Call me old-fashioned, but I still have a predeliction for albums and do not consider myself actually owning a piece of music unless I can pick it up in my hands and look at it. Of course, though I have more CD albums now than vinyl ones, I have many singles and EP’s for there was a time when that was all I could afford to buy, especially if I did not care much for the rest of a particular band’s output. But albums were the mainstay. There was nothing like taking that smooth platter out of the sleeve, which was often a work of art in itself, holding it gently, the outer rim resting on the ball of my hand and my fingers holding it in the middle. Then slipping it slowly down that phallic pole onto the turntable, switching the record player on and gently dropping the diamond-tipped needle onto the edge of the vinyl. Then sit back, with the album cover in your hand, read the lyrics as they came out and slowly immerse yourself in the music. Compressed digital code does not, and never will be able to replicate anything like that.
We will be a third of the way through after this week’s twenty.
Charles Martel’s 680-661
680. Led Zeppelin – “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin II)
To anyone who lived in the UK during the seventies through the nineties this is instantly recognisable. The Alexis Korner cover was the theme tune to Top of the Pops. The riff is probably Led Zeppelin’s most famous.
679. The Moondogs – “Who’s Gonna Tell Mary” (7” Single)
Fantastic piece of powerpop, all about teenage love and who’s going to tell Mary I’ve fallen in love with her sister. The video is a bit crappy in terms of quality though, but there are not many alternatives around.
678. Presley, Elvis – “Hound Dog” (7” Single)
Whether you prefer the Elvis version or the Big Mama Thornton original (see no. 718 on this list), there is no doubt that this is a fine song.
677. Adele – “Someone Like You” (21)
Final cut of Adele’s deeply personal autobiographical album detailing events in her life when she was 21, this song attempts to move her on from a failed relationship.
676. The Beatles – “Hey Jude” (7” Single)
Paul McCartney wrote the song for Julian Lennon in sympathy for his parents’ divorce. It went on to become one of the most successful Beatles singles of all time.
675. The Tremeloes – “Silence Is Golden” (7” Single)
Originally recorded by the Four Seasons, this has become the Tremeloes signature song. They even recorded a version in Italian.
674. The Damned – “Melody Lee” (Machine Gun Etiquette)
Sit back and enjoy the soft piano fugue. That is before the Damned tip up your chair and stamp all over you with the rest of this number.
673. The Cure – “Push” (The Head on the Door)
This song encapsulates the transition the Cure were undergoing at the time between the miserable, bleak period of “Pornography” and more upbeat numbers like “Just Like Heaven” off their “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me” album.
672. Bowie, David – “It Ain’t Easy” (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars)
Inexplicably, this song is usually overlooked in the canon of great Bowie numbers. This combines the glitz of glam rock with a gospel-tinged soul which is unique on the album.
671. The Morrisons – “Lament” (The Morrisons EP)
One of the original C86 pioneers, this was their finest song. The band split after releasing only a few singles and EP’s, of which this was the best. They reformed in 2003.
670. INXS – “Original Sin” (Original Sin)
INXS were not known for making statements, but this song, dealing with inter-racial romance, is a powerful one both in terms of its message and its delivery.
669. Blur – “She’s So High” (Leisure)
Debut single from Blur. Its greatness was only recognised later. Many theories have been put forward as to who or what this is about. Personally, I think the cover art of the single showing a naked woman sitting on top of a hippo says it all.
668. The Doors – “Light My Fire” (The Doors)
One of the Doors’ signature songs, from the Bach inspired organ to the controversies of the Ed Sullivan show and the Buick commercials, this remains a powerful track indeed.
667. Motorhead – “I Got Mine” (Another Perfect Day)
What grabs you about this song is that great chiming guitar riff. This shows Motorhead at their very best.
666. The Weeping Messerschmitts – “Just to Hold You” (7” Single)
They had to abandon their earlier name (the Railway Children) because another band had it – that band features later in this list. Not sure if the new name they chose is any good, but this is a fine jangle pop number.
665. Dion – “The Wanderer” (Runaround Sue)
I always thought Dion had double standards – he was able to boast about being the Wanderer while condemning Runaround Sue for doing the same thing. Put aside the chauvinism though, this is a classic doo-wop influenced pop song.
664. The Buzzcocks – “Harmony In My Head” (Singles. Going Steady)
Atypical song from the Buzzcocks in many ways, this song has distinctive vocals and a chugging riff in the bridge around which the rest of the instruments gradually coalesce.
663. Morrissey – “Every Day Is Like Sunday” (Viva Hate)
Morrissey remained a miserable so-and-so even after he left the Smiths, but this song is something which anyone who has ever visited a dreary middle-England town, especially one by the sea, will instantly be able to understand.
662. The Knack – “My Sharona” (Get the Knack)
Inspired by the Knack frontman Doug Fieger’s passion for his 17 year old girlfriend Sharona Alperin, this instantly recognisable song became a worldwide hit beyond the expectations of anyone.
661. Slowdive – “Catch the Sun” (Just for a Day)
Dreamy shoegazers Slowdive kick off their debut album with this soaring, almost anthemic number which was easily the best track off the album.