Sunday, 15 June 2008

100 Rock Songs (1 To 10)

It was very difficult to whittle down my vast collection of rock music to a mere one hundred songs but I managed it. Here and for the next few posts, I will try to reveal those rock classics I have loved and still love over the decades. These songs are unbeatable in my eyes so here goes – again the order is chronological because as difficult as it was to trim the list to one hundred, it would be impossible to order them.

Enjoy …

(1) Led Zeppelin – Dazed And Confused

Led Zeppelin were one of the pioneers of rock music and, as this song demonstrates, have their roots firmly in blues music. Lyrically this song is a triumph. Robert Plant’s voice is at its brilliant best; Jimmy Page is a master on the guitar; John Paul Jones is a maestro on the bass guitar; Jon Bonham is a legend. Magnificent.

(2) Deep Purple – Child In Time

Talking of pioneers, Deep Purple are up there with Led Zeppelin. Deep Purple, whose career spans decades, were and are still one of my favourite bands of all time. Over the years, they have produced many classics songs. “Child In Time” is one of my favourites and epitomizes the band at their very best. Ian Gillan’s vocal range is immense and this song demonstrates this range to the full. Of all the line ups, the “Mark IV” is my favourite. Ritchie Blackmore shows why he is regarded as one of the top guitarists in the world, and is ably accompanied by Ian Paice, John Lord and Roger Glover. Legendary.

(3) Pink Floyd – One Of These Days

I first heard “One Of These Days” on a compilation album containing so-called “dance songs” by Pink Floyd, a band I would hardly describe as a creator of dance music. That said, the song does appeal to a wider range of people than your average Pink Floyd track, simply because you could dance to it, if you were so inclined, I guess. Personally I wouldn’t do so but that’s just me. The opening bass, drums and keyboard set the scene beautifully before the guitar joins the party. For me, the appeal is not the fact that it is a foot-tapper; there is a menacing undertone that becomes evident later on when the distorted vocal appears, for a few seconds only. Brilliant.

(4) Deep Purple – Highway Star

“Highway Star” is my favourite song by Deep Purple. Putting it simply this song is the quintessential classic rock track. I have been lucky enough to see the “Mark IV” line up perform the song in their later years, before Ritchie Blackmore called it a day finally, and it was the highlight of the concert for me. It does not get any better than this.

(5) Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven

This song is arguably Led Zeppelin at their peak. I can’t listen to this song without tears of pure joy running down my cheeks. From the faultless acoustic beginning, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page lead us through perfection and eventually the bass and drums join to help us all reach a crescendo of pure ecstasy of classic rock heaven. Wonderful.

(6) Alice Cooper – Elected

How can this song have passed me by for so many years? Well in 1972 when the song was released I was too young to appreciate it – in fact I don’t actually recall ever hearing it in the seventies. All that changed when I saw Alice Cooper live about six years ago. “Elected” was the encore and the die hard Alice Cooper fans almost exploded in rapture. I was so enthralled that I went on a crusade to discover this masterpiece and haven’t looked back since. Unbelievably good.

(7) Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick

“Thick As A Brick” isn’t just a song – it is a dazzling concept album, performed with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. It is a fun album from an eccentric rock star, the unique Ian Anderson. Sadly the excerpt below doesn’t do the album justice. You really must listen to it in its entirety to fully appreciate just how good it is. Magnificent.

(8) Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Black Sabbath are much maligned and extremely misunderstood. People who know nothing about the band and their origins just assume that the songs are played in satanic devil worship rituals. Those people should read about the band and listen to the music – especially the lyrics. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” is the best song the band has written, for me typifying why this legendary band has so many fans and are the inspiration for many later bands. Dark and scary!

(9) Pink Floyd - Money

The album “Dark Side Of The Moon” propelled Pink Floyd into the stratosphere. I love the album and “Money” is the biggest diamond amongst the gems. Dave Gilmour’s guitar work on the track is tremendous and invites every rock fan to pick up their air guitars. Breath-taking.

(10) Lynyrd Skynyrd - Freebird

“Freebird” is one of those songs that most people know or at least have heard of. Why? Well, simply because “Freebird” is one of the best classic rock anthems of all time. The first half of the song is a classic piece of melodic rock before in the second half, the band cranks up several gears and ascends into an epic guitar solo that takes the listener into rock heaven.

11 to 20 to follow ...

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