Rolling Stone Top 100 Pt. 14

78. The Stooges – Search and Destroy

Iggy Pop and the Stooges were progenitors of punk music and this song definitely shows it. The raw guitars and heavy distortion showed a willingness to push music outside of its comfort noise. The lyrics here also push people out of their comfort zone as they were inspired by news stories about the Vietnam War. The discordant yet rocking sounds definitely put me in mind of the subject matter. This kind of song inspired a lot of my favorites like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and Nirvana.

79. The Four Tops – Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I Got)

A true classic, that was actually another song recorded before the definitive version. The original version was recorded by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds about a year earlier which was just how things were done then, especially in the R&B genre. One thing about these singing groups is that it is hard to do research on the backing bands. The intro sounds like it could be strings (but it’s hard to tell) anyway it gives a bit of anticipation in the intro. The singing is in the spotlight here and Levi Stubbs does a great job leading while the others are in perfect harmony. 

80. Elvis Costello – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again

Yes, there are a ton of choices I could have made with really rocking tunes like Pump It Up, Radio Radio, or Watching the Detectives but I keep coming back to this recording. Technically, this is a Burt Bacharach song as sung by Elvis Costello. However, this recording is too charming not to mention. This comes from the soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me which is a really excellent soundtrack. Costello’s playful vocals mix really well with the soft horns and piano work. I also think the song has such good lyrics.

81. The Drifters – Under the Boardwalk

A song that my mom used to sing to me when I was a small child. This is a song that I will forever equate with summer and spending time in either Myrtle Beach or Ocean City, MD (the real Ocean City). I love the sort of swaying tone of the song which is both calm and catchy. I always thought that it was the perfect marriage of surf music and R&B. The song encapsulates a lot of what the summer feels like (even though it’s about a tryst literally under the boardwalk). The lead singer on this single was originally supposed to be Rudy Lewis but he died of a heroin overdose the day before the recording session. Johnny Moore stepped up to the plate in a major way and knocked it out of the park. 

82. Credence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising

I was absolutely obsessed with this song for a long time. It got me through some days laden with depressive episodes. It became my unofficial anthem as I often sang it just under my breath as I did a lot of physical labor. It would make me excited instead of tired. Of course, this was a song that I also heard from a young age as my mom was into a lot of southern rock. The guitar riff will live in my head forever and the bouncy lyrics work so well with it. It does not hurt that the song is often used for the soundtracks for a lot of supernatural movies and television shows. It makes sense as it is a song about portents of doom and mysticism. 

83. Eminem – Without Me

There is a lot to choose from as I have been a fan of Eminem’s music since he first showed up. I have not always been a fan of Marshall Mathers but Eminem/Slim Shady is different to me. I like the urgent pace of this particular track. Eminem is a brilliant lyricist as he has a wide-ranging vocabulary and touches on so many parts of pop culture. This track combines a neat horn riff, Eminem’s lyrics, a sort of singsong riff, and actual backing vocals. The music video also includes the highly memorable sight of Eminem dressed as Robin as he acts like a sidekick to Dr. Dre.

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