Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Countdown!

One of my favorite Memorial Day traditions is where a radio station will take advantage of the three-day weekend -- and the fact that so many folks are driving around in cars or sitting next to pools -- to launch a massive countdown.  Classic rock stations are particularly fond of this sort of thing.

Anyway, today, WBIG-FM (100.3 on your dial in the D.C. Area) is counting down the TOP 500 SONGS OF ALL TIME as chosen by its listeners in some type of poll format.  Wherever you may be, you can hear the countdown if you have the iHeart Radio app (which I do).

We're up to number 56, which is "Jump" by Van Halen.  Further thoughts will go in the comments.

89 comments:

  1. Number 55: "Should I Stay or Should I Go," the Clash.

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  2. Number 54: "Night Moves," Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

    The gap between Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen is not as big as you might think.

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    Replies
    1. "Night Moves" is like crack for you.

      Incidentally, I would move "Jump" ahead of all of these so far.

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    2. I love, love, love "Night Moves." "Started humming a song from back in 1963." I used to say that to myself a lot.

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    3. I probably wouldn't have "Jump" in the top 300.

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  3. Number 53: "Give a Little Bit," Supertramp

    I'm always meaning to listen to more Supertramp, but I never do.

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  4. Number 52: "Go Your Own Way," Fleetwood Mac

    Every once in a while, I decide to listen to more Fleetwood Mac, and then I do exactly that. They are great.

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  5. Number 51: "Back in Black," AC/DC

    I have no AC/DC albums, I have never downloaded an AC/DC song, and I have never made any special effort to hear an AC/DC song. But when I do hear one, I almost never change the channel. And sometimes I CRANK IT UP.

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  6. Number 50: "Losing My Religion," R.E.M.

    Seems odd to hear R.E.M. with all these classic rock songs, but of course this song is now almost 30 years old.

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  7. Number 49: "Beast of Burden," Rolling Stones

    I don't think I have ever voluntarily listened to this song.

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    1. "My Greatest Mistake" by Sheryl Crow always reminds me of this song.

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  8. Number 48: "Money for Nothing," Dire Straits

    This may be my favorite song from the 1980's.

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  9. Number 47: "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da," The Beatles

    My guess is that when John Lennon told himself the story of why he could no longer work with Paul McCartney, this song played a big part in that narrative.

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  10. Number 46: "Sweet Emotion," Aerosmith

    I really like "Dream On," and I really dislike almost every other Aerosmith song.

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  11. Number 45: "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2

    It would be tempting to say that "The Joshua Tree" is overrated. But it's really not. It's pretty much exactly as good as it's rated.

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  12. Number 44: "Dust in the Wind," Kansas

    This song, of course, was the "slow skate" song at my Sixth Grade Skating Party.

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    1. I skipped my Sixth Grade Skating Party because I was embarrassed that I could not skate. Matthew did not skip the Sixth Grade Skating Party, even though he did not skate. There was a very pretty girl that, from the Sixth Grade Skating Party, was a much better friend with Matthew than she was with me. This turned out to be a fairly meaningful moment in my life.

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    2. I spent weeks out in Reidland learning to skate good enough to attend the Sixth Grade Skating Party, and then I never skated again.

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  13. Number 43: "You Give Love a Bad Name," Bon Jovi

    This song always struck me as pretty generic.

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  14. Number 42: "I Won't Back Down," Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

    When I set up my stations on Pandora, I had a hard time getting a classic rock station that wouldn't have too much Tom Petty.

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  15. Number 41: "Comfortably Numb," Pink Floyd

    When I was in college, I really disliked this song, but now I like it.

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  16. Number 40: "Peace of Mind," Boston

    I don't think I've ever known the name of this song. I just knew it was one of those Boston songs that wasn't "More than a Feeling."

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  17. Number 39: "Don't Bring Me Down," Electric Light Orchestra

    Number 2 Son is a big ELO fan.

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  18. Number 38: "Barracuda," Heart

    This is a really great song. I spent much of the winter of 1981 (or maybe 1982) in my room reading "Gone with the Wind," and listening to the radio. They played this song about a million times. So now it reminds me of "Gone with the Wind."

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  19. Number 37: "Another One Bites the Dust," Queen

    I remember the first time I heard this song, and at the time I pretty much thought it was the greatest song ever.

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    Replies
    1. I had the same reaction to "Private Eyes" by Hall & Oates, "Celebrate" by Kool and the Gang and "Hey, Ya" by Outkast.

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  20. Number 36: "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," Bachman Turner Overdrive

    "Taking Care of Business" is 177, which makes no sense to me. I always thought "Taking Care of Business" was much better than this song.

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  21. Number 35: "Turn the Page," Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

    The highest Springsteen song on this list was "Dancing in the Dark," which was number 216. Of course, that says more about the countdown than about Springsteen.

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  22. Number 34: "Money," Pink Floyd

    I really like the cash register sound effects at the beginning of this song, and it makes me somewhat sad to think that many young people haven't heard the little "ding" that cash registers used to make.

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  23. Number 33: "Sympathy for the Devil," Rolling Stones

    Now this is a really great song. The lyrics are excellent, and the whole thing is ominous without being overdone. There are many, many ways this song could have been screwed up, and the Rolling Stones avoided all of them.

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  24. Number 32: "Wanted Dead or Alive," Bon Jovi

    This is a very solid song, although I prefer the acoustic version.

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  25. Number 31: "Sultans of Swing," Dire Straits

    This is the highest-ranking Dire Straits song, as it probably should be. It's the only rock song I can think of that's about jazz music.

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  26. Number 30: "In the Air Tonight," Phil Collins

    This is the highest-ranking song that I think of as an "MTV" song. It is very good.

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    1. On the other hand, I personally prefer "Abacab."

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    2. I, too, prefer "Abacab," but that drum solo in "In the Air Tonight" was a big deal for a while.

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  27. Number 29: "Band on the Run," Paul McCartney

    This is the highest-rated Paul McCartney song, although there are Beatles songs ranked above this one. Personally, I prefer "Live and Let Die," which came in at Number 121.

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    1. I love this song. And I love "Live and Let Die." And I love "Baby, I'm Amazed," and there's about a solid 1:30 of "Jet" where it's the only song I've ever heard in my whole life.

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  28. Number 28: "Gimme Shelter," Rolling Stones

    This is one of the greatest rock songs ever, and should be ranked higher than this.

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  29. Number 27: "Any Way You Want It," Journey

    One of my favorite songs for playing very loud while I'm in the car.

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  30. Number 26: "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)," Pink Floyd

    And now we're finally done with Pink Floyd. Unlike "Comfortably Numb," I still dislike this song as much as I did in high school.

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    Replies
    1. WHY DID YOU KEEP LISTENING TO THIS COUNTDOWN?

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  31. Number 25: "With or Without You," U2

    Another great song from "The Joshua Tree."

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    1. I tend to think of U2 and R.E.M. as the representative acts of my particular generational niche--in the same way that I think of the Who and the Rolling Stones as representative of my oldest brother's and Elton John and Lynyrd Skynyrd of representative of my younger brother's.

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  32. Number 24: "Magic Man," Heart

    No song ever sounded better coming through your radio on WKYX in 1978.

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  33. Number 23: "Revolution," Beatles

    This is the second-highest song from the Beatles, and the highest song written by John Lennon. I'm glad it did so well.

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  34. Number 22: "Hollywood Nights," Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

    This is the highest-ranking Bob Seger song. As Eric said, I am a sucker for "Night Moves." But this is probably the best Bob Seger song.

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  35. Number 21: "All Along the Watchtower," Jimi Hendrix

    This is the highest cover version on the countdown, and the highest song from Jimi Hendrix. I don't like it as much as I like "Purple Haze."

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  36. Number 20: "Baba O'Riley," The Who

    This reminds me of that year that Eric and I went through a bunch of back issues of Rolling Stone to read interviews with Pete Townsend, and how Townsend would exhibit a slightly different view of the world in almost every interview.

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    1. One year, I listened to one of the FM Memorial Day countdowns all the way to the end and "Won't Get Fooled Again" came out as No. 1. Now THAT was a payoff, baby!

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  37. Number 19: "Free Bird," Lynyrd Skynyrd

    This is, of course, an absurd result, as "Free Bird" should be number one.

    I used to end every semester in college by playing "Free Bird" on my stereo as loudly as I could.

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    1. There is a show about the music studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., that is making the rounds on PBS channels, and I can't recommend it strongly enough.

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    2. I saw that. It was outstanding.

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  38. Number 18: "Pride (in the Name of Love)," U2

    This is the highest rated song from U2, and it's hard to argue with its placement here.

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    1. This could've been No. 1 for me. So could "Maggie Mae."

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  39. Number 17: "Living on a Prayer," Bon Jovi

    This was the theme song of the George Mason team that reached the Final Four in 2006, and it is still remembered fondly around here for that reason.

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  40. Number 16: "Carry On My Wayward Son," Kansas

    From the time I was about 12 until I was about 18, I thought this was the second-greatest song in the world (behind "Free Bird").

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  41. Number 15: "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana

    This is the highest rated song from the 1990's, and the highest-rated song recorded after the 1970's. "Pride" was the highest-rated song from the 1980's.

    I love, love, love this song.

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    1. This is another of those songs that just overwhelmed me the first time I heard it on the radio.

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  42. Number 14: "We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions," Queen

    Queen is a band that seems to get more and more famous every year.

    I can still remember dancing around my room when this song would come on WKYX.

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  43. Number 13: "Hey Jude," the Beatles

    I like this song, but I don't understand why it's almost always ranked as the most popular Beatles song.

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  44. Number 12: "Life's Been Good," Joe Walsh

    I'm always surprised at how popular this song is.

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  45. Number 11: "Don't Stop Believin'," Journey

    I was wrong about "Pride" being the highest-ranked song from the 1980's. There are two songs from the early 1980's that rank ahead of it. This is one of them, and I don't think there is any song that is more evocative of driving out Highway 60 to school in 1982 or 1983 to watch Heath play a football game.

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    1. Oh, and I used to be very confident that Tony Soprano was NOT killed at the end of "The Sopranos," but as time has passed I have become less and less sure.

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  46. Number 10: "Satisfaction," the Rolling Stones

    Years ago, Weird Al Yankovich did a song called "The Hot Rocks Polka" where he set a whole bunch of snippets from Rolling Stones songs to polka music. It's fantastically good. But what happens, as you listen to the song, is that your ear just keeps waiting for "Satisfaction," and you get more and more frustrated when it doesn't show up. But Weird Al knows this, and so he saves "Satisfaction" for the end. And when the accordion music shifts into the opening notes of "Satisfaction," you are left with this wonderful feeling of joy, because you know this is the only possible conclusion for the "Hot Rocks Polka."

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  47. Number 9: "Who Are You," the Who

    For years, I thought this song was vastly under-appreciated -- in large part because I never watched CSI. But for me, the most important thing about this song is that it was the last hit for the original Who. The album "Who Are You" was released on August 18, 1978, and Keith Moon died on September 7, 1978. It is a magnificent farewell, which combines their old-fashioned pyrotechnics with some of Townsend's most melancholy lyrics.

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  48. Number 8: "Sweet Home Alabama," Lynyrd Skynyrd

    In college, I knew a guy from Montgomery who would play this song on his car radio every time he crossed the state line from any other state into Alabama -- even if he was only going to be in Alabama for a short time. He would cue up the tape, and then after Ronnie Van Zant says "Turn it up," he would turn up his radio really loud. At the time, I thought that's what all Alabamians should do when they returned to Alabama, and I still think that it would be an excellent idea.

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  49. Number 7: "Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen

    Years after I heard this song for the first time, I learned about a movie called "Scaramouche." It's a sword-fighting movie from 1952, and I liked it a lot.

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  50. Number 6: "Stairway to Heaven," Led Zeppelin

    For years and years, I listened to Tony Kornheiser's radio show, and at least 2-3 times a year Tony would take a shot at "Stairway to Heaven." I always found this to be annoying -- it always made Tony sound like some guy my age would sound if he was complaining about rap music. Even if you don't like "Stairway to Heaven," even if you find the whole Led Zeppelin thing to be annoying, you should still be able to tell that there is something big going on here.

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    1. Totally agree. And I pretty much do find the whole Led Zeppelin thing to be annoying.

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  51. Number 5: "Dream On," Aerosmith

    When Sportscenter did their big highlight package for the end of the 20th century, they set it to "Dream On," and that was just absolutely perfect. Somewhere on the Internet, there also used to be a video of UK highlights from the 1980's and 1990's set to "Dream On," and I used to watch that video all the time. It was fantastic.

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  52. Number 4: "More than a Feeling," Boston

    In about 1978 or so, my dad bought his first stereo component system. We didn't have a great place to put it, so it ended up in my brother's bedroom. It was fantastic -- we used to sit back there and play music for hours and hours. This was when I started to switch from AM to FM, because I wanted to hear everything in stereo. And every once in awhile, they would play this song, and it sounded FANTASTIC -- especially that baseline throbbing through the speakers. Almost nothing that happened in the 1970's made me feel more grown-up than listening to loud music on a real stereo system.

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  53. Number 3: "Hotel California," Eagles

    I have spent much of my life applying song lyrics to different situations, and no lyric has come in handy more often than "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." (See yesterday's EU elections for a recent example.)

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  54. Number 2: "Black Dog," Led Zeppelin

    I have no idea why this was ranked ahead of "Stairway to Heaven."

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  55. Number 1: "You Shook My All Night Long," AC/DC

    Well, this was a ridiculous outcome, as this is clearly not the best song of all time, and is probably not in the best 30 songs of all time. But it's a fun song, and I'm happy for all the AC/DC fans out there.

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    1. I know a few people who felt totally vindicated by this outcome. And I guess it's suitable as the Memorial Day Countdown Greatest Song of All Time in the same year that the Seahawks won the Super Bowl.

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  56. I loved this post, mostly because it introduced me to "The Hot Rocks Polka."

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