This was a real labour of love to write, and went through so many drafts it’s almost unreasonable. I have driven my wife to the point of madness debating, considering and re-writing this list over & over again.
I have finally settled on the following, blogged over two parts, and I hope you find some interesting choices in the list. In no particular order; here are my personal top ten tunes of all time and a brief description explaining my love for the track and why I feel it warrants such acclaim in my personal list.
I warn you – much hyperbole to follow…
Abbey Road Medley, The Beatles
Ok, so a blatant cheat here out of the gate. I’ve actually, technically popped my wad of 9 out of my 10 to include this, but truly everyone knows the Abbey Road Medley can only be considered as one whole.
There’s not too much I can say about the Medley that hasn’t been said already; it was made-up from little unused tit-bits and improvisations that were knocking around the band as little Demi-songs. Knowing it was the end The Beatles, they went away and used their insurmountable musical talents, keen not to let these bits go to waste, and tied them together to create a glorious swan song to close their final album.
Why do I love it so; well, it’s got pretty much everything I could ever want from the Beatles and just simply touchs me somehow. It’s got classic Beatles harmonies & melodies, great riffs, jaunty & driving bass lines, psychedelic lyrics, and a solo from each of the Beatles in their own distinguished styles.
My love for The Beatles is well known amongst my circle of friends, family and acquaintances and this is a fitting representation of everything I love about the greatest band in the world.
Diamonds on the Souls of Shoes, Graceland, Paul Simon
As with many other songs on the list; this song holds a special significance because my love for it grew by musical osmosis from my parents. I was only 6 years old when the Graceland album was released and it was a significant and regular feature of the soundtrack in my parent’s cars and on the record player in the house for many years after it’s release.
This track always stood out to me. The beautiful acapella intro opens the song with warm and engaging voices, and segue ways neatly into a sparkly little guitar that opens the main body of the song and brings behind it exciting percussive style vocal rythyms and beautiful melodies.
So, loving the guitar and the voices, but one other real pleasure with the song are the colourful lyrics; I am always drawn into the evocative imagery of Paul Simon’s words, driven to imagine the scenes his lyrics so deftly create in my mind.
Further On Up The Road, The Last Waltz, The Band with Eric Clapton
This song is a double-whammy of greatness as it brings together two profound musical loves; The Band and Eric Clapton.
To truly appreciate the greatness of this song one needs to watch the performance of the song on the Last Waltz movie by Martin Scorcese. There’s a great moment early in the song that I adore – Eric Clapton’s guitar strap snaps, he lets out a laugh, looks to Robbie Robertson, who leaps in to take the solo Eric was interrupted playing.
As soon as Eric’s guitar is replaced he’s back on it, and I love how it the becomes a game of duelling axes between Eric and Robbie that turns the song into something sensational to watch. They are both on the highest form trading off licks and the atmosphere as these two legends battle it out (with some real playful joy in their eyes) is combustive – at the moment Eric lays down the move to take his opponent the crowd roars as he gives a knowing, sportsmanly nod to Robbie who takes his loss gracefully as the fiery solo continues to burn on Clapton’s fretboard.
I don’t know if it was ever intended for them to takes turns jamming out solos; but the atmosphere of sponteniety to the performance suggests not, which makes me love it even more!
It’s amazing to watch and hear – a moment that lives in my mind forever and places this particular performance of this song firmly in my Top Ten Greats.
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor , Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not, The Arctic Monkeys
By 2006 I had all but given up on new music. Through the noughties up to that point the only glimmer of hope I had seen was The Libertines and Kasabian, but one band lived and died in a flash and the other I was only liking just a few tunes.
Then I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor came along, all sleazy and dirty, and showed me there was a scene going on I could like. I love the cheeky lyrics, aggressive power chords that get my head nodding and the rough n’ ready little solo that opens the body of the song after an explosive kick off.
This song is in my top ten because it reinvigorated my love of new music and brought a little rock n roll to the noughties for me. It also drove me to pick up my guitar and play a couple of tunes again.
Riverboat Song, Moseley Shoals, Ocean Colour Scene
I am a child of the Britpop generation, and from my time as a teenager developing a love for music this is one song that I turn back to time and time again and regularly appears on mixed disks and playlists I have made over the years since I first heard it.
There are three parts in the mix that really make this song so legendary and place it in my top ten; Simon Fowler’s vocal, Steve Craddock’s riffs & solo, and the organ.
Craddock’s guitar work is nothing short of incendiary. The powerful riff rises and rises through the song to the climatic moment of the scorching wah-wah solo that explodes the song into the next level and returns to Fowler’s immense vocal.
The climax of the song is really then driven home by the appearance of the Hammond organ at the close of the solo; a staccato, retro psychedelic invasion of the ears that augments the already inspired wall of sound in the song. Nothing short of perfection for my ears. My favourite moment; at roughly 3:40, as the solo concludes and guitar meets organ with three mighty chord blasts on the organ and a captivating string bend to finalise the solo and bring the listener back down to the core riff of the song and Fowler’s definitive vocal.
Part Two coming soon…