Maybe I’ve got a strange heart, but these ten songs get me going one way or the other.
U2 – One
U2’s greatest song, and, not as you might expect, from their outstanding The Joshua Tree album, but from Achtung Baby (1991). Recorded at a time when U2 were having big musical differences, the title now seems ironic. One doesn’t have the traditional U2 sound, and Bono’s voice is at its best when it’s as vulnerable as it is here.
The Who – See Me, Feel Me
From the Who’s acclaimed rock opera Tommy from 1969, See Me, Feel Me sweeps you up with its gradual building to a moving climax. Having a spiritual feel, See Me, Feel Me was one of the most memorable songs at the legendary ’69 Woodstock Festival – appropriately performed at sunrise.
Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
One of the greatest songs of the 20th Century, Bridge Over Troubled Water was the high point in the musical career of Simon & Garfunkel. This 1969 song saw Art Garfunkel’s voice at its purest and finest, and Paul Simon’s lyrics at their most poetic. It’s a song which gets better and better until its fantastic crescendo.
The Beatles – Hey Jude
The Fab Four wrote more moving songs, but Hey Jude from 1968 is the definitive song for a sing-along. The lyrics are also motivational (the song was originally entitled Hey Jules, and was written by Paul McCartney for John Lennon’s son Julian, who was distressed by his parents break-up at the time), and the greatest fade out in pop history sees McCartney let himself go to joyous effect.
Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
The song that seemed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2009 forever! Daft lyrics and effects, but this song lifts one’s spirits for a few minutes, and I’m fond of this song because it never fails to do that however low I’m feeling. The guys and Fergie do some sweet harmonizing on here, too.
Eddie & the Hot Rods – Do Anything You Wanna Do
A bit of personal indulgence from me here. Lively British outfit Eddie & the Hot Rods captured the mood of a lot of disillusioned teenagers (me included) with this song from the British year of punk – 1977. Alas, the revolution never happened. Damn inspiring lyrics and tune, though.
The Mamas & the Papas – California Dreamin’
Possibly the best of all the vocal harmony groups, the Mamas & the Papas greatest song was probably California Dreamin’, from 1965. If this one doesn’t give you a lift I’m a Dutchman. Nice flute from Bud Shank, too.
Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Street Spirit (Fade Out) makes my heart sing in a somewhat different way to the other songs, through the humanity of Thom Yorke’s vocals allied to a gorgeous, textured sound. From Radiohead’s 1995 the Bends album, this is mournful even by their standards, but it’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Listen to the words, and you can see how it’d work as a soundtrack to the misery of suffering creatures in the Gulf Coast oil spill.
The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man
Short and sweet, the Byrds took Bob Dylan’s masterpiece and gave it a jingly-jangly treatment. Mr. Tambourine Man, consequently, topped both the US and UK charts in 1965. A case of the sound complementing the mysterious lyrics.
The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
The Who’s Pete Townshend has always raved about the wonderful Waterloo Sunset. From 1967, Ray Davies tells a sweet story of Terry and Julie (believed to be actor Terence Stamp and actress Julie Christie, but denied by Davies himself). The voice of Ray Davies was at its most endearing on this Kinks classic.
Now it’s your turn. It’s not easy to name just ten, but the comments box is there for you to put in ten of your own personal favorite songs which make your ticker sing.
Jazz Articles: Bud Shank, Alto Saxophonist, Dies at 82 – By Jeff Tamarkin; Jazz Times