Recently I was in a conversation with a few people, and the question of "what are your favorite songs of all time" came up. Historically, I've never been a 'song' guy, always more of an 'album' guy. When I play music on my iPod, it's always albums/CDs, rarely if ever do I hit the shuffle button, and I don't subscribe to satellite radio or listen to web radio. Basically, I'm an old dinosaur who looks over the CD collection for specific albums I want to hear in their entirety, or dials up the same on my iPod when I'm at the gym or travelling. There's always a stack of CDs in the car as well which I rotate every few weeks. It's just the kind of music listener I am and have always been, that still enjoys the dying art of the 'album'.
Despite all that, there are still PLENTY of songs that have really clicked and resonated with me more than others over the years, songs that do to this day at 46 years old, still send shivers up and down my spine, prompt me to headbang, scream to the heavens, or just plain groove to. I'm not going to bother ranking them, because that would be near impossible, but below are a bunch of tracks that have tickled my fancy for over 3 decades, and a few more recent ones that I just can't get enough of.
Brandy, by Looking Glass
This was probably one of the first songs I actually fell in love with as a child, before I REALLY discovered music a few years later. In the early '70s most of the music I was exposed to was on AM radio in my parents car, and every Saturday and Sunday morning I used to ride with my Dad into town to get the newspapers and peruse the weekly comic book arrivals. I can remember like it was yesterday hearing "Brandy" that summer of 1972 driving around in Dad's Plymouth Fury while I anxiously awaited the purchase of a new batch of Marvel comics. This tune is catchy as hell with some great vocals, that unfortunately became their only major hit.
Detroit Rock City, by KISS
Fast forward a few years, and I fell deep into the world of KISS, the first actual 'band' that I ever got into. Though I loved many of their songs (and still do), it was this classic track off their Destroyer album that grabbed me first, and still prompts me to play air guitar along to today, along with other older songs like "Deuce", "Watching You", "God of Thunder", "Love Gun", and so many others.
Child in Time, by Deep Purple
This one could very well be my favorite song of all time. Anyone who knows me is aware that Deep Purple is my favorite band of all time, and you'll see a few more of their songs below, but this is the one that was my 'go to' song for so many years. Ritchie Blackmore's solo here is legendary, whether it be the In Rock or the Made in Japan version, Jon Lord's Hammond creepy as all hell, and Ian Gillan's screams send you into another dimension. I can still remember sneaking booze out of the parents liquor cabinet and having my own little party listening to this song, playing air guitar along to Blackmore's solo and screaming with Ian.
Silly Love Songs, by Paul McCartney & Wings
Wings was actually one of my favorite bands when I was a kid, and this song easily my favorite, alongside Band on the Run, Let 'Em In, My Love, Jet, and many others.
Still of the Night, by Whitesnake
Though I love the majority of Whitesnake's tunes, this one, from the self titled classic released in the mid '80s, was the anthem to my college years. This tune is heavy, has plenty of balls, and features epic guitar playing from John Sykes to go along with David Coverdale's fiery vocals. Loved this song so much when it was released that I convinced my team in TV Production class to do our music video project assignment to it, complete with a werewolf storyline. Fun stuff!
Heaven and Hell, by Black Sabbath
The Ozzy years were what first turned me into a young Sabbath fanatic, but it was 1980's Heaven and Hell album, the first with Ronnie James Dio at the helm, that took my love for this band over the top. The title track really caught on with me then, and still is my favorite from this version of the band. EPIC!
Stargazer, by Rainbow
Easily in my top 3 songs of all time, this early progressive metal classic by THE classic version of Rainbow is one of the most incredible songs ever written by anyone. Blackmore, Dio, and Cozy Powell were a marriage made in heaven, and throw in Tony Carey and Jimmy Bain and you have the quintessential Rainbow line-up playing their epic song. Cozy's drum intro is legendary, and Ronnie is at his best here. This whole album rules from start to finish, but "Stargazer" was the star of the show.
Black Night, by Deep Purple
This is just a lean & mean Purple track, their second hit after "Hush" and first of the Ian Gillan era. Just killer riffs from Blackmore on this one, and it's a song that despite its heaviness is still damn catchy.
Burn, by Deep Purple
Exit Gillan & Roger Glover, enter David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. Always loved this album, and especially this title track, which again features a killer Blackmore riff and superb vocals from Coverdale & Hughes.
Medusa, by Trapeze
How can you not love the evil riffs from Mel Galley and Glenn Hughes' powerful vocals? This is another gem from the 'Deep Purple family tree', and my all time favorite Trapeze songs, who were a totally underrated band in my opinion.
Pack It Up and Go, by UFO
Michael Schenker's wild lead guitar work on this one grabbed me from the get go, one of the many highlights of the Obsession album. Easily one of the heaviest tracks from that era of the band.
Rock Bottom, by UFO
While we are on the topic of UFO, this is another favorite of theirs that I could never get enough of, and I think I like this tune more today than I did 30 years ago. Another great vehicle for Schenker's guitar work, and Phil Mogg sounds outstanding as well.
Warm Wet Circles, by Marillion
The Fish era of the band still holds a special place in my heart, but I always loved this song in particular, which features some of his most fiery yet elegant vocals, and amazing musicianship from the band. It's all part of the concept album Clutching at Straws but stands out real well on its own.
Supper's Ready, by Genesis
Yeah, ok, it's a 20+ minute song, but every prog fan loves the epics, and this is perhaps a slight favorite of mine over "Watcher of the Skies" and "Musical Box" from this legendary prog act. Just could never get enough of this one during the years I first got introduced to this band.
See Me Feel Me, by The Who
Hard to pick out just one Who song, as they have always been one of my favorite bands, but this song, from the Tommy, has always been a top tune for me, especially the live versions of it from Woodstock, Leeds, and Isle of Wight. Just so powerful!
Gimme Shelter, by The Rolling Stones
This was my favorite Stones song, even when I wasn't really a fan of the band. Things have changed in my later years, as I've now fully embraced this band, but back when I was a young metal head I really couldn't stand these guys, but always did love this song. It's still as intoxicating and powerful as ever, one of the real 'classic' rock songs of the last 50 years.
Close to the Edge, by Yes
Had to squeeze a Yes song on this list, another band that, along with Genesis and a bunch of others, I discovered late, after I took the plunge into prog in the very early '90s. Yes, it's another epic, but this song is just so representative of all that is classic Yes, and still to this day is my favorite tune of theirs amongst many favorites.
Peel the Paint, by Gentle Giant
While we are on the subject of prog, GG could very well by my favorite prog band, and I always LOVED this crazy song of theirs which rocks hard yet is just as eclectic as some of their other classics.
To Cry You a Song, by Jethro Tull
Gotta have some Tull here, another band that has so many great songs, but this one by far is my favorite.
Fat Bottomed Girls, by Queen
Another band that just has so many great tunes, but this heavy rocker has always been at the top of the list for me.
25 or 6 to 4, by Chicago
Overplayed as it is, still love this tune, which has one of the all time great guitar solos from Terry Kath. Long live the wah-wah!
The Rover, by Led Zeppelin
Almost put "Black Dog" here, but I think I always liked this cruncher better. Another band that has too many great tunes.
Where Eagles Dare, by Iron Maiden
The forgotten gem from Piece of Mind, easily my favorite tune from that album.
22 Acacia Avenue, by Iron Maiden
Perhaps my favorite Maiden tune, and one that an old band I was in played, and played great. Classic NWOBHM!
Fade to Black, by Metallica
The first Metallica song I ever really connected with, and I was hooked after hearing this gem at the old Rock & Roll Heaven store in Warwick, NY. After this I was a Metallica fanatic for the rest of the '80s.
Victim of Changes, by Judas Priest
Not sure I really need to say more here, just one of the all time metal classics.
Halloween, by Helloween
The first Keeper of the Seven Keys album (actually, both of them) were huge favorites of mine in the late '80s, and this epic track I just couldn't get enough of. Power metal baby!
Postmortem, by Slayer
This juggernaut, and the whole Reign in Blood album, was the heaviest stuff I had ever heard in 1986. Though I liked the frantic pace of the album, it was the slowed down, crushingly heavy dirge of this song that really proved to be the ultimate Slayer song.
Wake Up Dead, by Megadeth
The descent into thrash continues-was and still is my favorite Megadeth song.
Emerald, by Thin Lizzy
Still can't get enough of this song to this day. Classic Gorham & Robertson guitar riffing, and Lynott's venomous vocals are outstanding.
No More Mr. Nice Guy, by Alice Cooper
Shied away from Alice Cooper most of my life till recently, and I gotta say I'm hooked now, this being perhaps my favorite song. Plenty rockin' but catchy as all hell.
Inside Looking Out, by Grand Funk Railroad
This one has groove, it's heavy and raunchy, and just a perfect representation of the early GFR sound.
Turn to Stone, by ELO
Another band with so many great songs, but I think this one, from their Old of the Blue record, sits at the top. Was a major fan of this bad for so many years, and still am.
Endless Sacrifice, by Dream Theater
There are so many Dream Theater songs that I could have put here, but I'm choosing this one as it's the song that REALLY gets me going whenever I hear them play it live, as it just represents everything they are all about. It's heavy as hell, catchy, but still proggy.
At this point, I'll just list a bunch of others that also make the grade:
Dear Mr. Fantasy, by Traffic
Serpent's Kiss, by Symphony X
Look at Yourself, by Uriah Heep
Song For America, by Kansas
Queen of Spades, by Styx
Can We Still Be Friends, by Todd Rundgren
Nemesis, by Arch Enemy
Heir Apparent, by Opeth
Mr. Universe, by Gillan
Limelight, by Rush
Go All the Way, by The Raspberries
Too Rolling Stoned, by Robin Trower
End of the World, by Gary Moore
There are SOOOO many more I'm sure that I've forgotten, but I think you get the picture!