I am a sucker for top 10 lists. When I was a kid, I would listen Tuesday nights to WABC and Wednesday to WMCA while the two New York top 40 stations counted down their weekly lineups. I would root for songs and bands the way most people root for the hometown team.
Then I would analyze the results. Could “Hey Jude” hang on for an eighth week at #1? Could “Mirage” take Tommy James and the Shondells higher than “I Think We’re Alone Now” did?
And so I was sucked in by Classic Vinyl, a Sirius XM channel that I find myself listening to frequently, when I heard they were counting down the “Classic Vinyl Fourth of July Top 400” as voted by its listeners. Friends had me over for dinner and we got to talking about classic rock around the time “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison was introduced as #25.
“We’ll probably know every song from here on out, I mean it’s a list of the most popular album rock songs of all time,” I said smugly — and immediately “Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)” by Elton John came on at #24. My friends looked at me blankly. It may be the opening track to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, but it’s not one you hear every day.
“Obviously #1 will be either ‘Stairway to Heaven’ or ‘Born to Run,’ I said even more smugly, only to eat my words again when Springsteen’s masterpiece checked in at #19.
I decided to stop making predictions and just enjoy the memories. And that was a better idea. The next hour or so was a journey through some of the most amazing tunes from 40 to 50-plus years ago.
The top 10, in countdown order, is an eclectic mix:
10. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – I was pleased to see my favorite Beatles song was the highest-ranking Beatles song on this particular poll.
9. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Would you have picked Lynyrd Skynyrd as the only band with two songs in the top 10?
8. “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd
7. “Sympathy for the Devil” – Rolling Stones
6. “Layla” – Derek and the Dominoes
5. “Baba O’Reilly” – The Who
4. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
3. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
2. “Hotel California” – The Eagles
1. “Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
Hey! I got one right!