My Annotated Top Ten Songs List

My friend Kathy had me listen to a new song called 1985. It is a catchy tune
and in fact I had it stuck in my head all night. It recalls a time when MTV
still played music and Springsteen was one of the biggest stars in rock. I
decided that blasting Springsteen for a few hours at volumes that are not
typical for me would be an appropriate way to get the tune out of my head.
This then led to a surprisingly, for me, intense bout of listening to music
over the next few days.  Springsteen was followed by the Rolling Stones, the
Who, the Clash, and finally Bob Marley. I got out my iPod and started putting
together more playlists. This list is one of them.   

10. Skateaway - Dire Straits: For some reason I frequently really like
songs that were not the biggest hits of an artist. "Skateaway" does not
appear on the Dire Straits greatest hits collection, Money for Nothing, but
it is my favorite Dire Straits song. I bought Making Movies to get it, and it
quite a good album.  

9. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners: This is the one song on the
list that was recorded by a "one hit wonder". It was named the #1 "one hit
wonder" by VH1. I first heard it while I was spending 3 months in Geneva
working on my Ph.D. thesis. When I wasn't working I either read or listened
to the limited amount of English language radio I could find. "Come On
Eileen" was one of the hits on the radio during that period, and it always
brings back memories of late nights tending the bubble chamber. My daughter
Megan also enjoys "Come On Eileen". She had it as a ringtone on her cell phone
for awhile.

8. Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin:
This song led me into a completely
different direction from all the rest. I bought a Bobby Darin greatest hits
album to get it and discovered "Beyond the Sea", "Guys and Dolls", "Down
with Love", "More". These are songs I would never had listened to before I
turned 40.  

7. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen: "Born to Run" came out in 1975 just
after I graduated high school. It is the perfect song for a 17 year-old
driving around in the summer with the windows down and the radio blasting,
heading for the Jersey shore, but it has aged much better than most such
songs.

6. Stuck Inside of Mobile with Those Memphis Blues Again - Bob Dylan: I bought
the Biograph CD box set which has a very comprehensive collection of Dylan's
music. It has 53 songs on it, but it does not have "Stuck Inside of
Mobile...", so I had to buy Blonde on Blonde to get it.  

5. Train in Vain - The Clash: The song owes its location on the list to my
daughter Megan. Megan is eighteen and has surprising taste in music. In
addition to people like Eminem that you might expect, she has gone through
much of my collection of music listening to the Clash and Elvis Costello
before going out and finding out about Led Zeppelin on her own. When I
listened to the Clash I tended to focus on on "London Calling", "Lost in the
Supermarket", "Spanish Bombs", and "Guns of Brixton". Megan liked "Train in
Vain" and kept bugging me to skip to it. It grew on me just beating out
"Somebody Got Murdered" for my favorite Clash song, and I will always
associate it with Megan.

4. Lodi - Creedence Clearwater Revival: I listen to Lodi all the time, but I
seem to really appreciate it when I am depressed. I can just listen to it
over and over. It features the line, "Oh Lord stuck in Lodi again." What is
the appeal of being stuck in some small town?

3. Allison - Linda Ronstadt or Elvis Costello:
I guess I prefer the Linda
Ronstadt version a bit. This one is from my early years in graduate school. It
was the first Linda Ronstadt song I discovered, and led to the purchase of
several of her albums over the next few years. Another Elvis Costello song
named after a woman almost made the list, Veronica.  

2. The Weight - The Band:
I first heard this song on the soundtrack of the Big
Chill. I am not quite old enough to have noticed it when it first came out.
This song set me off to discover so much music that was made while I was a
child. I was a teenager in the 70's and while groups like the Who and Stones
who started in the 60's continue to do good work, the only true 70's artist
that I still listen to is Springsteen. My search for more music like The
Weight led me Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival as well as other
music by the Band.

1. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen: Only Springsteen has two songs on this
list, but what do you expect from the Boss. This song has grown on me over
the years. It was not always my favorite song. In fact when the album, Born
to Run, came out it was probably my third favorite song on the album after
"Born to Run" and "Jungleland". The change from vinyl to CDs had an effect
here.  "Thunder Road" is the first song on side A of the LP while "Born to
Run" is the first song on side B. In the beginning I just went straight to
side B so I could hear "Born to Run".  On the CD "Thunder Road" is first and
there is not shortcut to "Born to Run", so I listened to it a lot more. It
finally became my favorite when I started using to wake my daughters, Erin
and Sarah, for school. They also enjoyed it for awhile but the constant
association of getting out of bed took a toll on its appeal.