10. Michael Jackson – Thriller
A quintessential party song. Nobody doesn’t like Thriller. It even has its own T-Rex arms to side to side dance. I’ve never really felt Michael was strong in the lyrics department and I this song doesn’t sway my opinion. That’s why it lands at #10 and not higher. Although I don’t necessarily think a video with the Walking Dead doing the Thriller dance can really has a lot of higher level meaning. It’s just a song about getting scared and being “thrilled.” Great jam though with over 126 million views on youtube.
9. Harry Chapin – Cat’s in the Cradle
“And frankly, this song scares me to death”. One of the only songs that can almost bring a tear to my eye. This is such a great story with the cold reality of how life can pass you by. There’s always the prolonging of the “we’ll have a good time then,” but then never comes. The very first verse ends with “I’m gonna be like you Dad, you know I’m gonna be like you.” In the last verse that comes full circle. I feel the message is that you take for granted what you have in front of you. The chorus is the passage of time. I also like how the son replies with “I love to Dad if I could find the time…but its sure nice talking to you dad.” It’s the same way his dad was treating him.
8. Elton John – Rocket Man
This song was produced by Gus Dudgeon who also produced Space Oddity. I like the idea that the occupation of an astronaut can still feel like a 9-5. The song flows at the same tempo throughout just like the guy is doing his routine job. I’m not really sure why he’s not the same man when he touches down. I suppose seeing the Earth from a space perspective changes your perception of everything. I find it easy to listen to as well.
7. Billy Joel – Piano Man
Who hasn’t been in a bar that is closing at 2am and Piano Man comes on as the final song. Billy Joel takes the role of the Piano Man as he sings about the lives of other bar patrons who are generally complaining. I think people relate to this song because the problems of the customers identify with their own life. And then you put yourself in Billy’s place and he just has to sit there and listen to their problems which he was actually doing at the time. I tend to find this song easier to listen to in a drunk, everyone having fun, environment than sitting by myself like I’m doing right now.
6. Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
The lyrics outline the singer’s irritation with the increasing commercialism of the modern world, where the radio broadcasts “useless information” and a man on television tells him “how white my shirts can be – but he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.” Jagger also describes the stress of being a celebrity, and the tensions of touring. The reference in the verse to not getting any “girl reaction” was fairly controversial in its day, interpreted by some listeners (and radio programmers) as meaning a girl willing to have sex. Particularly shocking to some people was a reference to a girl having her period (being “on a losing streak”). (Wikipedia)
5. The Beatles – Hey Jude
This song is in 2nd place for the song that has spent the most time at #1 on the Billboard 100, first being Mariah Carey with “One Sweet Day” (I’ve never even heard it). It’s a song about a guy being told not to be a pussy when it comes to girls. I love the line “it’s a fool who plays it cool.” Sort of a pump up song when you are looking to go after the girl you want. A little tidbit, “At 2:58 of the song, someone can allegedly be heard to say, “Fucking hell!” There is some dispute as to who said this, and whether it was really exclaimed at all. Sound engineers Ken Scott and Geoff Emerick claim the exclamation came from McCartney, and that it was Lennon’s idea to leave the mistake in the final mix. “‘Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word,’ Lennon gleefully crowed, ‘but I insisted we leave it in, buried just low enough so that it can barely be heard. Most people won’t ever spot it…but we’ll know it’s there.'”
4. Pink Floyd – Time
The 4th song from Dark Side of the Moon that wakes you up with alarm clocks after the peaceful conclusion of “On the Run“. This song is about how time can slip by, but many people do not realize it until it is too late. Roger Waters got the idea when he realized he was no longer preparing for anything in life, but was right in the middle of it. He has described this realization taking place at ages 28 and 29 in various interviews (Wikipedia). “The Sun is the same in a relative way but your older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death.”
3. Free bird – Lynard Skynard
A total song. The guitar solo at the end is well known as a kick ass solo and it feels like this song just takes you on a journey as a freebird. It’s starts off slow like your flying along casually and continuously builds until your flying at high speed. Amazon.com music reviewer Lorry Fleming calls it “the most-requested song in the history of rock music.” “And this bird you cannot change”.
2. American Pie – Don McLean
The song is a recounting of “The Day the Music Died” — the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.)—and the aftermath. An 8+ minute song that no one ever switches once it starts. Can music save your mortal soul? I don’t even think Weird Al’s parody is all that bad.
1. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
It was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, despite never having been officially released as a single there. “Stairway to Heaven” isn’t the greatest rock song of the 1970s; it is the greatest spell of the 1970s. Think about it: we are all sick of the thing, but in some primordial way it is still number one. Everyone knows it… Even our dislike and mockery is ritualistic. The dumb parodies; the Wayne’s World-inspired folklore about guitar shops demanding customers not play it; even Robert Plant’s public disavowal of the song—all of these just prove the rule. “Stairway to Heaven” is not just number one. It is the One, the quintessence, the closest AOR will ever get you to the absolute.” Truth.