And The Last Top 10

On December 19, 2009, in Favorite Music, by admin

…before we move to another catagory…will be another top 10. But this time groups, in order. Getting tougher.

 But first Marty from list.  I had lost it and Dave replaced, and, Marty knows how to write formatted mails, unlike some other folks we know.

  Always been a softie, always will be.  Not ashamed of it, either.   Here’s what I sent to Jay:    
  Top 10 Favorite Songs – Marty Floyd   Jay has asked for my top 10 favorite songs, so here goes.  I’ve always been a sucker for harmonies, beautiful love ballads, and the Beatles, so this list will be heavily weighted accordingly.  Also, the more I thought about it, the more there were some I just couldn’t leave off of my favorites list, so there are more than 10.  

1.  If You Could Read My Mind (written and recorded by Gordon Lightfoot) – I’ve always been a sucker for folk music harmonies and beautiful love ballads.  This one has great lyrics and absolutely perfect production.  I loved it the first time I heard it as a 16-year-old in 1971, and ever since then I’ve loved it more and more every time I’ve ever heard it.

  2.  For My Lady (written by Ray Thomas and recorded with his band, The Moody Blues) – I’ve also always loved the ocean, and this is an incredibly beautiful song which combines a love song with seafaring imagery.  The recording utilizes a concertino and makes you feel like you’re on an old sailing ship bounding over the waves out on the high seas.  The live version from Red Rocks, Colorado (1992) is awesome for the orchestral background, even if composer / singer Ray Thomas did mess up the lyrics.  

3.  Superstar (written by Leon Russell, recorded by The Carpenters) – this song was enhanced to perfection by Karen Carpenter’s voice.  It doesn’t matter what type of music you prefer; the warmth and richness of Karen’s voice puts her up there with any woman who ever sang a note on the planet.  I don’t know whether the following is true, but I’ve read that the version that was commercially released by them was the first time she ever sang it.   The rest (no particular order):  

I’ll Be Back (written by Lennon/McCartney, recorded by The Beatles) – Lennon said this is a rip-off of a Del Shannon song (although he didn’t particularly name the particular song, I’d have to say he was referring to “Runaway,” based on the chord progression).  He also said once that this was an early favorite of his, which I’ve always found to be personally gratifying, since it’s always been one of my favorites.  The double-tracked harmony absolutely fascinated me when I was younger, and I still consider it to be a great recording.  

 I’ll Follow the Sun (written by Lennon/McCartney, recorded by The Beatles) – This one is a deceptively simple song, yet rather sophisticated in its structure (particularly the use of the 7th off of the 4-chord in the melody).  The early Beatles’ harmonies were as good as any ever recorded.  The blend of Lennon’s and McCartney’s voices from their early recordings has never grown old, as least not to my ears.  I’ve come to believe producer George Martin probably never got enough credit for the Beatles’ early sounds.  Many of their early recordings have a qualitative difference that in retrospect is conspicuously absent from most contemporary recordings of  the day; yet not long after the Beatles hit it big, recordings of numerous other bands (the Hollies come to mind) began to emulate the style.  

I Feel Fine (written by Lennon/McCartney, recorded by The Beatles) – for my money, one of the greatest feel-good rock-and-roll songs ever, despite the fact that they finished writing it in the studio because they needed another filler song (it went to #1 on the charts).  It’s also one of the first songs to use feedback on the recording.  Finally, when my daughter was a little girl, I used to dance with her to this recording.  

And I Love Her (written by Lennon/McCartney, recorded by The Beatles) – still the prettiest thing McCartney ever did, and one of the prettiest that ever came down the line, by anybody.   Cherish (written by Terry Kirkmen, recorded by The Association) – Along with the Beatles “And I Love Her” and Climax’ “Precious and Few,” this is one of the prettiest songs that ever came down the line.  

Precious and Few (recorded by Wilt Nims, recorded by Climax) – Along with The Beatles “And I Love Her” and The Association’s “Cherish,” this is one of the prettiest songs that ever came down the line.   Only the Heart May Know (written and recorded by Dan Fogelberg) – this is from my favorite album of all time, “The Innocent Age.”  It’s a typical Fogelberg ode to the lost innocence of youth, which was pretty much the theme of this entire album.  Emmylou Harris sang harmony with him.  

 Forever Autumn (written by Jeff Wayne, Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass, recorded by Justin Hayward) – This is a relatively obscure song, although I believe Justin (better known as lead singer on much of the Moody Blues material) released it as a single in the late 70’s.  The lyrics and melody for this song are absolutely haunting.  Justin has said it’s one of his favorites to perform, and although he frequently does it in his solo performances, but it’s not been included in the Moody Blues play lists during the times that I’ve seen them live.  In my opinion, Justin Hayward has the most soulful voice in popular music today.  

Oh, Pretty Woman (written by Bill Dees and Roy Orbison, recorded by Roy Orbison) – Reportedly inspired when Orbison’s wife interrupted Dees and Orbison as they were trying to write a song, and when she asked for some cash, they replied, “A pretty woman like you doesn’t need money!”  It is, quite simply, the greatest feel-good rock-and-roll song of all time.  After 45 years, it still hasn’t grown old.  At all.  

Don’t Worry Baby (written by Roger Christian and Brian Wilson, recorded by the Beach Boys) – another great feel-good rock-and-roll song, with the Beach Boys’ inimitable harmonies.  It is Brian’s clone of “Be My Baby,” which is his favorite song, and would likely be on this list, except it’s a little before my time.  

Ryhthm Of The Rain (written by John Claude Gummoe, performed by the Cascades) – my favorite pre-Beatles rock-and-roll song, and of the few from the era which has what I would consider to be of the same high-quality recording style as much of the early Beatles material.  

Unchained Melody (written by Alex North and Hy Zaret, recorded by the Righteous Brothers, among many others) – This is simply the most intensely beautifully rock-and-roll ballad of all time.  As I did research to make my selections for this list, I learned that the song was first used in an obscure prison film (1955) called “Unchained.”  It was been recorded over 500 times, but the best known and definitive version was done in 1965 by the Righteous Brothers.  

   There’s a WHOLE bunch more that I could have put on a favorites list, but I’ll stop for now.

Thanks Marty.  Impressive, you are the only guy to list the writers….

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