Saturday, August 27, 2011

Most Rockin' Rock and Roll Songs

I stumbled upon this interesting list of 15 songs today (link temporarily removed because it isn't working properly).  I like the idea of selecting the most rockin' songs as opposed to the best or greatest or most important.  It's a good criterion for putting songs head to head and making a choice about which one comes out on top.  You might think such a list could lack of diversity, but here's the list of the 15 artists on the list:

Iggy and the Stooges
Bo Diddley
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Howlin' Wolf
The Groundhogs
The Ramones
The Kinks
Little Richard
Sly and the Family Stone
Black Sabbath

Entertainingly the list, billed as the 15 Most Rockin'..., actually has 16 entries.  I think it might be like the Spinal Tap amp that goes to 11.  As the one obscure entry on the list, and a band I didn't know, I thought the Groundhogs might have been a current local band that the list author just happened to know and like, but the song is from 1966 and I have to say it does rock.

There's no hardcore on the list, so it doesn't include Minor Threat, Husker Du, Government Issue, Bad Brains, or Black Flag among other potential contenders.  On the classic rock end of the spectrum, it doesn't include Zeppelin, The Stones, or The Who.  As much as I love the Kinks, I don't think you can really include them at the expense of the others.

I thought the AC/DC choice was interesting, and I was pleased to find affirmation in this video of somebody's top 10 AC/DC songs, which does not include "It’s A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock n Roll)".

The list had more proto-punk (MC5 and the Stooges) than punk (Ramones), and I think the Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop", while a perfectly peppy punk rock classic, is not as rockin' as the most rockin' New York Dolls, Clash, Jam, Pere Ubu, or Dead Boys from roughly the same period.

On the early end of the time spectrum, I was glad one commenter mentioned Link Wray.  What could be more rockin' than an instrumental so menacing it was banned.

 I'm not sure what to think of the lack of metal on the list, apart from Sabbath and Motorhead.  I guess a real metal head would have made it an all-metal list, and I find few people who only have a passing interest in metal.  I still would have had to give Metallica and Judas Priest some consideration.

Lastly, I must consider the Beatles, because I always, always consider the Beatles.  The candidate Beatles songs for such a list are probably "Come Together", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", and "Helter Skelter".  It's tempting to consider "Revolution" on the strength of the opening scream alone, but I am aware of the need to keep my Beatles-bias at least partially in check.

Then again, this is a list without Zeppelin, The Who, or The Stones.  I know I already said that, but I think you've got to figure out where they fit in before contemplating the Beatles.  Seriously, it's a very good list, but no Zeppelin.  I was feeling a lot better about the unusual inclusion of the Groundhogs before I began to stew about Zeppelin.  No Cream either.  You've got to think about Cream I think.  I'll stop now.  You could start though if you wanted.  This page is now open for comments.

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