I decided to approach this top ten list by imposing some restrictions on myself, with apologies to Alex if that violates the "spirit" of his blogging event. I had what I believe is a good reason for doing so.
For anyone who has even visited my blog over the past eight months or so, it should come as no surprise that if you held a gun to my head and told me to name my favorite songs, they would all be songs by Todd Rundgren.
I'll prove it to you right now. I am holding a nickel-plated revolver to my head RIGHT NOW and will blow my brains out if I do not list my ten favorite songs.
I’m serious-if I don’t come up with ten songs, the gun goes off. Stay back-I’ll do it!
While it is hard to type with my left hand, here goes nothing:
Just One Victory
I'm Looking At You But I'm Talking To Myself (Utopia)
Love Is The Answer (Utopia)
Only Human (Utopia)
Love Of The Common Man
We Gotta Get You A Woman
Okay, we can all relax now-I've put the gun away.
This should please the ferret-faced-fascist dude-he thought I was cheating by posting the list that follows. But if I didn’t, you’d be done with my blog and off to number #103 by now (assuming someone entered this event after me).
For me, the only surprise in the list above is that "Hello It's Me" is not on there. I have probably spent one third of my waking hours between 1977 and 2011 listening to Todd Rundgren’s music, and those songs up there get the most rotation.
But I figure if I just stop there, this list is not really of much interest to those legions who follow my blog.
Okay, under twenty followers does not a legion make, but you get my point. You all EXPECT my list to be all Todd Rundgren songs, and most of you don't really remember him if you've heard of him at all!
A few years ago, I read a book by John Sanford. While I forget the title (it's in his "Prey" series), a friend lent it to me because of this "subplot."
In the book, the lead character's wife gives him an iPod. While the iPod can hold thousands of songs, the character decides he needs to demonstrate discipline and self-restraint, and decides to come up with his "100 best songs" to load onto the device. Then throughout the book, as they investigate a string of grisly murders, there is some hilarious dialogue as they debate what artists and songs should be on the list.
I have been working on my list since reading that book, with the ultimate goal being 100 songs I would never fast forward through no matter what. It is still a work in progress, as there are many songs that I do not think will make the final cut.
Of course, I may not live to see the final cut. I could see spending another 25 years on this. And be enjoying every moment!
I have an insanely large music collection, in fact, some may call me obsessive or addicted. As a result, my favorite songs change almost daily.
|my collection-this is only part of the room...|
To be given less than a week to prepare a ten favorites list was an impossible task, but it was worth a try to see if I could name the ten "best" of my 100 song playlist. (I say less than a week because I could not see the alert for this event on Alex's blog due to his background color-Stephen T. McCarthy mentioned this to me).
But like the character in the book, I decided to impose a little discipline on myself. Here are my self-imposed rules:
(1) Avoid song duplication from prior lists
(2) The first song is the exception to rule # 1
(3) Go for songs that represent “perfect singles”-ones that I would never hit fast forward or change the radio station on.
Still, coming up with just ten is hard. I have been working on my perfect one hundred for some time, so to weed out eighty or ninety is tough.
But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, so here is the list as of today. I cannot promise I'd name the same ten tomorrow, although you could probably lay your last farthing on number one and come up a winner.
These are not necessarily my favorites, right? We've established that my favorites are all by Todd Rundgren. But these are all songs that I think are “perfect singles,” so they are certainly among my favorites.
Parallel Lines-Todd Rundgren
"Some things never come together parallel lines running on forever
And you can't turn back, there is never any starting over
Parallel lines never do cross over"
Anyone who has read my earlier lists-we did desert island discs, drinking songs, driving songs, love songs, breakup songs-did I miss any?-should not be surprised by this, nor that it's number one. I think it made every other list, including "chain gang songs" and "songs to rumble to." Hands down, my favorite song. "Nuff said.
No Matter What-Badfinger
"No matter what you are
I will always be with you
Doesn't matter what you do girl
Ooh girl want you "
This may very well be the perfect pop song, IMHO. Catchy melody, hooks you right away. I dare ya ta listen to it and not hum it all day!
I Want You Back-The Jackson Five
"Every street you walk down I leave tear stains on the ground
Following the girl I didn't even want around"
Another pop gem, this from the first album I ever purchased way back when I was a yewt. Some sixteen thousand titles later (counting records and CD's currently under my roof-only God knows how many have passed through my hands, and He's probably asking himself what he has wrought), it's still a fine example of Motown genius. Sadly, Michael self-destructed and died at an all-too-young age.
Graham Parker also did a note-for-note cover that was pretty good.
Salt In My Tears-Martin Briley
"I'll sit around and drink a few more beers
Until the memory just disappears
'Cos you ain't worth the salt in my tears"
No one seems to remember this but me. The opening guitar riff has "hit single" written all over it, and the title line hooks you right away-"you ain't worth the salt in my tears!"
I remember we'd be drinking and come up with other things the girl in the song wasn't worth-the only printable one being "you ain't worth the foam on my beer."
This was finally reissued on CD last year-as a pricey import, but far better than getting scalped for the $100 the original disc was fetching.
Always There For You-Stryper
"When the world has closed the door
And you can't go on anymore
I'm always there for you"
Stryper was the first Christian band I was willing to put on my turntable and listen to, mainly because they were savvy enough to make their song lyrics secular enough to get radio and MTV play.
I heard “Honestly” and fell in love with it, but this song, from their subsequent album, was simply a perfect radio single, even though I never heard it on the radio. It did get heavy MTV rotation, however, which was sort of the same thing (only different).
Lawyers Guns And Money- Warren Zevon
“I’m hiding in Honduras, I’m a desperate man
Send lawyers guns and money-the shit has hit the fan”
Not Warren’s best lyric, but a great rocker that should have been a hit, from his most commercially successful album, Exciteable Boy.
So many of his songs should have been hits. And yet, Boy George had a bunch of hits. Who says there's justice in the world?
Not quite a Dylan, but Zevon was a master lyricist. Another talent who left us too soon.
The Waiting-Tom Petty
“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more yard”
It was so cool being an early Petty fan-for the first two albums he was our own little secret. Most people who saw the cover of the debut album thought it was my friend John. Then Damn The Torpedoes came out and exposed TP to the masses.
There are so many TP songs to pick from, but for a radio single, I always liked this best (neck and neck with Refugee).
Wait For Me-Daryl Hall And John Oates
“Wait for me, wait for me
Although I know the light is fading fast”
Another stellar example of the Philadelphia sound-I always thought these guys sounded so close to Todd R. it was uncanny, but since they both were influenced by the Gamble & Huff sound, it makes sense. This song was released right before they began their Top 40 chart assault in the first half of the 1980’s. Sadly, that’s about the same time Todd’s start started to fade for good.
When You Close Your Eyes-Night Ranger
“I remember when we learned about love
In the back of a Chevrolet
No good for an old memory to mean so much today”
Most people would pick “Sister Christian” but I always thought this was the better song, also from the Midnight Madness album. Certainly a better song when you’re nineteen, but still a catchy tune that takes me back.
Anyone know why they moved the parking brake to between the front seats? Was it just to hamper a teenager’s moves?
“Everybody knows we live in a world
Where we give bad names to beautiful things”
One of my favorite bands, they’re progressive, although this song is a radio-friendly ballad. Powerful lyric, too.
This song features Steve Hogarth, who still is referred to as "the new lead singer" after twenty years.
So there you have it. Ten songs I never get tired of. I encourage you to go check them out (the links on the song titles will take you to a you tube clip).
I look forward to checking out your lists. If you're reading this and did not participate in the blog hop, comment me with your list.
If any of these songs brings back any memories, comment with the story.
If you want to leave a negative comment, please go to a Stephen T. McCarthy blog and post it there!
I lost bets to him on BOTH football games yesterday, so he's flush and will be in a good mood while reading your spam!