Thursday, June 3, 2010


In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine's Editors published its list of the 500 greatest rock and roll songs of all time. At that time the Editor requested readers to submit their lists, which I did. I actually gave a great deal of thought to my list, because I have been a rock and roll aficionado since the 1950s (when my brother Norman put an aerial on the roof to enable us to listen to "race music" from WLAC), and I felt confident that I could tell the seminal influences throughout the years.

A new list was published this month. This year's list was compiled from surveys given to famous rock and roll performers for their opinions.

You can go to the website to see the entire list.


1. "Like A Rolling Stone"--Bob Dylan * * * * 1. "Like A Rolling Stone"--Bob Dylan
2. "I Can't Get No Satisfaction"--The Rolling Stones * * * * 2. "Heartbreak Hotel"--Elvis Presley
3. "Imagine"--John Lennon * * * * 3. "Johnny B. Goode"--Chuck Berry
4. "What's Going On"--Marvin Gaye * * * * 4. "Imagine"--John Lennon
5. "Respect"--Aretha Franklin * * * * 5. "I Can't Get No Satisfaction"--RollingStones
6. "Good Vibrations"--The Beach Boys * * * * 6. "That'll Be The Day"--Buddy Holly
7. "Johnny B. Goode"--Chuck Berry * * * * 7. "Good Vibrations"--The Beach Boys
8. "Hey Jude"--The Beatles * * * * 8. "Born To Run"--Bruce Springsteen
9. "Smells Like Teen Spirit"--Nirvana * * * * 9. "What's Going On"--Marvin Gaye
10. "What'd I Say"--Ray Charles * * * * 10. "Respect"--Aretha Franklin

I haven't changed my mind since 2004, although now I MIGHT substitute Buddy Holly for someone else. I was sad I couldn't elevate The Who, Sam Cooke, Little Richard and Jackie Wilson. In 2004, I was surprised how similar my list was with The Rolling Stone's list. In 2004, a friend of mine also compiled a list and she and I had lively discussions about our lists. I KEPT her list; it will be interesting to see if her 2010 list changes from 2004.

When I made my list, it consisted of the performers I believed who had had the greatest influence from the 1950s to the present and then I chose their most influential songs. My friend's list was similar to mine as we had nearly all of the same performers, but with different rankings. Although "Like A Rolling Stone" isn't my favorite Dylan song, I think it's his most influential, because that's when he went from folk to rock and Dylan thinks it's the best song he wrote, so who am I to quibble with Mr. Zimmerman? My friend's list had "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" as her all-time Number 1; she couldn't believe I had it as Number 5! I couldn't believe that any list could omit Elvis. My friend said, dismissively, "He didn't write anything!" I answered, "Neither did Aretha!" (#5 in her ranking) My friend asked how I could leave out the Beatles; my answer was that I thought Lennon was the most influential of the Beatles. She had The Beatles as Number 2 and Dylan as Number 3. I thought that Springsteen was the most influential after the 1950s and1960s performers. I felt that no list should be complete without The Beach Boys who had a significant influence on the Beatles, and no list should be complete without Chuck Berry, who influenced all the others!

I'm sure my brothers' lists will be very interesting as we are all FOSSILS (get it? OLD ROCKS--OLD ROCKERS! I'm sorry, sometimes I just can't help myself!).

1 comment:

Mona Lisa said...

How about Neil Young?