Whoops. This was written, but never actually posted. So, we’re a little out of order.
We come to the Second Set of songs from the top, the real meat and potatoes here. Now, you have to pretend I said that last sentence in a historically gravelly voice, since it’s lifted from former WNEW-FM disc jockey Scott Muni when the station used to broadcast its annual Memorial Day Top 1027 songs of all-time.
Unlike the Modern Rock 500, broadcast by WOXY annually over the same weekend, the top of WNEW’s list barely changed from year to year. Stairway to Heaven was always No. 1, followed by Born to Run, Layla and Baba O’Riley. While only Springsteen was represented on my countdown, I like the Who and I can tolerate a lot of Zep. On the other hand, my life has been Clapton-free for a very long time.
34 Breathe Me Sia (You Tube)
33 Subdivisions Rush
32 Lovecraft In Brooklyn The Mountain Goats
31 Here’s Where The Story Ends The Sundays
30 When Doves Cry Prince
29 Another Nail In My Heart Squeeze
28 Mighty K.C. For Squirrels
27 Born To Jesca Hoop (You Tube)
26 Sultans Of Swing Dire Straits
25 Ears Ring Rainer Maria
24 Deeper Into Movies Yo La Tengo (You Tube)
23 City Of Angels The Distillers
22 Pop Goes The World Men Without Hats
21 New Slang The Shins
20 These Days R.E.M.
19 Left Of Center Suzanne Vega Feat. Joe Jackson
18 Ace Of Spades Motorhead
17 Time After Time Cyndi Lauper
33. As alluded to in the intro, there aren’t many holdovers from my high-school era “Classic Rock” fandom period in my musical rotation today, but I’ll always have a soft spot for these Canadian boys.
25. In 2006, I attended a Rainer Maria show at Metro in Chicago, with 10-year-old Ian in tow (it was an all-ages event). It was his first concert. RM was the third of four bands on the bill, and we left midway through the headliner, as he was starting to lag. On our way out, I saw the charming lead vocalist for the three-piece outfit, Caithlin De Marrais, talking to some fans. I walked by, as I was wont to do. Only after I got out did I realize that Ian most certainly would have liked to get the chance to meet her, and she probably would have been amused to meet the only pre-teen in the crowd. When I got home, I sent her an email through the band’s website, and she responded with a nice note to Ian telling him how she saw us at the show, and hoped we’d stop by to talk. He liked that. The band is back together now, and I’d like nothing more than to go see them again, accompanied by a twenty-something Ian.
22. They weren’t one-hit wonders. They had two hits, and this was the much, much better one.
20. Not included on this list, but REM supplied the song for my 1992 nuptials. For our first song, Kem had this cool idea to invite the entire wedding party on the floor for the first dance. The DJ then played about 15 seconds from a sappy love song, before breaking into “It’s the End of the World As We know It (And I Feel Fine). The rest of the wedding party was stunned when it happened, while everyone else at the reception kind of crept closer to see what the heck was going on, including a bunch of little kids dancing just off the floor. It really set the tone. Also, if you give it some thought, it’s not a bad idea for a wedding song.
Oddly, years later I was reading a Chicago Tribune piece of reader-submitted fun wedding reception stories, and a couple mentioned how they had done the exact same thing, and I concluded they had to have heard about it from someone who went to our reception. It was just too damn identical in the details to be a coincidence.
19. I always felt no song did a better job of capturing that all-too common sense of alienation so many teens experience. The song was the highlight of my all-time favorite movie soundtrack, Pretty in Pink.
18. See 166.