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Friday, November 19, 2010

Top 10 Most Overrated Bands

There are musicians who live up to expectations, who surpass the hype and deservedly cement themselves into the cultural consciousness. And then there are bands who become so commercialized in the media that they become outworn, and their importance is suddenly no longer able to be exemplified to its original extent. The bands on this list are good and at times can be great, but through constant overkill have revealed themselves as celebrity debasement at its nadir.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Around The World
An enjoyable band in its own right, equal amounts grunge and incendiary funk (dig the rhythm section) but nowhere near as primordial as critics have made them out to be. For twenty years they have stayed true to the same terse formula which sometimes works out but often times simply grows tedious. Strangely, their attempts at sappy sentimentality usually end up being the singles that receive constant airplay.
Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi 3
Even more formulaic than the Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi were the poster boys for 80s hair metal and were loyal to their code long enough to make repetitive clones of their every single, and fans were unable to tell the difference. In an interview, one band member claimed they would never make an experimental album because they didn’t want to cheat fans by being selfish. I guess no one ever told them that it takes selfishness to make art.
Green Day
Before American Idiot, Green Day was an impressive young band, blending pure punk with delicious melodies, cranking out songs such as Brain Stew and Good Riddance. But after 2004, they ceased to be a band and became a franchise. It was no longer a musical entity as much as a stadium-selling appearance. Dozens of bands tried to follow their example and are partially responsible for the dearth in punk rock today.
Long considered the ultimate stadium band, U2 in its day (that time known as the 80s) were a very imaginative powerhouse. But now that vamping guitar seems less influential and more trance-inducing, and not in a meditative way. Bono’s voice is astounding, but at times falls under the weight of carrying some mediocre songs that somehow end up getting major airplay.
Guns N’ Roses
Guns N Roses
Axl Rose is possibly the quintessential overrated hair metal frontman, the paramount of flashy, overbearing crankiness that some critics take as a form of ambition. How did this band become known as one of the greatest influences in rock today? Slash is a great guitarist, but a solo does not make a song. A worthy guitar band, but as monumental artists, they leave much to be desired.

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
Yes, they made Smile. Yes, they composed some of the catchiest music of the 60s and almost single handedly invented California rock. But there is a time when a band ceases to be simply influential and moves into the territory of being distilled. Not to mention, almost all of their singles are indistinguishable until midway through the chorus.
Metallica, contrary to popular belief, did not reinvent the wheel known as heavy metal and are not so much a major creative influence as a very popular band. Their range from speed rock to epic “composition” is very hollow on close inspection, both musically and lyrically. [They are also a bunch of whiners. - JFrater] [LOL @ J -Cyn]
What began as a turgid imitation of grunge ended up selling a whopping 8 million copies in two years of a gratingly compromised and soul-sucking pop album, supporting mind-bogglingly popular singles and pale, tasteless fan favorites. The attention this band gets on a daily basis for being unoriginal is unfair in comparison to the innovative unknowns struggling in LA clubs. How did a band this trite and adolescent gain so much favor? It is one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
Fans and critics alike praise them for being able to carry their songs using only three chords and constantly bludgeoning riffs. They rank highly on this list not only for that very definition, but because they have taken the gospel of rock and turned it into a Wal Mart commodity, joining Aerosmith in having Guitar Hero avatars and countless songs on the charts that are nigh-indiscernible. They represent classic rock on its last legs, and while that may be supportable, its no reason to put them on so incredible a pedestal.
Don’t get me wrong: Kurt Cobain was a great songwriter and was able to get away with repetition because that’s how
punk rock was meant to be presented: as a slipshod dungeon of sincerity; not that they couldn’t be melodic, as on the incendiary MTV Unplugged. It’s not the band that’s overrated so much as the premise: after Cobain’s death Nirvana ceased to be a band so much as a corporate enterprise, spawning a massive appeal of T-shirts and other forms of apparel, which Cobain despised and saw as a form of cock rock conformity. Ironically, Nirvana has become the very thing Cobain always fought against, and has inspired infinite punk bands to sell out and become equivocal commodities. Not to mention Cobain’s death has made him in the eyes of fans to be a martyr, a horrible misinterpretation of a melancholy end. Cobain was no Werther, but the popularity that has ensued for the past decade is sorrowfully appalling.
The Ramones
The first punk rock band? No. The first over-recognized punk rock band to be franchised on an insurmountable basis? No doubt.
Contributor: F. McClure


Top 10 Cover Songs That Outshine The Original

Cover songs play a vital role in the music industry. Many bands have been launched on the back of a great cover – going on to perform and record original music. There have also been a number of artists who are already great in their own right who have a hit with a cover song. This list deals with the latter category. If you know of other excellent covers that are better than the original, be sure to mention it in the comments.
Joe Strummer
Redemption Song
Original: Bob Marley
One of many covers that The Clash and Strummer did over the years, and also The Clash is also a highly covered band. It was not uncommon in the late 70s and early 80s for English and American bands to cover reggae songs and ‘bring them to the masses’ .
Gary Jules
Mad World
Original: Tears for Fears
From the Donnie Darko soundtrack, this cover of the Tears for Fears track is an infinitely better version of the song, and also a perfect piece of music for the dark themes explored in the movie.
Happy Mondays
Step on
Original: John Kongos
Classic Ryder take on great rambling dance hall shuffle from South Africa. While the lyric ‘Oh he lied, oooh he’s twistin’ my melon man’ sounded perfectly logical coming from Shaun Ryders Ecstasy fuelled mind, it wasn’t his line.
Petshop Boys
Always on my Mind
Original: Brenda Lee
Neil Tennant always had an ear for the sublime hook. And with this cover of Brenda Lee’s 1972 song, that was also covered by Elvis Presley (1972) Wilie Nelson (1982), the Petshop Boys took the song to a UK Number One.
Black Steel
Original: Public Enemy
An agitated mesh of distorted trip hop layered electronica, growls and most the introduction to the world of the stunning Martina Topley-Bird on lead vocals. Tricky credited Public Enemy with being a massive influence on him, but along with Massive Attack and Portishead, Tricky was massively influential in creating the Bristol Sound, or Trip Hop.

They Might Be Giants
Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Original: The Four Lads
A strange piece this one, but every time I hear it, I can’t help but start nodding and tapping my feet. From the hugely underrated album Flood this song by the two Johns was one of their break through hits, alongside Particle Man and Birdhouse in your Soul.
Johnny Cash
Original: Trent Reznor
Reznor was famously was quoted as saying ‘that song isn’t mine anymore’ and earned Cash a Country Music Award for Single of the Year. The music video for the Cash version features footage from his life.
Youth Group
Forever Young
Original: Alphaville
Broke this Sydney band on the world stage when their cover of the German trio Alphavilles 80s hit Forever Young was played on an American soap opera The OC.
Man who sold the world
Original: David Bowie
Was played endlessly by MTV following the news of Kurt Cobain’s passing. This cover of the Bowie song from the 1994 Nirvana album Unplugged in New York showed that there was a lot more to Cobain than the howling grunge sound that Nirvana among others had pioneered.
Sinead O’Connor
Nothing Compares to you
Original: Prince
Sinead O’Connor had a world wide number one hit in 1990 with this cover of the Prince track originally performed by The Family in 1985. O’Connor’s version is the definitive version, and after the song became a number hit in the US, Australia, Germany and the UK, Prince even began to perform the song at his live shows.
Jeff Buckley
Original: Leonard Cohen
Was always going to make this list, for its break through that it gave Jeff Buckley. Although Cohen’s version is actually more moving, the Buckley cover reached a newer generation that had not heard of Cohen.
Contributor: Spart


Top 10 Greatest James Bond Themes

James Bond has been gracing our movie screens for over forty years, and is about to again this November with “Quantum of Solace.” Integral to the Bond legacy is the music, which has endured with the character, adapting to the times and films as fluidly as the character himself and becoming just as memorable. This was originally a complete ranking of 24 themes, but for the sake of brevity – and the potential for a followup list, this is a list of the top 10. Use the comments to tell us your favorite Bond theme.
Shirley Bassey last lent her vocals to a Bond movie with this, the theme to Roger Moore’s sci-fi inspired fourth outing. With melodic instruments and hypnotic vocals, this song is much more pleasant than the movie itself, which was far too outlandish and basically had the same plot as The Spy Who Loved Me. With lyrics that aren’t necessarily sophisticated, but beautiful nonetheless, this song has to really be heard to be appreciated.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
The only other movie to feature an instrumental opening credits theme besides Dr. No, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is frequently berated unjustly by fans and critics, and as a result the theme song is overlooked. The theme is exciting, poppy, reveling in its roots in the 60s as well as giving a fresh and vigorous new approach to James Bond. OHMSS was the first film to give Bond a really emotional story arc, and this theme represents one side of that 007: the dangerous, vengeful one.
You Only Live Twice
Sung with phenomenal skill by Nancy Sinatra, this song is just beautiful, and it is named after one of the best films in the James Bond series. “You only live twice, Mr. Bond.” It has all the good qualities of the Moonraker theme and more, with mysterious lyrics and string riffs that nail the tone of the movie perfectly. The title sequence, too, is also one of my favorites, and goes well with the theme.
From Russia With Love
An essentially sad song, a forlorn tribute to a forgotten homeland to which the singer returns, Matt Monroe lends his strong and smooth voice to one of the most outstanding themes in the series. I love how he belts out the last word in the song. The vaguely Eastern European motifs in the composition are geographically accurate for the film’s setting, and gives the whole film a very grounded feel, which would sharply contrast to the later themes, which were more robust and cinematic.
Live and Let Die
The most successful of the James Bond themes commercially, this little pop ditty by Paul McCartney and Wings is both fun to listen to and adept at capturing the spirit of the film. The zany guitar riffs and lighthearted feel to the song gave it its widespread appeal and set the tone for future films with Roger Moore.

Accompanying Pierce Brosnan’s 007 debut, and his best turn as the character, this dark theme composed by Bono and sung by Tina Turner has the perfect mix of great vocals, lyrics, and music to make it one of the truly great James Bond songs. The title sequence, the first not created by Maurice Binder, only added to the mystique and intensity of the song. The vocals, coming from a woman whose voice I can’t usually stomach, seems to fit perfectly for the movie: sultry, but strong, more of a statement for future Bond girls than 007 himself. Overall, a very good theme song.
You Know My Name
Casino Royale
Perhaps the counterpoint to the previous entry, “You Know My Name” is pure grunge rock mixed with motifs of the classic themes, a brutal statement of James Bond’s primary function as a blunt instrument in the world of espionage. The lyrics themselves, stating “you know my name,” suggest some of the suave arrogance of themes like “Nobody Does it Better,” but supplement it with such angry lines as “I’ve seen diamonds cut through harder men” that the tone of the film is set right away with this memorable anthem. This is also reflected in the title sequence, which, instead of traditionally featuring sexually suggestive female silhouettes, feature an animated Bond beating the crap out of animated bad guys. “You Know My Name” is a truly excellent and memorable Bond theme, setting the tone for the Daniel Craig era of Bond the Brutal.
The theme for the granddaddy of all James Bond films, the belting voice of a young Shirley Bassey and the memorable opening notes make the Goldfinger theme iconic and immortal in the minds of anyone who is remotely familiar with James Bond. The lyrics were the first of many to focus on the villain, characterizing him as a sinister womanizer, making the viewer expect a worthy adversary for their hero. The opening credits themselves are a blockbuster, only a prelude to an even grander film. The song is exceptional in every way, announcing the arrival of the world’s most beloved superspy.
I may get blasted for this one, but I like the Thunderball theme better than Goldfinger’s. They sound very similar, but I think the lyrics of “Thunderball” are stronger and describe the hypothetical villain more sinisterly. Also, the swelling musical riffs accompanied by the bellowing powerhouse vocals of Tom Jones make this song a force to be reckoned with. But, of course, it could never be number one, which is, indubitably, undeniably…
James Bond Theme
Dr No
The original. The eternal. Featured in every single official Bond film, this less-than-two-minute long masterpiece is the perfect mix of jazz lounge pop and cinematic smooth that it could only accompany one man: James Bond, Agent 007. When you hear the jazzy bass riff or the blasting horns of the main refrain, you know immediately who has just entered the room, and what kind of an ass-kicking/woman-seducing is about to go down. The best moment in Casino Royale was at the very end, when this theme snuck onscreen and Craig, asked “Who are you?” responds, no longer Brute Bond but the real 007: “Bond, James Bond.” For over 40 years, this theme has graced our ears and our screens, and while every other song on this list will come and go (some more quickly than others), this original Bond them is forever. Like diamonds.
Contributor: antmansbigxmas


15 Greatest Halloween Party Songs

Be in to win an iPod! – read the list for our competition details. In just a few days it will be Halloween! The night of trick or treating, costumes, candy, and all things spooky. In celebration I have put together a list of the 10 songs that absolutely must feature at your halloween party – or, failing that, songs you must load onto your iPod to help you get in the mood. I have tried very hard to provide you with the most diverse and interesting set of songs possible – so while you may not see all of your favorites, you should see at least one or two new ones to add to your collection. Be sure to tell us your own favorites in the comments.
Bark at the Moon
Ozzy Osbourne
A list like this would not be complete without the awesomeness which is Ozzy Osbourne! This track is from the Bark at the Moon Album recorded in 1983. Ozzy is, of course, most famous for being the lead singer of Black Sabbath and it would be seriously wrong not to include him on this list.
Devil Went Down To Georgia
Charlie Daniels Band
We have two firsts on this list – things I never thought I would see! One is Marilyn Manson, and the other is country music! It isn’t my personal favorite, but this song definitely rates as a classic Halloween party song perfect to get people moving about and dancing. It contains brilliant violin playing by Charlie Daniels and even the most anti-country music people should enjoy it.
The Raven
The Alan Parsons Project
Granted it isn’t the most horrifying song, but it is a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe and provides a nice alternative to some of the heavier music on this list. This is probably the best song to play as your party is nearing an end – when people are either too drunk to care what you play, or sober enough to appreciate the lyrics which are taken directly from the Poe poem of the same title.
I’m Your Boogie Man
White Zombie
I have to be honest and admit that I had never heard this song before I started researching this list – but it is definitely going to rank high for those of our readers planning a more hardcore party than the others. Also, for those of you who are planning to spread humbug this Halloween, you can play this at a very loud volume and you will frighten all the kids and parents who are trick or treating – save on candy costs!
Bad Moon Rising
Creedence Clearwater Revival
This is a great hit from the ’60s which went to number one in the UK. While it is not a particularly scary track, it is, for many people listening, likely to bring back many memories of Halloween parties of the past. This is one of my favorite songs on the list.

Ghostbusters Theme
This song is a lighthearted song – most appropriate for the early stages of your Halloween party. This (and item 3 on the list) is perfect for playing as your guests are arriving and having their first drinks. It is also perfect for a kids Halloween party. And if you want some entertainment for the night, why not watch the film – you can buy it here.
The Addams Family Theme
The Addams Family was a 1964 hit series based on cartoons by Charles Addams. The theme will be familiar to most people either through the original series of the much more recently made movie. This is a great quirky hit for your party – a definite must-play.
Welcome to my Nightmare
Alice Cooper
This song is from the album of the same name by Alice Cooper. It is a concept album in which each track progressively details the passage of a nightmare. This is the opening track and what could be more perfect for a loud Halloween Party.
This Is Halloween
Marilyn Manson
Rather than use the original soundtrack version of the song, I have chosen to use the Marilyn Manson version because I like it much more and think it has a better Halloween “feel” about it. I also love the Panic at the Disco version, but there is no doubt that the Manson version is the spookiest. The song is, of course, the title track of the brilliant Tim Burton film “The Nightmare before Christmas” which you can buy here.
O Fortuna
Carl Orff
Everyone knows this song – it has been used in hundreds of horror movies. While the song sounds very eerie, the translation of the Latin original is not quite so spooky – it actually means “O Fortune, you wax and wane like the moon”. Hardly frightening stuff, but most people don’t know what it means and it will chill everyone that hears it to the bone! A definite must-have for Halloween. Oh – and it is from the cantata called Carmina Burana. I have picked an excellent version of it for you to buy:
Tubular Bells
Anyone who has seen the Exorcist will appreciate the eeriness of this soundtrack. It plays at the start of the film as the main actress walks home from a day filming. The scene is full of moody shots of Washington in fall with children trick or treating. It lulls you in to a false sense of security before all hell breaks loose (literally) in the form of possessed girl Regan. This song will always be my favorite Halloween theme. Oh – and if you don’t already have a copy of the movie, you can get it here.
Werewolves of London
Warren Zevon
This excellent track by Warren Zevon features drumming by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. It will be familiar to most people through its constant (over-)use in movies. Everyone will expect to hear this song at a party – don’t disappoint them.
Monster Mash
Bobby Picket
If there is any one song on this list that people will be expecting to see – it is this. Monster Mash is a hilarious and fun song from 1962 sung by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. In a bizarre and rather lame attempt at a comeback, Picket released a spin-off of the song in 2005 called “Climate Mash”, a version with re-written lyrics about global warming and new vocals which was released on the Internet by the organization Clear the Air. Forget clearing the air for now – fill it with spooky mist and party!
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
J S Bach
Of this most famous piece of classical music, Wikipedia says: The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, is a piece of organ music commonly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, composed sometime between 1703 and 1707. It is one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire, and has been used in a variety of popular media ranging from film, to video games, to rock music, to cellphone ringtones and used for the autumn holiday Halloween. I doubt a single person here will not know it. Props to Bach for writing music so cool that even non-classical lovers still listen to it – 300 years later!
Michael Jackson had to be number one. This track was damned scary when it came out, and it is still damned scary (though perhaps for different reasons now). I am sure that no one will dispute this item’s placement as number one greatest halloween party song. Allow me to finish with a little inappropriate humor: do you know why Michael Jackson loves Halloween? Free delivery right to his door.
Win Merchandise and an iPod
At Midnight (Pacific time) on Halloween (31st October), one commenter on this list will be selected at random to win a mug, shirt, or cap from the List Universe Store. In addition, the winner will receive an 8 GB iPod Nano (latest version) in any color of their choosing (most, but not all, colors are shown above)! The winner must be a registered user (registration is free and easy). As usual, comments must be related to the list and not designed just to increase the count or your chances of winning. Every comment is counted – so you can comment more than once. For those who can’t wait to get some merchandise, the store prices have now all been discounted! So be sure to check it out. All products sold at the List Universe Store are of a high quality. Shipping takes 7 – 11 days.
Notable Extras: Black Magic Woman (Santana), Psycho Killer (Talking Heads), The Stranger (Billy Joel), Legend of Wooley Swamp (Charles Daniels Band), Devil Woman (Cliff Richard), Frankenstein (Edgar Winter Group), Hells Bells (ACDC), Spooky (Steely Dan), Don’t Fear The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult), Purple People Eater (Sheb Wooley)


Top 10 Best Rappers Turned Actors

After hearing the news that popular rapper Common had been cast in the upcoming 4th Terminator movie, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, I started to think about all the other successful rappers that have tried their hand at acting. It became evident that some are pretty good at doing both. So here is my Top 10 List of the Best Rappers Turned Actors.
AKA Slim Shady
Marshall Mathers is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning rapper, record producer and actor. Having sold over seventy million albums worldwide, Eminem is one of the highest-selling rappers of all time. Turning to acting in 2002′s 8 Mile, Eminem hasn’t resurfaced since. His debut was loosely based on his own life, so that probably helped his critically praised performance. Can he hold his own in other projects? I’d like to find out.
Hit Songs: Forget about Dre, The Real Slim Shady
Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. is an rapper, songwriter, producer, actor, philanthropist and co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records. With his 2006 performance in ATL and more recently his supporting role in American Gangster, T.I. holds his own on screen. Now if he can just stay out of trouble we might get to see more of him.
Hit Song: Be Easy
Chris Bridges is a Grammy Award-winning rapper. He is also the highest-selling Southern hip hop artist of all time with over 11 million records sold in the United States. Though not very seasoned in the acting profession, Ludacris was surprisingly well regarded in his supporting role in Crash and Hustle & Flow and also his guest role in an 2007 episode of Law & Order. As such, I’ll give him a pass for being involved in Fred Claus. He is cast in the upcoming movies Max Payne and RocknRolla.
Hit Songs: Yeah!, Stand Up.
Tracy Marrow is a Grammy Award winning rapper, actor, and author. He is credited with helping create gangsta rap in the late 1980s and created more controversy in 1993 with the release of the song Cop Killer. After well received performances in New Jack City, Surviving The Game and Trespass he did a stint of straight to DVD and low budget movies. In 2000 he settled into the role of a police officer on the hit TV series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He is cast in the upcoming movie Thira.
Hit Songs: Colors, Cop Killer
previously known as Common Sense
Common Rapper Image  3
Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. is a Grammy Award Winning hip hop artist, model and actor. He starred in significant roles in such films as Smokin’ Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, and Wanted. Not that I followed much of the guy’s music, but Common immediately piqued my interest as a bodyguard in Smokin’ Aces. There’s something about the guy’s voice and delivery that is so cool you can’t turn away. He was also cast as the Green Lantern/John Stewart character in the live adaptation of The Justice League.
Hit Song: Love of My Life

LL Cool J
James Todd Smith III is a Grammy Award winning rapper and actor. LL Cool J stands for “Ladies Love Cool James.” He is one of a few hip-hop stars of his era to sustain a successful recording career for more than two decades. He has had starring roles in the movies Any Given Sunday, Deep Blue Sea, Rollerball and The Last Holiday as well as his own long running TV show In the House. As a seasoned actor, LL Cool J easily excels in both fields.
Hit Songs: Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out.
Mos Def
Dante Terrell Smith has been nominated for Golden Globe, Emmy, and Grammy Awards. This is a guy I enjoy in just about anything. In 2002, he played the role of Booth in Topdog/Underdog, a Tony-nominated and Pulitzer-winning Broadway play. He also starred in Monster’s Ball, 16 Blocks, The Italian Job,The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Be Kind Rewind. He won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Vivien Thomas in the HBO film Something The Lord Made. His next movie is Cadillac Records as the famed Chuck Berry.
Hit Song: Universal Magnetic.
Queen Latifah
Picture 2-35
Dana Elaine Owens is a rapper, singer and actress. Latifah’s work in music, film and television has earned her a Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination for the hit movie Chicago.
She’s starred in Set it Off, Jungle Fever, Barbershop, The Bone Collector and The Last Holiday. She also starred in the long running TV series Living Single. She is currently a Cover Girl model and Jenny Craig spokesperson. Her latest movie was The Secret Life of Bees.
Hit Song: Ladies First.
Ice Cube
Picture 4-10
O’Shea Jackson is a rapper, actor, screenwriter and producer. Regarded as one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time he began his career as a founding member of the rap group N.W.A. Much like Ice-T and LL Cool J, Ice Cube has been around for a while and certainly has credibility with fans. He had starring roles in smash hits Boys in the Hood and Friday as well as starring roles in Anaconda, The Players Club, (which he directed), Three Kings and Are We There Yet? He produces movies under his Cube Vision production company. His next movies are The A-Team and the title role in Welcome Back, Kotter which he is also producing.
Hit Songs: No Vaseline, Today was a Good Day
Will Smith
AKA The Fresh Prince
Willard Christopher Smith Jr. was half of the wildly successful hip-hop duo Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. He was the first rapper to win a Grammy Award. He then made the successful transition to TV in 1990 and starred in the slightly biopic hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was also the first rapper to receive an Academy Award Nomination and the only rapper to receive 2 nominations.
This is a guy that keeps churning out great movies like Men in Black, Bad Boys, Independence Day, Ali, I,Robot, The Pursuit of Happiness and Hancock. The only bad choice he made in his acting career was turning down the role of Neo in the mega hit movie Matrix to accept the lead role in the flop Wild,Wild West. He is now considered one of the most powerful people in Hollywood and with his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith currently produce TV and movie projects.
Hit Songs: Parents Just Don’t Understand, Git Jigga Wit it.


20 Great Choral Works From Before 1750

I have sung in classical choirs for more than 25 years. Many of the choirs I have sung in have specialised in “early music”. (The cut-off date for this varies, but I have chosen 1750.) There are many great choral works which I would like to share with you.
I have limited myself to works from western European Christianity, which is where my experience is. I have limited myself to one work per composer. With some tweaking at either end, the list is in chronological order. The information is as brief as I could make it and still be comprehensible, but I hope I have given you enough information to understand the composer and the work.
There is necessarily a large amount of Christian church history, theology and imagery here. If you are not into that, please sit back and enjoy the music. This selection is personal and subjective, but I believe that any list of great works from this era would include many of these works. These are “great works”, not “the greatest works”.
Kyrie Orbis Factor (from Mass XI)
The composer of this music is unknown. The music is either based on, or was the source for, a devotional hymn “Orbis factor, rex aeternae eleison” (“Creator of the world, eternal king, have mercy”). The clip intersperses the song and the liturgical text.
Central to the worship of the Christian Church (then and now) is the Mass, a memorial of the last meal shared by Jesus and his disciples. Typically, five texts are set to special music. The first is the penitential “Kyrie eleison” (“Lord, have mercy), which is in Greek, compared to the Latin used for the other texts.
The performance in the clip is by Ensemble Organum, a group founded in 1982 by Marcel Pérès and based in France. This group specialises in chants that were in use before Gregorian chant (the variety of chant most widely used in the Western Church) developed, or that survived in alongside it.
Hildegard of Bingen
1098-1179; O Ecclesia
Hildegard was a Geman abbess, polymath and composer. She is the first composer whose biographical details are known. She lived in convents from an early age, and became probably the most accomplished woman of her time. Founding and administering convents, writing theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, letters (to popes, emperors and saints), liturgical songs, poems and the first surviving morality play. Much of her music was written for religious ceremonial performance by the nuns of her convents. Her music is described as monophonic; that is, consisting of exactly one melodic line, designed for limited instrumental accompaniment and characterised by soaring soprano vocalisations.
c1165-c1220; Alleluia Nativitas
Very little about Pérotin is known. He was probably French and active at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris. He pioneered the styles of organum triplum and organum quadruplum (three and four-part polyphony). This work is in three-part polyphony. A prominent feature of his compositional style was to take a simple, well-known melody and stretch it out in time, so that each syllable was tens or even hundreds of seconds long, and then use each note of the melody (the tenor, Latin for “holder”, or cantus firmus, Latin for “firm song”) as the basis for rhythmically complex, interweaving lines above it. The result was that one or more vocal parts sang free, quickly moving lines (“discants”) over the chant below.
I can find no information about the words. I assume that is was sung immediately before the gospel reading during the Mass, and that the words have something to do with the birth of Jesus.
The performance is by the Hilliard Ensemble directed by Paull Hillier, the members of which appear in the clip.
Guillaume Machaut
c1300-1377 Sanctus (from Messe de Nostre Dame)
Machaut was a French poet and composer. He held church and royal/noble court appointments in Flanders and France. His poetry was admired and imitated by Geoffrey Chaucer, among others. He composed in a wide range of styles and forms and his output was enormous. His most important work is the Messe de Nostre Dame, the earliest known complete setting of the Mass by a single composer. Unusually for a composer of church music of his times, the vast majority of his works are secular, almost always dealing with courtly love.
The words, which are another major text of Mass, begin “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts”.
The performance in the clip is by the Ensemble Gilles Binchois.
Guillaume Dufay
c1397-1474 – Ave Maris Stella
Dufay was a Franco-Flemish priest, music theorist and composer. He travelled widely and held a number of church and royal/noble court appointments in Flanders, France and Italy. He was among the most influential composers of the 15th century, and his music was copied, distributed and sung everywhere that polyphony had taken root. Almost all composers of the succeeding generations absorbed some elements of his style. The wide distribution of his music is all the more impressive considering that he died several decades before the availability of music printing. He wrote in most of the common forms of the day.
The words are from a hymn of devotion to Mary and begin “Hail, star of the sea”.
Johannes Ockeghem
c1410-1497; Deo Gratias
Ockeghem was a Franco-Flemish singer, choirmaster, teacher and composer. He held a number of church and noble/royal court positions (not only musical but also administrative/diplomatic) in Flanders and France. His most important work is his Missa pro Defunctis which is the earliest surviving polyphonic Requiem mass. Being a renowned bass singer himself, his use of wide-ranging and rhythmically active bass lines sets him apart from many of the other composers of his time.
The words are “Thanks be to God”, said at the very end of the Mass, but not often set to music. This setting has 36 individual lines of music, divided into 4 choirs of 9 lines each. This is astonishingly complex music for the time.
The performance is by the Huelgas Ensemble directed by Paul van Nevel.
Josquin des Prez
c1450-1521; Ave Maria
Josquin was a Franco-Flemish composer. Writers as diverse as Baldassare Castiglione and Martin Luther wrote about his reputation and fame. The newly-developed technology of printing made wide dissemination of his music possible. Despite his colossal reputation, we know very little about his life. He wrote in all the significant vocal forms of his time. He liked to solve compositional problems in different ways in different compositions. Sometimes he wrote in an austere style devoid of ornamentation, and at other times he wrote music requiring considerable virtuosity. He travelled widely and held various church and royal/noble court appointments.
This work does not set the biblical “Ave Maria” text, but rather a devotional poem to Mary.
John Taverner
c 1490-1545 Sanctus (from Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas)
Taverner was an English organist and composer, and is widely regarded as the most important English composer of the pre-reformation era. He was appointed by Cardinal Wolsey as the first organist and master of the choristers at Cardinal College, Oxford (later renamed Christ Church). He was reprimanded for (probably minor) involvement with Lutherans, but escaped punishment for being “but a musician”. Wolsey later fell from favour and Taverner left the college. His most important works are the Western Wynd Mass, based on a popular song by that name, and the Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, based on a plainchant. The 20th century composer Sir John Tavener is a direct descendant.
The words, from the Mass, are “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts”, which is the first part of the text used in item 4.
Thomas Tallis
1505-1585; Loquebantur Variis Linguis
Tallis was an English organist and composer. His life spanned the English reformation. He held various church music positions, and was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth I. Throughout his service to successive monarchs, Tallis avoided the religious controversies that raged around him. His best known works are the nine psalm chant tunes for four voices he wrote for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter in 1567, his settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet and Spem in alium written for eight five-voice choirs, possibly for Elizabeth’s 40th birthday in 1573. In 1575 Elizabeth Tallis and his younger contemporary William Byrd a patent to print and publish music, which was one of the first arrangements of that type in the country.
The text is a paraphrase of Acts 2 and begins “The apostles began to speak in other tongues (or languages)”. Tallis’s music is interspersed with plainchant, and the plainchant is also hidden deep within the polyphonic sections.
Three for the price of one. The best clip of this work has another, unrelated, piece before it. Loquebantur starts at 2.29. At 6.05 is Tallis’s best-known shorter work (in English) “If ye love me”. The performers are the Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Philips.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
c1525-1594; from Missa Papae Marcelli
Palestrina was an Italian composer. His work can be seen as a summation of Renaissance polyphony. He held a number of church positions in and around Rome. He wrote sacred music almost exclusively. His masses and motets are in the repertoire of every choir of this type.
The Missa Papae Marcelli (Mass for Pope Marcellus) was supposedly written to persuade the Council of Trent that a ban on polyphonic treatment of text in sacred music was unnecessary. More recent scholarship has shown that this mass was composed before the cardinals convened to discuss the ban (possibly as much as ten years before). It is probable, however, that Palestrina was quite conscious of the needs of intelligible text in conformity with the doctrine of the Counter-Reformation, and wrote his works towards this end from the 1560s until the end of his life.
The words make up the last major text of the Mass, and begin “Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us”.
Robert Parsons c1535-1572
Ave Maria
Parsons was an English composer, about whom little is known. He was an assistant to the Master of the Children Choristers of the Chapel Royal, then a Gentleman of the chapel. He composed a small number of sacred and secular vocal compositions, of which this is by far the most well-known. He is believed to have died in January 1572 when he fell into the then swollen River Trent and drowned.
The words are from Luke 1.28, 42 and begin “Hail, Mary, full of grace”.
The performance is by the Cambridge Singers directed by John Rutter.
William Byrd
Byrd was an English composer. He held a number of church appointments, particularly as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. In 1572 he and Thomas Tallis were granted a joint printing licence from Queen Elizabeth. Despite his Roman Catholic sympathies, he worked in the court of the Elizabeth I. With equal skill he composed music in Latin for the Roman liturgy (possibly the finest by any English composer) and in English for the Anglican liturgy. He also wrote secular songs, madrigals and keyboard pieces.
Sing joyfully is a motet in English. The words are from Psalm 81 and begin “Sing joyfully unto God our strength”. This work shows that, in contrast to the simplicity of Tallis’s If ye love me (No 9), settings in English could be and often were quite complex.
The performance in the clip is by the choir of Winchester Cathedral, probably directed by David Hill.
Tomás Luis de Victoria
1548-1611 Tenebrae Factae Sunt (from Tenebrae Responsories)
Victoria was a Spanish priest and composer. He held church and court positions in Spain and Italy. His standing is often compared to Palestrina. Many commentators hear in Victoria’s music a mystical intensity and direct emotional appeal, qualities considered by some to be lacking in the arguably more rhythmically and harmonically placid music of Palestrina. His melodic writing and use of dissonance is more free than that of Palestrina.
Tenebrae is a series of three devotional services held late in the evenings of the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week. A special feature is the use of a row of candles, which are extinguished one by one after each item, ending the service in darkness. The words are from Luke 23 and begin “Darkness covered the land”.
The performance in the clip is by the English choir The Sixteen, directed by Harry Christophers.
14 Giovanni Gabrieli
c1554-1612; Omnes terra
Giovanni Gabrieli was an Italian organist and composer. His major appointment was as principal organist and composer at St Mark’s Basilica, Venice. Like composers before and after him, he used the unusual layout of the St Mark’s, with its two choir lofts facing each other, to create striking spatial effects. Most of his pieces are written so that a choir or instrumental group will first be heard from the left, followed by a response from the musicians to the right. Gabrieli perfected this technique in works such as In Ecclesiis, a showcase of polychoral techniques, making use of four separate groups of instrumentalists and singers.
The words are from Ps 47 and begin “Clap your hands, all the earth”.
The performance in the clip is by the Gabrieli Consort and Players, directed by Paul McCreesh.
Claudio Monteverdi
1567-1643; Deus in Adiutorium (from Vespers)
Monteverdi was an Italian singer, viola da gambist, composer and, late in his life, priest. His life and musical output spans the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque period of musical history. He held positions in Mantua and Venice. He wrote madrigals, church music and operas. His opera L’Orfeo (Orpheus) is probably the earliest opera still regularly performed.
Vespers was a daily service held in the late afternoon. It featured five psalms, motets or instrumental pieces and the Magnificat (Luke 1). Monteverdi’s setting is on a monumental scale, and there has been some controversy as to whether all the movements were intended to be performed in a single service. The service opens with verses from Ps 70 “O God, come to my assistance”. Monteverdi re-uses music he had composed for “L’Orfeo”.
The information attached the youtube clip specifically mentions the conductor Gabriel Garrido, but the rest of the information is confusing. He is most closely associated with the Ensemble Elyma. His recording of this work includes that ensemble, plus the Studio di Musica Antica Antonio il Verso, Coro polifónico GP da Palestrina and Les Rossignols de Poznan, so they may be the performers on the clip.
Thomas Tomkins
1572-1656; When David heard that Absalon was slain
Tomkins was a Welsh composer who lived most of his life in England. He held appointments at Worcester Cathedral and the Chapel Royal. He wrote madrigals, keyboard music, consort music, anthems, and liturgical music. Stylistically he was extremely conservative, even anachronistic: he seems to have completely ignored the rising Baroque practice around him, with its Italian-inspired idioms, and he also avoided writing in most of the popular forms of the time, such as the lute song, or ayre. His polyphonic language was that of the Renaissance.
The text is from 2 Samuel 18 and tells of the grief of King David after the death of his favourite son Absalom, who had rebelled against him. (Warning: the compiler of the clip switches from biblical imagery to modern-day photos of parental grief, which may be disturbing.)
(How to start an argument between two singers of early choral music: Ask “Which is better – Tomkins or Weelkes?” I say Weelkes, but couldn’t find a clip of that on youtube.)
Henry Purcell
1659-1695;Hear my prayer, O Lord
Purcell was an English keyboardist and composer. He became organist at Westminster Abbey at the age of 22 when one of his teachers, John Blow, stood aside from that position in his favour. (Blow took over again after Purcell’s early death). Later, he also held the position of organist of the Chapel Royal. He wrote music for both the church and the theatre. Famous works include “Dido and Aeneas”, one of the first operas in English, “I was glad” and “My heart is inditing”, written for the coronation of King James II, and the funeral music for Queen Mary, which was also performed at his own funeral soon after. This work was written around 1680 and is believed to be the first section of a longer complete work. It is, in my humble opinion, the most perfect 2 minutes of music ever written.
The words are from Psalm 102 verse 1.
The performance is by the Choir of Clare College Cambridge directed by Timothy Brown. Unlike the better-known English cathedral and college choirs, this one uses (young) adult women for the soprano and alto lines.
18 Antonio Vivaldi
1678-1741; Et in terra pax hominibus (from “Gloria”)
Vivaldi was a Italian priest, virtuoso violinist, teacher and composer. His major musical appointment was at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà, one of four orphanages in Venice financed by the Venetian government. Boys learned a trade and had to leave at age 15, while girls received a musical education and the most talented stayed and became members of the Ospedale’s renowned orchestra and choir. Vivaldi wrote most of his concertos, cantatas, and sacred music for them. He also had considerable success as an opera impresario and composer. His most famous work is the set of four violin concertos, the Four Seasons.
The Gloria is a text from the Mass, and begins “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth”. It is usually set to music along with the four other principal texts of the Mass, but sometimes as a stand-alone peice. Vivaldi’s famous setting of the text sets every sentence as a separate movement. The famous opening movement “Glory to God in the highest” is followed by the supremely beautiful “and peace to his people on earth”.
The performance in the clip is by the Kaohsiung Chamber Choir and an un-named orchestra from southern Taiwan. I chose this performance to show just how far this music has travelled. (The soloists sitting at the front sing in other movements.)
Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach was a German organist, composer and teacher. He held church and court positions in Germany. Although he did not travel far, he was aware of musical developments elsewhere. His output is astonishing in its quanity and quality: the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations and suites and partitas for harpsicord; several hundred works for organ; sonatas and partitas for solo violin; suites for cello; the Brandenburg concertos and suites for orchestra; the Mass in B Minor, the St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion and several hundred other works for choir. Despite this, his music was not widely known, and was considered “old-fashioned” by those who did know of it, especially late in his career when the musical fashion tended towards rococo and classical styles. A revival of interest in and performances of his music began early in the 19th century, and he is now widely considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.
What work to pick to represent Bach? I chose this for sentimental reasons: it was part of the first choral/orchestral concert I ever sang in. A cantata is a musical meditation on the bible readings for the day, using arias and choruses, very often incorporating a hymn appropriate to the theme. This cantata “Sleepers, wake! a voice is calling” meditates on Matthew 25. The opening chorus has the sopranos singing the unadorned hymn tune, with the other choir parts and orchestra providing the contrapuntal underlay.
The performance in the clip is by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir directed by Ton Koopman. Watch for the instruments reproducing those used in Bach’s time. (Possibly some of them are from Bach’s time.)
George Frideric Handel
1685-1759; Alleluia (from Messiah)
Handel was a German-born, naturalised English keyboardist and composer. He benefited from patronage by royals and nobles, but held no formal court (or church) appointments. He made his living as a concert performer and entrepreneur of firstly opera, then oratorio. His most famous works are the oratorio Messiah, and the orchestral works Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks.
An oratorio is a extended work that tells a biblical or historical story through recitatives, arias and choruses. They originally developed as extra devotions for churchgoers, but became generally popular (and lucrative) when opera theatres were forced to close during the penitential season of Lent (approx Feb-Mar), but were allowed to present religiously-themed oratorios. Messiah tells the story of Jesus in words from the King James Version English translation of the Bible.
The performance in the clip is by a number of student and amateur choirs and orchestras from France and Germany, directed by Daniel Colombat. I chose this performance for its sheer exhuberance and to show that this music is not the exclusive preserve of specialist groups. This has got everything: electronic keyboards, bass clarinets, choristers sharing scores and trumpeters fluffing notes.


Top 20 Greatest Love Songs

Human beings have an amazing ability to express love which can form itself in many different ways. Oftentimes, between two people those ways are shown through looks, touches, gestures, etc. Sometimes those shared feelings are expressed media such as writing, painting or sculpture. One amazing expression of love we share comes through music. Music, unlike other mediums evokes a passion and feeling absent in other media. The feelings of not only the singer, but the music come together in a form of expression the other methods lack. Best of all, it can be shared. Others gain an opportunity to feel those shared emotions. Sometimes so much so, that it brings one to tears. It’s one of the most beautiful expressions we have available. Excluded entries are lust songs, songs where people are not yet in a relationship, and breakup songs.
Peggy Lee
Written in 1956, this song was a rhythm and blues hit for Little Willie John that crossed over and became a pop standard after being transformed, with additional lyrics, by Peggy Lee and became her signature song.
Although this song and the next on the list are borderline on the “lust” rule, Peggy clearly expresses her passion for her man in a way she knows how. Her love is burning up inside.
Love to Love You Baby
Donna Summer
This song by American singer Donna Summer was one of the first ever disco hits. It climbed to number two on the U.S. singles chart and also made the UK Top 5 (despite the BBC’s refusal to promote it). Summer would be named “the first lady of love,” which labelled her with a sexual-oriented, fantasy image that she would struggle to rid herself of.
Definitely on the lusty side of the love song genre, but it’s clear she truly, deeply and passionately loves her man with every fiber of her being. Fantastic expression of her love.
Truly, Madly, Deeply
Savage Garden
It is a cover of an older song of theirs called “Magical Kisses” and was the third single from their debut album. The song was a success in the U.S. in 1998, topping the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart for two weeks and the Adult Contemporary chart for eleven weeks. The song has two videos. One of them was filmed in the Sacre-Coeur area of Paris, because it is said to be the most romantic city in the world.
An amazingly emotional duet from these two lovers. They never want to leave each other. They are willing to do anything just to be together, even lay together on a mountain until the sky falls down. How’s that for another expression for “forever.”
You’re My Best Friend
This song was song penned by John Deacon and performed by British rock band Queen. It was originally included on the A Night at the Opera album in 1975 and later released as a single. This song also appeared on the Greatest Hits (1981) album. Deacon wrote the song for his wife, Veronica, to whom he remains married to this day. In this song, he plays a Wurlitzer electric piano in addition to bass guitar. The characteristic “bark” of the Wurlitzer’s bass notes plays a prominent role.
Freddie’s tragic death left a void of unmatch musical talent in the world, but at least he left us many great songs. This is one of the best. It’s clearly a love song. Although the idea of a “best friend” isn’t always automatically thought of a love, it is in this case. Freddie (yes, Deacon, but Freddie is doing the expressing here) is clearly in love. This song is his expression and realization that not only is he in love; he knows that already as does the object of his affection; but his love is also his best friend. How fantastic is that to have your best friend and your best love be the same person.
#1 Crush
This was originally released as a “b-side” to Garbage’s debut release “Vow.” It was appropriately given the theme position for the 1996 movie Romeo and Juliet, starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Although initially, this would seem to violate rule six. A closer analysis of the lyrics indicates something a bit different. I feel this is more of a confession of her love. I always envisioned the two sitting quietly together. He asks Shirley how she feels about their relationship. She’s been struggling with the right words for a long time. His question opens the floodgates and out pours her soul to her love. She loves him so much she’s willing to die for him. She would give him her soul if he but asked for it. Sure, it’s a bit scary to be that obsessive, but that’s usually what happens at the start of a relationship when the two are falling in love. To me, this is the ultimate expression of love and personally holds a much higher place on my own list. How many can say they’ve ever felt that much in love with anyone?
In Your Eyes
Peter Gabriel
From the 1986 album, So, it reached number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gabriel later released an extended version of the song which was nearly nine minutes in length (as compared to the original 5:29). In 1989, the song appeared in the Cameron Crowe film, Say Anything, in a scene where broken-hearted Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) serenades his former girlfriend (Ione Skye) outside her bedroom window by holding up a boombox above his head and playing the song for her. This scene has become a standard pop culture reference for romance. Although this re-popularized the song, it charted but failed to crack the top 40 in its second run.
It seems Peter is at a loss for words here. He wants to express how much he loves his girlfriend and is desperately trying to say anything but “love.” It’s too common. He feels a simple four-letter word does not do all of his feelings justice and he’s right in this case. I find it somewhat fitting Peter is “naked” in this video; as it’s a parallel for his feelings. He’s laying out all his feelings for her and stripping off every shell of protection he has. His love for her is, to him, holy.
You Are So Beautiful
Joe Cocker
Written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher, it was first recorded by Preston and made popular in this version by Joe Cocker. Producer, Jim Price created a slowed-down arrangement for Cocker’s version, which first appeared on the album I Can Stand a Little Rain (released later in 1974). Released as a single, this Joe Cocker version reached number five on the 1975 Billboard pop single charts and helped the album become a hit.
Beauty is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. That can be easily said of anyone who loves someone else. When you truly love someone, it dosen’t matter what he/she looks like. You are beautiful to the beholder. Joe said it best here in this fantastically soulful rendering of this song.
I’ll Make Love to You
Boyz II Men
This was a number-one hit single by R&B group Boyz II Men for the Motown label. The song, which was written by Babyface, was the lead single from their second album II. As the lead single raced up the charts, it was at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for fourteen weeks, from August 27 to November 26, 1994. The song set a record for the most weeks at number one at the time. A platinum-selling single, it won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and two American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Single and Favorite Soul/R&B Single.
Sometimes we men can be a bit neglectful in our expressions of love. We can take it for granted and it can get lost in all the work and stress in our lives. This song is an emotional outreach to all men to remember to sometimes take it slow and rekindle the passion two people feel. Boyz II Men did a spectacular job of giving us one way to express love for another.
Frank Sinatra
A popular song from 1957 composed by Cy Coleman with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, it was released as a single by Frank Sinatra and reached number twenty in the U.S., spending sixteen weeks on the charts. Composed as an instrumental piece by Coleman for the revue Take Five, lyrics were added by Leigh and “Witchcraft” was subsequently recorded by Sinatra in May 1957.
Is this the king of romance or what? This man is simply so in love with being in love it’s staggering. This is not “witch” in any stretch of a bad sense. She’s cast such a spell on him, he’s completely helpless. Not only is the object of his affection his deepest love which he knows. He also realizes so many of those little things about her that he loves and he tells her. Sometimes the little things do matter.
Honorable Mention: To the Moon and Night and Day
Let’s Stay Together
Al Green
On the 1972 album of the same name, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 16 weeks. It also topped Billboard’s R&B chart for nine weeks. The song later appeared on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction. It was ranked the 60th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Al knows he needs no other, it seems based on the title and lyrical hints he may have thought about leaving, but ultimately decided she’s what he needs and wants in his life. The reasons he thought he needed to break up did not exist. Al wants to be with his woman no matter what. “When times are good or bad, when happy or sad.” I think that sums up what love is.

Wonderful Tonight
Eric Clapton
Written by Eric Clapton about his then-love, Pattie Boyd, it was included on Clapton’s 1977 album Slowhand and released as a single the following year. The song is a narrative, dealing with a party the pair attended. Each of the three verses is a scene from a part of the night: preparing for the party, going to the party and coming home from the party. In each scene, he mentions how wonderful she is, how beautiful she looks while preparing for the party, how happy he is to be at the party with her and how grateful he is that she puts up with him after he drinks a bit too much.
Although the inspiration for this song is decidedly somewhat less than romantic, what comes out is Eric’s realization of how much he truly loves his wife. I imagine, like some men, he doesn’t often tell his wife exactly how much he loves her. Not only that he loves her, but in this case, why he loves her. He appreciates everything she does. His tender words to his wife reveal how truly and deeply he loves her.
Alicia Keys
Written and produced by American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys for her debut album, Songs in A Minor (2001) it was released to radio and music video outlets in April 2001. It is generally considered her signature song. Fallin’ became Keys’ first number-one single in the United States and her first top five hit in several countries.The songwriting and production of Fallin’ is credited solely to Keys. The song’s lyrics find Keys lamenting on a relationship that fills her with confused and mixed feelings. Following the song’s a cappella intro, she proceeds to explain how her relationship with her man varies between happy times and painful conflict.
Sometimes loving someone hurts so much you don’t even know what to do. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. Up and down, back and forth, in and out; so much it just makes you sick. Alicia expresses it best here. Her emotional piano and vocals demonstrate the pain and pleasure of love that often exists between a couple who have had good and bad times. Not only does the ache and longing for her love come through, but she is just stunningly beautiful in this video. Her voice is simply amazing here.
My First, My Last, My Everything
Barry White
This song was White’s fourth top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, reaching number two. It spent a week at number one on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart. In the UK it fared even better, spending two weeks at the top in December 1974
Nobody loves ‘em like Barry. She is everything to him, she’s his sun, his moon, his very breath in his body. She’s the only reason he continues to live. So, what does he do? He tells her just how completely and totally vital she is to him. She’s his “everything.”
Love Song
The Cure
Written by Robert Smith and originally released by The Cure on their Disintegration album. Smith originally wrote this song as a gift to his longtime girlfriend, Mary, shortly before their marriage. The title of this song is widely disputed, as it varies between “Lovesong” and “Love Song” on many official Cure releases. The artwork for the album Disintegration uses both, “Love Song” on the tracklisting and “Lovesong” on the lyrics sheet.
Robert is so deeply and passionately in love with his woman in this song that he can’t express his feelings to anyone but her. Even then, he doesn’t know how to tell her. He can’t truly express his feelings. Clearly the word “love” doesn’t cut it for him and he tries just to simply tell her what he feels when they are alone together. When he’s with her, he’s home, he’s young and she frees him emotionally to tell her his deepest feelings. It’s simply a beautiful song for his love.
Faith Hill
Released as the first single from the album of the same name, the song was extremely successful in the United States and became Hill’s signature song. In November 1999, “Breathe” was released to Country and Pop radio. It spent six weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, seventeen weeks at number one on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and one week at number one on the Adult Top 40 chart. The song also reached a peak of number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Even though “Breathe” never made it to number one on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart it was on the chart for 53 weeks and was thus named the Number One Single of 2000 on Billboard’s year-end countdown. It was only the second song in the history of the Hot 100 to be named the Number One Single of the Year without making it to the top of the chart on any of the weekly surveys.
Wow! Not only can she sing, she’s drop dead gorgeous as well. Tim’s a lucky man to have a woman who feels this passionately about him. Normally, I don’t particularly care for country music (okay, it’s a crossover), but Faith is simply amazing here. In one single moment, she realizes just how much she’s in love with her man. No words can express her feelings which instantly blossomed from her. She doesn’t truly want to change the moment she’s in with words. She just wants to feel him breathe. His breathing is her sign that he lives for her to love.
Love Me Tender
Elvis Presley
Elvis performed “Love Me Tender” on the Ed Sullivan show on September 9, 1956, shortly before the single’s release and about a month before the movie, Love Me Tender, was released, for which the song was originally recorded. On the following day, September 10, 1956, RCA received one million advance orders for the song, making it a gold record before it was even released. The studio, 20th Century Fox originally wanted to call the movie “The Reno Brothers,” but instead re-titled it to “Love Me Tender” to capitalize on the song’s popularity. Presley would go on to make more than 30 films over the next 13 years and release hundreds of soundtrack recordings; “Love Me Tender,” however, was the very first of these.
How many women at that time wished they could be the object of Elvis’ affections. He’s completely in love with his woman. Elvis’ voice is so loving and passionate in this gentle ballad that he just pours out his feelings for her. He tells her as expressively as he possibly can how he loves her and how he wants her to love him. It’s clear he already does love her this way and always will.
With or Without You
This is the lead single from the 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. It has since become highly-acclaimed as one of the band’s most popular songs. Released as a single in March 1987, it became the group’s first American number one hit, spending three weeks at the top. It also reached number four in the UK. “With or Without You” is widely considered one of U2’s most overtly emotional songs. According to Bono, the song was heavily influenced by Scott Walker’s album Climate of Hunter. It was U2’s first single to be widely issued on CD. The song is U2’s second most frequently covered song. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed the single at number 131 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Bono is so in love with her he can’t decide what to do. He’s not sure of where she is in the relationship, but he decides to tell her how he truly feels. He loves her so much at this point he has nothing else to lose by telling her. It seems he’s waited for some time to know her feelings, perhaps she was hurt in a past relationship and is reluctant to reveal her feelings. He doesn’t know what she’s going to do or say, but with or without her he can’t continue to live and not know how she feels. It can be one of the hardest things in life to admit your true feelings to another who may or may not share them. It’s a risk Bono chooses to take because he can no longer live without knowing.
“Lady” was first released on Styx II in September 1972 and was a local hit in the band’s native Chicago, but failed to chart nationally. The song gained success when Styx left Wooden Nickel Records to move to A&M Records and the song was re-released in 1974, peaking at number six. It was written by Dennis DeYoung for his wife.
She’s Dennis’ everything, his love, his passion, his healer, his dream … his lady. Just being with her makes his heart smile. He loves her so much that her mere touch aleviates all his troubles. He knew from the instant he saw her many years ago he was in love. With this anthem to his abounding love, he’s finally able to express all those feelings he’s had for a long time. She is, simply, his lady, in every sense of the word.
Honorable Mention: Babe
Unchained Melody
Righteous Brothers
One of the most phenomonally popular love songs with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. It is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some counts having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages. In 1955, North used the music as a theme for the obscure prison film Unchained. Todd Duncan, the baritone who performed in the original Porgy and Bess, sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. The song regained popularity when another version was produced by Phil Spector in 1965, credited to the Righteous Brothers, but performed as a solo by Bobby Hatfield, who later recorded versions credited solely to him. It climbed to number four.
Bobby realizes how much he loves his woman in this beautiful ballad. It seems he’s been in a relationship with her for a long time and they’ve been separated by a bit of distance. They’ve been reunited recently and he wonders if she’s still in love with him as much as he is with her. He prays to everything he can think of from heavens, to rivers, to God to send her love to him. He needs her love in his live so much their time apart has been aching in him and he wants her to know just how much he loves her.
At Last
Etta James
“At Last” is a 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the musical film Orchestra Wives. It was first performed in the film and on record by Glenn Miller and his orchestra, vocal by Ray Eberle and Pat Friday. It was covered by blues singer Etta James in a performance that improvised on Warren’s melody. James was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 for her rendition of the song. The Etta James version is perhaps the most famous, and is known to performed at weddings and wedding receptions because of its romantic lyrics and sweeping orchestration.
This is it. Although this song has been covered repeatedly by many of the best vocalists in history, none do it better than Etta. She realizes all her dreams have finally come true and her love swells up within her igniting her passion for her man. He is her soulmate. His smile cast a spell on her when they met and now she realizes how deeply in love she is. She will be happy and in love forever with him. Etta’s passion and her love ring so true in this spectacular rendition that she stands alone atop the list of greatest love songs.
Love is extremely subjective please be respectful of others’ comments. Enjoy.
Contributor: Heroajax