The Songs No iPod Should Be Without


Wow! Almost Christmas…and no, this column won’t feature holiday songs… that’s the next one on December 20th. This column will feature just plain good songs that ought to find their way onto your iPod. They’re so good that I guarantee that just the mention of the song’s name will get you singing to yourself and humming. Oh, yeah…  I guarantee that you’ll like them.

115. Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
I know, I know. It covers every cliché there is about seeing bar bands in clubs. How many times have we heard some over-served fool or a complete wise guy scream for this song? I agree, way too many. It is, however, a great song. Additionally, it’s one of those songs known for its fantastic guitar solo. These guys really rocked and continue to do so (in whatever version of the band that still records and tours to this day). No “Best Of” list would be complete without this song. It’s both sad and ironic that this band’s greatest song is about spreading your wings and being free…

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now
’cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see
But, if I stayed here with you, girl
Things just couldn’t be the same
’cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change
Lord knows, I can’t change

Recommended versions can be found on: Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (MCA, 1973), Gold & Platinum (MCA, 1979), the band’s original live album One More From The Road (MCA, 1976), the two recently released live CDs Authorized Bootleg: Live at the Cardiff Capitol Theater – Cardiff, Wales Nov. 04 1975 (Geffen, 2009) and Authorized Bootleg: Live at Winterland – San Francisco Mar. 07 1976 (Geffen, 2009) as well as the box set Lynyrd Skynyrd (MCA, 1991).)

116. You May Be Right – Billy Joel
N,o not “teenage rebellion,” but rebellion just the same. It’s Billy Joel in his skinny tie “New Wave” balls-to-the-wall modern rock phase. Released on Glass Houses, Joel sings the lyrics as if they were a badge of honor.

Friday night I crashed your party
Saturday I said I’m sorry
Sunday came and trashed it out again
I was only having fun
Wasn’t hurting anyone
And we all enjoyed the weekend for a change

I’ve been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I’m insane

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for
Turn out the light
Don’t try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

Remember how I found you there
Alone in your electric chair
I told you dirty jokes until you smiled
You were lonely for a man
I said take me as I am
‘Cause you might enjoy some madness for a while

Now think of all the years you tried to
Find someone to satisfy you
I might be as crazy as you say
If I’m crazy then it’s true
That it’s all because of you
And you wouldn’t want me any other way

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
It’s too late to fight
It’s too late to change me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
Turn out the light
Don’t try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
You may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right

The song is his “I’m a bad boy; I’m the person that your parents warned you about” song. It rocked, it rolled and it caused a lot of guys to wreck their motorcycles in the rain and get lost in the bad part of Boston. But it was so cool. “You May be Right” went to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Recommended versions can be found on: Glass Houses (Columbia, 1980), 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert (Columbia, 2000), 12 Gardens Live (Columbia, 2006) and various “Best Of” and box set collections including: Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 [1973-1985] (Columbia, 1985), The Essential Billy Joel (Sony, 2001) and My Lives (Columbia, 2005).

117. Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees
One of the only reasons to watch Saturday Night Fever is, was and always will be the soundtrack. The movie really isn’t very good. It’s hard to name any of the stars other than John Travolta. C’mon somebody? Anybody? Without looking it up on IMDB. Okay, maybe Donna Pescow. But Karen Lynn Gorney? Barry Miller? Bruce Ornstein? Yep, didn’t think so.

“Stayin’ Alive” is the song on which The Bee Gees transformed their Beatlesque pop into a more danceable genre and virtually on their own gave Disco a name and a face, basically creating the genre.

Recommended versions can be found on: Saturday Night Fever Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Rhino, 2007 and Polydor, 1995—originally released on RSO in 1977), The Very Best of the Bee Gees (Polydor, 1977) and the live set One Night Only (Polydor, 1998).

118. Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
It’s Modern Rock; it’s Soul; it’s Progressive Rock; it’s Art-Rock; its’ Pop-Rock. Hell, it’s all things to all people. You can even dance to it. It’s catchy, bouncy and happy—unlike much of his previous work. If you have video capabilities on your mp3 player, the video for this song was, at the time, the coolest thing E.V.E.R.

Recommended versions can be found on: So (Geffen, 1986—reissued in 2002 on Virgin/EMI—reissued again in a Deluxe Edition for the album’s 25th Anniversary on 3 CDs by Real World Productions in 2012), Secret World Live (Geffen, 1994) and the “Best Of” collections Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats (Geffen, 1990—reissued on Virgin/EMI in 2002) and Hit (Geffen, 2003). The video can be seen on You Tube at: http://youtu.be/OJWJE0x7T4Q or at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_729139&feature=iv&src_vid=g93mz_eZ5N4&v=OJWJE0x7T4Q.

119. Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode
There is nothing better than this song to bring you back to the Goth years of your youth!!! If you are too young to remember the early 80’s, it doesn’t get much darker than this one. The song talks of suicide, sadness, car crash victims on life support and those left behind. The only bright part of the song is the chorus…

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find Him laughing

Recommended versions can be found on: the debut album, Some Great Reward (Sire, 1984, reissued on Mute/Sire/Rhino in 2006), the double live CD 101 (Sire, 1989) and Singles 81>98 (Reprise, 1998).

120. Olympic Fanfare And Theme – John Williams
What you expected every song I list to be pop or rock…  I hope not. Great music is not defined by its genre. It’s defined by its ability to move the listened. It’s defined by its ability to bring its audience to another plane. It’s defined by more than just its beat, cadence and its 3/4 or 4/4 time. The piece is listed here quite simply, because it’s beautiful, soaring and majestic. If you’ve ever watched the Olympics, you’ve heard the piece. It’s impossible to not be awestruck. It also has the ability to cause goose bumps—a sure sign of greatness.

Recommended version can be found on: Best Of John Williams (Excelsior, 1996) and By Request (Polygram, 2009). Additionally the piece can be found on two out-of-print LPs: The Official Music of the 1984 Games (CBS, 1984) and The Official Music of the XXIIIrd Olympiad Los Angeles 1984 (CBS, 1984).

Okay, so here we are again. This is the part where I ask for your help. Everybody has an opinion on music. Everybody has songs that they like. Everyone has their list of “Desert Island Discs” and songs. What songs do you, the readers, like? What are you listening to these days? What songs can’t you live without? I really do want to hear from you. Send me an e-mail telling me what music you like and why. Those of you who have written to me know that I will respond to your e-mails. I’ll feature your song selection in a future column. If you have an idea for an entire column based on a theme or artist, send your ideas along. E-mail me at: [email protected] Type Can’t Live Without in the Topic. Til Next time!

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