Thursday, January 28, 2010

Top 100 7" Singles

I am very tired of futzing with html table tags, so I went with the simplest code and yet it still looks like crap. Anyway those who can count will note that the list has grown to 104. Yes there are four ties and I cannot bring myself to edit the list further so it is what is is.

A few rules were applied in making these choices. The single had to be released on vinyl in either the USA or UK. If the B-side was different in one country, I went with the version from the country in which the artist was resident at the time of the release. Promo or canceled releases are prohibited.

As far as the subjectivity of the choices, this is a list of my favorite singles, not favorite songs. Hence [#3] may be a better song than [#1] but based on my singles critera [#1] wins out. The criteria for a great single include
(a) the song must be instantly recognizable within two seconds
(b) the introduction must have that "wow" factor
(c) the quicker the tempo the better
(d) generally the run time should be less than three minutes (obviously [#3] and [#100] are massive exceptions
(e) the production must be either extravagant[#8] or bare bones [#9]
(f) clever lyrics are more important than the actual meaning of the words. Again, this is about what makes a great single, not necessarily a great song
(g) as my interest begins with the British Invasion, nothing pre-Beatles is included

Extra points for odd instrumentation such as glockenspiel, tubular bells, saxophone, tympani, strings, harpsichord. Additional extra points for lovely melody, vocal harmonies, and general "hookiness".

Songs further down the list may be lacking in one or more of these areas but have enough of the right stuff to earn their spot. So without further ado, here is Mister Pleasant's top 100 singles list.

Rank A-Side B-Side Artist Year
1 Lady Madonna The Inner Light The Beatles 1968
2 I Can See For Miles Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands The Who 1967
3 Hey Jude Revolution The Beatles 1968
4 Fire Brigade Walk Upon The Water Move 1968
5 Tonight Hard To Get Over A Heartbreak Raspberries 1973
6 Instant Karma Who Has Seen the Wind? John Lennon 1970
7 Waterloo Sunset Two Sisters Kinks 1967
8 Born To Run Meeting Across the River Bruce Springsteen 1975
9 Honky Tonk Women You Can't Always Get What You Want Rolling Stones 1969
10 This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us Barbecutie Sparks 1974
10 Itchycoo Park I’m Only Dreaming Small Faces 1967
11 Friday on My Mind Made My Bed, Gonna Lie in It Easybeats 1966
12 Desiree I've Got Something on My Mind Left Banke 1967
12 Accidents Will Happen Sunday's Best Elvis Costello 1979
13 Strawberry Fields Forever Penny Lane The Beatles 1967
14 Starry Eyes Paint Her Face The Records 1979
15 Do Ya No Time The Move 1972
16 Talkin' About The Good Times Walking Through My Dreams The Pretty Things 1968
17 Pictures of Lily Doctor Doctor The Who 1967
18 Bus Stop Don't Run and Hide Hollies 1966
18 Wichita Lineman Back In The Race Glen Campbell 1968
19 Brown Sugar Bitch Rolling Stones 1971
20 Wouldn´t It Be Nice God Only Knows Beach Boys 1966
21 Time Of The Season Friends Of Mine Zombies 1968
22 They Don't Know You Broke My Heart in 17 Places Tracey Ullman 1984
23 Rebel Rebel (US phased version) Queen Bitch David Bowie 1974
24 Junior's Farm Sally G Wings 1974
25 This Is The Story Of My Love (Baby) Nixture Wizzard 1974
26 Lady Friend Old John Robertson The Byrds 1967
27 Jumping Jack Flash Child Of The Moon Rolling Stones 1968
28 7 and 7 Is No. Fourteen Love 1967
29 I Can't Let Go I've Got a Way of My Own Hollies 1966
30 Hello Goodbye I Am The Walrus The Beatles 1967
31 I'm On Fire Did You See What Happened? Dwight Twilley Band 1975
32 Something For the Girl with Everything Marry Me Sparks 1974
33 Overnight Sensation Hands On You Raspberries 1974
34 Message In A Bottle Landlord Police 1979
35 Be Stiff Social Fools Devo 1978
36 I Will Follow Boy/Girl U2 1980
37 Sunny Afternoon I'm Not Like Everybody Else Kinks 1966
38 Pleasant Valley Sunday Words Monkees 1967
39 Pretty Ballerina Lazy Day Left Banke 1966
40 Autumn Almanac David Watts Kinks 1967
41 Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine Next To Me Stealers Wheel 1973
42 Whenever You're Ready I Love You Zombies 1965
43 A Whiter Shade Of Pale Lime Street Blues Procol Harum 1967
44 See My Baby Jive Bend Over Beethoven Wizzard 1973
45 All The Way From Memphis Ballad of Mott The Hoople Mott the Hoople 1973
46 Waterloo Watch Out Abba 1974
47 Eight Miles High Why The Byrds 1966
48 Goin' Back Change Is Now The Byrds 1967
49 If You Want My Love Four Letter Word Cheap Trick 1982
50 Mister Pleasant Harry Rag Kinks 1967
51 Carrie Anne Signs That Will Never Change Hollies 1967
52 Open My Eyes Hello It's Me Nazz 1968
53 Star What More Could You Want Stealers Wheel 1973
54 I'm A Boy In The City The Who 1966
55 Cecilia The Only Living Boy In New York Simon and Garfunkel 1970
56 Sail On Sailor Only With You Beach Boys 1973
57 Baby Blue Flying Badfinger 1972
58 Walking In the Rain How Does It Feel? The Ronettes 1964
59 Hand Me Down World Runnin Down The Street The Guess Who 1970
60 Dogs Call Me Lightning Who 1968
61 When I Grow Up (to Be a Man) She Knows Me Too Well Beach Boys 1964
62 Wedding Bell Blues Lovin' Stew Fifth Dimension 1968
63 Lola Mindless Child of Motherhood Kinks 1970
64 Valleri Tapioca Tundra Monkees 1968
65 Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing Blame It On the Sun Stevie Wonder 1974
66 Fight The Power (Part I) Fight The Power (Part II) Isley Brothers 1975
67 Blackberry Way Something The Move 1968
68 Message Of Love Porcelain Pretenders 1981
69 Mother and Child Reunion Paranoia Blues Paul Simon 1972
70 Paper Cup Poor Side Of Town Fifth Dimension 1967
71 Drive In Saturday Round and Round David Bowie 1973
72 Back on the Chain Gang My City Was Gone Pretenders 1982
73 The Kids Are Alright The Ox The Who 1966
74 Tell Her No What More Can I Do? Zombies 1964
75 Porpoise Song (Theme from Head) As We Go Along Monkees 1968
76 I Saw The Light Marlene Todd Rundgren 1972
77 Live and Let Die I Lie Around Wings 1973
78 Break Away Celebrate The News Beach Boys 1969
79 Albert Flasher Broken The Guess Who 1971
80 Care of Cell 44 Beechwood Park Zombies 1967
81 Hot Smoke and Sasafrass Lonely Bubble Puppy 1968
82 Sunrise My Girl Eric Carmen 1976
83 Superstition You've Got It Bad Girl Stevie Wonder 1972
84 Middle Of The Road 2000 Miles Pretenders 1983
85 Paperback Writer Rain The Beatles 1966
86 Jet Let Me Roll It Wings 1973
87 John I'm Only Dancing Hang On To Yourself David Bowie 1972
88 Ticket To Ride Yes It Is The Beatles 1964
89 Leave Me Alone Takin' the Long Way Home Peggy March 1964
90 Couldn't I Just Tell You Couldn't I Just Tell You Todd Rundgren 1972
91 She's Not There You Make Me Feel Good Zombies 1964
92 I Feel Fine She's A Woman The Beatles 1964
93 Talk of The Town Cuban Slide Pretenders 1980
94 All I Know Mary Was an Only Child Art Garfunkel 1973
95 No Matter What Better Days Badfinger 1971
96 You Got the Love Rags to Rufus Rufus 1974
97 Indication How We Were Before Zombies 1966
98 Join Together Baby Don't You Do It The Who 1972
99 Avenging Annie So Fine (It's Frightening) Andy Pratt 1973
100 MacArthur Park Didn't We Richard Harris 1968
100 Bridge Over Troubled Waters Keep the Customer Satisfied Simon and Garfunkel 1970


Andy Pratt said...

I'm still on the list. thank you very much....Andy Pratt (Avenging Annie)

itsaboutmusic, myspace, youtube, itunes, rollingstone, wikipedia, amazon, allmusic, etc...

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

It's up! It's good!

I know where i'll be spending the spare moments of MY weekend!

Love the distinction between the best single and the best song!

Mucho mas comments to come, Senor Pleasant! :-)

Alex said...

A very cool list... lots to think about here!

PS: I'm not sure what's cooler -- the list itself or having an artist on the list comment about it!

gregtuco said...

"All The Way FROM Memphis"
Sorry, I'm on a crusade.

Mister Pleasant said...

The Mott entry has been fixed - thanks Greg for pointing out my error.

Andy, it is wonderful to have you visiting here. Wait until you see my top 100 LPs list! Resolution is way-way up there. What happened with your videos on YouTube? I really miss that wonderful live performance of Treasure That Canary.

Alex and Who Am Us Anyway - always great to have you stop in. Looking forward to your future feedback.

tbrough said...

Wa hahh hahh - Love that Sparks made the cut. And as a HUGE fan of The Records (I embarrassed Jude Cole by asking him to sign a copy of "Crashes"), cool to see "Starry Eyes." Fun List, color me Black Vinyl Impressed, I bow to you, Sir!

Holly A Hughes said...

Great list! Not my list, but fun to read nevertheless, and I totally agree with your criteria. I am thrilled to see the Left Banke so well represented, a much neglected band IMO; I'm also happy to see that you've avoided the rock-snob prejudice against the Monkees.

Now I must go create my own list, with more girly things on it.

Mister Pleasant said...

Tim - I could never omit Sparks from the list. You and I may be among the few professed Sparks fans in the US, but then I always enjoy being on the outside looking in. It is mega-cool that you met Jude Cole. I had forgotten that he had a short stint in The Records.

Thanks Holly. We each have our own lists and I am so looking forward to reading yours. Variety really is the spice of life. As for the Monkees, I get the feeling that their music has stood the test of time, and the old critical baloney about their musical abilities has pretty much been put to rest.

And the Left Banke - sigh - now there is the music as dreams are made on. It is a crime that their retrospective CD is out of print.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Woah ... tons of great Andy Pratt available for free listening over at his place!

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Foist things foist, and so herewith the Whoamusanyway Embarrassing But True Ignorance Isn't Bliss List of 11 Songs he Never Would Have Heard But For the Pleasant Valley Sunday 104!!

I'm On Fire (i know the Bruuuuce song by this name but this must be diff)

Something For the Girl with Everything

Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine

See My Baby Jive


Blackberry Way

Hot Smoke and Sasafrass


Leave Me Alone (i know a Heartless Bastards song by this name but this must be diff)

All I Know

You Got the Love

OK, off to iTunes now ... thanks, Mr. P!

More latah!

P.S. your html table looks great; i'm impressed with it to be honest -- way beyond my few html abilities!

Alex said...

A few random thoughts: Beatles, Beatles, Beatles plus two great Badfinger songs (why does everyone always forget "Baby Blue"?), two Simon & Garfunkel songs (plus one Simon and one Garfunkel).

But why only one John Lennon song (although it's a great one) and one Springsteen song (and not "Hungry Heart"/"Held Up Without a Gun")?

Songs I was happily surprised to see: Tracey Ullman's "They Don't Know," Dwight-Twilley Band's "I'm on Fire," "Jet."

Songs that made me scratch my head: the Wizzard tracks, some of the Byrds tracks.

I know it was probably difficult to cut the list down to only 100 (or 104) so I thank you for the time and effort it took to compile this!

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Alex, what other John Lennon singles would you include in your Top 100 singles list?

Hey, why wasn't Crippled Inside released as a single?? Jeez.

Instant Karma truly is John's very best single, I think.

After that I think my Top 100 Singles would include (using Mr. P's criteria):

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Mind Games

Happy Christmas War Is Over (i know: a guilty pleasure. But I'm a sucker for this kind of Xmas stuff).

And that would probably be it.

I love No. 9 Dream, Imagine & Jealous Guy as great songs, but they're not my idea of rock 'n roll singles?

OK, now i'm wavering on Imagine -- maybe i would include it.

But Give Peace a Chance and Power to the People, are great political theme songs more than singles i think.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Hungry Heart is my all-time favorite Springsteen song -- captures everything i love about him when he's at his best.

I'd personally rank it well ABOVE Born to Run, which while undeniably brilliant is a little too anthem-like, a little too stadium rock-like for my taste.

Mister Pleasant said...

Nothing like great music to kick up a good discussion! I want to join in but first should mention that I added some Youtube links for the songs that Who Am Us listed. Dwight Twilley's I'm On Fire really should be heard in its original studio single version. Luckily the live version linked here is actually darn good, and has the added bonus of the lovely Susan Cowsill as a backup singer.

The version of Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine is the original 45 single, which is a completely different version that what is available on the album, and much much finer. Dig the Beatles-ish harmonies and the faux sitar raga section.

I can find no online audio for Peggy March's Leave Me Alone. It is an amazing early Randy Newman song, and the sixteen wunderkind sings it with emotion way beyond her years.

As for Art Garfunkel's first (and biggest) post-duo hit, it is possibly the loveliest Jimmy Webb song ever. It is a bit low on the list because it misses on several of my single's criteria, but that melody and Artie's vocal makes it impossible for me to omit it.

Mister Pleasant said...

The singles of John Lennon were a tough choice for me. Same goes for George and Ringo. Frankly it is a travesty that I left Photograph off the list because I could have scored some points for both Mr. Starr and Mr. Harrison. The truth is I just forgot about it until now. It Don't Come Easy probably should be here too.

I never really saw George as a single's artist until after his career came down from the clouds. When We Was Fab and Blow Away bubbled up just under the top 100. In a couple of days I will post the next 20 or so that got bumped during compilation.

As for John, after Power To The People he became much more focused on albums, and the singles were just selling points for the LPs. That is not to say that Imagine is not one of the most magnificent and beautiful songs every recorded. It is, and when I get around to the top 100 song list it will surely be in the top 10. The fact that it was not released as a single in the UK was a major stumbling block to me for including it here.

#9 Dream also appears on the 100+ list. I liked the three singles from John's return to recording, especially Watching The Wheels, but listening to them even now I cannot divorce the awful memories of his murder from my head. Unfortunately that pall prevents me from being able to accurately gauge where they might fall on the list.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Agree re Watching the Wheels -- I love the song but tend to block it out of my mind. Really, absolutely everything from Double Fantasy is so hard to listen to for that very reason. Do you remember the great, funny, energetic and optimistic interview Lennon gave Rolling Stone to promote that album & which of course hit the news stands right after his murder? A double, no triple, whammy.

Mister Pleasant said...

Alex, I am glad that you agreed about the inclusion of Tracey Ullman's great rendition of Kirsty MacColl's song. It scores points all over the place based on my criteria, but most of all it just gets to me in all the right ways.

Definitely Wizzard is an acquired taste. I can see where Roy's version of the Spector sound with globs of glam sprinkled about could rub someone the wrong way. Not me though.

I would be interested to know which Byrd's tracks you find to be odd choices. Or is it more what I did not list that has you scratching your head?

Mister Pleasant said...

Yes I do remember that Lennon interview, Who Am Us Anyway. Even now I feel the sadness of those dark December days welling up inside me. A wonderful tonic is the post that Alex put up last year about the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland. Go read -

ssspune said...

I salute you, Mr. Pleasant. Thank you, thank you. #80's a huge fave of mine, and I'm loving that you included the Isleys. Oh, and all that delicious BB stuff...

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Hey Mr. P, thanks for the YouTube links!

Mister Pleasant said...

You bet, Who Am Us Anyway. I am adding the links as I find time. Wish I could embed Lala links but at the moment it is a bit beyond me. And thanks for pointing out that Andy Pratt's site has music and videos, including the one I have been looking for.

Thanks Ssspune. I love #80 dearly too. I only wish it had been a hit. The Zombies might have hung on for a bit longer if it had been.

Alex said...

Re: Lennon -- I'd pick "Watching the Wheels" or even "(Just Like) Starting Over," but as singles, we'd have to take the B-side into account (and whatever you think of Yoko, that's gotta count against those singles).

"Happy Xmas (War is Over)" -- maybe. It's just not Christmas if I don't hear this.

But if I were to include two more Lennon singles, I'd definitely add "Mind Games," which is just the right mixture of dreamy and powerful.

If I only had one spot, I'd pick "Stand By Me" -- simple, eloquent, and beautifully sung. Ironically, when freed of the need be seen as a creative genius, he turns in one of his most heartfelt performances.

As for the Byrds, I guess I would put "Lady Friend" below "My Back Pages" or even "Turn Turn Turn."

Mister Pleasant said...

Hey Alex, good to read your feedback. I just posted my list of the next 60 and sure enough Mind Games and Stand By Me are on the list, along with #9 Dream. I agree wholeheartedly about Stand By Me. It may be one of John's finest moments, and that is high praise from me because of the Beatles, I think he had the best pipes. McCartney has a great voice too but John gets the nod.

I find Rock 'n' Roll on my turntable more often than any Lennon LP other than Plastic Ono Band.

re: Lady Friend - it is definitely a personal preference on my part. Partly because the song was unknown to me until about five years ago, but mainly it just strikes a real chord inside me.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Yowza -- i didn't even realize that Stand by Me or anything else from that album WAS a single!

But i love the entire Rock 'n Roll album. For all the stories about what a mess the recording sessions were, I put my faith in Jim Keltner's eye witness account. I forget WHERE he said this, but in some interview he said the entire trip was an absolute gas and that Lennon was just so freaking witty & cracking wise that the hardest thing was not to keep laughing during a take. It's just great music, alcohol fueled or no!

Alex said...

The common wisdom (spread by John Lennon himself) is that the "lost weekend" period was just a series of pointless wasted days & nights. I'm sure there was a lot of that, but Lennon also recorded Walls & Bridges and Rock & Roll, produced and played on Nilsson's Pussy Cats, co-wrote and sang on Bowie's "Fame," co-wrote and played on several songs by Ringo, and hosted weekly jam sessions at a rented house on the beach in Santa Monica attended by many future inductees to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Not too shabby for a "lost weekend."

Mister Pleasant said...

Didn't Paul show up for one of those Santa Monica beach house jam sessions? I seem to remember hearing a hideous bootleg of the event.

But yes I would agree, John was quite productive during that period, regardless what he or others may have said.

And there was a second single planned from Rock 'n' Roll but Apple decided to pull it at the last minute. A lucky few have promo copies. It even has an official Apple record number -
P-1883 - for Ain't That a Shame b/w Slippin' and Slidin

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Whooooooo could i-ma-gine ... that i never saw that Instant Karma video before? But no, I hadn't!

I'm still just cracking the surface of your top 104 ...

Alex said...

I read somewhere that Paul did show up for one of those Santa Monica jam sessions (and read somewhere else that Paul showed up at the recording studio where John was producing Pussycats).

There's a tape floating around on the internet called "A Toot and A Snore in '74" of a drunken jam session with John, Paul, and a bunch of other people. Quality isn't great, but the historical value is pretty high...

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

"A Toot and A Snore in '74" -- would love to see ...

I remember John saying Paul was over at the Dakota watching TV when SNL broadcast its Beatles reunion offer ("$3,0000 and you can pay Ringo less"). They actually called a cab and nearly went before deciding they were too tired.

Missed it by THAT much ...

Hey "I'm on Fire!" -- watching the video, it all comes back to me like a hot kisss at the end of a wet fist -- I always thought it was "You aint got no lover!" & of course being shall we say disorganized in 1975 had no idea whose record it was. :-)

Mister Pleasant said...

That "almost" reunion on Saturday Night Live was as close as they/we ever got to seeing them together again. Sad but of course the music will live on forever.

I think you have the lyrics correct on I'm On Fire. That is certainly what I hear to this day. Nice chunky little power pop rocker by my home town boy Dwight.