For those of you who are fashionably late to the party, I decided to take the foot off the gas, so to speak, with outdoor related posts not directly related to me going outdoors. I've been thinking about putting this list together for awhile, so why not now? There are 21 songs because there are 21 songs. Well really, 22. Or 23. I'm losing track. To sum up our results so far:
(#10 - #6)
10. Old Crow Medicine Show: "Wagon Wheel"
9. Leonard Cohen: "Everybody Knows."
8. Sam Cooke: "Bring it on Home to Me."
7 (tie). REM: "You Are The Everything."
7 (tie). REM: "Country Feedback."
6. Rolling Stones: "Dead Flowers."
5. Social Distortion: "When She Begins." As I mentioned before, Social Distortion is my favorite band of all time. They've been together for almost 35 years and did a good bit of work (along with the Cramps and other bands of the early 80s) to forward the rockabilly element in the young American punk rock scene. Social D list their main influences as Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, the Clash, and the Ramones - all of whom (magically!) appear on this list somewhere.
I waited for months for this album ("Somewhere between Heaven and Hell") to come out, and it finally dropped a few weeks before my 18th birthday. Our college rock / punk rock band was already covering "Ball and Chain" and when we first heard this album, we started playing this song, along with "Making Believe," (a Wanda Jackson cover) and "Cold Feelings" (both almost made the cut for this list). We never played "Cold Feelings" for a crowd, but the other two got some listens...
I remember a backyard kegger a few months later (June 1992), when we laid down this song (from a homemade "totally safe" riser/stage) for 300 teenagers in the hot sun. I'm not gonna lie, it was freaking awesome. Even though the cops showed up, as they always did. Typical small town "You're old enough to die in a war, but not to drink a beer, so here's your summons to appear in court" mentality. Can't take anything from this song, though. As one Youtube commenter noted: "Only Mike Ness can make a falsetto "Wooohooo" sound manly."
4. Johnny Cash "Man in Black." This song, most of all, describes my politics and how I feel about the world. Not 2012's nonsensical, "I don't wanna pay no more taxes" from the right, or the equally shrill and selfish, "More subsidies! More government money for me! More money now!" from the left. I can surmise that our economy and our country weren't really built to care about people, or care for people. Not to excuse the behavior of those who do wrong, but to extend sincere pity in judgment, "I'm sorry this happened. I'm sorry you did it. You have to pay for this now," without all of the usual crime fighting rhetoric, "Justice for the victims!" and "One more criminal off the street!" Johnny had it right 40 years ago.
3. Queen/Bowie "Under Pressure." This is an amazing song. "Why can't we give love one more chance?"
2. Cohen, Buckley, Wainright, and others (written by Cohen). "Hallelujah." While a lot of younger people know this song from Shrek, the first time I heard anyone but Jeff Buckley play it was a 9-11 benefit, on TV almost immediately after the attack on our country, with Rufus Wainright at the piano. It's a masterful song. It's a very sad song. Coupled with footage of Ground Zero, it can weigh heavily on a person. Leonard Cohen has been a bit dismissive of this song's success, saying things like, "Well it's a good song. I wrote a lot of other good songs, too."
1. Otis Redding "That's How Strong My Love Is."