Following are ten songs that are kind of cliches, but that I will not apologize for liking. Some of them are bar-band standards. Some of them are MUSTS if you’re cropping together footage of someone who’s recently died. Some of them are just so iconic you could go 30 years without hearing them, but you’d still know all the words. I’m sure there are some I’m missing…but off the top of my head, I do NOT apologize for specifically these ten.
- “Honky Tonk Woman” – Rolling Stones. I know…it’s cheesy…but tell me that when you hear that cowbell in the opening, part of you doesn’t go, “WHOOOO!!!”
- “Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond. “Touching hands…reaching out…touching me…touching you…” If you haven’t joined hands with a complete stranger and yelled “Bah-Bah-Bah!” during this tune, you’re just dead inside.
- “Come Sail Away” – Styx. One of the first songs I really remember LOVING as a kid, and that just hasn’t stopped.
- “The Flame” – Cheap Trick. Okay…maybe it’s just the element of suspense… Maybe it’s just that when you see Cheap Trick in concert today, you’re wondering all the way through, “Will he do it? Will Robin HIT the high note?” And then he DOES. Every time. Maybe that’s why…I’m not sure.
- “Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey. Yeah…okay…sure… Call me whatever you want to. But the same “High Note” theory is at work here…and if you’re in the bar, and you manage to hit it, every woman in the place is YOURS for that moment…then they remember that you’re a fat bastard and they hate you…but for THAT MOMENT, you’re good.
- “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen. Alright…so Wayne’s World kind of ruined it. Regardless, this is one of the most brilliantly structured, pretentious, ridiculous songs EVER…and I stand by it.
- “With or Without You” – U2. I’m not even going to explain this one.
- “Whiskey River” – Willie Nelson. One of my favorite memories was that I was in a car with a guy I know called Matt. We were on the road for about an hour. It’d been DEAD quiet in the car for about 30-40 minutes. Then, as if it were the most normal thing in the world, he shouts at the top of his voice… “WHISKEY RIVER TAKE MY MIND!!!” Kinda had to be there…but it was excellent. And also, I love whiskey.
- “Hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen. Okay…like most of you, I first fell in love with the Jeff Buckley version. Then I found out that Leonard Cohen wrote it, and I sought out the original…and I thought it was terrible. It’s not necessarily a BAD performance, but when all you’ve heard is the Buckley version, Cohen’s original recording is jarring and dated-sounding… HOWEVER… I love Cohen’s music. I just didn’t grab on to his version of this song…until I heard the “Live in London” recording. That version of the song is amazing. It’s like…creamy-good. It’s quite possibly the best performance I’ve ever heard anyone do of any song.
- “Rockin’ in the Free World” – Neil Young. Mostly, this just makes me long for the days when the “thousand points of light” were the worst we had to worry about…
In other news, I watched Teddy Kennedy’s funeral tonight, and got really bummed out. Then I read the comments the jerk-offs in the comments pages of my town’s newspaper wrote and lost all hope for humanity. But I say this… Rest in peace, Teddy. You atoned for your mistakes a hundred-times over and were the embodiment of the eternal flame adorning your brother’s grave. The world would be better off if we had more people like you still living in it, and less people like the ones on the Internet.
- Mary Prankster – “Blue Skies Forever”