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Guest stu

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as i relative newcomer, i have just been trawling through to see if there's any kind of 'best songs ever' thread. there doesn't appear to be. so....

best five songs ever, to be recorded by humans. 'best', not 'favourite'. and 'songs' not 'tunes' or 'pieces'.

i have been thinking. and i reckon it goes like this (in no order):

i've been loving you too long - otis redding

hallelujah - jeff buckley*

visions of johanna bob dylan

no woman no cry - bob marley and the wailers

one - U2.

*ok, ok, it was really by leanard cohen, but anyone who's heard the original knows that really it's jeff's song. no matter if cohen did some of the groundwork, it belongs to jeff.

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To call anything (music, paintings, movies, etc., art...) is way too subjective to create an unequivocal "best" list, don't you think? It would have to be your best, my best or some kind of favorite list.

To do this with music would be especially difficult because there are too many variables. Is it the best overall composition, best lyric, best musicianship, best orchestration, best arrangement? Then introduce the emotional response and nostalgia. It would seem that there would need to be some more qualifiers.

Also, I would agree that Jeff Buckley does an incredible version of Lenard Cohen

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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To call anything (music, paintings, movies, etc., art...) is way too subjective to create an unequivocal "best" list, don't you think? It would have to be your best, my best or some kind of favorite list.

well, kind of. but there are songs that i like, that i love, and i kind of know they're particular to me, they're my favourites. i don't expect everyone to get them. but, there are some songs that are just great, definitively, and anyone who says otherwise is painfully wrong. and i expect people to get them, and if they don't get them, then they need educating, fast. songs that are so great that they need some kind of recognition, they need to be in a definitive list. such is the purpose of this list.

...ok, i know, its an entirely impossible and ridiculous idea.

and why did i not put 'yesterday' in mine? am i mad?

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OK, Rock and R&B:

"Baba O'Reilly" The Who

"The Watchtower" Hendrix

"Won't Get Fooled Again" The Who

"Message In A Bottle" The Police

"The Reason We're Here" The Pretenders

also: "Brown Sugar", "I'll Be Around", "Gimme Shelter", "A Day In the Life"

Jazz:

"Sidewinder" Lee Morgan

"Caravan" Dizzy Gillespie

"You Are" Charlie Parker

"Song For My Father" Horace Silver

"Almost Like Being In Love" Maynard Ferguson

Also: "Down For Double" Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross, "Poincianna" Ahmad Jamaal, "Moanin'" Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, "Blue Rondo a la Turk" Dave Brubek Quartet

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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hendrix is fair enough. but the police?! there's no accounting for taste. having said that, i seriously consider mike oldfield's 'moonlight shadow' to be one of my favourite things in the world.

are these jazz songs 'songs', and if so why?

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hendrix is fair enough. but the police?! there's no accounting for taste. having said that, i seriously consider mike oldfield's 'moonlight shadow' to be one of my favourite things in the world.

are these jazz songs 'songs', and if so why?

Well I darn well prefer The Police to Sting alone. Early Police is not all that bad, but even if they were, "Message In a Bottle" is a great song period. Actually, I was afraid of mentioning "Watchtower" because of the overplayed factor. Nothing to say about The Who or The Spinners, huh?

Do not understand the point of your jazz question. "Down For Double" is the only one that is sung, but it was originally a Count Basie jump that Jon Hendricks put lyrics to and sang straight from the original arrangement with overdubbing.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I guess I'm with Asher here - I would consider it impossible to come up with a list of "best" songs. Music is so entirely subjective, and I think you'd be hard pressed to say some must be "educated" if they don't get your list - I still haven't heard any Jeff Buckley. That said, I'll throw out a few of what have been significant songs (alright, probably "favorites") for me:

Into the Mystic - Van Morrison

Round Here - Counting Crows

Where the Streets Have No Name - U2

In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel

#41 - Dave Matthews Band

The Last Stop - Dave Matthews Band

Hurt - Johnny Cash

High Cost of Low Living - Allman Brothers Band

Double Cure - Vigilantes of Love

<sigh> Its so hard to narrow to five. These are just a few off the top of my head - my list could change tomorrow. Don't look for profound lyrics in all of them - sometimes the music alone can take me to another place, often in a very spiritual sense (yes, even the Allman Brothers Band!)

I'm assuming that by "songs" you're trying to distinguish between something with lyrics and purely instrumental? That's how I took it, which is probably the only reason some of those aren't included here.

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Do not understand the point of your jazz question. "Down For Double" is the only one that is sung, but it was originally a Count Basie jump that Jon Hendricks put lyrics to and sang straight from the original arrangement with overdubbing.

I guess I was meaning, in jazz is there a difference between compositions/pieces that can be called 'songs' and ones that can't? Is it to do with structure or something? I was just interested.

The Who are a massive gap for me - I know nothing about them, which is probably an outrage. But then I'm young, so have some excuse, and plenty of time. At the moment I'm getting sidetracked by Canadian post-rock. And I'm afraid that I don't even know who The Spinners are... is this shameful?

Edited by stu
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I guess I was meaning, in jazz is there a difference between compositions/pieces that can be called 'songs' and ones that can't? Is it to do with structure or something? I was just interested.

The Who are a massive gap for me - I know nothing about them, which is probably an outrage. But then I'm young, so have some excuse, and plenty of time. At the moment I'm getting sidetracked by Canadian post-rock. And I'm afraid that I don't even know who The Spinners are... is this shameful?

Jazz:Of the five, "Sidewinder" is the only one that might be considered more abstract, or composition, though it is not too long and and not "out there" like much of Coltrane, the others are songs of varying sorts. "Caravan" predates "LP's" so it could not be very long and fit on one side of a "78". Someone (probably Hendricks) put words to it, but I like Gillespie's original. Parker's "All the Things You Are" (in a rush post, I used the first line) was done on the cusp of the LP/78 epoch, but Parker never seemed to record "long" abstract stuff. He was known for lightening quick improvisation on classic songs that he liked. Brubek's "Turk" is pretty abstract in a wierd classical harmony sort of way (his "partner" in the quartet, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond described first hearing Brubek as playing Satie with his right and Milhaud with his left hand).

Rock: The Spinners were a late Motown group that did a few good songs early but did not "funk out" well in the seventies. Lot of personnel changes. "I'll Be Around" is one of the great "we've broken up, but I won't let go" songs of all time. Joan Osbourne covered it on her latest CD. Great cover, but the song is for the ages.

It is me that is the wierd one for my taste and preferences. If you consider The Beatles, The 'Stones, and The Who as the high trinity of the '60's British invasion, most fight it out over The Beatles and "Stones if they don't just crown The 'Stones as the greatest. I love The Beatles and much of The "Stones "middle period", but The Who before drummer Keith Moon died ('75 I believe) are as fresh to me as when they recorded the songs. "Won't Get Fooled Again" is a uniquely cynical commentary on the cyclical nature of political idealism, particularly for it's time. I cannot describe "Baba O'Reilly". It just has to be heard. The openning power chords are the music for the latest "HP" commercials.

All that makes me sound like this is completely preference driven. It is not, for I would have developed a different list. I think all my top five rock songs are defensible except "I'll Be Around", but I am an eccentric. I was horrified by that VH1 debacle a few years ago. I thought the top 10 was riddled with the overrated and songs by various groups that weren't even their best songs. Rock has always suffered from too much pretention and self importance.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I've liked Morrison, but found it hard to keep track of him. What album?

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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It's from 'Moondance', which is a more song-like than Astral Weeks. The opening acoustic guitar strumming gives me shivers every time, and there is something unbearably gracious about the whole thing - it has that quality of being able to soar without losing restraint, if that makes sense. I'd say 'One' has the same thing going on, as well as 'I've been loving you too long'.

I'm just listening to it through again, and I think I agree - it is pretty perfect.

most fight it out over The Beatles and "Stones if they don't just crown The 'Stones as the greatest

Over here, I think most critics give it to the Beatles; most polls have far more Beatles albums near the top: Revolver and Sgt Peppers in the older more sensible publications (Q), Revolver and the White Album in the younger more pretentious ones (NME). I've only recently discovered the Rolling Stones - so I'm not sure yet. I was blown away by the intro to 'Gimme Shelter' as a piece of guitar work, as well as the other songs already metioned in this thread. That said, I've not come across anything as stupidly brilliant and carefree as 'Everybody's got something to hide...' on the White Album. Can't remember where I read this, but heard someone describe the fab four as 'the twentieth century's greatest love affair'.

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If, as you say, you like "mean, nasty rock 'n roll", you will love The 'Stones. The Who were loud, edgy, and angry in an often articulate sort of way.

That 20th c. love affair thing sounds maudlin, but then I remember that none of them did much that was really good after the breakup.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I'm definitely a Who guy. If there were such thing as a rock-n-roll time machine, my first stop would be a Who show ca. 1972. I saw them in '88, but they just weren't the same post-Keith Moon. The older I get, the more I think that "Baba O'Reilly" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" are the great rock anthems.

I'm hard-pressed to pick five favorite songs. I'm pretty sure that Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" would on the short list. And maybe "Roll em Easy" by Little Feat. Bill Mallonee's "Resplendent" (we'll see how it holds up in five or ten years). Stil thinking...

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