Rolling Stone Top 100 Pt. 9

  1. Run DMC – King of Rock

Run DMC had a pretty distinctive style that I would describe as bombastic and forceful. While some rappers embrace the harmonies of their poetry, Run DMC deliver their rhymes like slam poets, making you hear every single word. Probably more than most groups, they helped to bridge the gap between rap and rock and therefore the mainstream. The blending of the two is commonplace now but they collaborated with Aerosmith and the WWF. In fact, this song was later remixed for the WWF stable D Generation X. I love the beginning of this song as the MCs trade words. The rest of the song hits hard as a great brag and boast rap song. The guitar and drums add a great background that does not distract from the great rhymes.

  1. Elton John – I’m Still Standing

This has become a very personal song for me. In my life, I have suffered from anxiety and depression but I am still here and this song has always given me the strength to carry on and has allowed me to reflect on the good things. Part of it is how joyful Elton sounds as he sings instead of being angry and spiteful. We should cut away the bad parts of our lives with joy and not dwell in anger (if we can). The music video is a must-see. It is such a bouncy and fun song with great lyrics. I am happy to see the song getting more love in pop culture lately sung by Taron Egerton in both Rocketman and Sing. Still, Elton John is always best at this song and nothing can top his energy.

  1. The Band – Up On Cripple Creek

They did not have the most descriptive name but The Band definitely inspired a lot of other bands. This song definitely scratches that Southern Rock itch that I was born with. It also feels a bit like Hank Williams. I am always amazed at bands that have the drummer as the lead vocalist because I played drums and it took all of my concentration just to hit the right beats. The song feels really comfortable, talking about having a good time on vacation from the hard work of being a truck driver. I like how the lyrics wind and turn. Interestingly, one of the verses has the characters in the song commenting on Spike Jones, another great musician. I like when bands do that, paying tribute to other great acts.

  1. Pink Floyd – Money

I am not the biggest fan of Pink Floyd which I think is fair because their experimental sound made them kind of a polarizing group. I may not have liked their slower or more out there songs but the band was always interesting no matter what they were doing. This song is my favorite mainly for its rhythm which is immediately set up by the sound of a cash register and other sound effects used like an instrument before a guitar takes over. I also really love the lyrics as an anti-capitalist. “Money is a crime” resonated so much with me at a very formative time in my political evolution. The song was the band’s exploration of their own feelings about socialism which they ultimately rejected in favor of honestly pursuing a material life.

  1. Queen – Killer Queen

There was one point in high school when I was listening to a lot of Queen. Like many people of my generation, I was formally introduced to the band through the movie Wayne’s World. Greatest Hits was one of the first albums I ever bought with my own money saved from doing chores. I used to listen to that album a lot in the hallways at school and I fell in love with every single song. However, while friends might borrow the album to recreate the Wayne’s World scene, my favorite was always Killer Queen. I fell in love with the playful dynamics in Freddy’s vocals and the bouncy instrumentals. I also loved the description of this woman in the song and I liked imagining what she might be like.

  1. The Allman Brothers Band – Ramblin’ Man

This is a song that I have heard on the radio at least a thousand times in my lifetime and it never gets old. I can recognize it immediately from that initial guitar riff. From there the rhythm picks up and never slows down. It is a perfect driving song that just so happens to be about traveling. It is that romantic view of the drifter, the man who never stays in one place for too long. The guitar work is just so great and feels like sunshine. It is all the more impressive knowing that guitarist Dickie Betts is both playing and singing lead vocals at the same time. Lyrics that sound a bit like an American folktale. Just an all-over good song.

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