Recently my friend Doug forwarded an interesting challenge to pick my ten favorite songs without repeating a single band or artist. He wrote:
“Too challenging, for the paring down process of what makes any list becomes about as instinctive as picking a Grammy (et al) winner — and I genuinely dislike that ‘process’. But, it is about music, and about the sharing thereof, and I love a good challenge.”
I don’t worry so much, because this is not a definitive list, THE ten songs because that would be simply impossible for me. Whatever my 10 songs are likely will be different the next time I compiled the list, based in part on what I’ve been listening to.
And my FAVORITE by an artist is often fairly fluid as well. In other words, I couldn’t allow myself to be so tied down when mood and events can have such an impact.
1. White Room – Cream. This choice was clearly influenced by the recent death of vocalist/bassist Jack Bruce. But when I do my top 10 songs featuring Eric Clapton next year, this song may, or may not, be #1.
2. You Don’t Own Me – Lesley Gore. There’s some video out there of current women lipsynching to this song, as though the radical nature of the message from a half-century ago wasn’t self-evident.
3. Eight Days a Week – The Beatles. The first song that Paul McCartney played in Albany, NY on July 7, 2014, an event that made The Daughter squeal with excitement.
4. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow – Soggy Bottom Boys. From the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. The Wife and I saw Alison Krauss in 2003 (or 2002) in Albany, and loved singer Dan Tyminski’s story about his wife’s reaction when his voice came from George Clooney’s movie lips.
5. Mercy Mercy Mercy – the Buckinghams. There are better versions of this song, notably by Cannonball Adderly, but this is the first version I knew.
6. Run For A Long Time – Bill Landford & The Landfordaires. This 1943 “version of the traditional folk song ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’… [was] later sampled by Moby for ‘Run On’, on ‘Play’ CD.” Also covered by Johnny Cash, Tom Jones, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and MANY others.
7. Time Has Come Today – The Chambers Brothers. I AM psychedelicized.
8. Cat Food – King Crimson. I feed my cats most mornings and many evenings. This song, from an album I have on vinyl, has been popping into my head recently.
9. Logical Song – Supertramp. As true now as when I first heard it three and a half decades ago.
10. April in Paris – Count Basie. Love the “Pop Goes the Weasel” bridge, and “one more, once.”
There were a couple of other songs I considered, but either couldn’t find a video (e.g., I Am Waiting – Ollabelle), or the right version.