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The Top 155 Songs by American Artists According to 5 Middle-Aged Idiots (1 Viewer)

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
2


Dr. Octopus:


Hot Burrito #1 – The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Flying Burrito Brothers are an American country rock band, best known for their influential 1969 debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin. Although the group is perhaps best known for its connection to band founders Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman (formerly of The Byrds)


Jeb

Jesus Just Left Chicago – ZZ Top

"Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" are two songs by American rock band ZZ Top from their 1973 album Tres Hombres. The two songs open the album, segued into each other, and for years radio stations played the two tracks together. "Waitin' for the Bus" was written solely by Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill, while "Jesus Just Left Chicago" was also co-written by drummer Frank Beard.


Scooter:

American Pie – Don McLean

The repeated phrase "the day the music died" refers to a plane crash in 1959 that killed early rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, ending the era of early rock and roll; this became the popular nickname for that crash.


Doug:

Wild Flowers – Tom Petty

The song has gone on to become one of the most beloved in Petty's catalog. Petty also stated "Wildflowers" was easy to write and compose. It was one of the non-singles which were included on the compilation The Best of Everything.



Chap:

I
n Memory of Elizabeth ReedAllman Brothers Band

"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" is an instrumental composition by the American group The Allman Brothers Band. It first appeared on their second studio album, Idlewild South (1970), released on Capricorn Records. The jazz-influenced piece was written by guitarist Dickey Betts, among his first writing credits for the group. Betts named it after a headstone he saw for Elizabeth Jones Reed Napier in Rose Hill Cemetery in the band's hometown of Macon, Georgia.
 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
2


Dr. Octopus:


Hot Burrito #1 – The Flying Burrito Brothers

The Flying Burrito Brothers are an American country rock band, best known for their influential 1969 debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin. Although the group is perhaps best known for its connection to band founders Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman (formerly of The Byrds)


Jeb

Jesus Just Left Chicago – ZZ Top

"Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" are two songs by American rock band ZZ Top from their 1973 album Tres Hombres. The two songs open the album, segued into each other, and for years radio stations played the two tracks together. "Waitin' for the Bus" was written solely by Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill, while "Jesus Just Left Chicago" was also co-written by drummer Frank Beard.


Scooter:

American Pie – Don McLean

The repeated phrase "the day the music died" refers to a plane crash in 1959 that killed early rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, ending the era of early rock and roll; this became the popular nickname for that crash.


Doug:

Wild Flowers – Tom Petty

The song has gone on to become one of the most beloved in Petty's catalog. Petty also stated "Wildflowers" was easy to write and compose. It was one of the non-singles which were included on the compilation The Best of Everything.



Chap:

I
n Memory of Elizabeth ReedAllman Brothers Band

"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" is an instrumental composition by the American group The Allman Brothers Band. It first appeared on their second studio album, Idlewild South (1970), released on Capricorn Records. The jazz-influenced piece was written by guitarist Dickey Betts, among his first writing credits for the group. Betts named it after a headstone he saw for Elizabeth Jones Reed Napier in Rose Hill Cemetery in the band's hometown of Macon, Georgia.
Whoa. This one's hard to rank. I bet simey wishes she were here for it.

Ok........(blows in)

1. "Jesus Just Left Chicago". Me to myself: Uruk, when in doubt go with the blues. The ZZs crush it. I know they are not to everyone's tastes, but this was a fine band.

2. "Elizabeth Reed". This is like ABB just throwing big middle fingers at every British art rocker and saying "we can do this better than you". It's far from my favorite ABB record, but it's better than any prog song from that era. Because they didn't forget their roots.

3. "Hot Burrito". I don't know that rock or country knew what to do with Gram. It took another 25 years or so until the alt-country bands came along to reckon with it. I'm not sure any of them made a song this devastating.

4. "American Pie". This is one of the weirdest records to ever top the charts. It's good, though - really good. The 45 version is an abomination, because it cuts out half of the story.

5. "Wild Flowers". On many days, all I want to hear is this song. There are other days when I want to run from it. I can't accurately judge this record.
 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
The Allmans win this round for me by a lot, because Liz Reed is one of my favorite songs by anyone regardless of genre or instrumental/vocal distinction. Into the top 10 of my ranking of your rankings. I would NOT have expected Chap to pick this given his '70s cheese shtick.

Hot Burrito #1 is devastating and gorgeous. (Though I think Hot Burrito #2 is even better.) You can't go wrong with anything from the first two Burritos albums.

Jesus Just Left Chicago is gritty in all the best ways. I have it ranked closely to La Grange.

I wouldn't have the title track of Wildflowers in my top 10 Petty, but it's a damn fine song.

American Pie is an unusual achievement. But at this point it's so overplayed that it's in my Take It Easy/Truckin'/Piano Man category.
 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
1


Dr. Octopus:

God Only Knows – The Beach Boys


"God Only Knows" is a song by American rock band the Beach Boys from their 1966 album Pet Sounds. Written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, it is a Baroque-style love song distinguished for its harmonic innovation and its subversion of typical pop music formula. It is often praised as one of the greatest songs ever written and as the Beach Boys' finest record.


Jeb

We’re An American Band – Grand Funk Railroad

Brewer's lyrics are somewhat autobiographical, detailing the band's recent tour and their energetic live performances. In the song, Brewer mentions playing poker with blues great Freddie King, traveling through Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as stopping to party with four groupies who snuck into their hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. The lyrics also mention "sweet sweet Connie", in reference to the legendary Arkansas groupie Connie Hamzy.


Scooter:

Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd

According to guitarist Gary Rossington, for two years after Allen Collins wrote the initial chords, vocalist Ronnie Van Zant insisted that there were too many for him to create a melody in the belief that the melody needed to change alongside the chords. After Collins played the unused sequence at rehearsal one day, Van Zant asked him to repeat it, then wrote out the melody and lyrics in three or four minutes. The guitar solos that finish the song were added originally to give Van Zant a chance to rest, as the band was playing several sets per night at clubs at the time. Soon afterward, the band learned piano-playing roadie Billy Powell had written an introduction to the song; upon hearing it, they included it as the finishing touch and had him formally join as their keyboardist.


Doug:


Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen

Written in the first person, the song is a love letter to a girl named Wendy, for whom the hot rod-riding protagonist seems to possess the passion to love, just not the patience. However, Springsteen has noted that it has a much simpler core: getting out of Freehold. U.S. Route 9, a highway passing through Freehold, is mentioned from the lyric "sprung from cages out on Highway 9".


Chap:

Jessica – Allman Brothers Band

"Jessica" is an instrumental piece by American rock band the Allman Brothers Band, released in December 1973 as the second single from the group's fourth studio album, Brothers and Sisters (1973). Written by guitarist Dickey Betts, the song is a tribute to Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, in that it was designed to be played using only two fingers on the left hand.
 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
1


Dr. Octopus:

God Only Knows – The Beach Boys


"God Only Knows" is a song by American rock band the Beach Boys from their 1966 album Pet Sounds. Written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, it is a Baroque-style love song distinguished for its harmonic innovation and its subversion of typical pop music formula. It is often praised as one of the greatest songs ever written and as the Beach Boys' finest record.


Jeb

We’re An American Band – Grand Funk Railroad

Brewer's lyrics are somewhat autobiographical, detailing the band's recent tour and their energetic live performances. In the song, Brewer mentions playing poker with blues great Freddie King, traveling through Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as stopping to party with four groupies who snuck into their hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. The lyrics also mention "sweet sweet Connie", in reference to the legendary Arkansas groupie Connie Hamzy.


Scooter:

Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd

According to guitarist Gary Rossington, for two years after Allen Collins wrote the initial chords, vocalist Ronnie Van Zant insisted that there were too many for him to create a melody in the belief that the melody needed to change alongside the chords. After Collins played the unused sequence at rehearsal one day, Van Zant asked him to repeat it, then wrote out the melody and lyrics in three or four minutes. The guitar solos that finish the song were added originally to give Van Zant a chance to rest, as the band was playing several sets per night at clubs at the time. Soon afterward, the band learned piano-playing roadie Billy Powell had written an introduction to the song; upon hearing it, they included it as the finishing touch and had him formally join as their keyboardist.


Doug:


Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen

Written in the first person, the song is a love letter to a girl named Wendy, for whom the hot rod-riding protagonist seems to possess the passion to love, just not the patience. However, Springsteen has noted that it has a much simpler core: getting out of Freehold. U.S. Route 9, a highway passing through Freehold, is mentioned from the lyric "sprung from cages out on Highway 9".


Chap:

Jessica – Allman Brothers Band

"Jessica" is an instrumental piece by American rock band the Allman Brothers Band, released in December 1973 as the second single from the group's fourth studio album, Brothers and Sisters (1973). Written by guitarist Dickey Betts, the song is a tribute to Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, in that it was designed to be played using only two fingers on the left hand.
This is a slamming finale. Thanks for this thread, Doc. It's been a load of fun.

1. "We're An American Band". 🇺🇲🎶🥁 Nufced

2. "God Only Knows". How the hell do you write/produce/arrange/record/perform a record this gorgeous? I'm in awe of people who can do it.

3. "Jessica". ABB was represented pretty well in this countdown, which warms my cockles. They were so good at this ****.

4. "Born To Run". I'm not sure I heard Bruce Springsteen before this song. I may have and just can't remember. I DO remember when "BTR" hit, though. I thought it was a parody. Nobody was making popular records in 1975 that sounded like this - especially not white rockers. I dismissed it as a joke at the time. It wasn't and, 50 years later, he's still one of the most famous musicians walking the planet. Shoutout to the E Streeters on this one, too.

5. "Free Bird". In a decade of rock and funk anthems, this one can hold its own with any of 'em. I don't care if people think it's overplayed (stop listening to classic rock radio all day, would be my advice - they have 250-song playlists; EVERYTHING is overplayed). It's a great song and performance, sung and played by a bunch of really talented folks who believed every last word and note of it.
 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Hard-hitting stuff at the top of all the lists, as was to be expected. Chap topped his list with two instrumentals by the same band? He is an unusual chap indeed.

God Only Knows wins the final round by a very small margin. It is another record that can be described as "perfect". This was the only Beach Boys appearance, wasn't it?

Free Bird is second. The guitar coda is just magical no matter how many times you hear it. (As an aside, my wife has a problem with this song, as she is bothered by the lyrics trying to justify a decision to run away and sow your oats.)

Jessica is third. It suffers only in that it's not Liz Reed. But it's still one of the greatest rock instrumentals.

We're an American Band is the zenith of '70s butt-rock. And produced by Todd Rundgren of all people!

As I keep saying, I'm not a fan of Springsteen, but I do understand the appeal of Born to Run. It is as similarly overstuffed as most of his early work, but it is put together much better than most of his other early stuff, and all members of the ESB give excellent performances.

Thanks for sharing this with us!

I've gotta do some actual work for a bit, but then I'll come back to reveal my ranking of your rankings.
 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
UH makes a point about Bruce not sounding like anything on the radio at the time and thinking it was some kind of parody.

I remember Steinman and Meatloaf saying similar things about the initial negative reactions to Bat Out of Hell. And Todd Rungren at first thought it was a parody of Springsteen.
That's interesting. I don't recall being as thrown-off-guard by Bat Out Of Hell as I was with Born To Run, but that maybe be because several strands of music had gotten more baroque in the late '70s (disco, New Wave, funk, Barry Manilow).

I don't know..... My memory is slippery these days. I'm sure it has nothing to do with all of the dope I was ingesting in 1978.
 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Here is my ranking of your rankings:

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit -- Nirvana (Doc Oc)
2. Let's Stay Together -- Al Green (Doc Oc)
3. What's Going On -- Marvin Gaye (Doug)
4. Papa Was a Rollin' Stone -- The Temptations (Chap)
5. Hello It's Me -- Todd Rundgren (Chap)
6. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed -- The Allman Brothers Band (Chap)
7. She's Gone -- Hall & Oates (Doug)
8. Where It's At -- Beck (Jeb)
9. Tangled Up in Blue -- Bob Dylan (Chap)
10. I Saw the Light -- Todd Rundgren (Doc Oc)
11. Hurricane -- Bob Dylan (Doc Oc)
12. Folsom Prison Blues -- Johnny Cash (Doug)
13. All Along the Watchtower -- Jimi Hendrix (Doc Oc)
14. (Sittin' on the) Dock of the Bay -- Otis Redding (Doug)
15. God Only Knows -- The Beach Boys (Doc Oc)
16. American Girl -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Doc Oc)
17. Kick Out the Jams -- MC5 (Jeb)
18. Purple Haze -- Jimi Hendrix (Doug)
19. The Rubberband Man -- The Spinners (Chap)
20. Search and Destroy -- The Stooges (Jeb)
21. Seven Nation Army -- The White Stripes (Doc Oc)
22. Runnin' with the Devil -- Van Halen (Jeb)
23. Free Bird -- Lynyrd Skynyrd (Scooter)
24. Midnight Train to Georgia -- Gladys Knight & the Pips (Doug)
25. Tin Man -- America (Scooter)
26. Funk #49 -- The James Gang (Jeb)
27. You're No Good -- Linda Ronstadt (Chap)
28. Can't You See -- Marshall Tucker Band (Scooter)
29. Deacon Blues -- Steely Dan (Doc Oc)
30. Blue Sky -- The Allman Brothers Band (Doc Oc)
31. Jessica -- The Allman Brothers Band (Chap)
32. Proud Mary -- Ike & Tina Turner (Doug)
33. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) -- Marvin Gaye (Chap)
34. Me and Bobby McGee -- Janis Joplin (Doug)
35. Fortunate Son -- Creedence Clearwater Revival (Jeb)
36. Mr. Tambourine Man -- The Byrds (Scooter)
37. New York Groove -- Ace Frehley (Doc Oc)
38. Be My Baby -- The Ronettes (Doc Oc)
39. Up on the Sun -- Meat Puppets (Jeb)
40. Ring of Fire -- Johnny Cash (Scooter)
41. The Tracks of My Tears -- Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (Doug)
42. I Want You Back -- The Jackson 5 (Chap)
43. L.A. Woman -- The Doors (Doug)
44. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) -- Stevie Wonder (Doug)
45. My Lover's Prayer -- Otis Redding (Doc Oc)
46. Dream On -- Aerosmith (Scooter)
47. Outshined -- Soundgarden (Jeb)
48. Fire and Rain -- James Taylor (Doug)
49. America -- Simon and Garfunkel (Doc Oc)
50. Brick House -- The Commodores (Chap)
51. Black -- Pearl Jam (Doc Oc)
52. Down with Disease -- Phish (Jeb)
53. Barracuda -- Heart (Jeb)
54. Dreaming -- Blondie (Doc Oc)
55. You're So Vain -- Carly Simon (Chap)
56. Sweet Baby James -- James Taylor (Jeb)
57. Life's Been Good -- Joe Walsh (Scooter)
58. Summer Wind -- Frank Sinatra (Doc Oc)
59. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine -- Lou Rawls (Chap)
60. Le Freak -- Chic (Chap)
61. You Are the Sunshine of My Life -- Stevie Wonder (Doc Oc)
62. Hot Burrito #1 -- The Flying Burrito Brothers (Doc Oc)
63. Volunteers -- Jefferson Airplane (Jeb)
64. La Grange -- ZZ Top (Scooter)
65. Behind the Wall of Sleep -- The Smithereens (Doc Oc)
66. One -- Metallica (Jeb)
67. Saturday in the Park -- Chicago (Doc Oc)
68. Ride Like the Wind -- Christopher Cross (Scooter)
69. Rock 'N Me -- The Steve Miller Band (Jeb)
70. (Don't Go Back to) Rockville -- R.E.M. (Doc Oc)
71. Jesus Just Left Chicago -- ZZ Top (Jeb)
72. We're an American Band -- Grand Funk Railroad (Jeb)
73. Paradise by the Dashboard Light -- Meat Loaf (Chap)
74. Late in the Evening -- Paul Simon (Doug)
75. Pancho & Lefty -- Townes Van Zandt (Doc Oc)
76. Mississippi Queen -- Mountain (Jeb)
77. Journey to the Center of the Mind -- The Amboy Dukes (Jeb)
78. Gratitude -- Beastie Boys (Jeb)
79. I Need a Lover -- John Cougar Mellencamp (Scooter)
80. Bat Out of Hell -- Meat Loaf (Scooter)
81. The Boxer -- Simon & Garfunkel (Doug)
82. Love Will Keep Us Together -- The Captain & Tenille (Chap)
83. School's Out -- Alice Cooper (Scooter)
84. Blitzkrieg Bop -- The Ramones (Jeb)
85. Ride Captain Ride -- Blues Image (Chap)
86. Come Sail Away -- Styx (Scooter)
87. America the Beautiful -- Ray Charles (Doug)
88. Roadhouse Blues -- The Doors (Scooter)
89. Franklin's Tower -- The Grateful Dead (Doug)
90. Detroit Rock City -- KISS (Jeb)
91. Deuce -- KISS (Jeb)
92. Peace Frog -- The Doors (Jeb)
93. Wildflowers -- Tom Petty (Doug)
94. Simple Man -- Lynyrd Skynyrd (Doc Oc)
95. Louder Than a Bomb -- Public Enemy (Jeb)
96. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers -- ZZ Top (Jeb)
97. Up Around the Bend -- Creedence Clearwater Revival (Doug)
98. Ramblin' Man -- The Allman Brothers Band (Scooter)
99. Mrs. Robinson -- Simon & Garfunkel (Doug)
100. Boogie Wonderland -- Earth, Wind and Fire (Chap)
101. For Once in My Life -- Stevie Wonder (Doug)
102. A Long December -- Counting Crows (Scooter)
103. Without You -- Harry Nilsson (Doc Oc)
104. Lean on Me -- Bill Withers (Scooter)
105. Your Mama Don't Dance -- Loggins & Messina (Scooter)
106. Uncontrollable Urge -- Devo (Jeb)
107. Miracles -- Jefferson Starship (Chap)
108. Get Down Tonight -- KC & the Sunshine Band (Chap)
109. So Into You -- Atlanta Rhythm Section (Chap)
110. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard -- Paul Simon (Doug)
111. Sweet Home Alabama -- Lynyrd Skynyrd (Doug)
112. Incident on 57th Street -- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Scooter)
113. The Entertainer -- Billy Joel (Doug)
114. The Load Out -- Jackson Browne (Scooter)
115. Dirty Blvd. -- Lou Reed (Doug)
116. All the Right Reasons -- The Jayhawks (Doc Oc)
117. Burning Love -- Elvis Presley (Chap)
118. Born to Run -- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Doug)
119. Sweet Caroline -- Neil Diamond (Doug)
120. (They Long to Be) Close to You -- The Carpenters (Chap)
121. Theme From New York, New York -- Frank Sinatra (Scooter)
122. Stay (I Missed You) -- Lisa Loeb (Scooter)
123. Night of the Living Baseheads -- Public Enemy (Jeb)
124. Fly Me to the Moon -- Frank Sinatra (Doug)
125. Perfect Day -- Lou Reed (Doc Oc)
126. Everlasting Love -- Carl Carlton (Chap)
127. December 1963 (Oh What a Night!) -- Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (Chap)
128. Jack and Diane -- John Cougar Mellencamp (Doug)
129. Under the Bridge -- Red Hot Chili Peppers (Doug)
130. Take It Easy -- The Eagles (Doug)
131. American Pie -- Don McLean (Scooter)
132. All I Wanna Do -- Sheryl Crow (Scooter)
133. You Might Think -- The Cars (Doug)
134. Incinerate -- Sonic Youth (Jeb)
135. Day By Day -- Godspell Off-Broadway cast (Chap)
136. Bulls on Parade -- Rage Against the Machine (Jeb)
137. Piano Man -- Billy Joel (Scooter)
138. Angel of the Morning -- Juice Newton (Chap)
139. Allison Road -- The Gin Blossoms (Scooter)
140. Romeo's Tune -- Steve Forbert (Doc Oc)
141. Eternal Flame -- The Bangles (Scooter)
142. Friends in Low Places -- Garth Brooks (Scooter)
143. Family Affair -- Mary J. Blige (Scooter)
144. Ripple -- The Grateful Dead (Doc Oc)
145. Son of a Son of a Sailor -- Jimmy Buffett (Scooter)
146. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head -- BJ Thomas (Chap)
147. Truckin' -- The Grateful Dead (Jeb)
148. Time -- Hootie and the Blowfish (Scooter)
149. Thunder Road -- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Doc Oc)
150. Baby I'm-a Want You -- Bread (Chap)
151. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) -- Rupert Holmes (Chap)
152. I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You -- Tom Waits (Doc Oc)
153. Blinded by the Light -- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Jeb)
154. Billy Don't Be a Hero -- Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods (Chap)
155. Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose -- Dawn ft. Tony Orlando (Chap)

My top 10 includes 4 Chap (he really turned it on once he got serious at the end), 3 Doc Oc, 2 Doug, 1 Jeb and 0 Scooter.

Basically I used markers to slot things. When Perfect Day was posted, I said "Perfect Day is ok." So the songs I felt the same way about went around there. All The Right Reasons was a song I'd never heard before and liked. Songs I liked and had more of an attachment to went above it. Anything below it I had qualms about to some extent.

Really only the last six songs do I actively dislike, with the bottom 2 being the only songs I think are flat-out atrocious.
 

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