So what is it that makes one song a candidate for this list, and another not? There is no simple answer to this question. There is never going to be one single defining factor, but over the next few editions I will look at some of them. The first is context. By context, I mean time and place. It is no coincidence that well over 50% of all the tracks on this list are British in origin. There are some bands, the Velvet Underground being the most notable, whose music is too non-British for me to truly appreciate as I have no affinity for the place where it derives its impetus. It is also no coincidence that my formative musical years, the seventies, and my defining ones (the one which reflected rather than shaped me), the eighties, are most heavily represented on this list. Other decades do get a look in, but perhaps not as much.
So, let’s get on with the next twenty.
Charles Martel’s 960-941
960. Madder Rose – “Bring It Down” (Bring It Down)
Despite being lauded by the absurd New Musical Express as the second coming of the Velvet Underground, Madder Rose survived the comparison to produce this catchy number.
959. Memphis Slim – “Life Is Like That” (10″ Single)
One of the best piano blues songs ever recorded, from a man who issued over 500 recordings in his lifetime (and a few dozen after his death).
958. Lowe, Nick – “Cruel to Be Kind” (Labour of Lust)
The self-styled Jesus of Cool released this catchy, stick-in-the-mind number back in the seventies as part of the pub rock scene.
957. Bad Company – “Shooting Star” (Straight Shooter)
A well-worn theme – the rock star who can’t handle fame. This was the best from Bad Company’s often patchy output.
956. Tame Impala – “I Don’t Really Mind” (Innerspeaker)
The Australian neo-psychedelists really managed to pull it off with this track, a rolling, grinding number with pounding drums
955. The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army” (Elephant)
I have serious doubts about the White Stripes. But there is no doubting that this song, with that distinctive bass hook, is a fine piece of work.
954. Deep Blue Something – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (Home)
A song which many regard as irritating and phoney, and yet it has a wonderful melody. Really deserves a serious reappraisal from all the haters. Does this count as a guilty pleasure?
953. Cherry, Eagle Eye – “Save Tonight” (Desireless)
The one hit from an eponymous wonder, this was a great song about impending lovers’ parting. A great combination of acoustic guitars blending into a rock format.
952. Forever People – “Invisible” (7″ Single)
Named after a group of Marvel Comics superheroes, like so many indie pop acts of the eighties and nineties, they faded away quickly. This catchy number was pretty much their only release in the nineties.
951. The Count Bishops – “Baby, You’re Wrong” (The Count Bishops)
Had fate not been so cruel, the Count Bishops might have become one of the UK’s most successful acts. But pub rock was swept away by punk. This song was undoubtedly the best of their early classic songs dating from the mid seventies.
950. TV Smith’s Explorers – “Tomohawk Cruise” (The Last Words of the Great Explorer)
Released at a time when these missiles were being stationed in the UK in the face of massive public opposition, the former Adverts’ frontman came out with this politically-charged song. A great mix of synthesisers and guitars.
949. My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday (Live)” (Okonokos)
A very recognisable guitar riff and a theme of a band being discovered, this is a solid performance by a band who are confident enough in their own performance to feature in an episode of “American Dad”.
948. Friends of Ghosts – “WMT” (Realm of the Senses)
Another eighties indie pop outfit who never made it. This features an unusual structure and a hook line which slowly takes a hold of you.
947. Springfield, Dusty – “I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten” (7″ Single)
The best single released by the British queen of blue-eyed soul, this was a massive hit back in the sixties.
946. Mott the Hoople – “All the Young Dudes” (All the Young Dudes)
Written by David Bowie and a staple of seventies glam rock, it was a song which managed to convey the camaraderie of a road trip without actually going anywhere by road.
945. Band of Susans – “Ice Age” (The Word and the Flesh)
US noise rockers, who once had three people called Susan in the band (hence the name), released this classic noise-shoegaze crossover but the lack of a stable line up always mitigated against their achieving success.
944. Oasis – “Champagne Supernova” ((What’s the Story) Morning Glory)
Among Oasis’s most anthemic songs, this was a crowd favourite when played live and rounded off the band’s biggest selling album.
943. The Kinks – “Victoria” (Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire))
The Kinks were always the most English-sounding of the British R&B influenced bands of the sixties. This was a satirical look at the good old days (which as we all know were not so good) juxtaposed against the so-called glorious British Empire.
942. The Sonics – “The Witch” (Here Are the Sonics)
The Sonics were the loudest and the rawest of all US garage acts. They pulled no punches either and this song made it perfectly clear that the Girl was to be avoided at all costs.
941. The Lilys – “Coby” (Selected EP)
Undoubtedly the best song from these American shoegazers. Another band which never got the success they deserved as a result of a totally unstable line up.