Monday, January 24, 2011

Top Ten Countdown: Music Blogfest

And this was bloody flipping HARD!

Happy Monday!  And what an exciting Monday it is.  What's that?  How can a Monday be exciting?  Well, normally I would say it can't, but today I'm participating in my very first Blogfest and counting down my ten favorite songs of all time.  A special thank you goes out to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing this event.

I'm sure you can imagine how complicated I found composing such a list.  I will not swear my list is perfect - I'm not running out to carve it into cement or get it tattooed on my back.  What I will say is I spent a lot of time considering my selections, and each song I've chosen is one that inspires me in some capacity.  Some  are part of a significant memory; others remind me of a time in my life I occasionally long for.  Each ignites an emotional response, whether that be a smile, chills, or tears.  And as far as I'm concerned, that's the best evidence of an excellent song.

My list is designed with the following things in mind:
  1. My eclectic taste
  2. My strong appreciation for history and culture
  3. The memory/memories associated with a particular song
  4. The ability of the song to inspire me
  5. The meaning of the lyrics
  6. My attempt to create a list most unlike any other in this Blogfest
So, here it is.  Drum roll please.  Ten of my all time favorite songs:

10.  Silhouettes on the Shade (The Rays, 1957) I love the oldies and I love the Malt Shop era.  In fact, when teaching a lesson on the 1950s, I used to turn my classroom into a malt shop - decorations, costumes, music, and ice cream sundaes.  The kids sat in "booths" while filling in a "menu."  "Servers" came around to take their sundae order and I even conned another teacher into live musical performances.  ANYWAY, this is one of my favorites from that era.  I love the harmonies and how their voices blend.  And I love how the song screams history.

9.  Whatever You Imagine (Whitney Houston, from the movie The Pagemaster, 1994)  Go ahead, laugh.  Are you done yet?  Fine, thirty more seconds....I'll wait.....

Seriously, this song captures everything I believe about reading and books - that by selecting the perfect one, your imagination takes you into another world, whether it be one of fantasy, adventure, or horror.  I used this movie to kickoff my literacy promotion unit with my students, showing them their is a book out their for everyone, and the characters come to life in your head.  Now, this song speaks to me as a writer.  I imagine myself as an author, and these lyrics remind me whatever I imagine can become a reality.

8.  Viva La Vida (Coldplay, 2008) One of the most successful songs by one of my favorite groups, I'm drawn to this song because of the strong string section and percussion, as well as its message of "Long Live Life."  Viva contains numerous historical and Christian references and I've always found Chris Martin to be one of the most brilliant contemporary artists/songwriters.

7.  Dream On (Aerosmith, 1973) An awesome power ballad.  Just plain awesome.  To me, this song is about the hunger to be somebody - to follow the path that will lead us to our dreams, and to continue dreaming until that moment comes true. 

6.  Let It Be (The Beatles, 1970) A song that reminds me everything is going to be alright.  And we all need that at times.  The lyrics tell me to release my problems, worries, sorrows, and burdens, and to simply, let them be

5.  Living On A Prayer (Bon Jovi, 1986) Bon Jovi is clearly my favorite rock band.  Ever.  His greatest hits album is a frequently played album in my car, and I could have included many of his hits on my list today.  However, aside from being my favorite, I do feel like I'm living on a prayer these days.  Trying to do something I always wanted to do.  AND, I believe I'm halfway there.  The bulk of my first draft is behind me, and as far as I'm concerned, that's the hardest part.  I'm much more of an editing kinda guy.

4.  21 Guns (GreenDay, 2009) I know what I'm fighting for.  There are a lot of interpretations, but for me, this song means surrendering yourself to the chaos surrounding you.  I've applied that concept to surrendering myself to the situations beyond my control.  My guns are down and I'm moving on.  It took time to get to this point, but so far, 2011 has been a giant step in the right direction.

3.  Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright, 2006) Do I need to say anything further?  The song gives me chills.  It ignites feelings of hope, faith, and accomplishment.  I'll take that deal.

2.  The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel, 1968) The fighter still remains, and I am a fighter.  This song embodies perseverance and overcoming loneliness and poverty.  As a writer, I find perseverance to be the key.

1.  Lightning Crashes (Live, 1995) Yet again, I could have picked any Live song, so I went with the one that introduced me to my all time favorite band.  They've been with me since seventh grade - pulled me through some tough moments in high school, my student teaching experience, my first classroom, and now, take part in my quest for publication.  This particular song is beautiful; it symbolizes the transference of life.  In the video, one family mourns the loss of a loved one while another welcomes their newest addition.  To me, that is an amazing concept; it lends itself to so many further analytical elements, and that's why I love it.  I find this group to be unbelievably awesome - the messages they send through their lyrics have touched me deeper than any other musical artist.  Their impact has been invaluable.


  1. I love Live! And Bon Jovi speaks to my New Jersey roots. Don't worry about Whitney Houston, "My Name Is Not Susan" is in my Top 20.

    Breakfast Every Hour

  2. Great list! I love a lot of these. Live, Simon and Garfunkel, Rufus Wainwrght (How did I not have Rufus on my list? How?), the Beatles, Coldplay... great stuff. And I used to listen to a lot of Green Day when I was young, and when I heard 21 Guns on the radio I thought, Wow, how they've changed. And, surprisingly, for the better. Great song.

  3. Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. Love it!

  4. Dude. I cannot believe I forgot about Live. But you know what? That's exactly what rules about this blogfest.

    I know a few of the others you mention, and a couple are new to me. But Live, I have to say, that's my very favorite on your list. And that's their second best song as far as I'm concerned. I love Lightning Crashes, I always will, but I'm just ever so slightly more partial to The Beauty of Grey. Have you heard that one? It's pretty old.

  5. You are the second blog I've visited today to list the song I lost my virginity to. (Lightning Crashes, in case you were curious!) Great picks. Love Greenday and Bon Jovi!

  6. Music is never easy!
    I know most of those bands as well.
    Thanks for participating!

  7. Awesome songs! Let it Be, is also one of my all time favs, for all the reasons you give...It just plain gives me peace....Thanks!

  8. Great list! I had to leave the Beatles off of mine, because they easily would have dominated it.

  9. Another great list. I think Hallelujah gives everyone chills.

  10. I love you...her, uh, your list, I mean. #1 Woo hoo! #8. I like Darryl Hall and John Oats version better - sorry.

  11. great list. Lightening crashes is so powerful. most all of these songs have great emotional resonance.

  12. You should listen to Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah." But I do like Rufus Wainwright, too.

  13. ah, VIVA LA VIDA is such an amazing song, great melody and stunning lyrics!

  14. Living On A Prayer seems to be a popular choice, and rightfully so! :)

    Also great picks on Let It Be and Dream On. Very nice list.

  15. Love your list! And the reasons you chose the songs you chose. (and you didn't cheat, like me.) Well done.

    I love both Rufus and Jeff Buckley's versions of Hallelujah...and saw many versions on many lists today. Proof a good song has legs.

    I also love LIVE and Coldplay. :)

  16. Great variety. Love Live's album with Lightning Crashes. Was one of my fave albums of the 90
    's. I played that cd over and over! I'm surprised they didn't have more hits after that.

  17. Fantastic list!

    Make sure you check my Wednesday post!
    Tossing It Out

  18. I can't believe how many lists Livin' On a Prayer made! It's a great song, but it surprises me that so many others think so as well! You've got a GREAT list here - a nice mix of things. Just reading your bio makes me want to read your first W.I.P.!

  19. SUCH A GREAT LIST!! And I friggin love Viva la Vida!! How could I forget that one??? That whole album just rocks.

    Nice to meet you!

  20. I have the Coldplay and Greenday songs on my playlist right now. I really like your list!

  21. I like so many of these. Live is incredible - another song I "forgot" on my list (that could have gone on through infinity!).

  22. Awesome list! Live was one of the very first albums I ever bought. Genius. Also, I love Viva la Vida.

  23. I have to say I LOVE your list. The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel) brilliant. Dream On (Aerosmith) brilliant. I could go on... ;)

  24. I forgot to say that my favorite version of Hallelujah, BY FAR, is by K.D.Lang. When she sang that at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics in Canada....OMG...chills on top of chills...

  25. Great list! I'm with you on how hard it was to narrow it down. It was difficult to be objective!


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