What's your favorite artist's worst song
A debut single is the first sentence in a conversation that should never end, because hearing a band get it right the first time is one of the most wonderful things in music. Unlike debut albums, there is a gray area in determining what constitutes debut singles. The American ROLLING STONE decided for this list that solo debuts by well-known artists do not count (classics such as Lauryn Hill's “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” or Snoop Dogg's “Who Am I (What’s My Name”).
Singles by bands, however, that contained established musicians (Public Image Ltd.), as well as those that had already released under a different name (Grateful Dead, CCR, New Order), were allowed. In addition, a number of lesser-known bands were given a place that weren't up and down on the radio. The resulting list is based heavily on songs that formed the foundation of great careers, although a few one-hot wonders have crept in as well.
100. Billy Ray Cyrus: "Achy Breaky Heart"
Lil Nas X knew exactly what he was doing when he recruited Billy Ray Cyrus to remix "Old Town Road". Back in 1992, Cyrus paved the way for country music with his own debut single. His recording of Don Von Tress "Achy Breaky Heart" - a goofy, grinning honky-tonk tune made up of two repeating chords - became a massive crossover blast and sparked interest in line dancing around the world. To the dismay of the staunch traditionalists, however. Those people were clearly in the minority as "Achy Breaky Heart" hit number four on the charts, went platinum, and helped change the evolution of country music.
99. The Zombies: "She’s Not There"
One of the catchiest hits of the British Invasion and one of the most innovative ones, which with its airy groove displaces the Beatlesque cheers from Colin Blunstone's gloomy performance, Rod Argent's creepy organ and a spiraling jazzy breakdown already seemed to hint at the psychedelic possibilities that the zombies had for several years would later explore on their classic LP "Odyssey and Oracle". "When I wrote and played She’s Not There, the last thing I thought about was Jazz or Miles," said Argent, "but those things got through."
98. Kesha: "Tik Tok"
The key to a Kesha party is simple: it never used much other than cheap beer, cute boys, and good music. That is the basis of "Tik Tok", her first official single (although she could be heard as a singer without credits on Flo Rida's hit "Right Round" in early 2009). The song is the perfect time capsule for sleazy electro-pop from the very beginning, with Kesha's rap singing in tune over a beeping club beat. It was a breath of accessible fresh air that kicked the pristine pop glamor that prevailed back then onto the curb with a cowboy boot. Bonus points: The opening line of the song, “Feelin‘ like P. Diddy ”, is accompanied by Diddy himself with ad lips.
97. The New Pornographers: "Letter from An Occupant"
"I don't know what a 'Letter from a Resident' is, but I hope I'll find out at some point," said Carl Newman of the New Pornographers. “It sounds like it should mean something.” The best power pop band of the 21st century got off to a brilliant start in 2000 with this signal of swirling guitar statics and overheated drums, driven by Neko Case's lead vocals. The members of the Pornographers had been around the Vancouver music scene for a while (Newman was at the helm of the fine nineties band Zumpano, Dan Bejar was in Destroyer, and Case was becoming a star of the old country scene) and they came together to create something that felt excitingly organic and exuberant. “Letter From an Occupant” set the indie rock world ablaze when they put down an outstanding hit on their almost perfect debut LP “Mass Romantic”.
96. Alabama Shakes: "Hold On"
"Bless my heart, bless my soul / Didn't think I'd make it to 22 years old": With these words, which are said to have been improvised on the spot during an early performance, the front woman of the Alabama Shakes has herself , Brittany Howard, carved a place in rock and roll history. Founded in the small town of Athens, Alabama, the 2012 Shakes were something of an anomaly - a rock band that could easily relate to the fifties and sixties without looking retro. Howard's voice sounded more like Prince or Nina Simone than anyone her age, and the song's message of perseverance and patience, delivered by a young woman as if in a mirror, lingers almost a decade later.
95th Dire Straits: "Sultans Of Swing"
One evening in the late 1970s, Mark Knopfler was having a beer at his local pub when a shitty band playing there caught his attention with their mediocrity. When they finished they introduced themselves as the sultans of swing, an idea that seemed absurd because they were so bad. So he wrote humorous lyrics about it, piecing them together into some jazz chords, and casually threw in one of the most brilliant guitar solos of the era. His "Sultans of Swing" presented the opposite experience of the sultans he saw that evening - clever, catchy, masterfully played music - and turned the Dire Straits into superstars.
94th Dinosaur Jr .: "Repulsion"
Punks from the wilderness of western Massachusetts who take a giant step into the forbidden territory of expressing real human feelings - quite a taboo for former hardcore guys back then. In Dinosaur's extremely influential summer '85 single, J. Mascis sings about loneliness with a guitar full of Neil Young melancholy and minor threat energy ("I feel your eyes upon me - how should I act today?"). Dinosaur soon lost the rights to their name and became Dinosaur Jr., which they are proud of to this day.
93. Tracy Chapman: "Fast Car"
"Somebody asked me what kind of car that was in this song," Chapman said to Rolling Stone at the time, laughing at the absurdity. “I think it was a Ram K car at first. And then it was a Toyota Corolla. ”The song is not about a car at all, but about a failed relationship and a woman trying to escape the cycle of poverty. So how did something so brutal and depressing become a top 10 hit? Chapman started out in the Boston folk scene before releasing "Fast Car" and "Talkin" 'Bout a Revolution "from their self-titled debut album in 1988. After she performed it on Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday that year, it exploded. Fast Car received two Grammy nominations - for Record of the Year and Song of the Year - and was named Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best New Artist for the single.
92. Roxy Music: "Virginia Plain"
Early 70s prog rock meets London glam and bubblegum pop for a radical three-minute musical manifesto. Bryan Ferry was an art school poseur and rising star - he failed his audition for King Crimson - when he designed this highly conceived promotional jingle for an imaginary cigarette brand. He sings "Virginia Plain" like an alien Sinatra, on Phil Manzanera's psychedelic guitar and Andy Mackay's oboe. Also, someone on the keyboards made hell hot: a beret-wearing Fop named Brian Eno, one of the first rock synthesizer heroes.
91. Roxanne Shanté: "Roxanne’s Revenge"
From the golden age of hip-hop: the Brooklyn group U.T.F.O. her song "Roxanne, Roxanne" could be heard everywhere on the radio. So a 14-year-old girl from a social housing estate decided to hit back with her own version, a freestyle she called "Roxanne’s Revenge". Shanté's dirty street hit sparked a wave of Roxanne singles as everyone tried to get into the story: "The Real Roxanne," "Sparky's Turn (Roxanne You're Through)," "Roxanne's A Man". But nobody surpassed Shanté, who is now hosting her own show on the LL Cool Js channel on SiriusXM.
90. The Weather Girls: "It's Raining Men"
Paul Jabara, songwriter for Donna Summer, knew he had a hit when he called his arranger in 1981 - Paul Shaffer before joining Letterman - and told him about the idea for the song. "Paul was openly gay and he said to me, I'll quote, 'The fagots will love it," "Shaffer told Rolling Stone in 2014. Summer, Cher, Diana Ross and Barbara Streisand all rejected the song. Former Sylcester backround singers Martha Wash and Izora Armstead and their catchy pop hit were quickly received by the LGBTQ community and Hollywood, selling six million copies worldwide. Wash told Rolling Stone in 2014, "It has become a song that grandparents, parents and children can all sing and dance to."
89. Destiny’s Child: "No, No, No"
Imagine the moment the world first heard the magical voices of LeToya, Kelly and LeTavia! All right, but right from the start, one member of the girl group was a little more equal than the others. “No, No, No” was Beyoncé's first trick when the band was still seen as the latest protégées of Wyclef Jean. Hearing the song today is like traveling back in time to a point where this was the only Beyoncè song anyone knew. It was still obvious that she had a lot on the box, and “No, No, No” debuted at number three on the charts. She could just do it from the start.
88. Pink Floyd: "Arnold Layne"
Pink Floyd were already legends in the London underground scene for their live psychedelic jams at the UFO club. But their first single was the happy (and very English) song "Arnold Layne". Syd Barrett wrote it Kinks-style as the story of a small town eccentric with a fetish for stealing women's underwear from the clothesline. As Syd explained at the time, it was all just kidding. "Arnold Layne happens to like women's clothes," he said. "A lot of people do that, so let's face reality."
87. Duran Duran: "Planet Earth"
The new romantic lifestyle was summed up in one song. Duran Duran made Planet Earth an anthem for dressing up, smearing lipstick and dancing all night with mysterious strangers, even if only in the privacy of your own mind. They set out to combine their two favorite bands in one song: Chic and the Sex Pistols. “Planet Earth” has the disco flash of the former (via the bass line of John Taylor) and the punk bravado of the latter - a real breakthrough. Taylor Swift's “New Romantics” is proof that this aesthetic will never die.
86. Public Image Ltd .: "Public Image"
The Sex Pistols were history, and Johnny Rotten - now mature enough to be referred to as "John Lydon" - knew what people thought of him, so he was ahead of history. "You never listened to a word that I said / You only seen me from the clothes that I wear," he sings over a smoothly sliding guitar riff that sounds like there are no worries in the world. Whatever you thought of Lydon, you were wrong. His new band, Public Image Ltd. showed that he was capable of far nicer things than the Pistols had ever dreamed of when he was in control. "The public image belongs to me," he sings. "It's my entrance, my own creation, my grand finale, my goodbye."
85. Weezer: "Undone - The Sweater Song"
Knitwear has never been more tragic than in Weezer's 1994 debut "The Sweater Song". The Malay-infused intro is through and through from the nineties, and the blaring, frugal guitar line is the blueprint for indie rock for decades to come. Rivers Cuomo sings like he's lying on his back in bed and about to have a nervous breakdown. The guitar feedback stands for the proverbial crash of today, when Cuomo gives in to fear and complains: "If you want to destroy my sweater / Hold this thread as I walk away." "The Sweater Song" is an interplay between boredom and breakdown and surpasses the old lovesickness, although it was definitely part of the time.
84. Jackson Browne: "Doctor My Eyes"
Right at the beginning, the pounding piano chords of “Doctor My Eyes” signaled great things for the blissfully depressed 24-year-old who was just streaming through the airwaves for the first time. His words about feeling tired and run down were masked by a sunny seventies rhythm - with Russ Kunkel on congas and David Crosby and Graham Nash as backing vocals - so much that it took quite a few listeners to do it to recognize the bleak lyrics of the upbeat song. Browne was two years away from releasing his masterpiece Late for the Sky, but this charmer hinted at the greatness that was yet to come.
83. The Raincoats: "Fairytale In The Supermarket"
A wildly experimental piece of news from a band of London punk women who trample clichés under their feet. Their rough trade single "Fairytale in the Supermarket" is ragged, rowdy, but full of humor in the strangely friendly voices. Ana Da Silva's guitar rattles over the high-speed power drone of Vicky Aspinall's violin, Gina Birch's bass and Palmolive's drums. The Raincoats sing about how to find out your identity, how to break free from misogynist traps and warn, “No one teaches you how to live!” As Birch says of the band in Jenn Pelly's book: “It was a homemade, chaotic one Sound. "
82. Mudhoney: "Touch Me I'm Sick"
With a rough guitar riff and shabby lyrics, "Touch Me I'm Sick" was really the first great grunge song. He starts with what sounds like a burp. A sound that can only be followed by front man Mark Arm singing about being an eccentric, sucker and sick person - “and I don't mind,” he sings at one point while trying to catch a young lady probably the worst pick-up ever to seduce: "Touch me I'm sick!". It turned out that it was the beginning of something wonderful. Cameron Crowe later chose the song for the film "Singles", in which Matt Dillon's fictional band, Citizen Dick, sings: "Touch me I'm Dick!"
81. M.I.A: "Galang"
Nothing sounded like "Galang" by M.I.A. in 2004. A minimalist collision of stuttering dancehall rhythms, buzzing electronic noises and Maya Arulpragasam's brash, slang-filled rap. “Galang” (co-written by Justine Frischmann from Elastica!) Was just as unique as it was danceable. It was also a big step forward for globally oriented pop music, because M.I.A. - an artist of Sri Lankan-Tamil descent who grew up in London - added a Caribbean patois to the chorus of the song. She delivered the whole thing with a punk attitude that matched her lyrical allusion to "London Calling" by The Clash, describing scenes of paranoia and violence that alternated dark and sexy. It was a fitting introduction to one of the most adventurous and provocative figures in pop music for the past decade and a half.
80th New Edition: "Candy Girl"
"Candy Girl" was a familiar echo of the early Jackson 5 hits - an "ABC" -like tune that was buffed up with the latest synthesizers, with sounding drum programming and an adorable silly rapped bridge. Ralph Tresvant gave his best impression of a young Michael, innocent and squeaky, while he exudes his charm like a Hallmark card: "You are my world / You look so sweet / You're a special treat." Edition actually her inspiration - "Candy Girl" was heard before Jackson's "Beat It" at number one on the R&B charts."That was amazing to me because I had watched the Jacksons and Michael Jacksons succeed for most of my life," said Ronnie Devoe, member of New Edition. "At that point I realized we had something to our own, and as long as we stick together and focus, we can hold out for a long time."
79. Archers Of Loaf: "Web In Front"
In the early 1990s, many indie bands were jumping all over the southern United States. Archers of Loaf turned out to be more catchy than most, because the brilliance of “Web in Front” is archetypal. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina pranksters debuted this two-minute punk marvel, the culmination of their 1993 highlight, Icky Mettle. “Web in Front” has snotty, easy vocals and a ragged, glorious pavement-style guitar clatter. It pounds with full conviction in the hook: "All I ever wanted was to be your spine."
78. Rihanna: "Pon De Replay"
Rihanna has lived a million different pop lives: EDM singer, rapper, soulful lady. Their 2005 debut was just the beginning of nearly two decades of party history. "Pon de Replay" is not only a product of the sonic fusion of dancehall and dance-pop of that time, but also a homage to their home town Barbados, whereby the title means "play it again" in Bajan Creole. It's her version of Madonna's "Music". Rihanna made demands that no DJ could resist. It was a big hit for her, but it's not even the biggest in their unmatched catalog.
77. Bo Diddley: "Bo Diddley"
Elias McDaniel transforms into the great Bo Diddley, a self-proclaimed "young gangster from Chicago" who rises from the South Side with his distorted guitar, his songs and his own razor-sharp beat. "The words were a little rough," Bo told Rolling Stone in 1987. "The text read: 'Bow-legged rooster told a cock-legged duck / Say, you ain't good lookin', but you sure can… crow." The old people didn't understand that. It took me about seven days to rewrite it and the song became 'Bo Diddley'. "
76. Sade: "Your Love Is King"
"I'm not over the top and I'm not crazy," Sade Adu (aka Sade) told Rolling Stone in 1985, a year after "Your Love Is King" became the urban opening shot of a unique four-decade career. "I'm pretty subtle and that's reflected in the way I sing". While Van Halen and Culture Club were fighting for the most popular song in the US, Stuart found Matthewman's jazz saxophone and Adu's singing - an intensely sultry coo that blends the romantic (“Crown you in my heart”) with the erotic (“I 'mmmmm commmmmminggggg') - their own place in the charts by foregoing bright synthesizers and drum machines in order to create a worldly, refined sound not seen in pop music at the time.
75th Toto: "Hold The Line"
Unpopular but true opinion: "Afrika" is only Toto second best song, because "Hold the Line" is even better. (Questions are not answered.) The guys in Toto were the crème de la crème of the L.A. studio pros of the 1970s, playing session after session. When they sought their own fortune and formed their own band, they opted for the golden ratio of 1970s rock. "Hold the Line" has a stuttering piano hook, Steve Lukather's power chords and a sad-but-true chorus: "Love isn’t always on time / Whoa, whoa, whoa."
74. Pet Shop Boys: "West End Girls"
Two of the stickiest English guys MTV had ever seen, with a synth-pop rap about gay cruising that went number one in the US, largely because it was cleverly disguised as an ode to shopping. Neil Tennant was already a well-known British pop critic when he formed this duo with Chris Lowe. The original 1984 West End Girls was a raw 12-inch club anthem starring producer Bobby Orlando, but the lush 1986 Stephen Hague production was the radio hit. They had just released their excellent new album "Hotspot". Cardi B has often cited the Pet Shop Boys as one of their great childhood influences.
73. Pylon: "Cool"
Pylon came from the southern boho scene in Athens, Georgia along with like-minded people like the B-52s and R.E.M. As R.E.M. Covered a Pylon song on Dead Letter Office, Peter Buck remarked, “I remember hearing your version on the radio the day 'Chronic Town' came out and suddenly I was depressed by how much better it was than our record. ”“ Cool ”is Southern Gothic post punk for boozy dance floors, where Vanessa Briscoe Hay sings the art school sex magic (“ Pure form! Real gone! Like wiiiild! Good viiiibes ”!) over the rhythm guitar.
72. Pere Ubu: "Heart Of Darkness"
A Cleveland garage band sent a roar from the mid-1970s industrial wasteland of the Midwest. Pere Ubu released "Heart of Darkness" on their own Hearthan label in December 1975, an obscurity that nonetheless continued to reach like-minded bands and listeners around the world. "Heart of Darkness" is a complete psychodestructive breakdown - a hypnotic bass line, primitive synthesizer swoops, Crocus Behemoth's paranoid whispers and the doomed Peter Laughner's proto-punk guitar.
71. Nas: "Halftime"
Eighteen months before “Illmatic”, 19-year-old rapper Nasty Nas recorded this Zebrahead soundtrack, which would later become the debut single on his groundbreaking album. Producer Crate Digger and Large Professor, another friend who later introduced Nas to many producers of "Illmatic" - tinkered everything from the Average White Band to the Japanese line-up of Hair to a beat that was almost reminiscent of Busta Rhymes. But it was Na's tenacity and his raw emphasis on every syllable that drooled New York hip-hop fans. "The idea behind this was that it was like taking a break for rap music because something new is being introduced," Nas told Rolling Stone in 2014. “I knew I was on to something and I knew it would be well received. You just know. "
70th Greatful Dead: "Golden Road"
When the Grateful Dead released their debut album, the record company had a question: where was the single? The band didn't have any. So they found one and conjured up a downright perfect, easy two-minute rock'n'roll song for the special purpose of making a single. "The Golden Road" was a total coincidence - they stopped playing it live in 1967 - but it's as catchy as "Prime Monkees" when Pigpen freaked out on his Vox Continental and Jerry Garcia freaked Mick Jagger with the dancing hippie girls hung up. (“Take off your shoes, chiiiild!”) It is an experiment that the band never tried again - the golden path was not taken.
69. Boogie Down Productions: "South Bronx"
"Now way back in the day when hip-hop began," KRS-One rapped on BDP-Bowshot's first release, which tells a vivid story of his teenage years during the earliest golden days of rap. DJ Scott La Rock looped a James Brown sample to a badass beat as the Blastmaster pounced on the rising borough of Queens to represent the Bronx in New York regional domination. The beef was on fire, but it's the loving sense of history and hyperlocal pride that make the record so great. KRS-One would be an essential torchbearer of the hip-hop faith for many years to come.
68. A Tribe Called Quest: "Description Of A Fool"
In 1990, few rappers other than Q-Tip could use words like “doltishly” and “big galoot” in the same song. On Tribe Called Quest's debut album, Tip denounces toxic masculinity, drug dealers and domestic abusers (“Who would love a woman, turn around and abuse her?” Asks the rapper. “Only a fool as described by the Tribe”). The whole thing on a driving track, which is anchored by a sample of Roy Ayer's jazz-funk hit "Running Away" from 1977. The group wasn't to be successful until the next single, "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo," was released, but the jazz-rap hybrid that the group pioneered begins here.
67th Gang Of Four: "Damaged Goods"
There is no other way of saying it: “Damaged Goods” is hot! Much like the rest of Gang of Four's 1979 debut album, "Entertainment!" But if you're looking for a catchy way to get the post-punk quartet's perfect mix of rock growl and danceable groove, you'll find it here in three and a half minutes. Andy Gill's lightning guitar wraps around Dave Allen's bass line and Hugo Burham's feverish drums so neatly that it's hard to find the end of the knot to pull, and Jon King's barking, satirical message of sexual entitlement still feels present to this day.
66. Billie Eilish: "Ocean Eyes"
This is the stuff dreams are made of. At that time still 14 years old, Eilish sang the opening lines "I've been watching you / For some time / Can't stop start / At those oceans eyes", which her older brother Finneas, who was also a teenager at the time, wrote and produced. Originally intended for their dance teacher who asked for a song to choreograph a routine, they uploaded it to SoundCloud for the teacher to access. After going viral, a music video directed by Megan Thompson was released in March 2016, before being officially released on streaming services later in November. As Eilish told Teen Vogue in 2017, “Danny Ruckasin, who is now my manager, reached out to my brother and said, 'Dude, this is going to be a huge thing and I think you will need help with it. I want to help you guys. We said: "This is awesome!"
65. Maren Morris: "My Church"
Texas-born Maren Morris, 26, took country radio by storm with an ode to the spiritual power of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams performed over a pounding beat and backed up by a laudatory choir that took their spirits high kicked. The subject wasn't new, but the passion and belief of their performance definitely was. After years of writing for other artists, and after some of her independent releases (none of the official singles), it could be heard how she finally took the chance to include her own voice in the canon of car radio legends she adored. In fact, “My Church” set the table for their debut LP “Hero” and other hits that established Morris as a Nashville star who ignored the Nashville rules.
64th Mission Of Burma: "Academy Fight Song"
The members of the pioneering Boston-based band have always been art-rockers at heart - as bassist Clint Conley said, "I think we're just a secret prog rock act that happened during punk." Her 1980 indie single, Academy Fight Song, was an explosion of guitar rage, full of punk menace, but devoid of pose. ("I'm not judging you, I'm judging me" was a line that was years ahead of its time.) On the other hand, guitarist Roger Miller and drummer Peter Prescott drove the Dada trip. The single was just a taste of the Burmese sound - ignored at the time, but influential since then. "Being upset really helps me," Miller told Rolling Stone in 2012. "The stuff just explodes."
63. Lana Del Rey: "Video Games"
Self-titled "Gangster Nancy Sinatra" took the internet by storm when her mysterious debut "Video Games" spread across the internet. While she became a blueprint for many of the great stars who appeared in her wake, there was no one like her at the time who could draw on both the history of jazzy torch songs and modern rap production. In the song, Del Rey longs for a man to ignore her. Her allusion to playing video games feels almost anachronistic to the nostalgic sound, but only Del Rey could make it work. The song, video, and Del Rey's own aesthetic sparked a million debates about her authenticity, but it only amplified the sound she introduced almost a decade ago.
62. Aerosmith: "Dream On"
Aerosmith kicked off their career in 1973 with an outsider anthem about feeling old and tired while waiting for the big break ... and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy because "Dream On" didn't become a hit until two years later, when it was republished. Luckily for Steven Tyler, who drew the musical inspiration for the baroque arrangement of the song from his childhood. As he hung under his father's piano and heard Papa Tyler play classical music, he had the foresight to include the lyrics, "Dream until your dream come true," because this mantra gave them the perseverance they needed to hold on to eventually reaching fame obtained.
61. De La Soul: "Plug Tunin '"
"That was an important record," De La Souls Trugoy told Rolling Stone, "because I think it kind of highlighted how we wanted to approach writing rhymes in terms of style." Mission accomplished. Rhymes like "Motions of the Soul is a positive stride / One step forward is the space we consume / Vivid as the moon, you have yet to take yet to assume / How the Soul found the motto of a naughty noise called / Plug Tuning" “Mismatched late eighties rap, parodied MC boasting and took our collective consciousness to a higher level via Prince Paul's wonderfully blurry beat. De La Soul's psychedelic hip-hop gospel was truly revolutionary and inspired a whole new movement of playful positivity.
60th Bauhaus: "Bela Lugosi’s Dead"
The gothic national anthem - all over the world, when a club DJ drops the needle on "Bela Lugosi's Dead", the children of the evening take over the dance floor. Bauhaus had only existed for a few weeks when they recorded this morbid single, which stretches for almost 10 minutes on a groove that combines post-punk, dub reggae and vampire films, with Peter Murphy's grave voice singing "Undead, undead, undead". The bats have left the bell tower!
59. Television: "Little Johnny Jewel"
Television started the NYC punk scene in the CBGB - but the guitar jam "Little Johnny Jewel" was closer to the Grateful Dead than the Ramones. As Tom Verlaine said, “Lou Reed asked me, 'Why did you put this song out? It's not a hit. I said, 'What band playing in a New York bar with their own single is going to have a hit?' ”“ Little Johnny Jewel ”was a showcase for the urban filth in their guitars - check out the definitive brain-wrecking one , 12-minute version from 1978 on "Live at the Old Waldorf". Television are still taking this song to cosmic heights on stage.
58. Metallica: "Whiplash"
Nobody knew who Metallica were when they wrote “Whiplash”, an ode to the power of their music. Fortunately, they had enough vision to know what effect their hyper-fast, locomotor pounding riffs and lightning-fast guitar solos would have on young Thrashers: "Bang your head against the stage like you never did before," sings James Hetfield. “Make it ring, make it bleed, make it really sore.” They actually wanted their fans to be hospitalized with whiplash or (probably) brain damage, and they knew even then that they would build a life out of their noise where Hetfield promised: "We will never stop, we will never stop because we are Metallica."
57. Spoonie Gee: "Spoonin‘ Rap "
Spoonie Gee was one of the old school rap pioneers, a Harlem MC with a woman-man style but with his own subtle edge. His epoch-making debut single from 1979, "Spoonin‘ Rap ", set the tone for hip-hop of the eighties.Over the decade it has consistently scored hits, and wherever there was something going on on the east coast - Sugarhill, Enjoy, Marley Marl, Teddy Riley - Spoonie Gee was there. Best moment: "I jumped the turnstile one summer day / I seen the cop and then I ran away / He pulled his gun but he did not shoot / So come on everybody, let's Patty Duke."
56. Hanson: "MMMBop"
Some sad souls may have mocked it as Hokey Cheese, but for the rest of us, the magic of Zac, Isaac, and Taylor Hanson's singalong masterpiece was simply undeniable. A blast before the word even existed, “MMMBop” is bright Archies bubblegum pop upheld by the optimism of the 1990s. It also consists of mostly nonsensical texts ("In an mmmbop they're gone!"), Which are proudly performed by a group of siblings from Oklahoma who harmonized like the Beatles. Do you need more credibility? The architects of Becks "Odelay", the Dust brothers, produced it.
55. Boston: "More Than A Feeling"
Tom Scholz of Boston is one of rock's greatest studio artists - a musical and technical wizard capable of all sorts of complex tricks, but whose real genius was his ability to cast it all into something simple and timeless. It is captured in “More Than a Feeling”, one of the greatest arena rock anthems of the seventies, an ongoing song about the power of persistent songs. It's peppered with Proggy catchy tunes and driven by the kind of vocal performance by Brad Delp, where one moment you think: "I could do that" and the next moment: "I absolutely couldn't do that". And of course at the beating heart of the song, these four simple power chords, a spinning progression that digs deeper into your brain every time you listen. Who could ever blame Kurt Cobain for choosing to weave the song into "Smells Like Teen Spirit"?
54. The Monkees: "Last Train To Clarksville"
In the summer of 1966, Micky Dolenz entered Studio A at RCA Victor Studios in Los Angeles to sing a song for a new sitcom he had just pulled ashore with three other photogenic musician-actors. "Last Train to Clarksville," written by the duo Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, is a deceptively dark bubblegum tune about a man who makes his way to an army base in Clarksville after being drafted for the Vietnam War. "I was always surprised that the record company even released it," said Dolenz in 2016, "unless it just got over their heads". It also got on the minds of teenagers across America who helped make it number one in November 1966. It was the beginning of the Monkee mania.
53. Alicia Keys: "Fallin '"
"I felt bad," said Keys about the difficult relationship that "Fallin '" inspired, "but it helped me sort things out." She poured her feelings into this titanic piano ballad. At just 20 years old, Keys was an R&B singer who was not afraid to showcase her classical prowess and very old-fashioned tastes by drawing on influences stretching back through decades of soul, gospel and classical music ( "I love Chopin," she told an interviewer, "he's my buddy") while still creating something that felt vibrantly new.
52. Booker And The MG’s: "Green Onions"
This 12-bar blues vamp from Stax's budding house band Booker T. and the MGs contained a deceptively complex riff from band leader Booker T. Jones. “What if the lower bass note goes up, while the upper note of the triad goes down, like in the Bach fugues and cantatas,” the keyboardist remembers when the song came about. "Green Onions", which soon became a pop hit, changed the face of Stax records and brought the Memphis sound to the world.
51. Aaliyah: "Back And Forth"
"Back and Forth" is a perfect distillation of the Aaliyah sound: the production consists of jagged edges, from the cutting synthesizer to the hard snare hits high up in the mix, and Aaliyah's devious vocals cover those sharp corners like waves on the beach and make them gradually smooth as glass. The beats got more and more exciting as their careers progressed, and Timbaland became their actual producer, which only made the contrast more appealing - why is the beat working so hard while Aaliyah barely seems to break a sweat? In “Back and Forth” there are hints of Zhane's “Hey Mr. DJ”, a party anthem that was released eight months earlier; like many successful R&B singers, Aaliyah knew that the best place to win your audience with a debut single was in the club. “It's not a song about love or whatever; it's about going to a party and having fun, ”said Aaliyah. "I have songs about love, crushes or whatever, but this song is about dancing."
50. The Knack: "My Sharona"
A dazzling, breathtaking force of new wave guitar lust, full of shameless sex laughter. The Knack emerged from L.A. in the summer of 1979; as the late, great Doug Fieger told Rolling Stone, they were "a legitimate rock and roll band from the streets of Hollywood". They were number one for six weeks with an ode to Fieger's real life friend who is now one of L.A.'s most famous real estate agents. “Sharona was 17,” he said. “I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14 year old boy. It's just an honest song about a 14 year old boy. ”Weird Al turned it into“ My Bologna ”; Cheech and Chong turned it into "My Scrotum."
49. LL Cool J: "I Need A Beat"
LL Cool J was only 17 when he started out as an MC without a beat. Fortunately, he befriended ad rock by the Beastie Boys, who passed his demo on to Rick Rubin - the man responsible for writing the music for "I Need a Beat" so that LL Cool J could find his true calling. "I'm your vocalist, your party therapist, beat programmer, and lyricist," he raps over Rubin's violently beating bass drum and screeching gusts of wind. "I would say that LL was a kind of nerdy 16-year-old kid back then," Rubin recalls when the title came about. "He's one of the harder-working artists I've worked with."
48. Patti Smith: "Hey Joe" / "Piss Factory"
Patti Smith was just a boho poet on the NYC scene who stayed at the Chelsea Hotel and wrote music reviews for Rolling Stone and Creem. She still knew she was born to be a rock star. She began performing her songs at poetry readings, with Lenny Kaye on guitar and Richard Sohl on piano. "Piss Factory" is her autobiographical rant about working in a factory in South Jersey as a teenager and high school dropout. On the A-side, she turns “Hey Joe” into a lament about the kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst with her muse Tom Verlaine's guitar.
47. Eric B And Rakim: "Eric B Is President"
"If you gave me the hip-hop magic wand and asked me to draw the line in the sand that would define the moment when hip-hop entered postmodernism, this song would have to be my choice," Questlove once explained. Producer Marly Marl's beat added the joy of funky samples, including James Brown's “Funky President” and the Nixon-era honeydripper classic “Impeach the President,” and Rakim, the greatest rapper of the eighties, maintained his presence cold look and authority, even when he dropped the hilarious weird lines "You scream I'm lazy? / You must be crazy / Thought I was a donut, you tried to glaze me".
46. X-Ray Spex: “Oh bondage! Up Yours! "
London punk at its hottest and funniest form, from a band led by a braced teenage rebel named Poly Styrene. It starts with Poly, who mumbles: “Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard. But I think… ”Then she yells:“ Oh bondage, up yours! 1-2-3-4! ”It's all feminist-punk adrenaline, and her buddy Lora Logic honks on the saxophone. X-Ray Spex disintegrated after a classic, the 1978 album Germfree Adolescents; Poly Styrene died of cancer in 2011 at the age of only 53. But her Day Glo spirit lives on in “Oh Bondage! Up Yours! ”Continues.
45. LCD sound system: "Losing My Edge"
Great launches are seldom inspired by inevitable obsolescence. James Murphy has said that LCD Soundsystem's “Losing My Edge” stems from the internal turmoil he felt when younger DJs started discrediting his sets. The song expertly channels the initial outburst of anger into the inner monologue of a neurotic music nerd. Murphy cleverly buries this person - and effectively himself - under the weight of the song's references, but the track really works because of the kind of empathy and compassion that should be central to the big tent dance punk of LCD Soundsystem. When Murphy is concerned about "the better looking people with better ideas and more talent" he can't help but blare out, "And they're really, really nice."
44. The Replacements: "I'm In Trouble" / "If Only You Were Lonely"
The Replacements were just a crew of hardcore Minnesota bad guys when they put out I'm in Trouble. ("Spend my cash, waste my time, take out the trash, not this time.") As Paul Westerberg told Rolling Stone in 1986, "I'm in Trouble" was the first good song he ever wrote. "It was melodic and it rocked," he said. “It was everything I wanted and it was easy to write, although I still violate bridge every time we play it. I'm not kidding you. We've been playing it for six years and when we get to bridge I'm still not sure if it's a B or an A chord. Every goddamn time. ”Fans who switched to the B-side got a surprise: Westerberg's half-baked honky-tonk ballad“ If Only You Were Lonely ”.
43. Madonna: "Everybody"
"Everybody" stood out on a four-song demo promoted by the extremely ambitious young singer in 1982. A DJ friend noticed the song, which played in his sets in the famous New York Danceteria. Madonna wanted to move on to bigger things and sharper material quickly, but the song shaped the exuberant electro-pop sound of her early classic hits and eventually landed in the top five on the Billboard dance charts after Sire Records released it as their debut single. As Sire's founder and president Seymour Stein later recalled, "I would have gone to the bank and withdrawn my own money to sign them if I had to".
42. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Hey Joe"
The origins of “Hey Joe” are murky - Hendrix's debut single credits the tune as “traditional”, but later pressings cited Billy Roberts who had copyrighted the sequence in 1962 - Hendrix made it his own regardless. From the coolness of the way he sings “I'm going down to shoot my old lady / I caught her messing 'round with another man… and that ain't too cool” to the way he turns the song into a devastating one , building up remorseful guitar solo, Hendrix's recording was emotional, denominational, and masterful, and it made him an instant star when it came out in the UK.
41st Joy Division: "Digital"
In 1978 Joy Division were still children from Manchester who had already recorded demos for an album as a punk band called Warsaw. They did "digital" with producer Martin Hammett, who used his brand new AMS Digital Delay to create one of the most influential drum sounds of the 1970s, with Ian Curtis pleading, "Don't ever fade away." For them, "Digital" was a double EP sampler from Factory Records with two singles from four bands each - Tony Wilson had just started his Factory label, but he was already in a league of his own when it came to brilliantly complex collector baits. Packaging went. As Joy Division bassist Peter Hook later said, “We were wasting the chance to have a hit single. Certainly not the smartest move in the world ”.
40. Blondie: "X Offender"
Only Debbie Harry could turn the story of blondie bassist Gary Valentine, who was charged with rape at the age of 17 after impregnating his underage girlfriend, into a sexy girl group-inspired romp about a prostitute seducing a cop, transform. Although the song had a catchy Shangri-Las feel to it, with Harry singing the heart out of her with lines like "You wanted the love of a sex offender," the track wasn't a hit. But it established Blondie's aesthetic with a playful wink.
39. Black Flag: "Nervous Breakdown"
Black Flag’s debut single “Nervous Breakdown” from 1979 only lasts two minutes, with the band's desperate front man Keith Morris crowning his appearance with the scream “I just wanna diiiie”. When he gets there, you feel like you've been thrown through a meat grinder. It felt like a lot more than punk. Where the Ramones had approached the genre with fun and without exclusion three years earlier, Black Flag hated everything, including itself, and wanted to tear everything to pieces to give birth to hardcore. “I'm not going to apologize for stepping out of line,” Morris sang, and he has never said “sorry” since.
38. One Direction: "What Makes You Beautiful"
Every boy band has a song that reminds a girl that she is special and beautiful to her. One Direction started their entire careers with exactly this statement: "What Makes You Beautiful" is a pop confection that is about how perfect you are for them. It was the ideal introduction for these five boys to a heavenly, playful, guitar and cowbell carried anthem built to be sung back to the boys by thousands of screaming girls in a stadium. Though One Direction split up to pursue solo careers, this impeccable debut remains hugely popular with former members, and most of them have performed the song on solo shows to the thrill of their longtime fans.
37th Wu-Tan Clan: "Protect Ya Neck"
In 1992, eight men walked into Firehouse Studios in New York, paid the owner $ 300 (in quarter-dollar coins!) And came out with some of the rawest and most original verse ever recorded. "There were so many people in the control room and everyone had an opinion," said Firehouse sound engineer Blaise Dupuy in 2018. Supported by a low-budget video that looked like a fly on the wall, the song was supposed to be the template of the Set group for decades. Almost 30 years later, it's easy to see why Questlove called the song the "purest uncut entry" on their list of top hip-hop songs of all time.
36. The Eagles: "Take It Easy"
Nothing heralded the carefree wave of Californian 70s rock like “Take It Easy”, written by the two kings of the genre: Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. The Eagles emerged from Linda Ronstadt's backing band, and "Take It Easy" showed off their skills as a standalone rock group, from Don Henley's drums to Bernie Leadon's boisterous banjo. With “Take It Easy” they set the tone for the whole of Los Angeles at the beginning of the decade, where peaceful, laid-back people took peyote, hung out in the desert and pushed it to the limit one or more times.
35. Frank Ocean: "Novacane"
In a way, Frank Ocean's “Novacane” was a false advertisement.Released the same year that The Weeknd caught critics' attention during the so-called “PBR & B” wave, Ocean's LA noir tale about a sedative interaction with a dentistry student at Coachella appeared like a sibling to Abel Tesfaye's drug-operated, “ghostly strip club "-Aesthetics. But “Novacane” does not indulge itself in the intoxication; Much like any attempt at a failed human connection, it hypnotizes you before it hollowed you out. It was just a taste of Ocean's brilliantly enigmatic work to come.
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