Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just to aggravate my brother

My brother asked that I stop making music list blogs, so just to aggravate him (hey, we're brothers, that's what we do), I am gonna do one more. Call it a bonus.
This is the best songs of the last 20 years.

1) Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
The song that started Nirvana-mania, this is the last group that can legitimately be said to have changed rock and roll. Angsty, with crunching guitars, the song is now a classic.
2) Jeremy - Pearl Jam
This is one of those songs, the first time you hear it, your jaw hits the floor. Add in the fact that it's a true story, and it floors you.
3) Wonderwall - Oasis
Inescapable during 1996, Oasis ushered in a new era of British pop and rock, conquering the United States and the rest of the world with this track. What is a wonderwall? Who knows. Still a great tune.
4) One - U2
U2 just never seems to get old. They remain the biggest band in the world, and keep pumping out great songs. The boys from Ireland show no signs of slowing down. This song is simply one of the greatest ever recorded.
5) The Rising - Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band
Springsteen said after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that he felt a great burden to help the people of America. He did so by releasing his best track in years, an uplifting, powerful number with all of the Boss' trademarks.
6) High Hopes - Pink Floyd
Do you consider the Floyd the Floyd without Roger Waters? I do. This is David Gilmour's lyrical masterpiece, while still blending his trademark guitar sound.
7) Enter Sandman - Metallica
This 1990 song catapulted the metal gods into the stratosphere, making them a top 40 band. Some of their hardcore fans said they sold out with this song, but that's crap. They just evolved as musicians and discovered, HAVE MERCY!!, melody!
8) Beautiful Night - Paul McCartney
Macca and Ringo joined forces on this track, and what a refreshing sound it was, to have the two legends back for one more go round. Full of McCartney's trademark melodies and beautiful imagery, McCartney remains one of our truly great musical talents.
9) Living on the Edge - Aerosmith
If only Aerosmith did more songs like this one. Living somewhere between "Dream On" and "Dude Looks Like a Lady," this song actually has something to say. Great words, full of Steven Tyler's gritty, unapologetic vocals, this song challenges as the greatest the Boston natives has produced.
10) Free as a Bird - The Beatles
OK, so it was originally recorded by John Lennon in 1977, but still, it was released in the 1990s as part of the Beatles Anthology project. It was so incomplete, the remaining Beatles had to create all the music aside from the piano for the song, and McCartney had/got to write some added lyrics. It showed just what could have been possible had Lennon lived and the Beatles had the chance to record again. If only.
11) The Man in the Box - Alice in Chains
12) Heart Shaped Box - Nirvana
13) Brighter than Sunshine - Aqualung
14) Oasis - All Around the World
15) Live Forever - Oasis
16) Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town - Pearl Jam
17) Sowing the Seeds of Love - Tears for Fears
18) Holiday - Green Day
19) Walk On - U2
20) Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
21) Have a Nice Day - Bon Jovi
22) November Rain - Guns 'n' Roses
23) Hurt - Johnny Cash
24) Closer - Nine Inch Nails
25) Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
26) Unwell - Matchbox 20
27) The Garden of Allah - Don Henley
28) Can't Stop - Red Hot Chili Peppers
29) The River of Dreams - Billy Joel
30) Real Love - The Beatles
31) Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots
32) God's Gonna Cut you Down - Johnny Cash
33) The Shock of the Lightning - Oasis
34) Call me Mellow - Tears for Fears
35) P2 Vatican Blues - George Harrison
36) I Will Buy you a new Life - Everclear
37) The Ghost of Tom Joad - Bruce Springsteen
38) Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
39) Into the Great Wide Open - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
40) If I Ever Lose my Faith in You - Sting
41) Beautiful Day - U2
42) Freedom 90 - George Michael
43) It's my Life - Bon Jovi
44) Let's Get Rocked - Def Leppard
45) Right Now - Van Halen
46) When I Come Around - Green Day
47) Lithium - Nirvana
48) Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters
49) Soul Singing - The Black Crowes
50) If it Makes you Happy - Sheryl Crowe
51) Learning to Fly - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
52) Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
53) Santa Monica - Everclear
54) What it's Like - Everlast
55) Jump Around - House of Pain
56) All Apologies - Nirvana
57) Better Man - Pearl Jam
58) 911 is a Joke - Public Enemy
59) Run Devil Run - Paul McCartney
60) You Get what you Give - The New Radicals
61) I'll Stick Around - Foo Fighters
62) American Idiot - Green Day
63) Gone Away - The Offspring
64) Blaze of Glory - Jon Bon Jovi
65) The Masterplan - Oasis
66) No Excuses - Alice in Chains
67) Break it Down Again - Tears for Fears
68) Change the World - Eric Clapton
69) Keep me in your Heart - Warren Zevon
70) Taking you Home - Don Henley
71) Next Year - Foo Fighters
72) Gotta Get Away - The Offspring
73) Song no. 2 - Blur
74) Hard to Handle - The Black Crowes
75) Novacaine - Alice Cooper
76) Wonderful - Everclear
77) Take it Back - Pink Floyd
78) Sometimes you can't Make it on your Own - U2
79) The Rooster - Alice in Chains
80) Doesn't Remind Me - Audioslave
81) The Wrestler - Bruce Springsteen
82) You Wreck Me - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
83) BYOB - System of a Down
84) Like a Stone - Audioslave
85) Perfect Situation - Weezer
86) Woman in Chains - Tears for Fears
87) Cryin' - Aerosmith
88) The Rising Sun - George Harrison
89) Keep the Faith - Bon Jovi
90) Come as you Are - Nirvana
91) Lips of an Angel - Hinder
92) Aeroplane - Red Hot Chili Peppers
93) I Want Love - Elton John
94) Animal - Pearl Jam
95) Flaming Pie - Paul McCartney
96) Show me How to Live - Audioslave
97) Falling Down - Oasis
98) Echoes - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
99) Fields of Gold - Sting
100) Black Balloon - The Goo Goo Dolls

Friday, October 9, 2009

Completing the music trilogy

OK, I have done the greatest albums and the greatest songs in rock history. Now it's time for the greatest acts in rock history. Some of you may be surprised by who is, and who is not, on the list. I will also highlight what I consider to be their landmark track.

1) The Beatles
Put simply, the greatest musical entity the world has ever known. No one changed music and the world at large quite like they did. John Lennon and Paul McCartney are the greatest songwriters of all time, and George Harrison would've been the best songwriter in pretty much any other band. And Ringo Starr remains a massively underrated drummer. *"A Day in the Life"
2) The Rolling Stones
Playing second fiddle isn't always easy. But the Stones handled it well, and put out some amazing songs. "Gimme Shelter," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Paint it, Black," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Brown Sugar," these are all classics. *"Gimme Shelter"
3) Elvis Presley
This man made it possible for everyone who followed him. Called the King of Rock and Roll for good reason, he had it all. Looks. Voice. Swiveling hips. He could rock out as well as anyone ("Jailhouse Rock") or break out the ballad ("Can't Help Falling in Love") as well as anyone. *"All Shook Up"
4) Bob Dylan
Dylan made it acceptable to write about social issues in rock and folk rock. He remains one of the greatest songwriters of all time. He may not have been the best guitarist or singer, but there is something soulful and approachable in his music that makes it accessible to everyone. *"The Hurricane"
5) The Who
Considered the first band to truly rock hard, they are part of the holy trinity of British rock and roll. Pete Townshend is one helluva songwriter and guitarist, and no one screamed like Roger Daltry. Throw in the virtuoso bass playing of John Entwhistle and the madman, Keith Moon, at the drum kit, and they put out powerhouses like "Baba O'Riley," "Won't Get Fooled Again," "Reign O'er Me," and "I Can See for Miles." *"Won't Get Fooled Again"
6) Pink Floyd
Probably the greatest band to really emerge from the 1970s, Pink Floyd never met a sad song they didn't like. Creators of the landmark "Dark Side of the Moon," the Floyd was led by their songwriting maestro and bassist Roger Waters. But what really made this band click was the astounding guitar work of David Gilmour. There is a reason why the two guitar solos on "Comfortably Numb" are considered two of the greatest of all time. *"Wish You Were Here"
7) Chuck Berry
The real father of rock and roll, Chuck combined aspects of the blues and country music and emerged with a completely new sound that changed the world. With classics like "Maybellene," "Rock and Roll Music," and the garage band standard "Johnny B. Goode," Chuck laid the groundwork for everyone that followed him. *"Johnny B. Goode"
8) Bruce Springsteen (and the E-Street Band)
Bruce Springsteen was a working class man who wrote songs for the working class. In the mid to late 1970s and early 1980s, no one was a bigger advocate for the middle class than the Jersey boy. His sheer output is astounding. With now legendary tracks like "Born in the USA," "Thunder Road," and "Born to Run," his place in rock and roll history is assured. *"Thunder Road"
9) Nirvana
How can a band that was only around for a few short years make the top 10? Well, in the last 20 years, no band has changed so much in such a short time. Kurt Cobain may well be the best songwriter of his generation, and the jawdropping "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has become one of those songs that is widely recognized as one of the single greatest songs ever recorded. Add in the fact that Dave Grohl was an amazing drummer, and Chris Novacelic was a great bass player, and well, you get into the top 10. *"Smells Like Teen Spirit"
10) Oasis
A contentious pick to be sure, Oasis heralded a new wave of British rock and roll. Liam Gallagher is the greatest singer of his generation, and Noel Gallagher could write a catchy rock and roll song in a coma. Equally adept at loud rockers like "Morning Glory" and "The Shock of the Lightning," as well as ballads "Talk Tonight" and the immortal "Wonderwall," Oasis was a pure rock and roll band. *"All Around the World"
11) Cream *"White Room"
12) John Lennon *"Imagine"
13) Little Richard *"Tutti Fruiti"
14) Aerosmith *"Dream On"
15) U2 *"One"
16) Neil Young *"Southern Man"
17) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers *"The Waiting"
18) Paul McCartney *"Live and Let Die"
19) The Eagles *"The Last Resort:
20) Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and sometimes Young) *"Woodstock"
21) Led Zeppelin *"When the Levee Breaks"
22) Elton John *"Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"
23) Simon and Garfunkle *"The Sound of Silence"
24) The Doors *"Touch Me"
25) Pearl Jam *"Jeremy"
26) The Kinks *"Lola"
27) The Moody Blues *"The Story in your Eyes"
28) James Brown *"Papa's got a Brand New Bag"
29) Eric Clapton *"Layla"
30) David Bowie *"Rebel Rebel"
31) George Harrison *"All Things Must Pass"
32) Stevie Wonder *"Superstition"
33) Billy Joel *"Captain Jack"
34) The Police *"Every Breath you Take"
35) Aretha Franklin *"Think"
36) Fleetwood Mac *"Go Your Own Way"
37) The Clash *"Train in Vain"
38) The Beach Boys *"God Only Knows"
39) The Byrds *"Mr. Tambourine Man"
40) Tears for Fears *"Sowing the Seeds of Love"
41) Johnny Cash *"Hurt"
42) The Band *"The Weight"
43) Tina Turner *"Simply the Best"
44) The Talking Heads *"And She Was"
45) Smokey Robinson and the Miracles *"Tears of a Clown"
46) The Supremes *"Stop in the Name of Love"
47) Queen *"Somebody to Love"
48) Buddy Holly and the Crickets *"Brown Eyed Handsome Man"
49) Bo Diddley *"Bo Diddley"
50) Michael Jackson *"Beat It"
51) Creedence Clearwater Revival *"Fortunate Son"
52) The Grateful Dead *"Uncle John's Band"
53) The Jefferson Airplane *"Volunteers"
54) The Sex Pistols *"God Save the Queen"
55) R.E.M. *"Man on the Moon"
56) Alice in Chains *"Man in the Box"
57) The Allman Brothers Band *"Midnight Rider"
58) B.B. King *"The Thrill is Gone"
59) Peter Gabriel *"Steam"
60) Prince *"When Doves Cry"
61) Alice Cooper *"No More Mr. Nice Guy"
62) Kiss *"Rock and Roll All Night"
63) Lynard Skynard *"Mr. Saturday Night Special"
64) Genesis *"Home By the Sea"
65) Roy Orbison *"Oh! Pretty Woman"
66) The Wallflowers *"Letters from the Wasteland"
67) Stone Temple Pilots *"Big Empty"
68) Lloyd Price *"Stagger Lee"
69) Jimi Hendrix *"All Along the Watchtower"
70) Janis Joplin *"Me and Bobby McGee"
71) The Animals *"House of the Rising Sun"
72) Ringo Starr *"It Don't Come Easy"
73) Stevie Ray Vaughn "Little Wing"
74) Dire Straits *"Brothers in Arms"
75) Don Henley *"The Garden of Allah"
76) Paul Simon *"Graceland"
77) Marvin Gaye *"What's Going On?"
78) The Temptations *"My Girl"
79) Bill Haley and the Comets *"Rock Around the Clock"
80) The Ramones *"Blitzkrieg Bop"
81) Guns 'n'Roses *"Welcome to the Jungle"
82) Black Sabbath *"Iron Man"
83) Metallica *"Enter Sandman"
84) AC/DC *"Back in Black"
85) James Taylor *"Fire and Rain"
86) The Travelling Wilburys *"Handle with Care"
87) Van Halen *"Running with the Devil"
88) The Jackson 5 *"I Want you Back"
89) Green Day *"Holiday"
90) Sting *"Fields of Gold"
91) Rod Stewart *"Maggie May"
92) John Mellencamp *"Rain on the Scarecrow"
93) T.Rex *"Bang a Gong (Get it On)"
94) Deep Purple *"Smoke on the Water"
95) Bon Jovi *"Have a Nice Day"
96) Traffic *"Feelin' Alright"
97) The Black Crowes *"Soul Singing"
98) Van Morrison *"Moon Dance"
99) The Guess Who *"No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature"
100) Carole King *"I Feel The Earth Move"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Interesting influences

It's amazing what will inspire us to think, isn't it? For me, I was watching the most recent "Family Guy," that's right, "Family Guy," and it got me thinking.
One of the very last bits was Peter Griffin asking Jesus what religion they should be, Christian or Jewish, and he said, basically, "doesn't matter. They're all crap anyway." And I started thinking whether or not Jesus would actually feel that way. I gotta believe he does.
There is so much hate spewed by the different religious factions (except the Buddhists. They love everyone), Christians hating Jews who hate Muslims who hate Christians who hate....
Think of everything that is carried out in God's or Jesus' or Mohammad's or Yahweh's or Allah's name. Wars. Murders. Hatred. Division. Racism. Do we really think that is what they/him/her/it/whatever wants?
When I think of Jesus, I think of a cool cat who had a great message. A message of love and hope and peace. Basically, I think he was the first hippie. (Would Jesus have listened to Jefferson Airplane? I think so!) But look around today, and there is so much hate in religion. I just shake my head and wonder, what does he really think? I wish he'd send out a mass email or something, telling everyone to cool out and love one another.
So much of religions has been bastardized to the point that I don't actually consider myself in affiliation with any of them. I can't say I am a Christian, because even though I was raised that way, there is so much that self-proclaimed Christians (not all of them mind you, but a God pounding lot of them) profess to believe, yet don't follow through. I am not a fan of hypocrites, you see. Again, this is not all Christians, but there are enough to make me back away.
Same goes for the other of the so called big three. Judaism and Islam, they profess love, yet so much is sickening. Every religion has made mistakes, no one has gotten it right yet. But, that doesn't mean I have to support the hypocrisy.
So yes, I think Jesus in "Family Guy" was right. "They are all crap." I think we believe what we believe and have done with it. No more hate. No more lies. Just love.