Greetings Manic Fans. Les here to continue the project to list my top 200 songs I feel achieved something amazing through song content, performance or musical arrangement/recording. These are the songs that mesmerize and make you go WHOA!….they then make you want to listen to them over and over. And so, here’s songs 11-20 This will not be ranked as my favorite song changes on a minute to minute basis LOL! The numbers are simply to keep track on the count to 200.

 

For the first 10, click here: https://www.manic-expression.com/my-top-200-best-songs-for-content-performance-and-arrangementrecording-songs-1-10by-les/

 

And now…onto the next 10….

 

11. The Time Warp(Cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

It’s just a jump to the left…..Talk about a song that goes into overdrive. WOW! A very hard-edged 50’s/70’s style rocker about losing inhibitions and just having a good time, the Time Warp is awesome.

 

12. Rock around the Clock(Bill Halley and His Comets)

This was the song that heralded the new music that Radio DJ Alan Freed christened Rock and Roll. And an exciting new music it was. Taking big band swing and adding an electric guitar gave unique style with teeth to it. Even 60 years later, this song still rocks.

 

13. Caravan(Brian Setzer Orchestra)

And 50 years after Bill Halley, Brian Setzer picked up the torch and hit the ground running adding the Guitar Whammy Bar to the sound that first electrified the airwaves back in the 1950’s Here, he takes a classic Jazz piece done by Duke Ellington and makes it wail.

 

14. Good Vibrations(The Beach Boys)

For a brief time in Rock and Roll there was an unofficial rivalry between the Beach Boys and the Beatles….in a good way, really. They kept pushing the creative envelope to outdo each other that resulted in the most incredible albums ever recorded. “Pet Sounds” was the Beach Boys masterpiece right before The Beatles produced “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  This track, released as a single/side B, incorporated some really smart musical changes, chording and some of the sharpest harmonies the band ever did. Plus, you gotta love any song that uses an Electro-Theremin for the outro solo.

 

15. Suite Judy Blue Eyes(Crosby Stills Nash and Young)

A definite highlight of the Woodstock Concert, these 4 newcomers(back then) took the stage, announced they were scared shitless, and then performed sheer musical poetry with evolving musical motifs, the signature CSNY harmonies and a Doo do do do do riff at the end you just gotta sing along with.

 

16. Ne Me Quitte Pas(Jacques Brel)

This one was a recent discovery when I started performing in Europe. Even if you don’t understand the French, you can hear the anguish of the singer who’s begging his lover to not leave him, and it’s so raw and heartfelt, the song will move you.

 

17. Baba O’Reily(The Who)

Most people think this song is called “Teenage Wasteland”…it’s not LOL! It is, however instantly recognizable from the clever synth licks that start it and the 3 piano chords that explode over it. Add Keith Moon’s crazy drum style of keeping time while drumming a solo the whole song, Roger’s amazing rock voice and Pete Townshend’s power guitar chords(Obviously done with the arm windmill), an amazing electric violin solo at the end and you’ve got a song that goes balls to the wall, my friends.

 

18. The Theme from “Shaft”(Isaac Hays)

Here’s a really good example of how a simple idea can be embellished upon. 2 chords are played back and forth as Isaac adds another instrument to fatten up the sound each cycle of the phrase until it explodes into the next idea…which also builds up instrument upon instrument. This also had, hands down, the coolest use of the Guitar Wah Wah Pedal ever recorded. You listen to this song and you can just picture Ol’ Shaft hitting the streets of Harlem to sleuth out.

 

19. MacArthur Park(Andy Williams)

Now, I’ll be the first to admit…this song makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever(There’s actually a story that claims the songwriter did it on a bet he couldn’t write a hit song with lyrics that made no sense…guess he won LOL!).  And it’s hard to argue that point.  The lyrics are nonsensical and just strange. However, the music is freaking great! This is, essentially, orchestral rock with some very tasty brass section lines and a driving drumbeat. While it was first done by Richard Harris. I went with Andy Williams’ version for the superior band work on the music and his incredible vocal talent. Some of you might recognize it for the Weird Al version of it-”Jurassic Park.”

 

20. Father and Son(Cat Stevens)

Here’s a really touching song about a conversation between Father and Son, where the Father is trying to advise his progeny and the Son is going through Teenage angst over wanting control of his life. You can hear the love the Father is trying to express and his frustration that his Son is taking the hard way out and the Son is frustrated that his Father won’t let him be free.

 

And that’s songs 11-20. Stay tuned for songs 21-30, my friends. Peace.

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