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The 897 Greatest Songs of All Time

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Showing 1-25 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 21, 2008 5:30:59 PM PST
Mark F. says:
As promised, I'd like to post this list of the 897 "Greatest Songs of All Time," as chosen by the listeners of a radio station in my area in Feb. 2007.

I'm going to post 10 songs at a time, beginning with 897, and then anyone can feel free to discuss each group, and add their own choices if they'd like.

I'll rate my own preference for the songs from + to +++, with ones I dislike having no rating. I'll put a ? after those I don't know.

Have fun!

897. Government Mule--Soulshine
896. Prince--Raspberry Beret (+++)
895. U2--I Will Follow (++)
894. Beck--Loser (++)
893. Mason Williams--Classical Gas (++)
892. Dolly Parton--Jolene (?)
891. Blur--Coffee and TV (?)
890. Radiohead--Let Down (?)
889. Phish--Waste (?)
888. Josh Ritter--Kathleen (?)

I know the Allman Brothers version of Soulshine, which is OK. I know a lot of people on these boards like Jolene.

I listened to Coffee and TV and it sounded pretty good. I didn't care for the others.


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 5:46:00 PM PST
Val H. says:
Jolene?? I love Dolly but I would never have thought to vote for this song. I wonder if any more of her songs are going to come up as we get higher? I don't know 888-891 but will have a look-out for them. Tell us something about what you think the demographic of the radio station is, if you have time Mark.

Looks like it's going to be an interesting ride!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 5:51:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 21, 2008 5:51:23 PM PST
Mark Twain says:
soulshine definitely deserves to be on this list. i love that song. no one else i know has even heard of it though. good choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 7:31:57 PM PST
Mark F. says:

It sure is! Thanks for your post.
Given that it's a college radio station with a somewhat alternative format, not quite commercial but they have public radio feeds and shows such as the World Beat Cafe, it's probably a somewhat young but sophisticated audience.

By the way, I picked up Easy Tiger to listen to from our local library, on your recommendation. I'm looking forward to giving it a listen! And I'll bet Ryan Adams appears on this list!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 8:30:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2008 5:58:27 PM PST
E. Dill says:
897. Government Mule--Soulshine (+) (I hadn't heard it before)
896. Prince--Raspberry Beret (+++)
895. U2--I Will Follow (+++) (what a great riff!)
894. Beck--Loser (+++)(I love this!)
893. Mason Williams--Classical Gas (I tolerate this but don't like it much)
892. Dolly Parton--Jolene (+++)
891. Blur--Coffee and TV (++)
890. Radiohead--Let Down (+++) Yorke's voice moves me
889. Phish--Waste (the band has always been a crapshoot for me)
888. Josh Ritter--Kathleen (++)

I'm not sure any of these would be on MY 897 but U2 and Beck might have a shot.


ps. Three of these songs were edited with a 3rd + given to Prince and Parton. It had to do with the evolution of my use of the rating scale. Raspberry Beret is highly listenable to me and so is Parton's. At the time I first did this, I, like most people, was thinking of using the +++ rating only for the best of the best. I decided early on to scrap that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 8:41:00 PM PST
Mark F. says:

I've only heard it done by the Allman Brothers.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 9:28:15 PM PST
Mark F. says:

Great! Do you think that rating system works? Three levels is enough for me. You knew 9 out of 10; I only knew 5 out of 10. We agree on most of them...I know what you mean about Classical Gas, and it took on a whole new "air" when I found out that Mr. Williams became a Mrs. :-O
It's one of those songs you wonder how it's survived the test of time--it doesn't sound very modern (and least in this day and age); he's no one who's known for anything else that I know of.
I do like Loser, but he sort of loses me in some of his rap, particularly "beefcake pantyhose," and "choking on the splinters" neither of which conjures up pleasant images. :)
Raspberry is my favorite of all of them, "followed" closely by "I Will Follow" (which was a revelation when I first heard it--it wafted from my first college roommates speakers with the sound of that bottle hitting the street--I wasn't sure what to make of it but you sort of had the feeling they were onto something big).


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 11:10:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 22, 2008 12:09:36 AM PST
Jim says:
Soulshine was written by Warren Haynes who plays in both Gov't Mule and The Allman Brothers Band. I think it first appeared in 1993 on the album Delta Hurricane by Larry McCray. The best versions are the ones where Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes share the vocals. Warren Haynes did a solo acoustic version with Vusi Mahlasela that was interesting.

Well Mark, now that you have us all hooked, how long to we have to wait for another installment?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 11:11:50 PM PST
Jim says:
I have.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 11:29:18 PM PST
Poppy Rocky says:
Mark, I like your rating method. I think you've set a trend.

897. Government Mule--Soulshine ? (I had not even heard of this band until I saw them mentioned here.)
896. Prince--Raspberry Beret (++) Good song, but I'll hold back some plusses for Prince songs that top this one.
895. U2--I Will Follow (++) This one is tough, two or three plusses? Although I love the album, I know there are U2 songs that I prefer to this one, so I'll leave some room.
894. Beck--Loser (+++) I just love this song. The imagery, the humor (folksinger hung himself with a guitar string - drive by body piercing- etc.), that backbeat that makes you want to pop, the background vocals, the loose-jointed jangly bright guitar. OK, I'll stop.
893. Mason Williams--Classical Gas (+) This gets one star for Smothers Brothers show nostalgia.
892. Dolly Parton--Jolene (+) I am not a big Dolly fan, but I think Jolene is one of favorites by her.
891. Blur--Coffee and TV (?) I am a Blur fan, but I'd never heard this song. I think I had stopped following them as closely by the time this was released.
890. Radiohead--Let Down (++) Hearing Thom Yorke yelp about the fears and angst of modern life is one of the things that makes modern life bearable. OK Computer is a favorite of mine, but this would probably be my 3rd or 4th pick from that album, so I'll hold back on the top rating.
889. Phish--Waste (?)
888. Josh Ritter--Kathleen (?) Just recently got introduced to Josh Ritter, but I don't know this song.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2008 11:56:24 PM PST
Poppy Rocky says:
One more question... Do you know how they queried the listeners. Did they give them a list to choose from? Or did they just have each listener respond with the all-time favorite song(s)?

If someone asked me what my favorite 897 songs were, I have a feeling some Stephen Foster and tin pan alley and old torch songs would be in there. In order to make this somewhat manageable, it seems the station must have had some predefined 'master' list.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 12:07:32 AM PST
Jim says:
Poppy, Soulshine is a good song. Try the Allman Brothers version first. The name of the band is Gov't Mule. They never spell it out. It was started by Warren Haynes and Allen Woody of the Allman Brothers Band. Something for them to do between Allman tours. It has lasted for about 15 years and is still going strong.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 12:20:24 AM PST
Marco says:
897. Gov't Mule -- Soulshine (?)
896. Prince -- Raspberry Beret (+++)
...one of my top 5 Prince's favorites, surely in my top 500.
895. U2 -- I Will Follow (+)
894. Beck -- Loser (+++)
893. Mason Williams -- Classical Gas (?)
892. Dolly Parton -- Jolene (+)
891. Blur -- Coffee and TV (+)
...I'd give 3 plusses to the video that narrates the amazing adventures of a milk tetrapak !?
890. Radiohead -- Let Down (+)
...there's something better on "OK Computer"
889. Phish -- Waste (?)
888. Josh Ritter-- Kathleen (?)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 4:07:14 AM PST
E. Dill says:
Mark F:

1. The rating system you used is fine with me. I've used many over the years and often have more than 3 gradations but I'd rather not get too ponderous with it.

2. So Mason became Masonette. Who was the famous classical/electronic organist who made the "switch". I have a lot of his/her electronic work.

3. Frankly, I did NOT have a clear memory of a lot of them, like you. I had to go to my trusty "youtube" and actually wound up listening to all of them again, even the ones I have in my collection. While I did the youtube thing for the music, I DID enjoy the Blur video a lot. I don't remember seeing that before.

4. I never got into Phish that much. They were too iffy for me. Sure, they could play but what they played often bored me as much as impressed me. Sometimes they'd do both in the same song. (Even Zappa did that sometimes.....bore me and blow me away in the same piece)...

5. I'm a Beck fan. You never quite know what he'll do next.

6. While there are a lot of Prince songs I like more, I DID like Raspberry Beret a lot and wound up defending the album from whence it came when a lot of Prince fans of the period wondered what he was up to. It was his "Santanic Magesty's Request".

7. Sometimes, for whatever reason, I have problems comparing songs of different genres. I had that problem with Jolene. It is a favorite Dolly P. song and I've always loved Dolly's voice. Still, it made me wonder how I'd judge classic songs by her and Hank Sr. and Cash, against rockers. And I'm not even thinking classical works here. And what about jazz? I'd guess this is mostly a rock exercise.



In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 7:18:52 AM PST
Mark F. says:

Thanks for the info on Soulshine. So I guess the Allman Brothers version I heard was on somewhat recent album. I remember listening to a CD they had from one of my housemate's collections in the mid-90s, so that must have been where I picked it up. I think I liked it enough at the time to copy it.

Glad you enjoy this list. I have no set time for putting out the next installment; I thought I'd just wait until this one "plays itself out" and then post the next one. I could do it more rapidly, but then I'd be jumping back and forth and it would get too hectic. So, it really depends on the response to each list. There's no hurry, and I'm not reading ahead so I'm as anxious as you are to see what lies ahead (though I couldn't help look to see what #1 is so I've already seen that one--I can tell you I don't have any quarrels with the selection the listeners made at all.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 8:29:06 AM PST
Mark F. says:

I don't know if I started a trend, but I'm glad you found it useful!

U2 is on the edge of three for me; maybe 2 and a half :)

Oops! Looks like I confused Mason Williams with someone else who had a sex change. My apologies to the (still) Mr. Williams. I can't recall who it actually was that had the sex change, but I think it was someone who also came out with an instrumental in the late 60s.
My Dolly favorites are Here You Come Again, 9 to 5, and Islands in the Stream (which I didn't like until hearing it interpreted as "Ghetto Superstar"--odd how something like that can make you hear a song in a different way).
I like other Blur songs but I was also unfamiliar with that one. I listened to it on YouTube and thought it wasn't half-bad.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 8:55:33 AM PST
Mark F. says:

Well, if it was anything like the way they determined the "Greatest Albums" that they will be doing soon, they asked listeners (contributors--it's a public radio station so theyrely on listener contributions, which I did last year, hence I received the ballot) to contribute their favorite songs via a blank ballot. That's what I got--a ballot with 10 spaces for any choice I wanted to make. I think by virtue of the type of music they play, the responses would be similar to their own playlists, so while some people who got it might stray "far afield," the majority of the responses would be in line with the type of music they usually play and be reflected in the results.


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 10:10:53 AM PST
Mark F. says:

Is that Woody Allen in disguise? :-) I knew he played jazz, but didn't think he'd moonlight with Gov't Mule!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 10:38:24 AM PST
Stef says:
I've heard all of those artists, and most likely, I've heard most of those songs. "Loser" is very funny imho, and I remember thinking it was quite odd when I first heard it at the age of six. "Soul Shine" is a great song, no matter how you slice it. I think the Allmans and Gov Mule both did good versions. I like "Jolene," but "I will Always Love You" is probably my fave Dolly cut. I don't like "Classical Gas" that much. I'll have to listen to the other selections and see if I've heard them. I haven't heard anything by Phish that I can think of. and the Prince song rings a bell, but "Purple Rain" would be in my top 100 songs. I guess I'll be off to Youtube zlater.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 10:47:59 AM PST
Mark F. says:

Good to see you on this board!

You know one more than I do from this list. We like the same ones we know.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 11:22:43 AM PST
E. Dill says:
The transgendered keyboardist I was thinking of was Walter (Wendy) Carlos. I collected a lot of stuff by her when I went thru my instrumental/electronica phase......one of my "catching up" periods. I'd realized that I hadn't taken that music seriously since, say, Kraftwerk. It was time.


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 11:31:33 AM PST
Jim says:
No Mark, Allen Woody was his name. He is dead now. Another Allman Brother's bass player to die.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 11:43:28 AM PST
Mark F. says:

1. Thanks, and it's good to know there's other people out there who go so far as to set up these rating systems!

2. Wow, did I screw up! I checked his Wiki entry and nothing in there about a sex change, so I think I'm confusing him with someone else. Sorry, MR. Williams!

3) That's what I did for the 5 I didn't know.

4. Same here. I kinda see them as a low-rent Grateful Dead. I like a couple of their songs, but nothing I have to listen to.

5. He's all over the place, but I like the Odelay album and Loser, and Sexx Laws.

6) Same here.

7) Good to see Dolly in there anyway!


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 12:22:55 PM PST
Mark F. says:

I'm happy you made it to this list!

Now I feel really old when you say you heard Loser at the age of 6! I won't tell you what songs were out when I was 6.
I'm sure you'll recognize the Prince song if you listen to it. It starts out: "Working at the five and dime, the boss was Mr. McGee..." etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 12:53:45 PM PST
Stef says:
Yeah. I recognize it. I'm not sure if I remember the U2 song though. I probably do, but just can't think of it.
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