Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs: 340-281

I took a brief hiatus from posting, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still listening. So today we have a supersized continuation of the Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Songs series as we edge ever closer to the creation of my own list.

340. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s offspring has called this the original Rap song, and I’d have to agree. The master songwriter opened up his first electric LP Bringing it All Back Home spitting straight fire; even the world’s greatest MCs would have trouble keeping up.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

339. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt
I’ve always viewed this song as inexcusably sappy, but upon a revisit after years away from it, I came in with a new appreciation. The lyrics are still a bit tough to stomach, but the true spirit of the track really resides in the voices of the instrumentation. The care that went into this song’s craftsmanship is apparent, and that’s what makes it so powerful.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

338. “We Will Rock You” – Queen
I’ve made no attempts of hiding it: I hate Queen. It isn’t so much because I think they’re bad, it’s just that they’re so high energy AND their songs are overplayed, which is a horrendous combination. I understand the appeal of this song, but who could possibly ever want to hear it again after the zillionth time? I sure don’t.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

337. “That’s the Way of the World” – Earth, Wind and Fire
I’ve never listened to much Earth, Wind and Fire (Basically, all I know is “September”), but I was absolutely blown away at how great this is. I love that calypso undercurrent (something I’ve always been a huge sucker for), and I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard a song that did it better.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

336 “The End” – The Doors
I remember being blown away the first time I heard this song. However, after years of musical experience under my belt, I can’t say that I feel the same way. This 11-minute guitar epic is definitely out there, but it’s also a bit overlong and overdone.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

335. “For Your Precious Love” – Jerry Butler
“People Get Ready” gets all the credit for being The Impressions’ peak, but I’ll be damned if this heartfelt ballad with Jerry Butler at the helm doesn’t surpass it in every conceivable way. Butler took most of the credit, which annoyed the other group members, but let’s be honest, he slayed it. He deserved all the credit in the world.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

334. “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine)” – James Brown
Everyone talks about how Brown was notoriously tough on his backing band members, requiring them to be pinpoint accurate on each of his songs. Considering that all they really had to do was the same thing over and over again, I think that was an understandable requirement. Brown had all the charisma in the world, but that didn’t make him a great songwriter.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

333. “Good Lovin” – The Young Rascals
Apparently Felix Cavaliere was surprised when his band’s song hit the No. 1 position on the charts. So am I. The rhythm undercurrent of this song isn’t bad at all, but that supercatchy chorus will get lodged into your head until your begging for a bullet. Get this thing away from me.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

332. “Baby Love” – The Supremes
Another painfully boring song from the most unremarkable girl group of the ’60s. According to Rolling Stone, Berry Gordy didn’t think the song was catchy enough so they added an “Oooh” at the intro. Because that fixes everything.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

331. “Dancing Barefoot” – Patti Smith
The great thing about Patti Smith is how much of a free spirit she was (and still is to this day). And her music was an extension of her personality; full of unbridled passion. She’s one of the most unique artists I’ve ever come across, and it seems that everything I hear from her is unlike anything I’ve heard before. This track isn’t as revolutionary as the ones that made up Horses, but it’s still pretty out there. And that’s a good thing.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

330. “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy
The anti-authority sentiments embedded in every beat of this song are obviously still powerful today, so I can only imagine how impactful this was upon its racially-charged release alongside Spike Lee’s classic joint Do the Right Thing. Even outside of the movie and the message, though, the funky beat sampled from The Isley Brothers is a winner.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

329. “Cortez the Killer” – Neil Young
This is a very heartfelt, yet incredibly cool guitar opus from a lifetime activist that still fights the good fight to this very day. It takes on a whole new meaning at the time of this writing, as peaceful and unarmed Native American protesters are being victimized and tortured by militarized American forces at Standing Rock just for defending their land. Heartbreaking and infuriating.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

328. “Heartbreaker” – Led Zeppelin
Much like my relationship with Queen, my feelings for Led Zeppelin are pretty negative (though perhaps less intensely so). I’ve gone years hating the sloppiness of Jimmy Page’s solo on this song, and it’s still pretty hard to listen to. But it’s also hard to deny his excellent riff and Bonham’s irresistible groove.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

327. “Take Me Out” – Franz Ferdinand
Most people know this from the original Guitar Hero, but I got familiar with it due to it’s inclusion on Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’00s. I like it, like most of the songs from that list, but I also think there are a bunch of better songs that sound like it. Great guitar riff, though.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

326. “School’s Out” – Alice Cooper
I guess this was pretty cool when it was released back in ’72, but now it’s about as badass as an Elementary School Vice-Principal.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

many-rivers-to-cross

325. “Many Rivers to Cross” – Jimmy Cliff
I guess I’ve been missing out without Jimmy Cliff in my life, because he was killing the game back in his day. Bob Marley was easy-listening, but this dude was an unsung hero. This heartfelt ballad about perseverance may be the best thing I’ve ever heard to come out of Reggae.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

324. “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd
Damn, this list is getting good. There’s no doubt about it: this is absolutely one of the greatest songs of all time. It’s sure as hell a lot better than No. 324.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

323. “Alison” – Elvis Costello
The first time I ever heard this song, it was playing in the background of a slightly emotional scene in That ’70s Show. It’s a good ballad, but I’ve heard better. “Wish You Were Here,” for instance.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

322. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” – The Animals
In my very small hometown everybody pretty much knew everybody, especially in high school. A few years ago, one of the most beloved guys in the school made a pretty lengthy YouTube video where he played the role of a guy who was trying to help people, but actually made their lives worse. It was pretty amusing, but it takes on a new level of sentimentality as the young man died tragically in a car accident in between our town and Texas A&M University.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

321. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd
As we have heard so far on this list (and will continue to hear on my own), Pink Floyd is responsible for some of the greatest music of all time. While “Comfortably Numb” is one of their most well-known and beloved tracks, it really isn’t anything special to me compared to some of their other work, which outclasses this to a great degree. Not to mention, it’s another drug song. Lame.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

320. “I Put a Spell on You” – Screamin Jay Hawkins
This is a very strange, haunting song. I actually like it quite a bit because it’s so unique, but I still probably wouldn’t seek it out to listen to it again. Then again, maybe I would. The spell works.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: No

319 “In Dreams” – Roy Orbison
My ex-girlfriend is really into Roy Orbison. You’d think that would drive me away from him, but for some reason, I actually find myself drawn to his work. The fact that he possessed one of the greatest voices of the ’60s doesn’t hurt, but its the string-laden production and silky smooth undercurrent that make this song a keeper.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

318. “Wake Up Little Susie” – The Everly Brothers
When I was a very little kid (around four years old) I briefly lived with my step-grandparents along with my mom and dad as our new house was being built. My grandma absolutely loved The Everly Brothers, and she attempted to pass on that love to me. I’m definitely not as big a fan of them as she is, but I remember dancing around and singing along when she would play this song. Little did I know how revolutionary the subject matter was for its time. This relatively tame story about two young lovers that fall asleep at a drive-in movie theater was actually banned in Boston upon its release. Now that’s Rock n’ Roll.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: No

317. “Iron Man” – Black Sabbath
Though it’s more associated with the Marvel character now, this song originally referenced Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi who fashioned thimbles out of plastic to replace his two missing fingertips, creating a “heavy” sound that defined the rise of Heavy Metal. Despite its badass roots, though, who could possibly want to hear this when there are so many more interesting Sabbath songs available?
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

316. “What’s Love Got to Do With it” – Tina Turner
This isn’t a bad song, but it’s no surprise that it rose to prominence in America’s worst decade; it probably didn’t have that much competition. In a list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, that same lack of competitors is not reflected.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

315. “Lonely Teardrops” – Jackie Wilson
A year or two ago, I got really into Jackie Wilson after listening to a ton of his music in a short span of time. I’m a bit surprised that it’s “Lonely Teardrops” that gets the nod here over some of his better songs, but it’s still a great one.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

314. “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” – Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
Stupid group name aside, this song is actually one of the greatest tragedies in Rock history. The singer, young 13-year-old Frankie Lymon, didn’t get a cent from this No. 6 hit in 1956. A little over a decade later, he died a homeless heroin addict. It gives this otherwise innocent doo-wop track a haunting undercurrent.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: No

313. “That’s Entertainment” – The Jam
This acoustic lament is far from a bad song, but it’s hard to take it seriously as one of the greatest ever. Rolling Stone claims The Jam never achieved American success because “they were too defiantly British.” Maybe it was because they needed a better producer.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

312. “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” – James Brown
I’m sure this was majorly controversial back in the day, and it probably would’ve been even more so if it had been apparent that the crowd yelling “I’m Black and I’m Proud” was mostly made up of young white women. Yikes. Other than that amusing contradiction, though, there’s nothing exciting about this track.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

311. “With a Little Help From My Friends” – The Beatles
Once again, Rolling Stone continues to highlight The Beatles’ mediocre tunes over their showstopping ones. What’s next? “Yellow Submarine?”
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

310. “Ruby Tuesday” – The Rolling Stones
This is a really good song, but it is far from The Stones’ best ballad. That’s not a bad thing necessarily; it’s hard to compete with one of the greatest catalogs in Rock history.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

309. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” – Willie Nelson
I never really think of Willie Nelson as one of the greatest artists ever, but he was definitely an excellent songwriter and this is one of his greatest triumphs. The image of him singing it on a cloudless night in front of a saloon or something in the old west is a pretty cool one.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

308. “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” – Rod Stewart
The disco-laden production in this song is cool, but the lyricism from Stewart is so abysmal, I just can’t accept it. “If you want my body/and you think I’m sexy/come on sugar let me know.” Good God.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

307. “One More Time” – Daft Punk
Another one of those songs I was introduced to in Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’00s, “One More Time” was far from my favorite on the list. But as time has grown and the majority of the tracks listed have diminished in my mind, “One More Time” only seems to grow stronger. Good luck getting it out of your head, though.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

306. “Like a Prayer” – Madonna
I’m sure Madonna seemed amazing in the painful decade that was the ’80s, but taken out of context, there really is nothing special about her. This isn’t a bad song by any means and the chorus backed up by a choir is really cool, but it’s the groovy hook that just doesn’t do it for me. It probably doesn’t help that I’m really, REALLY am not a fan of Madonna. That woman creeps me out.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

305. “One Way or Another” – Blondie
Unlike Madonna, there was absolutely nothing creepy about Debbie Harry; that woman may have been the hottest Rock chick of all time. That doesn’t help take this rather stupid song out of mediocrity, though. Let’s hope she had some better ones under her belt.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

304. “Sign o’ the Times” – Prince
Once you see it, you’ll never be able to unsee the cover art of this single which features Prince wearing women’s lingerie. Not really an image I needed to see. Once again, this ’80s hit is far from anything special with so much better music available. Man that decade sucked.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

303. “Heart of Gold” – Neil Young
Has anyone else noticed that Axl Rose totally sounds (and even kinda looks) like Neil Young these days? Get back to me on that. This isn’t my favorite Neil Young song I’ve heard, but every time I see his name I expect excellence and that might have something to do with it. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

302. “Get up, Stand up” – Bob Marley
One of the greatest protest anthems of all time. Apparently, Tom Morello has actually witnessed protests in Africa with people actually chanting the lyrics to this. Powerful stuff.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

301. “Street Fighting Man” – The Rolling Stones
I know Rolling Stone loves this song, but to be honest I really don’t. It’s not a bad song (what is by The Rolling Stones?), but it doesn’t really advance past the point of mediocre to me. It’s just so… empty. And dull.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

300. “Black Dog” – Led Zeppelin
A great example of why I’m not that big a fan of Led Zeppelin. How can Rock critics suggest that this average-at-best Rock song (with some of the sloppiest playing on record) is better than even one song on Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses or Rocks by Aerosmith? Because it came first? That’s not enough for me.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

299. “Tired of Being Alone” – Al Green
Now this is the shit. Al Green is the man and he never sounded more urgent than he does here. And that guitarist’s subdued, Velvet Underground-esque strumming is sublime.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

298. “Train in Vain” – The Clash
As much as I love London Calling, I don’t really think this closer is anywhere near the best song on the album. It’s still an awesome song, though, worthy of being considered for my list. But I wouldn’t expect to see it in the final cut.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

297. “She’s Not There” – The Zombies
It’s refreshing to finally hear another song that I didn’t already know that wasn’t from the ’80s. I like this song, but it doesn’t quite stand out in a genre dominated by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: No

296. “Stan” – Eminem and Dido
There is no denying that this is one of the most important Rap songs of all time, especially coming from a figure as controversial as Eminem. It’s so gripping and haunting, there comes a point where it actually becomes hard to listen to. It’s definitely not for everybody, but everyone should probably hear it at least once.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

295. “Can’t Buy Me Love” – The Beatles
Well it’s better than “Yellow Submarine.” But not by much. This song was ruined for me when my grandpa noted just how stupid (and likely untruthful) it is. It’s remained buried ever since.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

294. “Money (That’s What I Want)” – Barrett Strong
I really like what Strong and Berry Gordy had here, but the song just doesn’t move enough to warrant a place on this list. However there’s no denying that it’s a very important recording; it became Gordy’s first hit which laid the foundation for the creation and success of Motown.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

293. “Walk This Way” – Run-DMC, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry
As I predicted, Rolling Stone wasted a spot on their list by including both the Aerosmith original and this, the much-improved cover. What a shame.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: No

292. “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” – Pavement
I feel like this could’ve been an awesome song, but the production quality is so low, it’s hard to enjoy it. As my stepdad might say, it sounds like it’s coming through a tin can.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

291. “Smokestack Lightnin” – Howlin Wolf
I remember hearing this many years ago and being shocked that it was held in such high regard. I still am.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

290. (What’s So Funny) Bout Peace, Love and Understanding – Elvis Costello and The Attractions
This is a great song, but it’s not quite a classic one. As usual, though, it sounds quite different from other Elvis Costello, continuing to add credence to the notion that he is one of the most varied artists of all time.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: no

289. “Call Me” – Blondie
Another song from Giorgio Moroder that places more emphasis on the production than the lyricism. It worked in 1980 (it was the most successful single of the year), but it just isn’t Top 500 material.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

288. “Help Me” – Joni Mitchell
I don’t know that much about Joni Mitchell other than the fact that she is probably the strangest Singer-Songwriter of all time. But you know what? I think this song is great. It’s definitely unorthodox, but that’s by no means a negative. She knew how to work it to her advantage.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

287. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” – Stevie Wonder
One of the first artists that I was exposed to outside of The Backstreet Boys and various Christian artists, Stevie Wonder is a man that wells up a significant amount of sentimentality in me. I actually think he’s overrated as an artist (I think Rolling Stone currently has him ranked at No. 15), but he’s definitely better than average. That’s about how I’d classify this song, too.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Long Shot

286. “Seven Nation Army” – The White Stripes
My brother and I tried to force ourselves to be fans of Jack White… until we found out what a priss he is. So we gave up. There’s no doubt that this is his greatest triumph, which pretty much means you can expect to not find him on my list. Rolling Stone claims this is the greatest riff of the ’00s. I can probably think of a hundred that would prove them wrong.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

285. “Ain’t no Sunshine” – Bill Withers
It appears as though this is going to be a recording devoid of accompanying instrumentation until it all kicks in around the :30 mark. Then it morphs into a ballad that is both beautiful and haunting. An awesome combination.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

284. “Chapel of Love” – The Dixie Cups
I really like this song, but only because I imagine listening to its sunny imagery (“Spring is here/The Sky is Blue”) on cloudy days filled with storms and Fallout-style violence Fallout. I can’t be the first one to think that way, right?
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

283. “Pictures of You” – The Cure
I really need to listen to more from The Cure; they’ve been blowing me away every time they appear on this list. Solid proof that good music existed in the ’80s even beyond the likes of U2, Michael Jackson and Guns N’ Roses, even if it was only in isolated pockets.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

282. “Ziggy Stardust” – David Bowie
A Glam-Rock anthem. Nobody made quality music that sounded like this. He was a true artist to the end.
Burnes’ Turns: Yes
Top 500 Consideration: Yes

281. “I’ll Take You There” – The Staple Singers
Apparently this song was written in a matter of minutes. I’m not surprised; though the Singers’ claim that they’ll “take us there” is enticing, they barely back us out of the driveway before the song’s over. A pity.
Burnes’ Turns: No
Top 500 Consideration: No

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