So here’s part two of my all time top ten tunes. It took a couple of days because I’ve deliberated further and had a last minute change of heart on a song. I’ll probably do a part three giving some special mentions to last minute tracks eliminated and why they are so great too!
Anyway, in no particular order, the remaining five in my top ten;
Bat Out of Hell, Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf
I love a bit of hair, flair and leather about my rock n roll sometimes.
Bat Out of Hell rules. It’s grand, operatic, melodramatic and awesome. It opens with a bang, (with possibly the greatest rock piano playing heard to man), and crescendos into a tragedy song of epic proportions; succeeding in Steinmann’s brief to create “the most extreme crash song of all time”.
Meatloaf’s vocal on the track is a mighty performance; bold, passionate and dynamic, perfectly complimented by the compelling drive of the piano, drums & guitars to the inevitable climax of the crash and the glorious, celebratory close of a rebellious, motorcycle death.
It’s outrageously over the top and melodramatic… and AWESOME. I defy anybody not to get drawn into this song as they listen to it, get sucked into the glory & drama of it all. It’s a perfect composition, all the instruments combining to make a potent mix of mega-rock. I love it.
Proud Mary, Ike & Tina Turner
Me and my wife do a reaaaaaally bad version of this on karaoke! REALLY bad! But we simply don’t care – we love this track sooooo much.
It’s a song of two parts; the “nice and slow” open and the balls out brass n’ soul of the main tune. Tina’s performance and the brass accompaniment are what really make this song. I adore the slow open, half spoke, half sung by Tina with Ike’s resonant bass voice and gentle guitar chords bringing some body to the long, slow intro.
The real power of that intro comes when you realise that this was just a burning fuse; sizzling it’s way to an explosive blast of brass that defies the listener not to dance.
It’s energetic, it’s cool, and full of soul and well worthy of sitting in my top ten.
Hush, Kula Shaker
Here is another track in the list that is here as it is a powerful, nostalgic reminder of my halcyon days growing up in the Britpop days of the mid-nineties.
Kula Shaker represented everything about that time for me and shaped part of who I am today. They combined the retro cool of classic psychedelic rock of the 60s & 70s with the Cool Britannia atmosphere of the time – and this cover of Deep Purple’s (itself a cover incidentally) Hush perfectly spoke to what I was going through at that time in my life and has remained with me ever since.
The song is delivered with a wonderful energy and verve; I’m just captivated from the initial opening chords to the crescendo climax of Crispian Mill’s shout closing the song. I must have a weird thing for Hammond organs too, because, again, that organ sound stands out to me in this song!
Streetlife, Streetlife, Randy Crawford
I was first introduced to this song on a Tarantino soundtrack compilation album and immediately fell in love with it.
It’s a really evocative tune; the lyrics create these images in my mind of ‘the Streetlife’; an image of 70s Harlem, a Harlem of cheap flairs and baker boy hats, worn by 2nd generation black Americans just looking for a means of income in a world of prejudice and ghetto culture.
Underneath the dark undertone of the song, however, is a sense of celebration and joy. It says that, inspite of hard times and oppression this culture has a defiant strength to it – the Street which the song speaks of is a vibrant one, full of life & energy, and defiantly survives despite what the world may throw at it. So what if it’s the only life she knows and it’s shitty; the people are sound and they’ve got great tunes.
Musically, the song has that great funky guitar piece throughout, expertly complimented by the brass ensemble and string accompaniment; completing the great funky disco sound of the song. Oh, and there’s an organ solo too, which the writing of this blog has taught me is really a thing with me! Randy Crawford sings the hell out of it too, she is nothing less than perfect in her delivery.
Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
It’s a cracking open to a cracking album.
The first section (synthesised organ again; most definitely a thing) is a steadily crescendoing, grande, operatic instrumental that evokes a the funeral procession of the title. It builds to part two, a more traditional rock song which describes the end (death) of a relationship that the procession was just held for.
Considering it’s an Elton John track the components of the tune that really stand out to me aren’t his.
Throughout both sections I love the guitar work; played perfectly in section one to compliment the procession’s crescendo towards part two’s angry eulogy. Davey Johnstone, the guitar player on the track, is a long time collaborator of John’s and a bit of legend to me for such guitar work on Elton tunes (Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting anyone?) listen to the pacing of the Melody line accompanying the moot in part one as it expertly aids the sense of lament and the dramatic build to part two. Then, Johnstone switches up a gear, underpinning the whole song with some good old fashioned rock n’ roll guitar, deftly played perfectly in the angry tone of the piece.
Then there’s Taupin’s lyrics in part two. These are wonderfully resonant lyrics, which paint a picture in the listeners mind of the angry young man, broken and mourning the loss of the relationship, wishing it had gone differently.
It’s a really exciting piece of music – 11 minutes of epic rock n roll.
So there it is; my top ten tunes of all time! Comment below with your agreements or disagreements – I’m always happy to debate the merits of my choices further!