The Great Songs

Back in 1994, my band Truck Stop Love was featured on a Tom Petty tribute record called “You Got Lucky.” (This was back in the time when people bought a lot of compilation CDs — you know — before the advent of the iPod “shuffle.”) We appeared on an episode of ABC In Concert where [...]

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San Francisco’s The Flamin’ Groovies were way more influential than their album sales at the time would show. 1976′s “Shake Some Action” is a classic power pop single.

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I usually don’t like long songs (so I thought), but writing this list, I’ve realized that I may be fooling myself. In The Great Songs, I’ve already written about Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” and Television’s “Marquee Moon” and now it’s time to add a seven-minute epic about heavy drug use. Written by Lou Reed [...]

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OK, I tried to hold out as long as I could, but it was unavoidable that a Beatles song would creep into The Great Songs. They are, after all, the band that changed everything. At least I didn’t pick something you’ve heard a million times before. For some reason, “She Said She Said” isn’t one [...]

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Maybe the first time you heard this song was in the 1997 Quentin Tarantino film “Jackie Brown.” QT used The Delfonics not just as background music but to illustrate the budding romance between bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster) and stewardess Jackie Brown (Pam Grier). After hearing the song “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This [...]

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I will make a statement right now that pretty much defines the reason this song is on the list: I love the electric guitar. Last month I was on a roll while writing this column and I included some of what I consider to be the best guitar-rock songs of all time: Television’s “Marquee Moon” [...]

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Here is a link to the song’s official music video, for which embedding has been disabled. It was 1971. Just one year before he became the glam king/queen known as Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie was on to something. His sound had changed dramatically from folky pop singer to hard rock maestro in a short time, [...]

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Like Neil Young’s best distortion-filled rock, “Cortez the Killer” is sloppy, melodic, and beautiful.

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Sometimes a song comes along that just doesn’t sound like anything else. Television‘s avant-garde tune “Marquee Moon” from the 1977 album of the same name may have inspired countless indie bands to emulate its sparse, angular style of “rocking,” but there will never be a song with this much space and interplay to contain a [...]

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To listen to the entire song “That Lucky Old Sun” by Ray Charles, click here. There are hundreds of great Ray Charles songs,and certainly “What’d I Say” and “Georgia on my Mind” are among his best-known classics. But I picked this song, first performed by Frankie Laine in 1949 with music by Beasley Smith and [...]

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“Baby Blue” by Badfinger enters the canon for The Great Songs on Scene-Stealers.

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Just listen to the lyrics! This song is sick and wrong (and fascinating). The fact that its being performed by The Louvin Brothers, a gospel/country duo comprised of real-life brother Charlie and Ira, makes it even creepier. It’s a true snapshot of the hard-fought lessons from ages ago. Released in 1956 on their debut record [...]

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With The Great Songs series, my aim is simple: To offer up a different set of tunes as classic canon. Sometimes, the listmania that I suffer from is capitalized on by big mainstream outlets–everyone from Rolling Stone and Spin to VH1 and any number of cool British mags. Critical consensus is a dangerous thing, so [...]

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‘ If you are looking for big-guitar rock n’ roll teen anthems, it doesn’t get any better than the opening track of off Cheap Trick‘s 1978 album “Heaven Tonight.” (My unrepentant love for Cheap Trick will be on full display this Saturday, as J.D. Warnock and I perform with Nick Colby and Peter Buxton as [...]

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Just for fun, before writing about this week’s Great Song, I Wiki’ed the band: The Replacements. What I got first was a general Wiki link asking me whether I was looking for the movie, an episode of “Band of Brothers,” a short story, a TV series, or the “American alternative rock group.” The fact that [...]

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