Your Top 100

This is a doomed project. There just aren’t enough of us here, and the momentum is swinging toward Instapunk Rules, where all hell is about to break loose. But I’ll proceed nonetheless. Why? Because we all have a Top 100 of songs, soundtracks, anthems, arias, whatever, that constitute the sonic context of our lives. Top Ten doesn’t begin to cover it or make the point.

See, it’s the whole hundred that shows us to ourselves. A number that makes us dig, makes us recognize that we’re more complicated than we seem even to ourselves. Life is rich, people. And so are you. You have lived in all kinds of music, which may even constitute a sort of map of your soul. You might say, for example, I’m a Motown girl, but there’s more to your life than the Supremes and the Temptations. You heard that song from Titanic once, you watched MTV for years you scarcely remember, you were in a jazz club where somebody played the cornet too beautifully for words, you saw a Fred Astaire movie where he stuck your heart like a dart, your parents listened to Neil Diamond or Neil Young, your one time fiancé liked Rachmaninov, and these bits of music are all attached to you, whether you see yourself that way or not. You are the sum total of these musics. That’s why the challenge is not ten but a hundred.

An invitation for you to see who you are.

I’ve already been through the exercise. Eye opening. Facilitated by iTunes. The problem was not reaching 100. It was the amount of time I wound up listening and the limitation to a mere hundred.

Why I’m prepared to strike a bargain. I wouldn’t want my list to spark a me too response. And I frankly believe that people here are mostly too uptight to open themselves to this kind of personal exploration. Hint: If all of your top hundred are growly derivatives of Metallica, you’re probably Brizoni. Which no one wants to learn about himself.

The bargain? Try to be as expansive as you can. Don’t try to show off. If your list is all Broadway show tunes, that’s not bad news. It’s insight for you. Share your list as far you can push it, song/opus title and performer/composer, and however far you get toward 100, that’s how far I’ll go. If someone gets to 30, I’ll do 30. If someone gets to 100, I’ll do 100. Simple enough?

Not a ranked list by the way. Everything is equal in this competition. If 99 Red Balloons is #1 on your list because it’s the first thing you think of we won’t assume you like it better than the third movement of Beethoven’s Ninth you list at #88. The same. All part of your Top 100.

There are no prizes, sad to say. Just an opportunity for you to realize how much depth and diversity there is in your own experience of life. And the opportunity to share it with others.

Lady Laird was giving me a hard time about this. “So there are maybe three, four songs of the hundred that aren’t Stones?”

“Yes,” I told her with some asperity. And I meant it to sting.

Now. What I expect. A few half-assed top ten lists. A lot more silence. Which is okay. But not nearly as much fun as the tangle we could get into by listing our lives in song and hearing each others’ memories. Unless you’re not up for an intimacy more real than hooking up at a college mixer.

That would be up to you.

P.S. Yeah, I used the word doom. Zevon is dead. A decade now. The good news is I didn’t choose the final track of his final album, called The Wind. That would be bad news. But it is on my list.

18 thoughts on “Your Top 100

  1. I’ll be happy to do this, even if I only offer a few tunes at a time. Promise they will not be half-assed, though.

    One of the plethora of posts I never got around to doing was along these lines. I was going to refer to these types of songs as “worm holes” because quite often they are more than simply a catchy tune you like. Instead they transport you directly to a different time and place and you feel all the sensations of whatever specific moment the song anchors you to, even though you are technically somewhere else. Like a reverse déjà vu. It’s good and bad, though. Some songs I am still fond of but find myself unable to listen to anymore.

    Anyway, thank you and I promise to contribute.

  2. “500 Miles” (Hooters)
    “A Chantar M’er” (Azam Ali)
    “Ben Pode Santa Maria” (Azam Ali)
    “Beneath a Phyrgian Sky” (Loreena McKennitt)
    “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (Andrews Sisters)
    “Breakway” (Big Pig)
    “Cama-I” (Mary Youngblood)
    “Can’t You Here Me Knocking” (Rolling Stones)
    “Carol of the Bells” (George Winston)
    “Cherry Blossom Road” (Tangerine Dream)
    “Chia Maroon” (Tangerine Dream)
    “City of New Orleans” (Arlo Guthrie)
    “Court and Spark” (Joni Mitchell)
    “Crossroads” (Cream)
    “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (Tan Dun)
    “Cry” (Creme & Godley)
    “Ecstasy of Gold” (Ennio Morricone)
    “Far Above the Clouds” (Mike Oldfield)
    “Feather, Stone, Light” (R. Carlos Nakai)
    “Fever” (Sarah Vaughan)
    “Forced to Surrender” (Tangerine Dream)
    “Games Without Frontiers” (Peter Gabriel)
    “Ghost Riders in the Sky” (Mary McCaslin)
    “Give It Away” (Zero 7)
    “Great Gig in the Sky” (Pink Floyd)
    “Green Onions” (Booker T)
    “Grey Wolf on the Mesa” (Mesa Music Company)
    “Harry’s Game” (Clannad)
    “Hypnotized” (Fleetwood Mac)
    “I Cover the Waterfront” (Ink Spots)
    “In The Air Tonight” (Phil Collins)
    “Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head” (George Winston)
    “Jingo” (Santana)
    “Joseph Joseph” (Diknu Scheeberger)
    “Kecharitomene” (Loreena McKennitt)
    “Kiss Them For Me” (Siouxsie and the Banshees)
    “Kyrie Eleison” (Stellamara)
    “L’Enfant” (Vangelis)
    “Layla” (Eric Clapton)
    “Let Me See” (Clannad)
    “Linus and Lucy” (Vince Guaraldi)
    “Logos” (Tangerine Dream)
    “Longing/Love” (George Winston)
    “Lothlorien” (Enya)
    “Love on a Real Train” (Tangerine Dream)
    “Maria Quiet” (Astrid Gilberto)
    “Mars Misson Counter” (Tangerine Dream)
    “ME 262” (Blue Oyster Cult)
    “Mexican Radio” (Wall of Voodoo)
    “Money” (Barrett Strong)
    “Monsieur’s Departure” (Qntal)
    “Mr McGee” (Zero 7)
    “Ne Po Pogrebu Bochonochek” (Ancient Future)
    “Nierika” (Dead Can Dance)
    “Night Ride Across the Caucasus” (Loreena McKennitt)
    “Night Train to Munich” (Al Stewart)
    “No Love Lost” (LCD Soundsystems)
    “One Night in Space” (Tangerine Dream)
    “Persia” (Shahin & Sepehr)
    “Peter Gunn” (Henry Mancini)
    “Proton/Electron” (Carbon Based Lifeforms)
    “Rawhide” (Frankie Lane)
    “Riders on the Storm” (George Winston)
    “Roads to Moscow” (Al Stewart)
    “Roam” (B-52s)
    “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” (Warren Zevon)
    “Running Down the Sun” (R. Carlos Nakai)
    “Running on the Rocks” (Shriekback)
    “Sad Lisa” (Angels of Venice)
    “Say Hey” (Michael Franti)
    “Season 5” (AES Dana)
    “Seven Rejoices of Mary” (Loreena McKennitt)
    “Sharp Dressed Man” (Z Z Top)
    “Shiny Girl” (Cell)
    “Shock the Monkey” (Peter Gabriel)
    “Sing, Sing, Sing” (Benny Goodman)
    “Sirius” (Alan Parsons Project)
    “Sleeping” (Qntal)
    “Smoke on the Water” (Senor Coconut)
    “Son of a Son of Sailor” (Jimmy Buffett)
    “Storms in Africa” (Enya)
    “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (Bob Dylan)
    “Supersede” (Carbon Based Lifeorms)
    “Take Five” (Dave Brubeck)
    “Tangled Up in Blue” (Bob Dylan)
    “Teardrop” (Massive Attack)
    “This Flight Tonight” (Joni Mitchell)
    “Tigon” (Cye Wood)
    “Trace” (Anthem Facility)
    “Train Kept A-Rollin'” (Johnny Burnette or Yardbirds)
    “Turn of a Friendly Card” (Alan Parsons Project)
    “My Back Pages” (Byrds)
    “Theme from the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain)
    “Twilight Zone” (Golden Earing)
    “Tyranny of Beauty” (Tangerine Dream)
    “Unforgettable” (Natalie Cole)
    “Wabash Blues” (Kenny Davern)
    “We Three Kings” (Angels of Venice)
    “Weapon of Choice” (Fatboy Slim)
    “Where Giants Walk” (R. Carlos Nakai)

    Only a hundred… hard to do.

  3. Lest you think I’d forgotten about this, here are my first 20 in no particular order:

    Here Without You / 3 Doors Down
    Fur Elise / Beethoven
    Inception Soundtrack / Dream is Collapsing / Hans Zimmer
    Suteki Da Ne (Isn’t it Wonderful?) / Nobuo Uematsu
    Last Exit / Pearl Jam
    Nice and Slow / Usher
    Empty Chairs at Empty Tables / Les Miserables Soundtrack
    Muzzle / Smashing Pumpkins
    Take On Me / Aha
    Idler’s Dream / Oasis

    Good Enough / Evanescence
    Carnival / Natalie Merchant
    Ruby Falls / Guster
    Man Who Sold the World / Nirvana Unplugged (David Bowie cover)
    Stadium Arcadium / Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Montage / Trey Parker & Matt Stone
    Peaceful, Easy Feeling / Vitamin String Quartet (Eagles cover)
    I Am the Highway (acoustic) / Chris Cornell, Songbook
    Ra Ra Ra (live) / Here Come the Mummies
    Pretty Angry / Blues Traveler

  4. This brings my total up to 50:

    Under the Bridge / Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Heroes & Villains / Beach Boys
    Champagne Supernova / Oasis
    Amarillo Sky / Jason Aldean
    In My Dreams (acoustic) / James Morrison
    In My Life / Les Miserables
    Piano Man / Billy Joel
    From Clare to Here / Irish folk song
    Big Iron / Marty Robbins
    Going Under / Evanescence

    Corduroy / Pearl Jam
    Touch Me / The Doors
    Rise / Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack, Hans Zimmer
    Spancil Hill / Irish folk song
    Bullet With Butterfly Wings / Smashing Pumpkins
    Black / Rolling Stones
    Yesterday / The Beatles
    409 / Beach Boys
    Ghostbusters / Ray Parker Jr
    Reflections / Supremes

    Wonderful / Everclear
    My Love / The Bird & The Bee
    Don’t Look Back in Anger / Oasis
    Entre Dos Aguas / Paco de Lucia
    Broken Wings / Mr. Mister
    The Touch / Stan Bush
    Hey Ya / Outkast
    Black Math / White Stripes
    Turning Tables / Adele
    Theme from Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name) / Gary Portnoy

  5. Not into some of these anymore, but like you said, I’m a sum of all these songs (and, of course, more). No apologies.

    “After The Loving” – Inglebert Humperdink
    “Delilah” – Tom Jones
    “No Glam Fags” – MX Machine
    “Godzilla” – Blue Oyster Cult
    “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”. – Blue Oyster Cult
    “Maria” – Debbie Harry
    “(They Long to Be) Close to You” – Carpenters
    “Yesterday Once More” – Carpenters
    “Masquerade” – Berlin
    “The Metro” – Berlin
    “O Holy Night” – Christmas Carol
    “Dead Man’s Party” – Oingo Boingo
    “One Headlight” – The Wallflowers
    “Cry Me A River” – Julie London
    “Possum Kingdom” – The Toadies
    “Wild Flower” – The Cult
    “Going Down To Die” – Danzig
    “Under The Bridge” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    “Hook In Mouth” – Megadeth
    “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?” – Megadeth
    “Liar” – Megadeth
    “Pork And Beans” – Weezer
    “Say It Ain’t So” – Weezer
    “Slaves And Bulldozers” – Soundgarden
    “What You Are” – Audioslave
    “Hunger Strike” – Temple Of The Dog
    “Eyes Without A Face” – Billy Idol
    “Rebel Yell” – Billy Idol
    “White Wedding” – Billy Idol
    “Paranoid” – Black Sabbath
    “Here Comes The Sun” – The Beatles
    “Paint It Black” – Rolling Stones
    “Love Song” – Tesla
    “Fade Into You” – Mazzy Star
    “Stairway To Heaven” – Led Zepplin
    “Waiting For The Sun” – The Doors
    “L.A, Woman” – The Doors
    “Fade To Black” – Metallica
    “Seek And Destroy” – Metallica
    “Gimme Gimme Gimme” – Black Flag
    “My War” – Black Flag
    “Nervous Breakdown” – Blag Flag
    “Amish Paradise” – “Weird Al” Yankovic
    “White And Nerdy” – “Weird Al” Yankovic
    “All about the Pentiums” – “Weird Al” Yankovic
    “The Last In Line” – Dio
    “Betrayer” – Kreator
    “Razor” – Kinghorse
    “Greatest Gift” – Kinghorse
    “Torn” – Natalie Imbruglia
    “My Way” – Frank Sinatra
    “Dreamer Deceiver/ Deceiver” – Judas Priest
    “Creep” – Radiohead
    “Stranglehold” – Ted Nugent
    “Take Hold Of The Flame” – Queensryche
    “The Chase” – Queensryche
    “Silent Lucidity” – Queensryche
    “Suite Sister Mary” – Queensryche
    “My Own Prison” – Creed
    “Superman” – Eminem
    “Flight Of Icarus” – Iron Maiden
    “Run To The Hills” – Iron Maiden
    “Cemetary Gates” – Pantera
    “Toxic Waltz” – Exodus
    “Folsom Prison Blues” – Johnny Cash
    “Cry, Cry, Cry” – Johnny Cash
    “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac
    “Wasted Years” – Iron Maiden
    “2 Minutes To Midnight” – Iron Maiden
    “Twist Of Cain” – Danzig
    “Left Hand Black” – Danzig
    “Sistinas” – Danzig
    “Hint Of Her Blood” – Danzig
    “Let It Be Captured” – Danzig
    “Little Whip” – Danzig
    “My Darkness” – Danzig
    “When We Were Dead” – Danzig
    “When Death Had No Name” – Danzig
    “Skull Forest” – Danzig
    “Sadistikal” – Danzig
    “Son Of The Morning Star” – Danzig
    “Die, Die, My Darling” – Misfits
    “We Are 138” – Misfits
    “Attitude” – Misfits
    “Astro Zombies” – Misfits
    “Hybrid Moments” – Misfits
    “To Walk The Night” – Samhain
    “Death… In Its Arms” – Samhain
    “Winds Of Change” – Scorpions
    “I Go Crazy” – Paul Davis
    “Greased Lightning” – The Grease Soundtrack
    “The Star Wars Theme” – John Williams
    “The Imperial March” – John Williams
    “Displaced” – Amon Tobin
    “Embers” – NON
    “Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys
    “Hell Awaits” – Slayer
    “At Dawn They Sleep” – Slayer
    The Theme From “Vikings”
    “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” – Otis Redding

  6. The good news is that I’ve reached 100 songs without pulling 90% of the list from only three or four sources. The bad news is this list stretches well beyond only 100 songs, which surprises me (or maybe that’s technically more good news). I thought it would be a struggle during the first 20 and then the flood gates opened. I gave up trying to figure out if such-and-such song was more meaningful to me in some way than another one and went with what I had already put down. Thanks to you & Eris Guy for putting yours down. I’m looking forward to going over them and hopefully finding some new tracks to add to my Top 100 & beyond.

    Anyway, here’s my final 50:

    On Our Own / Bobby Brown
    Light My Fire / The Doors
    Yahweh, You Are Near / Catholic Hymn
    One Day More / Les Miserables
    Lola / The Kinks
    I Hung My Head / Johnny Cash
    Birds of a Feather / The Civil Wars
    Sweet Child of Mine / Guns N’ Roses
    Don’t Follow / Alice In Chains
    After the Storm / Mumford & Sons

    Laid / James
    Forth Eorlingas / The Two Towers Soundtrack, Howard Shore
    Patience / Guns N’ Roses
    Runaway Train / Soul Asylum
    Keep It Together / Guster
    Down In a Hole (Unplugged) / Alice In Chains
    Nights I Can’t Remember, Friends I’ll Never Forget / Toby Keith
    Cool Water / Marty Robbins
    The Sound of Silence / Simon & Garfunkel
    The Perfect Drug / Nine Inch Nails

    Redneck Woman / Gretchen Carlson
    Rock the Casbah / The Clash
    Walk On the Wild Side / Lou Reed
    JENOVA / Nobuo Uematsu
    Little Bitty / Alan Jackson
    This Guy’s In Love With You / Burt Bacharach
    Like a Stone / Vitamin String Quartet (Audioslave cover)
    How’s It Gonna Be? / Third Eye Blind
    Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / AC/DC
    O, Holy Night / Christmas Carol

    You Are the Love Of My Life / Sammy Kershaw
    Army / Ben Folds Five
    Braveheart Main Title / James Horner
    Little Things / Bush
    End of the Road / Boyz II Men
    What Is Love? / Haddaway
    Comfort Eagle / Cake
    I Want You to Want Me / Cheap Trick
    Aerith’s Theme / Nobuo Uematsu
    Kernkraft 400 / Zombie Nation

    Clocks / Coldplay
    Mr. Jones / Counting Crows
    Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm / Crash Test Dummies
    Crush / Dave Matthews Band
    Honky Cat / Elton John
    Everlong / Foo Fighters
    House of the Rising Sun / The Animals
    Promontory / Last of the Mohicans Soundtrack, Trevor Jones
    Kashmir / Led Zepplin
    Crawling (remix) / Reanimation, Linkin Park

  7. I thought so. I’m still deficient, so discount my comments by 30 percent.

    Putting out a brushfire at the new site. Or regaining my Instapunk sea legs. Take your pick.

    But I’m excited. Who was it said he didn’t want to stop at a hundred? That’s the spirit. We’re all the sum total of these piece pieces of music. They’re huge parts of our lives.

    Let’s look at each others’ lists now. There’s some reason, some memory associated with each one. A better way to get to know one another across this digital divide. Someone mentioned David Bowie’s Cat People. On my list. Never heard a better beginning to a rock song. But I can’t recall when I heard it first. One song I haven’t put on my (incomplete) list yet (unless I did and lost track in my Stones suppression mode) is Emotional Rescue. Remember the morning like yesterday. WMMR IN Philadelphia had an advance copy of the new Stones album. They were shocked if not repelled. The title track was DISCO.

    So there I was driving up Broad Street in Philly in my Chrysler convertible and there was Jagger on the radio making a mockery of both the Stones and the who.e disco craze. It was as glorifying as it was horrific. Head bobbing in time when it should have been shaking no no in disbelief and condemnation.

    I will never forget it. I have a similar story about Peter Gabriel’s Red Rain. About many others in fact.

    But start sharing. You’ve done the hard part. Now comes the fun part.

    Later tonight I’ll comment on some individual songs in all your lists. I just couldn’t be more pleased that you’re participating. Wanted to say thank you and ask that you please not be done with the exercise.

  8. Just realized, as I was in the process of doing it, we get to raid each other’s lists. Great great stuff on all of them. And there IS a sense of getting to know one from his list. But more than that, because of the generational divides among us, of hearing your sweet spot — the years where your music clusters in such a way it must be your adolescence and early adulthood, that it’s possible to (at least seem to) hear it as if one were that age. I’ll get more specific about great individual picks I wish I had on my list, but there’s also the confession that the sanctity of my selections has been corrupted by yours. I’d have picked that one if I remembered it. Damn. But your story about it is probably better than mine.

    Let’s hear it. Please.

    I have never seen so much effort put into a comment response. I think we’re onto something here. The songs and music that made us.

  9. I’ll go over a couple of mine that may seem rather specious. First of all, Montage from the South Park creators. It was featured in an episode of the show as well as in Team America. Most jokes get old, but Montage makes me chuckle every time I hear it. It’s ‘80s cheese homage but actually a catchy tune with funny lyrics that plays during the very thing it’s satirizing: Stan learning to ski and Gary the actor learning to be a secret agent killing machine, both accomplished by the end of the song. It pops into my head any time I see the montage device used in a movie as well as whenever I have some difficult task to do in real life. “I could use a montage right now.”

    And the Ghostbusters theme. It’s most likely ingrained into the memory of any ‘80s kid as much as the movie itself. Watched the film with my kids and it caught their imagination just as much. They were walking around the house singing, “Who ya gonna call?” for several days afterward. And hey, it’s just a feel-good song. Makes me happy & brings back great childhood memories.

    Be glad to share about any others. There’s a story behind every one.

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