Hang the DJ

WXPN (88.5 FM) in Philadelphia just spent a week counting down the "885 All Time Greatest Songs". Listeners submitted their top ten lists, sending in over 10,000 different songs. I thought for sure the top spot would belong to either the Beatles or Bob Dylan, but Springsteen beat out everybody with “Thunder Road.”

Here is my top ten, alphabetically. In parenthesis is how they fared in the 'XPN poll:

The Beach Boys, “God Only Knows” (44)
Big Star, “September Gurls” (334)
Jackson Browne, “Late For the Sky” (115)
The Clash, “Train In Vain” (157)
Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together” (112)
Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (53)
REM, “Radio Free Europe” (307)
The Replacements, “Can’t Hardly Wait” (703)
Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road” (1)
The Velvet Underground, “Rock And Roll” (388)

And here are my 10 honorable mentions, again alphabetically:

Joni Mitchell, “A Case of You” (15)
Van Morrison, “Moondance” (19)
The Pixies, “Here Comes Your Man” (709)
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, “Roadrunner” (644)
The Rolling Stones, “Satisfaction” (20)
Patti Smith, “Gloria” (211)
The Smiths, “How Soon is Now” (139)
Steely Dan, “My Old School” (251)
Richard and Linda Thompson, “Wall of Death” (626)
Neil Young, “Comes A Time” (557)

These lists are very subject to change, depending on how I feel on any given day. Especially since somehow I’ve left out not only the Beatles and Dylan, but also Wilco (and Uncle Tupelo), Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welsh, Warren Zevon, World Party, Matthew Sweet and the Kinks. How'd that happen?

Update (10/12/04): I forgot to mention that I didn't actually submit a top ten list to XPN myself. It was too daunting a task. I tried; starting by making a list of the artists that I felt should be represented. My final list had over 60 artists on it. That's when I gave up on trying to pick just 10 songs. The top 10 (and next 20) listed above were culled from XPN's final list of 885 songs.

Here are the artists that were on my original list: Bob Dylan, Big Star, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Steely Dan, Joe Jackson, John Hiatt, John Prine, John Wesley Harding, Johnny Cash, Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, Van Morrison, Violent Femmes, Wilco, World Party, Warren Zevon, Steve Miller Band, Graham Parker, Gram Parsons, Tom Petty, Liz Phair, Al Green, The Police, Polaris, Iggy Pop, Prefab Sprout, The Pretenders, REM, Michelle Shocked, Nirvana, Patti Smith, The Smiths, Squeeze, Matthew Sweet, U2, Uncle Tupelo, Jonathan Richman, Gillian Welsh, Steve Winwood, XTC, X, Joan Armatrading, The Clash, 10,000 Maniacs, Big Audio Dynamite, The Blasters, Blue Rodeo, The Breeders, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Cracker, Marshall Crenshaw, Beach Boys, The Cure, Luscious Jackson, Dire Straits, The Grateful Dead, The Pixies, The J. Giels Band, k.d. lang, The Lemonheads, Living Colour, Marah, Neil Young, Nick Lowe, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Replacements, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, They Might Be Giants, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Richard Thompson, Steve Earle, Talking Heads, Morphine, G. Love... that's as far as I got before I gave up!

Update 2 (10/12/04): More artists that deserve a look: Frank Sinatra, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Chuck Berry, Roxy Music, Bobby Darin, Buddy Holly, The Flaming Lips, The Beastie Boys, Billy Bragg, Cowboy Junkies, Iris Dement, Alison Krauss, The Jayhawks, Kirsty Mac Coll, The Pogues, Lone Justice, Son Volt, Ray Charles, Paul Westerberg, The Band, Beck, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Carol King, John Lennon, Lyle Lovett, Taj Mahal, Beth Orton, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, James Taylor, Suzanne Vega, The Waterboys, The Who, Peter Wolf, Yes, The Cars, Patsy Cline, Bruce Cockburn, Bo Diddley, Everything But the Girl, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, The Byrds, Pink Floyd, Ben Vaughn, and Tom Waits.

Did I forget anyone?


At 11:08 AM, Blogger PKD said...


The writing, the subject, the person. It's rare to find a blog this interesting.

My loins are burning with curiosity.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Lotus said...

You forgot Creedence...

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

Your Al Green selection is an excellent one, and is used quite well in "Pulp Fiction." I also dig your Pixies honorable mention - I will be in attendance at their Philly concert in December.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Keith - Thanks... I think.

Lotus - I can't believe I forgot CCR. I just saw Fogerty live last week. I was huge into CCR in high school.

Shawn - If I ever go to a Pixies concert I'll give you a call, because I wouldn't want to go without police protection. And the Reverend Al Green is definitely a desert island disc.

The Creedence slight means I'm going to have to look at my collection and update the post once more.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I FRIGGIN' FORGOT SINATRA! (Let's call "Summer Winds" my eleventh honorable mention). And I considered Elvis Presley, but I don't know if any one song of his would break my top 20.

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Dee said...


I got the "sarcastic mention": HUEY LEWIS!!

The Missus

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I seem to remember you liking him more than just "sarcastically" during high school! My God, what would you be listening to if you hadn't met me?

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Dee said...

I liked ONE song. Okay, maybe TWO! Gimme a break, I was 15. Don't make me tell these people what song we have you covering at the beach. (**cough** Hip to Be Square** cough**)

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Politico said...

Yeah, but if you were stranded on a desert island....

Seriously though, leaving off the Doors?

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Mark said...

First CCR, now the Doors? Have I completely forgotten what I listened to in high school? The Doors belong if only for "You CANNOT petition the lord with prayer!"

I guess I should add Led Zep while I'm at it.

Take me to the bridge...

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Good job on the shout-out for Kirsty MacColl, one of the all-time criminally underrated artists.


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