Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs: 500-491

You may have noticed as of late that, while I’ve been posting plenty of content on this site, not a whole lot of it has been music-related. That’s because I’ve been forgoing album-listening (at least when compared to my regular pace) in order to work on a project that I’ve been wanting to create for a long time: my own Top 500 Songs of All Time list.

There are many people who aren’t a big fan of lists because they know that they’re going to disagree with something and/or don’t believe in ranking something as subjective as music in such a way. But personally, I’ve always been a fan of not only reading lists, but making them myself. A lot of that may come from growing up a wrestling fan and loving competition, which lists like these inherently create. But another big part of it is because I have been an avid reader of Rolling Stone magazine for years, and they make lists all the time!

I’ve made all kinds of lists in the past, but never a list as epic as the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Really, we all know that creating such a list is technically impossible, as there’s no way one person could listen to the billions of songs that exist in order to be suitably qualified to make such a tome. But that’s not going to stop me from trying, and there’s no better time than the present as I begin to traverse through what will likely be one of the most formative years of my life. I’ve been in a reflective mood as of late, and I’d like to capitalize on it by making my most ambitious list ever.

But in order to keep myself grounded as I embark on this massive undertaking, I’ve decided to first listen to all 500 of the songs that made it onto Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Song list, which they updated a few years ago after their 100 Greatest Songs of the ’00s list was released. Although Rolling Stone‘s list isn’t perfect (as we’ll soon discover below and in the months ahead) it is a culmination of the opinions of hundreds of industry insiders, artists, producers, songwriters, and journalists, which makes it probably the most reputable list that can be found in America today. So before I publish my final list many months from now, I’ll ensure that I’m as educated as possible by listening to not only Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Song list, but also their Top 100 Songs of the ’00s list and their Top 10 songs from each year starting in 2010, since if you averaged the number of songs per year that should appear on a list of 500 songs largely made up of music from the ’50s onward, it would end up balancing out at around 10 songs from each year. I doubt such equality between years will hold up, but it’s best if we at least give every year a chance.

And that brings me to this series. As I listen to all of this hopefully great music over the course of the next several months, I’ve decided to record my thoughts on the songs from the Rolling Stone lists, 10 at a time, and ultimately decide which songs will be considered for my own list, which songs will be added to my master Burnes’ Turns playlist on Spotify (currently clocking in at about 2,000 songs), and which songs I will be perfectly content to forget fovever. And so today I’ll start by recording my thoughts Rolling Stone’s 500-491 greatest songs of all time below.

500. “Shop Around” – Smokey Robinson and The Miracles (1960)
This is a fun little song sung by one of my favorite singers of all time in Smokey Robinson. But there’s really nothing about it that screams extraordinary.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Consideration for Top 500: No

499. “Buddy Holly” – Weezer (1994)
Another track that, while excellent, doesn’t exactly scream Top 500 of All Time material to me. I will say, though, that this track is one of the first songs I ever regularly listened to when I really got into music in 2009. And it’s cool that it was released just a few months after my birth in 1994. As such, I’ll give it a shot in my list, but don’t really expect it to make the final cut.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Consideration for Top 500: Long shot

498. “Miss You” – The Rolling Stones (1978)
This disco track is a great cut from one of the Top 10 greatest artists of all time in The Rolling Stones. I like it a lot, and it’s been a fixture in Burnes’ Turns for years, but it’s not quite extraordinary enough to be considered for my list.
Burnes Turns: Yes
Consideration for Top 500: No

497. “The Rising” – Bruce Springsteen (2002)
I have had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with this track from one of my Top 5 favorite artists of all time in Bruce Springsteen. It was another song that was a big part of the soundtrack of my musical origins back in 2009 (as were most songs listed on Rolling Stone‘s Top 50 Songs of the ’00s, which appeared in my first Rolling Stone copy ever), but after a while I got sick of it and even took it out of my master playlist on Spotify. However, hearing it again after all this time, I was reminded of how great it really is as it chronicles the horrors of 9/11 from the perspective of a firefighter charging into the World Trade Centers as they burned. It really is a great song, and that along with the nostalgia I now feel when I listen to it ensures a place for it in my Burnes’ Turns playlist and consideration for my Top 500.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Consideration for Top 500: Yes

496. “Running on Empty” – Jackson Browne (1977)
I remember being blown away the first time I ever heard this song many years ago. It doesn’t hold the same place in my hierarchy of awesome as it did back then, but it is still an excellent track that is absolutely worthy of a 5 star rating and will be considered for my list.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Consideration for Top 500: Yes

495. “Brown Sugar” – The Rolling Stones (1971)
As was the case for many of today’s Rolling Stones fans, “Brown Sugar” was one of the first tracks I ever heard form them. It appeared on this Greatest Hits collection that my cousin owned that drew heavily from their ’70s-era stuff. It’s far from their best song in my opinion, but it’s a good one and will be considered for my list.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Consideration for Top 500: Yes

494. “Ignition (Remix)” – R-Kelly (2002)
This innuendo-laden party track is just a good time. It’s far from the best song ever written, but it does have a certain staying power after nearly a-decade-and-a-half, and I’ll consider it for my list. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for this one.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Consideration for Top 500: Long Shot

493. “Time to Pretend” – MGMT (2008)
This is the biggest no-brainer so far. This is absolutely one of the greatest tracks I’ve ever heard, and has been since the first time I ever heard it sitting in front of my grandma’s old 2003 Gateway computer. It’s a classic for all time that I heavily relate to as its subject matter about two guys leaving everything they know behind to head off to the big city and attempt to make it big offers many parallels to what my roommate Sean and I are attempting to do. When I graduated from college, I made a CD for this girl that I had been crazy about for over two years. This track made the cut. It’ll always have a place in my Burnes’ Turns playlist and it will definitely be on my list.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Consideration for Top 500: Certainty

492. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor (1978)
I can’t hear this song without thinking about Fez dancing with his teacher in That ’70s Show. I know it’s a disco classic, and it is a great track, but it’s not quite Burnes’ Turns material. Don’t even worry about the Top 500.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Consideration for Top 500: No

491. “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (1982)
If you’ve got the word Rock n’ Roll in the title, your song better be damn good. And frankly, this one’s just average. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised that it ended up on Rolling Stone‘s list. But I will say that I don’t think it deserves it.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Consideration for Top 500: No

Overall, good songs for the bottom rungs of Rolling Stone‘s list which features at least one song already that will definitely be in my own Top 500 list. I’m looking forward to getting into some of the more obscure tracks that appear later on down the line.


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