Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs: 440-431

tumbling-dice

After a couple of months spent “working” on other things, I return to my countdown of Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs as I continue curating my own list of comparable girth (though also of much less weight in the music community). There’s nothing like cold weather to make an overly thoughtful music critic want to sit indoors and listen to some of the greatest music ever recorded, so expect a lot of movement on this front in the coming weeks.

440. “Ramble on” – Led Zeppelin
Throughout my music-listening career, I’ve always been critical of Led Zeppelin. It isn’t so much because I think they’re bad; I just consider them to be massively overrated in the chronicle of great music and I don’t look back on them through the same rosy red colored lenses that many do. However, I must admit that they definitely have some classic tunes in their catalog and this is certainly one of them. I find it unlikely that it’ll make my final cut for the 500, but I’ll give it a fair shot.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

439. “Midnight Train to Georgia” – Gladys Knight and the Pips
I never listened to Gladys Knight before this track, but if this is what she and her Pips were all about, it’s clear that I’ve been missing out. This track is a fantastic, sobering reminder for aspirational people like me with big city dreams that our small town roots will never be replaced.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

438. “Ain’t it a Shame” – Fats Domino
This isn’t much more than a simple Blues song, but as far as that type of music goes, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody that did it better. The addition of a woeful sax solo was a great touch, and it makes this track one worth remembering, even if it’s unlikely that it’ll make my final cut.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

437. “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais” – The Clash
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of The Clash’s London Calling; I’ve talked about it multiple times here on The Soundtrack Online, and I consider it a classic for all time. But outside of that landmark release, I’ve never really done much listening of The Clash. This track doesn’t surprise me, and thus it really fails to stand out for me among the 19 classic tracks on Calling. But it’s still great.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

436. “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” – Solomon Burke
I understand the appeal of this track and recognize it’s contribution to the foundation of Rock n’ Roll (The Rolling Stones covered in ’65 before they changed the world by writing their own original tunes), but I’ll be honest, it doesn’t really do much for me. Outside of The Ink Spots, I’m not a fan of spoken word in music, and this track is almost nothing but. It’s still a good song, but it just doesn’t shift that final gear for me.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

435. “New Year’s Day” – U2
Apparently when U2 cut this, their first landmark release that took them out of the underground and into the mainstream of ’80s superstardom when they would sell out entire shows in seconds, Bono was improvising the lyrics based off of a story he heard about Martial Law ending in Poland on New Year’s Day. It doesn’t surprise me; U2 has proven to be one of the most innovative and important acts in the history of music time and time again, yet everything they do seems almost effortless. This really is a fantastic track well-deserving of replay over three decades since its release.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

434. “Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple
There’s no doubt that this was included on Rolling Stone‘s list based on the far-reaching appeal of that opening riff that hundreds of guitarists are probably playing around the world right now. Obviously, it’s been overplayed to death, and is even more infamous than “Stairway to Heaven” at this point, but if you look beyond the riff into the total presentation of the song, it’s actually quite good. Unfortunately, nobody really wants to hear it anymore. Myself included.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

433. “Tumbling Dice” – The Rolling Stones
Still one of the all-time greatest badass Rock n’ Roll tracks ever cut, “Tumbling Dice” is a keeper for all time. It’s no secret The Stones were in the zone when they crafted the nearly 20 songs that make up Exile on Main Street, and this is among the pinnacles of that landmark album. They were playing like a true gang on this one, and its appeal is universal. Simply put, it’s one of the greatest songs of all time.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

432. “American Idiot” – Green Day
A political Punk anthem for all time, “American Idiot” stands among the work of all-time great Punk bands of the past, if it doesn’t outright surpass them. It was desperately needed knee-deep in the Bush era, but considering where we now appear to be headed as a nation, it’s never been more relevant.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

431. “William, it Was Really Nothing” – The Smiths
Bill Morrissey and The Smiths have been recurring characters in Rolling Stone‘s picks for the Top 500 Songs, but I have yet to be blown away by anything I’ve heard from them. I definitely think this is the best one I’ve heard so far, but I still probably wouldn’t consider it Top 500 material. I appreciate its abridged length, though. Also, Andre 3000 is apparently a huge fan, for what that’s worth.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

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