This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

My Top 100 Songs of all time

11th March 2005

Here I go again. My Top 100 Albums brought me an equal number of enemies and friends back in September, and owing to a natural gap in the workload, I bring you my Top 100 Songs. I did impose a couple of rules this time however…

Firstly, only one song per artist, and secondly arranged in alphabetical order rather than how much I love them. Also, rather than limit myself to singles, I could choose any song - be it a B-side, album track or something found down the back of the sofa. I’ve opted not to include too many current favourites as such things depend on prolonged attachment. To be honest, most of the tracks mean something, somewhere in the grand narrative that is my life.

  1. Adem - These Are Your Friends
  2. Adorable - Sunshine Smile
  3. A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray
  4. Alice In Chains - Would
  5. Aztec Camera - Somewhere In My Heart
  6. Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
  7. Beastie Boys - Sabotage
  8. The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever
  9. Beta Band - Dry The Rain
  10. Bjork - Joga
  11. Bloc Party - Banquet
  12. Blur - This Is A Low
  13. Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved
  14. Breeders - Cannonball
  15. Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love
  16. The Byrds - Eight Miles High
  17. The Charlatans - Tellin’ Stories
  18. Cream - White Room
  19. The Cure - Lovesong
  20. David Bowie/Queen - Under Pressure
  21. Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence
  22. Dexys Midnight Runners - Geno
  23. Dion - Runaround Sue
  24. Dionne Warwick - Anyone Who Had A Heart
  25. The Doors - When The Music’s Over
  26. Doves - The Cedar Room
  27. Eagles - Hotel California
  28. Echo and the Bunnymen - The Killing Moon
  29. Elbow - Scattered Black and Whites
  30. The Faces - Stay With Me
  31. Fat Larry’s Band - Zoom
  32. Flowered Up - Weekender (12.57 version)
  33. Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Two Tribes
  34. Guns N Roses - Sweet Child O Mine
  35. Happy Mondays - Hallelujah (Club Mix)
  36. Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
  37. Interpol - The Specialist
  38. The Jam - The Place I Love
  39. Jeff Buckley - Dream Brother
  40. Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower
  41. Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come
  42. John Lennon - Working Class Hero
  43. Johnny Cash - Hurt
  44. Joy Division - Transmission
  45. Killing Joke - Love Like Blood
  46. Lamb - Gorecki
  47. Leaves - Shakma (full version)
  48. Led Zeppelin - Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
  49. Lo Fidelity Allstars - Vision Incision
  50. Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On
  51. Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
  52. Michael Jackson - Thriller
  53. Morrisey - Suedehead
  54. New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Big
  55. New Order - Temptation (Substance version)
  56. Nina Simone - Here Comes The Sun
  57. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
  58. Northside - Shall We Take A Trip
  59. NWA - Straight Outta Compton
  60. Oasis - Slide Away
  61. The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds
  62. Pearl Jam - Black
  63. Pink Floyd - Breathe
  64. Pixies - Velouria
  65. PJ Harvey - Dress
  66. Primal Scream - Higher Than The Sun
  67. Pulp - Common People
  68. Puressence - Sharpen Up The Knives
  69. Queens Of The Stone Age - No One Knows
  70. Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name Of
  71. REM - Begin The Begin
  72. Radiohead - Paranoid Android
  73. Ride - Taste
  74. The Rolling Stones - Rocks Off
  75. The Ronettes - Be My Baby
  76. The Roots - The Seed
  77. Sex Pistols - Anarchy In The UK
  78. Shack - Cornish Town
  79. Sigur Ros - Staralfur
  80. Simple Minds - Don’t You Forget About Me
  81. Sly And The Family Stone - Dance To The Music
  82. The Small Faces - Afterglow
  83. The Smiths - How Soon Is Now
  84. Solesides - Lady Don’t Tek No
  85. The Specials - Ghost Town
  86. Stevie Wonder - Fingertips 1 and 2
  87. The Stone Roses - I Am The Resurrection
  88. Super Furry Animals - If you Don’t Want Me To Destroy You
  89. Supergrass - Moving
  90. Talk Talk - Life’s What You Make It
  91. Teenage Fanclub - Sparky’s Dream
  92. Tenacious D - Tribute
  93. The The - Slow Emotion Replay
  94. Tricky - Black Steel
  95. Underworld - Stagger
  96. The Verve - Sonnet
  97. Tom Waits - Martha
  98. XTC - Senses Working Overtime
  99. The Yardbirds - Stroll On
  100. ZZ Top - Legs
100 songs, 8 hours, 489.4 MB (thanks iTunes)

At the time of writing, 49 of the songs are available on the iTunes UK store. Go visit the iMix (requires iTunes, obviously).

There you go. It’ll probably change next week. The list is honest and true. Be the same in your comments. Discuss.

Responses

# paul haine responded on 11th March 2005 with...

Certainly a very respectable list. The only song there that jumps out at me as being dubious is Nina Simone’s ‘Here Comes the Sun’ - I think she’s done a lot that’s far, far better.

# James responded on 11th March 2005 with...

Fat Larry’s Band! Brilliant choice. As for Joy Division, why Transmission and not Love Will Tear us Apart?

# Simon Collison responded on 11th March 2005 with...

“My whole wide world went zoooom”!!!!!

James: I love “LWTUA”, but “Transmission” just rocks. Dance, dance, dance to the radio.

Paul: It was nearly “My Baby Just Cares For Me”, but her cover of George’s Beatle classic gives me goosebumps. It is a live version though, which has a certain magic about it.

# Paul B responded on 11th March 2005 with...

What an absolutely top selection. Good to see the Low Fidelity All-stars and Flowered Up are not forgotten. Although I much prefer Public Enemy√s Original to Tricky√s version of Black Steel.

# Kate responded on 11th March 2005 with...

Yowza…I can’t even begin to consider what could be my top 100…I’d get stuck on the “one song per artist”.

# quis responded on 11th March 2005 with...

If you hurt around the murky depths of P2P you may be able to find an absolutely chilling live video of “Transmission”, well worth watching. I don’t think you can take list-making like this too seriously, but I found it most interesting the way you picked somewhat less well-known songs for a lot of artists; “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin for example.

I don’t know if you have less experience of artists like Nirvana or actually do think “Smells like…” is their best song, but I would have picked something like “Aneurysm”. Likewise, for Johnny Cash I can imagine “Hurt” being the only thing a lot of people have heard; I’d argue that some of his other covers (“One”, “I See a Darkness”) are actually better.

# Simon Collison responded on 11th March 2005 with...

Quis: Good questions/probing. I did think twice about every artist. I do know all of them well-enough to look beyond their big hits, and I nearly chose Pennyroyal Tea over Smells Like…, but at the end of the day, the latter had too big an affect on my life.

As for Led Zep, Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You is - and always was - one of my favourite records. It just kicks arse, and I do prefer it to Stairway.., Whole Lotta Love etc, and just a bit more than Dazed and Confused. Anyway, you understood the dilemma straight off.

Oh, and Johnny Cash? Hurt is special for a reason. I also love The Man Comes Around and of course A Boy Named Sue live is just incredible.

Paul B: Weekender is too good to omit (although everyone’s forgotten that), and I loved the Lo-Fis. As for Tricky, I just love the way Martina sings it. It’s so lazily defiant.

Kate: One per artist stops me from having one hundred Beatles songs.

# Mike Stenhouse responded on 11th March 2005 with...

Wow, that’s some list!

You have to track down the Pavement cover of Killing Moon - it’s genius! You heard Damaged Goods by Gang of Four? It sounds like Bloc Party’s Banquet but it’s from 25 years ago and is just as good.

Right, gotta go dig out my copy of Weekender…

# Simon Collison responded on 12th March 2005 with...

Mike: Simon just sent me the Pavement cover - brilliant! Love it! Also, we were listening to GOF’s Entertainment earlier. Top notch.

# Mojo responded on 14th March 2005 with...

Not impressed. That reads like a list my Dad would make. Hotel California? Queen? Simple Minds. Yawn.

No Public Enemy, yet you choose NWA. No Eminem, yet you choose Michael Jackson. Boring.

Why make a list like this anyway. What are you trying to prove? That you have bad taste?

# Crystal responded on 14th March 2005 with...

Mojo, you are an asshole for that last comment. I don’t think Colly is trying to prove anything, and anyway it is his blog, so surely he can do what he wants. Besides, Eminem is rubbish. You know you are bad, and that is why you are anonymous.

It is a great list. Nice to see Cream, Echo and the bunnymen, Dexys and even XTC - is that the song about biscuits? I love that. Got to go and dig some of these out right away.

Love the site too.

# Simon Collison responded on 14th March 2005 with...

Mojo: You’re a bit confrontational aren’t you? I say “confrontational”, but I mean far worse. Still, you are entitled to your opinion, and Crystal has summed up my thoughts perfectly.

“And all the world is biscuit-shaped, it’s just for me to feed my face” - that what you were thinking of, Crystal? I loved that when I was a kid, still do.

# Mike Stenhouse responded on 14th March 2005 with...

Okay, back to the business in hand… I was given a compilation by one of may mates called How to Kill the DJ. One of then CDs is a bit rubbish but the other has loads of 70s garage rock: The Monks, Os Mutantes, Nouvelle Vague and, most imporatantly, The Only Ones - Another Girl Another Planet. I highly recommend it…

Cucumber cabbage? Man’s a genius.

# Simon Collison responded on 14th March 2005 with...

Mike: Late night. Just dug the Only Ones track out. Does sound great - the melody in the verse is fantastic. Reminded me of three tracks that so nearly made it into my Top 100:

The Beat: Mirror In The Bathroom
Martha and the Muffins: Echo Beach
The Clash: London Calling, Hateful or Brand New Cadillac

Right, the punk albums are out. I’ll go to bed later…

# Rob Waring responded on 14th March 2005 with...

All in all quite a quality list and I’ll be looking for quite a few of the artists as I’ve never even heard of them before. Only thought is “Bloc Party? They couldn’t rock themselves out of a paper bag based on what I’ve heard to date”. I also prefer Lost Art of Keeping a Secret over No One Knows.

All in all pretty damn cool.

# Simon Collison responded on 16th March 2005 with...

Rob: I nearly chose Auto Pilot off’ve Rated R for my QOTSA track, but I’ll stand by my final choice. As for your comments about Bloc Party, I get what you’re saying, but Banquet just had to be there. To me it’s got a classic sound, and the bit where the drums thump in before the final chorus makes the hairs stand up. Love it.

# jo-dan responded on 29th March 2005 with...

ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm the best song on there has to be pearl jam black

the others can all burn in fuckin hell
cept hurt
that song aint bad
but nirvana sux dick bitch
your list blows hard nigger cock

# Richard Rutter responded on 31st March 2005 with...

A splendid list indeed. Good to see your memory extends further back than last year (or indeed last decade) which is more than I can say for other similar lists (The anonymous coward who is Mojo may wish to note that not all great tracks were recorded this side of the Millennium). That said, you have inevitably made some crucial omissions and a few mistakes.

[You will of course be adding a small amount of seasoning to the following.]

You are 100% correct to include Super Furry Animals, but why If you Don√t Want Me To Destroy You? I guess you have a specific reason because Demons and Carry the Can are far superior in terms of quality and repeatability (a key factor in any Top 100 list).

And why Tellin’ Stories for the Charlatans? The Only One I Know may be the obvious choice, but that’s for good reason - it’s a stonker. Go with Happen to Die if you really want to be original.

Good choice for Tricky, although the Later… version of Suffocated Love pips it.

Paranoid Android for Radiohead? Perhaps: the choice is big. Something off the Bends would get my vote though, not that anyone cares.

But now the important things: what’s missing (yes I know that means other artists have to go, but these are important). No top 100 list all time list is complete without these (admittedly mostly modern) tracks:

Spiritualized - I Think I’m In Love (Chemical Brothers mix)
Deus - Hotel Lounge (Be the Death of Me)
The Animals - House of the Rising Sun
The Wedding Present - Brassneck [almost impossible choice]
Pavement - Here
Lambchop - My Blue Wave

I love to know what your internal rules are for the list - what makes a top song of all time? I take it the list doesn’t quite represent Desert Island scenario? Anyhoo, remind me to send you my 2004 CD.

# Simon Collison responded on 1st April 2005 with...

Wow - that was almost a whole post, Rich! In terms of rules, when it comes to certain artists who I love, I weigh up what is genuinely my favourite track. I could have picked ten Radiohead or SFA tracks, but Paranoid Android and If you don’t want me to destroy you are honestly my favourites. The SFA track because it is indeed also loaded with emotional value.

Tellin’ Stories is to me the perfect Charlies tune. I’m amazed anyone else has heard of Happen To Die! Over Rising EP was incredible. Another great Charlies b-side was Occupation H. Monster - all great. Oh, and you mentioned SFA’s Carry The Can - I love all those tracks off the Outspaced album.

As for the others you suggest, I do like Deus, anything off The Ideal Crash for me, if there’d have been room (maybe Sister Dew or Instant Street).

My Dad used to play Eric Burden to death when I was a kid, so no Animals for me on this one. I was never a big Wedding present or Pavement fan, but did love Lambchop’s Nixon (populist choice).

As for what makes a top song. I just have to absolutely love it, and if there’s some emotional memory that goes with it, then it has an even better chance of inclusion. My Top 100 playlist can be played every day and I wouldn’t tire of it.

And yes please - I’d love a copy of the CD. Bring one when I get to Brighton on the 16th…

# Adam Thody responded on 18th April 2005 with...

A very respectable list for sure.

Couple substitutions I might have made:

Nina Simone - Sinnerman
Radiohead - Street Spirit

We’ve got very similar taste, I’ll have to check out the stuff on there that I don’t recognize. Cheers!

# Matt Sephton responded on 6th May 2005 with...

Came by here from the iTunes mix, which I found through “The The”. But really nice to see Puressence in a list - very underrated.

# Hollie responded on 7th May 2005 with...

Hi. I think your list is really good and I think that the people who say that eminem should be on your list should get back to the seafront arcades from whence they came! I havent heard alot of the songs but my older sisters used to listen to alot of the bands on your list so im going to download some and broaden my horizens a bit. Im sorry im not the music guru that youd probably like commenting on your list but i thought if people like mojo n that other loser could you wouldnt mind if I if did!

# Simon Collison responded on 7th May 2005 with...

Hollie: You’re very welcome!

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