Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top 50 Favorite Songs

Here it is, my top 50 favorite songs. I've divided them haphazardly into categories. I made the decision not to include songs from musicals, cuz that gets into a completely different realm. I tried not to just think of songs that I really love now, but songs that I've loved a lot in the past and that still hold some significance for me now, if only because of my previous affection for them.

Some of them have a little explanation as to why they're one of my favorites, some don't.

A note for Annabee: the songs that I want played at my memorial service are italicized, since you asked "Do you have all the songs you want played at your memorial service on a playlist in your itunes so that we can find them?" Any of these songs are fair game for memorial services, though.


Songs We Sang
For most of these songs, my association is not with a specific recording, but with singing it with friends or family.
1.     Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – African American Spiritual
Sung to me as a lullaby when I was little. My favorite.
2.     His Eye Is On the Sparrow – Hymn, written by Civilla D. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel
I used to love this song when I was little, and always requested to sing it. At one point, my sister Laurel said “We can sing this song this one time, only if you promise that we won’t have to sing it for five more years.” At the time it seemed like a fair deal, so I took it. I don’t think I’ve sung this song since.
4.     Angel From Montgomery – written by John Prine, 1971
5.     River – written and performed by Bill Staines
      Powell House
6.     Let It Be – the Beatles
If I were to really give you my favorite version of this song, it would be a recording of my friend Chez singing it at my college meeting for worship. I don’t have a recording of that, unfortunately. The original is lovely and so is the version in Across the Universe.
7.     Oh Danny Boy - Fredrick Weatherly
This isn’t so much a song we sang as a song I played on the trombone when I was younger. The high note (tis I'll be HERE in sunshine or in shadow ) was just enough of a challenge to reach that I was inspired to practice my scales diligently. 
Here's a lovely trombone quartet playing the song.
The version of this song that I like is on a cassette tape given to my sister by our aunt a long long time ago. I guess the Pete Seeger one is okay too.
9.     By the Rivers of Babylon - by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton
I couldn't find a version of this that I liked on youtube. Sorry.
Before My Time Favorites (Songs that came out before I was born)
10.  Sounds of Silence – Simon and Garfunkle
I memorized this song word for word when I was six. 
11.  American Pie – Don McClean
Powell House tradition, plus Don McClean was from New Ro. 
12.   Obladi Oblada – the Beatles
Used to sing along and dance with my sisters to this one. 
13.   500 Miles – Peter, Paul, and Mary
Another one from Mom and Dad's record collection. 
14.  Redemption Song – Bob Marley
15.  Wild World – Cat Stevens
It may be condescending, but I still love it. 
16.  Don’t Think Twice – Bob Dylan
Possibly my favorite song of all time.
17.  Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
18.  Cry Baby – Janis Joplin
19.  Total Eclipse of theHeart – Bonnie Tyler
The music video is the most important part. 
20.  I Held Her in My Arms – the Violent Femmes
21.   Fire and Rain – James Taylor
22.  These Days – Nico
23.  Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin
24.  I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – the Proclaimers 

Everything Else (I’ve run out of categories, roughly in chronological order of when they came into my life)
25.  You Had Time – Ani DiFranco
This is from Out of Range, the first CD I ever bought with my own money, when I was ten years old.
26.  Walking on Broken Glass – Annie Lennox
27.  Jolene - Cake
Big Cake phase in middle school.
28.  All Over You – Live
"Borrowed" this cd from my sister and listened to it quite a bit at age 12. 
29.  Shower Head – Eve6
Another middle school favorite.
30.  Advance Cassette – Spoon
32.  Comptine D'uneAutre  L'apres Midi – Yann Tierson 
From my favorite movie, Amelie. 
33.  In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
34.  Delilah – the Dresden Dolls
Have to acknowledge my high school love for all things Dresden Dolls.
35.  One – Johnny Cash
So much better than the original.
36.  Behind These Hazel Eyes – Kelly Clarkson
For a glorious few months, this was my ringtone. 
37.  Don’t Die in Me – Mirah
38.  Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie – Joanna Newsom
39.  Straight Down – Huntsville Space and Rocket Center
An Earlham band, unfortunately not on Grooveshark...
40.  Last Stop: This Town – Eels
I would like to acknowledge the genius of this entire album: Electro-Shock Blues. As you will find if you clickey that link, it's an album about the suicide of his sister, and the death of his mum. Some of the lyrics are actually taken from his sister's journal. Depressing, yeah, but this album has some of the most poignant descriptions of the experience of mental illness and loss that I've ever come across. The song listed above is also super catchy!
41.  The World’s Greatest – Bonnie Prince Billy
 This is a cover of a song originally written and recorded by R. Kelly for the movie Ali (about Mohammed Ali). I like this version a lot, and it used to help me get ready to face Experimental Psychology in the morning.
42.  Nongqongqo (To Those WeLove) – Miriam Makeba
43.  I’m On a Boat – Lonely Island
Don't even front, you love it too. 
44.  Daylight – Matt and Kim
Possibly my theme song. 
45.  Hysteric (Acoustic) – the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
46.  Fake Empire – the National
My fall theme song.
47.  Helen – Horse Feathers
I don't like this song only because it has my name in it (I don't know any other songs with my name, though), but because it's quite pretty.
48.  Speechless – Lady Gaga
This song does not get as much attention as it should. 
49.  I Be Your Water – Sweet Honey in the Rock
50.  Never Quite Free – the Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats have been my favorite band since I was seventeen, so I have many favorite songs, but this may be my very favorite. Maybe.

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