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David Bowling's 101 Favorite Songs

(More Or Less)

by David Bowling

I realized several things while contemplating my favorite songs. First, I’m really getting old. Second, I prefer older music. Third, I am somewhat mainstream, but there are exceptions. Fourth, my tastes have changed with the passage of time.

I have approached this article by years beginning with the first record I purchased with my own money. That means nothing before 1964. So here is my 57-year journey of favorite songs.

1964
Jan & Dean -- “Little Old Lady From Pasadena”jananddean_littleoldlady_150
The first record I ever bought with my own money, so it has to be on the list.

Roy Orbison  -- “Oh, Pretty Woman”
The first artist I ever collected, so his biggest hit has to be on the list.

The Temptations -- “My Girl”
“Sunshine on a cloudy day.”

The Beach Boys -- “All Summer Long”
This title song from the Beach Boys is the ultimate ode to the eternal summer.

The Beatles -- “I Feel Fine”
This song had me from the guitar feedback.

1965
Bob Dylan -- “Like A Rolling Stone”
God bless Bob Dylan and Al Kooper.

The Byrds -- “Mr. Tambourine Man”
God bless Bob Dylan and Roger McGuinn’s 12-string guitar.

The Stone Poneys -- “Different Drum”
Perfect pop from Linda Ronstadt’s initial group.

1966
Phil Ochs -- “The Highwayman”
Angry folkie Phil Ochs shows a different side by fusing his music with a poem by Alfred Noyes.

The Byrds -- “Eight Miles High”
Psychedelic music takes flight.

Jefferson Airplane -- “Somebody To Love”  jeffersonairplane_pillow_150
I wish I could say it was only Grace Slick’s voice.

The Spencer Davis Group -- “Gimme Some Lovin’”
First great performance by a young Stevie Winwood.

The Beach Boys -- “God Only Knows”
Sometimes simple is best, even for The Beach Boys.

1967
The Jimi Hendrix Experience -- “The Wind Cries Mary”
I saw Hendrix perform twice. This one still resonates.

Cream -- “Tales Of Brave Ulysses”
Great early song by Cream.

Rolling Stones -- “2000 Light Years From Home”
Rare psychedelic foray by The  Stones.

1968
The Human Beinz -- “Nobody But Me”
This one made me want to dance, almost.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience -- “Crosstown Traffic”
Frenetic, even for Hendrix.

Blood, Sweat & Tears -- “You Made Me So Very Happy”
So popular and so underrated.

The Velvet Underground -- “White Light/White Heat”
A searing 17 minutes that was in no way connected to the summer of love.

1969
Led Zeppelin -- “Whole Lotta Love”
I still anticipate the guitar solos.

Rolling Stones -- “Midnight Rambler”
Mellow blues by the world’s greatest rock and roll band.

Zager & Evans -- “In The Year 2525”
The ultimate one hit wonder.

1970
Ten Years After -- “Sugar The Road”
Obscure track from a somewhat obscure album.

Led Zeppelin -- “Immigrant Song”
I was the only person in my college dorm who liked Led Zeppelin’s third album better than the first two.

Derek And The Dominos -- “Layla”
Duane Allman and Eric Clapton.

Rolling Stones -- “Love In Vain”
Mick Taylor pushes the Stones to one of the great blues performances of their career.

Joni Mitchell -- “The Circle Game”
Simple and profound folk music by Joni Mitchell.

Brook Benton -- “Rainy Night In Georgia”
Beautiful ballad in the midst of a changing musical landscape.

Simon & Garfunkel -- “Bridge Over Troubled Water”simongarfunkel_bridge
And the voices soar.

1971
Rolling Stones -- “Brown Sugar”
The Rolling Stones in rock ‘n’ roll mode.

The Doors -- “Riders On The Storm”
Jim Morrison at his ominous best.

1972
Eagles -- “Take It Easy”
“A girl in a flat-bed ford slowing down to take a look at me.” Well, not me but I could dream.

Yes -- “Roundabout”
The editor of The Daily Vault worships Yes, so I must include at least one of their songs. This is also a great one.

Bob Seger -- “Turn The Page”
A weary rock classic.

1973
The Allman Brothers -- “Ramblin’ Man”
Dickie Betts’ guitar solo makes you ache.

Eagles -- “Already Gone”
The Eagles has perfect harmonies. These are better.

Deep Purple -- “Rat Bat Blue”
Another obscure track that not many people, besides me, remember.

Judy Collins -- “Secret Gardens”
I always wish Judy Collins had written more songs. The older I get, the more this song speaks to me.

Elton John -- “Crocodile Rock”
Just a simple and enjoyable pop rocker.

1974
Bob Dylan -- “Forever Young”
Dylan at his simple best.

Linda Ronstadt -- “When Will I Be Loved”
Great cover of an Everly Brothers song.

Elton John -- “The Bitch Is Back”
Tough and up-tempo.

1975
Bob Seger -- “Katmandu”
Early rocker from Seger.

The Doobie Brothers -- “Take Me In Your Arms”
The Doobies as they should always be.

Joan Baez -- “Diamonds & Rust”
It’s all about the imagery.

1976
Gordon Lightfoot -- “Summertime Dream”
Title song from my favorite Gordon Lightfoot album.

Boston -- “More Than A Feeling”boston_s-t
Still can’t get enough of this song.

Thin Lizzy -- “The Boys Are Back In Town”
Guys I would like to hang out with.

Rod Stewart -- “Tonight’s The Night”
Great ballad; oh yeah!

1977
Dave Edmunds -- “I Knew The Bride”
Could have been autobiographical.

Billy Joel -- “Only The Good Die Young”
Great rocker, plus Catholic girls.

Meat Loaf -- “Bat Out Of Hell”
Meat Loaf at his bombastic best, and don’t forget Todd Rundgren’s guitar work.

1978
Dire Straits -- “Sultans Of Swing”
Mark Knopfler was one of very few guitarists who could create a Clapton sound.

1979
Eagles -- “Heartache Tonight”
Memorable beginning and perfect harmonies.

The Pretenders -- “Brass In Pocket”
It was all about Chrissie Hyde’s imagination.

1980
Bob Seger -- “Betty Lou’s Getting Out Tonight”
One of Seger’s best rockers.

Bob Seger -- “Against The Wind”
Seger trying so hard.

Journey -- “Anyway You Want It”
Catchy power pop.

1981
The Stray Cats -- “Rock This Town”
Rockabilly for the modern age.

J. Geils Band -- “Freeze Frame”
Just a catchy rocker, which in this case is enough.

1982
John Mellencamp – “Jack And Diane”
Any song that has “sucking on a chili dog” in the lyrics has got to make the list.

Men At Work -- “Down Under”
Quirky beat that stays with you.

1983
John Mellencamp -- “Pink Houses”
Some of the best rock this side of Bruce Springsteen.

The Pretenders -- “2000 Miles”pretenders_learning
Chrissie Hyde at her best.

1984
Bruce Springsteen -- “Born In The USA”
Ringing anthem by The Boss.

Bruce Springsteen -- “Glory Days”
A song for anyone at least 10 years out of high school.

1985
John Mellencamp -- “Small Town”
Gritty rock for the common man or woman.

Dire Straits -- “Walk Of Life”
This one just percolates along.

1986
Bob Seger -- “American Storm”
Seger saves a blah music year.

1987
Mark Knopfler -- “Once Upon A Time – Storybook Love”
From the Princess Bride. I watched the movie so many times with my daughters that the songs stayed with me.

1988
The Style Council -- “The Garden Of Eden”
My musical tastes take an odd turn.

Steve Earle -- “Copperhead Road”
Country music takes an odd turn.

1989
Carole King -- “City Streets”
The video works better. Eric Clapton provides the lead guitar and produces one of the purest sounds of his career.

Pat Benatar -- “Suffer The Little Children/Hell Is For Children”
This is the live version and a career defining performance.

1990
Lou Reed and John Cale -- “A Dream”
Former Velvet Underground bandmates are mellowing a bit.

1991
Mary Chapin Carpenter -- “Down At The Twist And Shout”
Just a joyful dance tune.

Bob Dylan -- “Blind Willie McTell”
How many great songs has Bob Dylan produced?

1992
Mary Chapin Carpenter -- “Passionate Kisses”marychapincarpenter_comeon_150
This one (written by the great Lucinda Williams) would make my top 10 list.

1993
Meat Loaf -- “Wasted Youth”
Still bombastic after all these years.

Sting -- “Fields Of Gold”
Pastoral song of beauty.

1994
Martina McBride – “Independence Day”
McBride’s voice just soars.

John Mellencamp -- “Wild Night”
Mellencamp pulls off a great cover of a Van Morrison song.

1995
Martina McBride -- “Wild Angels”
McBride’s voice continues to soar.

1996
Lou Reed – “Set The Twilight Reeling”
I miss Lou Reed.

1997
Sarah Brightman -- “Alleluia”
Mozart and Brightman’s voice: who could ask for anything more.

1998
Faith Hill -- “This Kiss”
Perfect fusion of pop and country.

Aretha Franklin -- “A Rose Is Still A Rose”
One of dozens of great songs by the Queen Of Soul.

1999
Mary Chapin Carpenter -- “The Shirt”
Great, if somewhat unknown, story song.

Richard Thompson -- “Cocks Ferry Queen”
Best work outside of Fairport Convention.

2000
Joni Mitchell -- “Both Sides Now”
Reimagining her classic folk song with a light jazz touch.

2001
The Velvet Underground -- “Heroin”
A live version of what rock is all about surfaces.

2002
Bruce Springsteen -- “The Rising”
He just keep producing great song after great song.

2003
Procol Harum -- “The Question”
An underappreciated band creates a perfect rock song.

2004
Kelly Clarkson -- “Breakaway”kellyclarkson_breakaway_150
Pop perfection.

2005
Rolling Stones -- “This Place Is Empty”
The ultimate Keith Richards vocal.

2006
Eric Burdon -- “Soul Of A Man”
Song epitomizes a half-century of his music.

Bruce Springsteen -- “O Mary Don’t You Weep”
Some songs are just waiting to be covered.

2007
Gary Moore -- “Eyesight To The Blind”
Modern electric bluesman channeling Sonny Boy Williamson.

2008
Kid Rock -- “All Summer Long
Great party song.

2009
Ana Popovic -- “Blues For M”
The woman can play and sing the blues!

2011
Lady Gaga -- “Born This Way”
What can I say, even I like this song.

2012
Mumford & Sons -- “I Will Wait”
It’s all about the pause in the middle.

Fun. -- “Some Nights”
Another perfect pop tune.

2014
Meghan Trainor -- “All About That Bass”
I enjoy the cleverness of it all.

2015
Lindsay Sterling -- “Hallelujah”
The official video works best.pentatonix_xmas_150

2016
Pentatonix – “Hallelujah”
Listening to a lot of Pentatonix lately.

2019
Pentatonix -- “The Sound Of Silence”
Perfect harmonies.




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