All Time Top 10 Tracks - James

In posting our weekly record I often put tracks or albums into some made up all time ranking such as the best side 1, track 1 and 2 combo, which would be an awesome list or, greatest break up songs of all time, and so on.  And while we have casually referred to an all time top 5 album list (that's for another day), we have never actually tackled the big one, the All Time Top 10 Tracks.  So like my recent dive into the National Boulevard tarmac here goes..

First question, what's the strategy?  Do I choose my top 10 artists and then select one track each or, do I choose my top 10 albums and select a track from each? 

Other questions, should a song make the list because of its status accumulated over the years, like Gimme Shelter from the Stones, even though I didn't hear the song until 20 years after its release, (growing up in the country will do that to you), or, Smells like Teen Spirit, even though I never really got grunge or was it 90's punk?

Have some songs become too iconic to actually exist any more in isolation, think The River by Bruce Springsteen?

Can some bands be central to everything I love in music and yet not have one song that stands alone in the top 10, such as (controversially), the Clash or (even more controversially), the Ramones?

Can every song on my all time favourite album fail to make the list because now, 40 years later, they're using Fleetwood Mac's tour de cocaine, Rumours, to sell SUV's to the overfed and inadequate, thank you for nothing globalisation.

And how could I leave out Morrissey (You're the One For me Fatty), The Smiths, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, The Beatles, Dylan and Springsteen, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Graham Parker and the Rumour, Japan, Johnny Cash, everything from the first 2 Dire Straits albums, Radiohead, The Pretenders, Ron Sexsmith, The Hoodoo Gurus, Blink 182 (yep), Steve Earle and so on and on and on?  And only one song from Elvis Costello.  Really?

In the end I just had to accept these glaring ambiguities and nail my colours to the mast.  The only measure I had was this -  these songs struck a chord that rang true for me the moment I heard them and rings undiminished to this day.  So no more hedging and justifications, here in no particular order are my all time top 10 tracks ...

  • The One I Love – REM
  • Bring On The Night – The Police
  • Flaming Wreck (Live) – Pernice Brothers
  • Keep Your Distance – Julie and Buddy Miller
  • Ruby's Arms – Tom Waits
  • No Time For Games – Midnight Oil
  • Mr Brightside – The Killers
  • Free World – Kirsty MacColl
  • Say Goodbye – Hunters and Collectors
  • I Want You – Elvis Costello

 but in case I am hauled up to answer for these sins, I offer 5 in reserve...

  • St Swithin's Day - Billy Bragg
  • Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley
  • Janelle – Cold Chisel
  • I Don’t Wanna Be The One – Midnight Oil
  • The Maker – Emmylou Harris or Daniel Lanois

Don't be too harsh. 


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