Entertainment

The Songs No iPod Should Be Without

MIKE PERCIACCANTE

When I was writing this column, thought to myself “what songs have you listened to recently that have to be part of the column?” The following are some great songs that I fell get overlooked. I know that in many ways they get dismissed when compared to the artists other better-known and better–loved tracks. These songs are amazing in their own rite and need to be evaluated on their own without comparisons to the artists’ other songs. With the exception of “Cold Cold Heart” this installment’s songs are decidedly of the genre some might call Americana. Check ‘em out.

141. Cold Cold Heart – Midge Ure
Because Midge Ure is the man (he co-wrote and produced “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” he tasted success in the ‘70s and ‘80s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, The Rich Kids, Visage, and most notably Ultravox and he co-organized Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 with Bob Geldof.)
It doesn’t matter that in the States chart-topping success has for some reason eluded him. It doesn’t matter because in the rest of the world Ure is huge. So why is it here? Not because of his charity work, not because of his success as a member of Ultravox or another band and certainly not because of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Its here because its driving beat and an amazing lead guitar riff over which Ure’s vocals in his clipped Scottish accent make this rockin’ song unlike any of his other Ultravox or solo offerings. It’s here because the lyrics tell a story quite different from what the song’s title would lead one to believe. The song is about the singer’s cold heart; not that of his girlfriend or nemesis. Check ‘em out:

When I was just a boy
The voice of an angel came to me
It said your future is there inside your cold cold heart
But I was just a boy
And a boy sees what he wants to see
And I saw nothing to share inside this cold cold heart
Somebody should have told me
That when you’re born to this world
Your life starts slipping away
Come stand beside me
Come gather round me
Come stand beside me, Come gather round me
An’ heat this cold cold heart
With love inside me
With arms around me
With love inside me, with arms around me
We’ll heat this cold cold heart
Oh, when I became a man
The voice of a devil said to me
It said forever you’ll live inside your cold cold heart
But I’m a better man
A wiser man who wants to be free
To have someone to care about this cold cold heart
Somebody should have loved me
They should have taken me on
Instead of taking away
Come stand beside me
Come gather round me
Come stand beside me, Come gather round me
An’ heat this cold cold heart
With love inside me
With arms around me
With love inside me, with arms around me
We’ll heat this cold cold heart
Come stand beside me
Come gather round me
Come stand beside me, Come gather round me
An’ heat this cold cold heart
With love inside me
With arms around me
With love inside me, with arms around me
We’ll heat this cold cold heart
Recommended versions can be found on: Pure (RCA, 1993) and on the greatest hits collection If I Was: Very Best of Midge Ure & Ultravox (Capitol, 1993)

142. The ’59 Sound – The Gaslight Anthem
Why? Because these Jersey boys have found a way to meld punk with Bruce Springsteen. Hell, even Brian Fallon’s vocals sound like a younger Springsteen. Because this song is the title track to the band’s breakthrough CD. Because even Rolling Stone (a publication that is often out of touch with current music) recognized that this is a great song. Because the music is hard rocking, the vocals are delivered with an urgency that can’t be beat and because it features a killer riff and the (sad) lyrical imagery is unbelievably strong:

Well, I wonder which song they’re gonna play when we go.
I hope it’s something quiet and minor and peaceful and slow.
When we float out into the ether, into the Everlasting Arms,
I hope we don’t hear Marley’s chains we forged in life.
‘Cause the chains I been hearing now for most of my life.

Did you hear the ’59 Sound coming through on Grandmama’s radio?
Did you hear the rattling chains in the hospital walls?
Did you hear the old gospel choir when they came to carry you over?
Did you hear your favorite song one last time?
And I wonder were you scared when the metal hit the glass?
See, I was playing a show down the road
When your spirit left your body.
And they told me on the front lawn.
I’m sorry I couldn’t go,
But I still know the song and the words and her name and the reasons.
And I know ’cause we were kids and we used to hang.
[Chorus]
Young boys, young girls, ain’t supposed to die on a Saturday night.
[Chorus]
Recommended versions can be found on: The 59 Sound (Side One Dummy, 2008)
143. All Summer Long – Kid Rock
“Werewolves of London” and “Sweet Home Alabama” meets “Night Moves.” Some people complain that Kid Rock’s music is clichéd. The reason it’s here is the comfort that those clichés provide. This song is like an old friend. It sounds both old and new…and fun.

It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long
Caught somewhere between a boy and man
She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
It was summertime in Northern Michigan
Ahh Ahh Ahh
Ahh Ahh Ahh
Splashing through the sand bar
Talking by the campfire
It’s the simple things in life, like when and where
We didn’t have no internet
But man I never will forget
The way the moonlight shined upon her hair

And we were trying different things
We were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking ’bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long
Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer longRecommended version can be found on: Rock ‘n’ Roll Jesus (Atlantic, 2007).

144. We Take Car of Our Own – Bruce Springsteen
Because even after all these years there is nothing better than the original Bruce Springsteen–the poet laureate of the great state of New Jersey, The Boss. “We Take Care of Our Own” is political and poppy and rockin’ and just plain Bruce. While wearing his patriotic heart on his sleeve, Springsteen’s lyrics “call-out” the government while preaching to the downtrodden. The result is “classic” Bruce addressing current issues.

I’ve been knockin’ on the door that holds the throne
I’ve been lookin’ for the map that leads me home
I’ve been stumblin’ on good hearts turned to stone
The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own
From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome
We yelled “help” but the cavalry stayed home
There ain’t no-one hearing the bugle blown
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own
Where the eyes, the eyes with the will to see
Where the hearts, that run over with mercy
Where’s the love that has not forsaken me
Where’s the work that set my hands, my soul free
Where’s the spirit that’ll reign, reign over me
Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea
Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own
Recommended versions can be found on: Wrecking Ball (Columbia, 2012)

Okay, so here we go (again). You know the drill. What are some of your favorite songs? What do you listen to? What are the songs you can’t live without? Send me an e-mail and tell me what music you like. Tell me why. I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again; 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 those ideas along too. E-mail me at: [email protected] Type Can’t Live Without in the Topic. Til Next time!

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