The Songs No iPod Should Be Without


This week’s column will be a tad shorter — less in number but it will still feature songs that are without-a-doubt worthy of a place on your iPod.  These are great classic rock songs.  If you don’t know them, find them, put them on your player and enjoy.  If you do know them, they should already be on your player.  I guarantee that you’ll like them.

111. Back In Black – AC/DC
Back in black, I hit the sack,
I’ve been too long, I’m glad to be back
Yes I’m let loose from the noose,
That’s kept me hangin’ about
I been livin like a star ’cause it’s gettin’ me high,
Forget the hearse, ’cause I never die
I got nine lives, cat’s eyes
Abusing every one of them and running wild
What better way to announce to the world that, although Bon Scott had passed on and Brian Johnson had replaced him as the band’s lead singer, AC/DC was back and better than ever.  “Back In Black” was the first song recorded after Scott’s death and sits opening bells loudly announced that they were back.  This is the best song they ever released.
Recommended versions can be found on: Back in Black (Epic, 1980—though the original vinyl was released on Atlantic), AC/DC Live (Atco, 1992) and the box set Bonfire (East West, 1997).
112. Smoke On the Water – Deep Purple
Has there even been a guitar riff that gets more recognition?  It’s simple.  It’s tasty.  It’s easy to play and instantly recognizable.  You know it, you love it, your mp3 player can’t live without it. It’s a helluva song and quite possibly Deep Purple’s best.
Recommended versions can be found on: Machine Head (Warner Brothers, 1972), Made In Japan (Warner Brothers, 1972), In Concert (Harvest, 1980—re-issued by Spitfire), When We Rock, We Rock & When We Roll, We Roll (Warner Brothers, 1978) and the box set Shades 1968-1998 (Rhino, 1999)
113. My Generation – The Who
Why is it here?  Because it features the greatest recorded stutter in the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  It’s also one of the greatest f-off songs ever written. A 20-year-old Pete Townshend telling the old guard that their time has passed and that his generation is now in charge.
People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Recommended versions can be found on: The Who Sings My Generation Deluxe Edition (MCA/Geffen, 2002—the original version came out on Decca in 1965), Live at Leeds Deluxe Edition (MCA/Geffen, 2001—the original version came out on Decca in 1970) and numerous ‘best of’ collections such as Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (MCA, 1971), The Ultimate Collection (Universal, 2002)  and The Kids Are Alright (MCA, 1979).
114. Hurricane – Bob Dylan
It’s over 8 minutes long.  It’s controversial. It’s about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter who was falsely convicted of murder.  It’s the best known and most popular song on Dylan’s 1976 album Desire.  In 1976 it marked Dylan’s first protest song in ages. The song takes some creative license but tells Carter’s tale in story form as if it were part of the opening credits to a movie or TV show:
Pistols shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out “My God they killed them all”
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Three bodies lying there does Patty see
And another man named Bello moving around mysteriously
“I didn’t do it” he says and he throws up his hands
“I was only robbing the register I hope you understand
I saw them leaving” he says and he stops
“One of us had better call up the cops”
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashing
In the hot New Jersey night.

Meanwhile far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are driving around
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda $&!+ was about to go down
When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that
In Patterson that’s just the way things go
If you’re black you might as well not shown up on the street
‘Less you wanna draw the heat.

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the corps
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowling around
He said “I saw two men running out they looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates”
And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head
Cop said “Wait a minute boys this one’s not dead”
So they took him to the infirmary
And though this man could hardly see
They told him that he could identify the guilty men.

Four in the morning and they haul Rubin in
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs
The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye
Says “Wha’d you bring him in here for? He ain’t the guy!”
Yes here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Four months later the ghettos are in flame
Rubin’s in South America fighting for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game
And the cops are putting the screws to him looking for somebody to blame
“Remember that murder that happened in a bar ?”
“Remember you said you saw the getaway car?”
“You think you’d like to play ball with the law?”
“Think it might-a been that fighter you saw running that night?”
“Don’t forget that you are white”.

Arthur Dexter Bradley said “I’m really not sure”
Cops said “A boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job and we’re talking to your friend Bello
Now you don’t wanta have to go back to jail be a nice fellow
You’ll be doing society a favor
That sonofab—- is brave and getting braver
We want to put his @$$ in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain’t no Gentleman Jim”.

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
It’s my work he’d say and I do it for pay
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way
Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along a trail
But then they took him to the jailhouse
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse.

All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus he never had a chance
The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
And to the black folks he was just a crazy n—–
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
And though they could not produce the gun
The DA said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed.

Rubin Carter was falsely tried
The crime was murder ‘one’ guess who testified
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers they all went along for the ride
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell
That’s the story of the Hurricane
But it won’t be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he’s done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Oh, yeah and the music’s pretty damn good too.  The song was recorded with members of The Rolling Thunder Revue and is a bulldozer of a song—driving and relentless.  It’s a lyrical magnum opus that grabs the listener from the start and holding on with catchy music and though-provoking word-play.
Recommended versions can be found on: Desire (Columbia, 1976—re-mastered and re-issued by SONY in 2004), and the “Best Of” collections The Essential Bob Dylan (Columbia, 2000), the hard-to-find Masterpieces (Columbia, 1978), Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 3 (Columbia, 1994).  The song is also available on The Hurricane Official Motion Picture Soundtrack (MCA, 2000).
So now comes the part where I ask for your opinions.  I know each and every one of you has an opinion on music.  Everyone has his or her own tastes, like and dislikes.  I really do want to hear from you.  What songs do you like?  What are you listening to these days? What songs can’t you live without?  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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