Parts I & II
Roy Orbison: Oh, Pretty Woman
Santana: Black Magic Woman
Sonic Youth: Kool Thing
Steely Dan: Deacon Blues
Steely Dan: Reelin' In the Years
Steppenwolf: Born To Be Wild
Talking Heads: Psycho Killer
The Allman Brothers Band: Ramblin' Man
The Allman Brothers Band: Statesboro Blues
The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations
The Byrds: Eight Miles High
The Byrds: So You Want to Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star
The Doors: Light My Fire
The Doors: The End
The Ramones: Blitzkreig Bop
The Velvet Underground: Heroin
The Velvet Underground: I'm Waiting For The Man
Yo La Tengo: Heard You Looking
ZZ Top: La Grange

UPDATE: I kept wanting to fiddle around with the damn list. After being taken to task by Steve for my first two changes, I've decided to go back to my original 50 songs. Instead of changing that list, I offer some additional possibilities as suggested by others or by myself. These have been added to the Finetune playlist:

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Run Through The Jungle [Had to replace "Born on the Bayou" because of the 3-song-per-artist limit.]
Eagles: Hotel California
Janis Joplin: Piece of My Heart
Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
The Stooges: I Wanna Be Your Dog
The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreamin'
The Velvet Underground: Sweet Jane
The Violent Femmes: Blister in the Sun

Simple rock song? Or explanation for the origin of the universe?


Jeff said...

Great list William, it's really hard to cut it down so lean, isn't it? I tried to put my favorite 1960s Finetune playlist together and I was at 100 songs before I knew it. And that was just for the 1960s... with no Beatles tracks on it.

You know, I was driving down to Little Compton, RI today (to cut a Christmas tree), and I was listening to Meet the Beatles on the way down. You know, I think I like their cover of Roll Over, Beethoven (with George's vocal and guitar licks) better than Chuck Berry's original.

Steve Caratzas said...

My completely biased opinions:

Sweet Jane needs to be on the list; Hotel California (or any song by The Eagles) needs to be off the list.

While I never cared for Aerosmith, I would be okay with Dream On.

CCR: substitute Up Around The Bend for Born On The Bayou.

Elvis: Jailhouse Rock!

Where's the other Elvis?

ZZ Top shouldn't be on any greatest list, unless it's Greatest Waste of Ear Drum Reverberation.

Substituting Simon & Garfunkel for The Doors' The End is like replacing Naked Lunch with the poetry of Mattie Stepanek. (Are you serious?)

And, ahem, nothing by The Beatles? Lunacy! My picks would be I Want To Hold Your Hand and Please Please Me. Those two changed my life.

I admire you for attempting something so difficult. This is why, however, I try to stick with "My Favorite" type lists.

cowboyangel said...


It is difficult to limit the songs, but that was what I wanted. to have to make judgments between groups and btween songs by the same artist.

BTW, send me the link for you 60s playlist. I listened to it once but didn't mark it. Would like to go back to it.

The Beatles did do a great job on "Roll Over Beethoven." Chuck's original holds up pretty well, though. I also liked ELO's version, to be honest, which was probably the first version I ever heard.

The Beatles also tore it up on "Twist and Shout" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy."

And I think CCR's version of "Good Golly Miss Molly" is tremendous. But I included Little Richard's because of its historic importance. Big influence on the Beatles, actually.

cowboyangel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cowboyangel said...

Steve, Thanks for the input!

I had "Sweet Jane" on there before. I've added it to the playlist.

As far as "Hotel California," I knew that would gall the Eagles haters, but I don't see how one can keep it off a list of great Ameerican rock songs. It's our "Stairway to Heaven." (The development of Eagles hatred would be a good post in and of itself. how did that come about, exactly? It seemed to arise sometime in the mid-to-late 1980s. But before and even during the "Hotel California" stage, they were pretty highly regarded among rock lovers. I stopped liking them as much after the next horrible album, but I never reached total hatred.)

While I never cared for Aerosmith, I would be okay with Dream On.

Yeah, they're not one of my favorites. I was trying to be inclusive. and they did rock out early on. I owned Rocks and Toys in the Attic. "Dream On" was actually my first choice, but I thought "Back in the Saddle" just out-rocked it. I'll let Jeff decide - he had them pretty high on his list of Greatest American Rock Musicians.

CCR: substitute Up Around The Bend for Born On The Bayou.

Okay, "Born on the Bayou" was more of a personal favorite. But why "Up Around the Bend" and not "Run Through the Jungle"?

Elvis: Jailhouse Rock!

Another one that was on the list at one point. But it conjures up all those bad Elvis movies. That's why it's not on the list.

Where's the other Elvis? . . . And, ahem, nothing by The Beatles? Lunacy!

My series was on American Rock and Roll. Obviously, both Costello and the Beatles would be on a full list. Though, I think it would be difficult to come up with Costello's best one or two songs. With all the great material he's produced, are there any individual songs that reach the peak of rock and roll? "Pump It Up?" "Watching the Detectives." (I'm partial to his early stuff, as you can see.)

ZZ Top shouldn't be on any greatest list, unless it's Greatest Waste of Ear Drum Reverberation.

:-) I hate their second incarnation as the long-bearded MTV cartoon band. But they were great the first time around, especially on Tres Hombres.

Substituting Simon & Garfunkel for The Doors' The End is like replacing Naked Lunch with the poetry of Mattie Stepanek. (Are you serious?)

This would probably be even funnier if I knew who Mattie Stepanek was. Yeah, okay, it probably wasn't a great decision. I go back and forth on "The End." Yeah, Coppolla used it really well in Apocalypse Now, but sometimes it strikes me as so . . . what? Silly? I actually prefer "LA Woman" and "Riders on the Storm."

And S&G weren't that bad.

I admire you for attempting something so difficult. This is why, however, I try to stick with "My Favorite" type lists.

You raise a good point. I've actually added an UPDATE to the post that talks about this. Read the full response there. But I always do "Favorites." I wanted something different this time.

Steve Caratzas said...

Ah, American, of course! I'm a moron!

Me, I hated The Eagles from Day 1 - their sleepy, California doze-rock has never appealed to me. I challenge you to prove that serious rock lovers embraced this group; to me it was about radio airplay and album sales - and I'd like to see the demographics on said purchasers.

Okay, so if not Dream On, then Big Ten Inch Record!

Run Through The Jungle is awesome, so I could see going with that. Up Around The Bend has that infectious riff, and to me embodies the feel and okay lack of substantial meaning that frequently defines the best rock and roll. It's a personal favorite.

Point taken re: Jailhouse Rock. As I am one of the few who perversely prefer the Vegas-era Elvis (fringed jumpsuit, mutton chops, heavyweight championship belt), I would love to see Burning Love on your list.

I think LA Woman still rocks and is a fine choice; The End is definitely an acquired taste (have you heard Nico's version? It's actually even more weird and chilling!).

Also, Mattie Stepanek:

Liam said...

I don't have much to contribute here, but here's a couple of ideas:
The End must be on the list. We were all 15 once.
Blister in the Sun or something else by the Violent Femmes?
You do need Sweet Jane.
I Wanna be your Dog by the Stooges.

Also: The Hotel California is the stupidest and most annoying song ever recorded. It sucks, sucks, sucks. The Eagles should be impaled. Get it off your list.

cowboyangel said...

Liam, Good call on "Blister in the Sun." But what would it replace?

More votes for the guy who pulled his penis out on stage doing a song about Oedipal conflict.

And, okay, okay, "Sweet Jane!" Damn, I got it.

The Hotel California

The Hotel California? There's no bloody article in that title! It's not The Stairway to Heaven, or The Free Bird! Try yelling "The" in a dark, crowded arena when you're totally stoned and trying to keep the flame going on your upraised lighter!

Hotel California is the stupidest and most annoying song ever recorded. It sucks, sucks, sucks. The Eagles should be impaled. Get it off your list.

Thank you for that thought-provoking and carefully reasoned argument. I expected nothing less from a PhD candidate from one of the most prestigious universities in the country.

I mean, you used the word "impaled" and everything.

cowboyangel said...


I challenge you to prove that serious rock lovers embraced this group; to me it was about radio airplay and album sales - and I'd like to see the demographics on said purchasers.

Ooh, a challenge! Okay - I'm going to do some research. Go back and see what people were saying in the 1970s about the Eagles. figure out when the hatred went full blast. Maybe I can even get an article out of this. Interview the Coen brothers. "Had you hated the Eagles for a long time before expressing that so effectively in The Big Lebowski?"

"Big Ten-Inch Record" - It crossed my mind for a millisecond. At one point in my life, I certainly thought it was one of the greatest songs ever. ("Hey, Billy, listen to this - heh, heh - listen, listen - woah!")

I'm going to have look for the Nico version "The End."

Funny, I complain about the song feeling silly to me at times. On a list with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Life can bring such twisted soul-searching at times, forcing us into a seemingly contradictory belief system.

You know, I saw Elvis live during the "fringed jumpsuit, mutton chops, heavyweight championship belt" period. Municipal Auditorium, Austin, Texas, 1976. One of his last tours, if not the last. But "Burning Love" will have to be for your list. Although I actually like the song, as well as some others from that time period. "Polk Salad Annie." But I see that period as establishing the tone for his Mythology rather than an artistic zenith.

I've swtiched "Born on the Bayou" for "Run through the Jungle."

Sorry - I could've done my own wikipedia work on Mattie Stepanek. I missed that whole thing. Just saw a reference to Christopher Cross on the page - So I fled. But come on - I'm not a big Paul Simon fan, but your comparison seems unusually harsh. As far as I know, Paul Simon never had Christopehr Cross' daughter record a song for him.

crystal said...

I hesitate to mention anything as I feel underequipped to contribute, but here are a few I would add, but maybe they aren't really "rock" but you do have Dylan ...

Mamas and Papas - California Dreaming

Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant

It's a Beautiful Day - White Bird

crystal said...

Oops - forgot to add ...

Big Brother and the Holding Co. - Piece of my Heart

Joan Baez - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

The Knack - My Sharona


cowboyangel said...


"California Dreaming" and "Piece of My Heart" were actually in my mix at one point. Didn't think of Arlo, Joan, or "White Bird," all of which are excellent suggestions. Maybe I thought of them as being more "folk" than rock. I think Dylan's a little different - made more of an effort to dive headlong into rock and roll.

Arlo's great. I was just listening to him again a couple of months ago. Ever heard "Gabriel's Mother Highway Ballad #16 Blues"? That's a beautiful tune. And I've been trying to find a CD copy of Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys (one of my favorite all-time album titles!) and Hobo's Lullaby. Both are excellent albums.

"White bird." Wow, I haven't heard that in a long time. Always liked that song.

As far as "The Song That Will Not Be Named," I can only shake my head in sadness. If Liam wants to impale the Eagles, I could suggest similar measures for The Group That Will Not Be Named. :-)

Although, you're right that the song has some historical import, in that it basically signaled the death of rock and roll. It's the only song I know of, however, that was covered by both The Chipmunks and Nirvana. It should win some award for that alone.

And I grant you, it has one of the most infectious riffs ever created. It's kind of a viral musical worm that lodges in the brain and refuses to leave.

Jeff said...


My humble (but lengthy) playlist:

School Days - '64 to '71

Songs that remind me of growing up in the sixties at the Joseph E. Fiske School.

You'll have to sort out the American bands...

Alvin Lee & Ten Years After: I Woke Up This Morning
Argent: Hold Your Head Up
B.J. Thomas: Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head
Badfinger: Come And Get It
Badfinger: Day After Day
Blood, Sweat & Tears: And When I Die
Blood, Sweat & Tears: Spinning Wheel
Blues Image: Ride Captain Ride
Bob Dylan: Blowin' In the Wind
Bob Dylan: Like a Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan: The Times They Are A-Changin'
Buffalo Springfield: For What It's Worth
Carly Simon: That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be
Cream: Politician
Cream: Sleepy Time Time
Cream: Toad
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Bad Moon Rising
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Susie Q
Deep Purple: Hush
Derek & The Dominos: Bell Bottom Blues
Derek & The Dominos: I Looked Away
Diana Ross & The Supremes: The Happening
Dionne Warwick: Do You Know the Way to San Jose
Dionne Warwick: I Say a Little Prayer
Dionne Warwick: I'll Never Fall In Love Again
Donovan: Atlantis
Dr. Hook: Sylvia's Mother
Dr. Hook: The Cover Of The Rolling Stone
Edwin Starr: War
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Lucky Man
Ennio Morricone: The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Freda Payne: Band Of Gold
George Harrison: For You Blue
George Harrison: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
George Harrison: What Is Life
Gerry & The Pacemakers: Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying
Gerry & The Pacemakers: Ferry Cross the Mersey
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds: Don't Pull Your Love
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: Casino Royale
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: Lonely Bull
Herman's Hermits: Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter
Herman's Hermits: There's a Kind of Hush All Over the World
Jackie DeShannon: Put a Little Love In Your Heart
Jackson Five: ABC
James Taylor: Fire and Rain
Janis Joplin: Piece of My Heart
Jefferson Airplane: Somebody to Love
Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit
Jethro Tull: Aqualung
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Bold as Love
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Purple Haze
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Still Raining, Still Dreaming
Judy Collins: Both Sides Now
King Crimson: 21st Century Schizoid Man
Led Zeppelin: Good Times Bad Times
Los Bravos: Black Is Black
Lulu: To Sir With Love
Mason Williams: Classical Gas
Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts: Angel of the Morning
Mountain: Mississippi Queen
Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Are Made for Walkin'
Neil Young: Cinnnamon Girl
Neil Young: Heart of Gold
Neil Young/Crazy Horse: Cinnamon Girl
New Vaudeville Band: Winchester Cathedral
Norman Greenbaum: Spirit In the Sky
Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra: Lara's Theme
Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra: Love Is Blue
Percy Sledge: When a Man Loves a Woman
Peter, Paul and Mary: 500 Miles
Peter, Paul and Mary: If I Had A Hammer
Peter, Paul and Mary: Puff, The Magic Dragon
Petula Clark: Downtown
Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade of Pale
Procol Harum: Conquistador
Rare Earth: I Just Want to Celebrate
Richard Harris: MacArthur Park
Rod Stewart/The Faces: Stay With Me
Roger Williams: Born Free
Rolling Stones: Around And Around
Rolling Stones: Jumpin' Jack Flash (live MSQ)
Rolling Stones: Not Fade Away
Scott McKenzie: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair)
Sgt. Barry Sadler: The Ballad of the Green Berets
Simon & Garfunkel: Scarborough Fair/Canticle
Simon & Garfunkel: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Simon & Garfunkel: The Sound Of Silence
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: I Second That Emotion
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: The Tracks of My Tears
Stevie Wonder: Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours
The 5 Stairsteps: O-O-H Child
The Animals: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
The Animals: Spill The Wine
The Association: Never My Love
The Byrds: Eight Miles High
The Byrds: Mr. Tambourine Man
The Byrds: Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)
The Doors: Roadhouse Blues
The Doors: Touch Me
The Drifters: Under the Boardwalk
The Electric Flag: Killing Floor
The Fifth Dimension: Aquarius - Let The Sunshine In
The Flying Machine: Smile a Little Smile for Me
The Fortunes: Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again
The Guess Who: American Woman
The Guess Who: These Eyes
The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreamin'
The Mamas & The Papas: Dream a Little Dream of Me
The Mamas & The PapasThe Mamas & The Papas: Monday, Monday
The McCoys: Hang On Sloopy
The Monkees: I'm a Believer
The Monkees: Last Train to Clarksville
The Moody Blues: I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
The Moody Blues: Nights In White Satin
The Moody Blues: Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)
Paul Revere And The Raiders: Indian Reservation
The Rascals: People Got To Be Free
The Spencer Davis Group: Gimme Some Lovin'
The Temptations: My Girl
The Turtles: Happy Together
The Who: I Can See for Miles
The Who: I'm Free
The Who: We're Not Gonna Take It
The Youngbloods: Get Together
The Zombies: Time of the Season
Three Dog Night: Easy to Be Hard
Three Dog Night: Mama Told Me (Not to Come)
Three Dog Night: Never Been to Spain
Traffic: Glad
Zager & Evans: In the Year 2525

cowboyangel said...


Thanks for the link and the list. An eclectic bunch - with a lot of great stuff.

Nice to see you had "Mississippi Queen" on there. And 3 by Three Dog Night! I thought about "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" for my list. And "Fire and Rain."

"Born Free." We had an insane neighbor in Madrid, in the apartment below us, who used to play "Born Free" at full volume, over and over and over again. One night around 4 in the morning, I completely lost it and literally tried kicking his door in to make him stop, screaming at the top of my lungs. I swear, if he had opened the door, I would be blogging now from prison. That's now my memory of "Born Free."

BTW - Steve said "Dream On" for Aerosmith. Or "Ten Inch Record." (Not sure if the latter was a joke.) I have "Back in the Saddle." What's the best Aerosmith song that belongs on a list of 50 Greatest?

Steve Caratzas said...

I think I exercised amazing control by not suggesting Lemon Tree as interpreted by Trini Lopez.

Now, let me see if I have this straight: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is folk, but Bridge Over Troubled Water is rock'n'roll?

I can't wait for your 20 Best Songs By People Who Wear Tights While Playing The Flute list.

cowboyangel said...

Yeah, Steve, you feeling okay? I kept waiting for "Lemon Tree" and nothing happened.

I was trying to say that I thought of Joan Baez as folk. As opposed to Simon & Garfunkel, who I think of as folk rock, with the exception of their first album. But, yeah, the paradigm is clearly breaking down. Obviously, "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down" is just as much rock and roll (or not) as "Bridge." "Diamonds and Rust," by Joan as well. Life is complex. I'll have to think about this some more.

Or not.

I did a Google Search on -tights and flute-. Amazingly, Tull doesn't show up until the 4th result. The first 2 are for Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. The Nutcracker also gets mentioned. And at, I read this: "Steve Morse re-invigorated the creative spark in that band [Deep Purple] after Ritchie [Blackmore] ditched to go play folk music in tights." Evidently, Blackmore started a folk rock band after leaving Deep Purple. (Who knew?) Flute was mentioned, although it was in reference to a picture of an attractive woman in Blackmore's group: "She can play my flute. LOL." So it's unclear if Blackmore is actually playing flute while he's wearing tights. Still, a discussion of the 20 Best Songs By People Who Wear Tights While Playing The Flute is getting more complicated than I expected.

BTW, The 10th result is Richard Lopez's review at Really Bad Movies of your two chapbooks. He included "The Jethro Tull Story." So, you should feel good. Now, whenever people around the world want to know about tights and flutes, they will find your poetry.

cowboyangel said...

Oh, Steve, I was also surprised you didn't mention Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and/or "Fight Test" and "Do You Realize?" You listed it as one of the 10 most influentional albums of your life, no? I mean, I listened to the CD after reading your fervent review.

Garpu the Fork said...

Why am I suddenly having a Big Lebowski moment on this thread? ;)

Been listening to a lot of late '60's rock lately, Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding company. There was a real bluesy bent in a lot of rock back then that really gave it a distinctive sound.

Jeff said...


Thanks, it wasn't set up so much as a killer song list (obviously), but as a list of songs that reminded me of growing up in the sixties.

Which Aerosmith song is the best? I'd say Mama Kin, from their first album. Make It, Dream On, and Walking the Dog are good from that album too. Then there's Sweet Emotion, Same Old Song and Dance, and Train Kept a Rollin', which was a great live recording from their second album. You don't like Walk This Way?

I don't see why some early ZZ Top couldn't be on the list. La Grange is good, but I prefer My Head's in Mississippi, Tush, and Tube Snake Boogie.

Actually, there's an idea... Instead of tackling a topic this large, how about doing a list of the best Rock and Roll songs about the state of Texas? Kind of a "Give me a T for Texas, Give Me a T for Tennessee" kind of thing.... That's a little bit more manageable. I recommend starting off with Charlie Daniel's Trudy.