Now, someone has asked how is it possible to compile such a list. Well, actually, it is not that difficult though it is a bit time consuming. Copy the names and artists from your iTunes onto a word document and then delete out those you know definitely will not make it. Then you are left with a list of contenders. Choose between the first and the second, then the third and the fourth, then the fifth and the sixth and so on, on your list. Then repeat – A/B: D/E = DABE and so on. Sure it takes time, and it is fun to go back to the songs and play them, one compared with the other, when you get stuck for choice.
And so, here are songs ZGYKH – FHVVC (haha).
Charles Martel’s 840-821
840. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Ramble Tamble” (Cosmo’s Factory)
Magnificent jam session captured originally on vinyl shows Fogerty and his band at their very best.
839. Tears for Fears – “Pale Shelter” (The Hurting)
Only made a hit on its second outing the year after its first release, Tears for Fears took the name of the haunting song from a Henry Moore sculpture.
838. Joel, Billy – “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” (The Stranger)
A very clever number which has vignettes of activity from several couples, each accompanied by a different melody. This was issued before Billy Joel decided he wanted to be a popstar and marry a supermodel.
837. U2 – “Pride (In the Name of Love)” (The Unforgettable Fire)
U2’s tribute to Martin Luther King was originally supposed to be about Reagan and his pride in the military might of the USA. Bono puts in one of his better vocal performances on this track.
836. The Hollies – “He Ain’t Heavy (He’s My Brother)” (7” Single)
A tribute to friendship which has been used as a theme in many TV programmes, films and ads, this warm song has never featured on a non-compilation album, surprisingly.
835. Devo – “Mongoloid” (Are We Not Men? We Are Devo)
Not sure if this is considered politically correct any more but I’ll take that risk for this has a great jangly feel to it.
834. Cheap Trick – “I Want You to Want Me” (Live at Budokan)
Powerpop rocker which features some great guitar work from a band I never seemed to be able to take seriously.
833. The Dubrovniks – “Like Fire” (Dubrovnik Blues)
Croat-Australian pub rockers pull off a rollicking good song with this. Get down to your local bar, put this on the juke box (unlikely, but you can dream) and get everybody up and rocking along.
832. Tchaikovsky, Pyotr – “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” (The Nutcracker Suite)
Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to remember it musically than with the familiar piece from what has become Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet.
831. Turner, Ike & Tina – “River Deep Mountain High” (River Deep Mountain High)
Phil Spector considered this to be his best ever work on which Ike Turner was paid not to turn up at the studio while Tina was recording the vocal. Of the many legends about this great song is the one which says Tina Turner was so hot she recorded the final take naked.
830. The Manic Street Preachers – “Little Baby Nothing” (Generation Terrorists)
More social commentary from these Welsh rockers, this time about the sexual exploitation of women. Former porn actress Traci Lords put in a backing vocal on this powerful number.
829. The Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls” (Please)
If I had to pick a song which reminded me of my 1986 return to London after three years in Hong Kong, this would be it.
828. Patti Smith – “Land” (Horses)
The better of the two eight-minute plus epics on Smith’s debut album, “Land” contains a tribute to Smith’s hero Arthur Rimbaud and an opening verse of a Chris Kenner poem.
827. Fischer-Z – “Kamikaze Shirt” (Kamikaze Shirt)
Get used to seeing this band in this list. As my favourite act, Fischer-Z will have a strong claim on this list. A great melody on this late-period number.
826. Depeche Mode – “Dreaming of Me” (7” Single)
The song which launched Depeche Mode, this single was one of the songs which kicked off the synth pop sound of the early eighties in the UK.
825. Boston – “Foreplay/Long Time” (Boston)
Two songs usually played as one (but released on a single as two), this track shows Boston at their best when guitarist Tom Scholz took ahold of it and drove it along.
824. X-Ray Spex – “The Day The World Turned Dayglo” (Germ Free Adolescents)
Clever British punk band (they had a full-time sax player) ridicule the transient throwaway society with this characteristic mix of Poly Styrene’s rasping alto voice and a solid melody.
823. Lowlife – “Sometime Somethings” (Permanent Sleep)
Melancholy track where the multiple guitar layering really brings the track to life. This never made it onto the debut album but resurfaced on the extended and remixed issue from about 20 years after the original release.
822. Dragon – “Rain” (Body and the Beat)
Long-lived Australian-New Zealand band who consumed so many drugs they actually got embroiled in an organised crime/conspiracy indictment once. But this just has that quality which makes you want to run out into the rain and laugh.
821. The Housemartins – “Me and the Farmer” (The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death)
Great song from the UK’s favourite Communists, this song deals with the appalling plight of the rural poor in this country, all wrapped up in a singalong jangle pop melody.