Posts Tagged ‘Stevie Wonder’

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty. 

The title comes from a request made by a guest (whose name I’ve long forgotten) at one of the innumerable parties my roommates and I hosted at 136 East Norwich, our college house at The Ohio State University.  Whenever I play DJ, I abide by those immortal words.

The list below is slightly odd, and certainly doesn’t really reflect my day-to-day musical listening habits. My tastes tend toward the unpredictable. For example, I am an unadventurous eater, but my favorite cuisine is Indian, and my favorite dishes are pho and sushi. This exotic list belies the fact that I have oatmeal with raisins for breakfast every morning. Perhaps favorites require that special quality which elevates them above the mundane. Favorites are special; they command our attention. They must be heard. So, for me, the definition of a “favorite song,” means when the song is over, I want to play it again, and I often do. Maybe you will, too.

Here are just ten of my favorite songs

“Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That,” by Robert Randolph and the Family Band

I play this song during class on occasion just to destabilize my students. It is a spectacular jam with a positive message, which is nice.

Love this video, too.  

“Black Betty,” by Ram Jam

Honestly, I didn’t know the artist of this song was until I looked it up. I will forget the name, but that bass line—unforgettable.

“Delirious,” by Prince

If the velocity with which Prince begs, “Girl U gotta take me 4 a little ride up and down
In and out and around your [leg],” doesn’t do it for ya, nothing will.

*No link because Prince doesn’t do free music. Album Prince 1979 by Prince, web grab

“Everybody Knows,” by Leonard Cohen

Smoky, acerbic, and devastating.

“For Once in My Life,” by Stevie Wonder

This (faulty) syllogism essentially sums up my feelings about Mr. Wonder.

God is Love

Love is Blind

Stevie Wonder is Blind

Stevie Wonder is God

“Howling for You,” by The Black Keys

I’m a sucker for the Blues sound. As I have said at countless Black Keys concerts, their music makes me feel like my body has been transformed into warm molasses.

The hilarious music video doesn’t hurt.

“Killer Queen,” by Queen

You had me at Freddie Mercury.

“Midnight Train to Georgia,” by Gladys Knight & The Pips

I have a reasonable singing voice, and a surprising amount of rhythm, but I find it categorically impossible to sing along because Gladys Knight’s phrasing is freakishly difficult and ultimately astonishing. And as far as heartbreak goes, I’m on board.

“Rock Me Right,” by Susan Tedeschi

Oh, lordy, I heard her belt this song as the opening number on a second stage at Lillith Fair, when my world was young. She is an extraordinary musician, and, oh, that voice!

“Sweet Nothing,” by Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch

This is my current favorite, and I’ve got the uncontrolled, thrashing dance moves to prove it.

Tomorrow morning, I will be devastated for forgetting a crucial favorite, but of the many wonders making the 21st century a marvelous time to live, at practically the moment I think of it, I am able to listen to a favorite song.

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By Michael Stelzer Jocks, History Faculty.

When Paul Gaszak approached me about his idea to do a ‘favorite songs’ series of posts, I thought “what a great idea.”  As I sat down to start compiling my list, I realized it was not going to be as easy as I initially assumed.  Some dilemmas:

  • What were my criteria going to be?  Favorite songs spanning all genres?  Should I add Beethoven, and/or Miles Davis to the list?
  • Should I pick recent songs that have lately become favorites, or old standards that I have loved for years?
  • Can I have a favorite song by an artist I don’t like that much?

I realized something interesting about my music tastes.  I really don’t focus upon songs as much as I do albums. I think I would have had a much easier time compiling a list of my favorite albums, or even favorite bands, than favorite songs. Nonetheless, I persevered and came up with a list.  It is 1.) made up solely of rock/pop/r&b and 2.) composed of songs that I have loved for at least 5 years.

Here it is, ordered chronologically from oldest to most recent.

  • Gimme Shelter, by The Rolling Stones, 1969: ‘The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?”  That is the classic rock and roll question. I love both bands, but I can’t say there is ONE Beatles song that is my favorite. So, I chose Gimme Shelter by the Stones because it just seems to encapsulate the late 1960’s.  It is unfortunate that the Stones are now the symbol of geriatric rockers because they were once bad-ass rebels.  Just goes to show that real rock is the art of  rebellious youth.

  • My Cherie Amour, by Stevie Wonder, 1969: This is simply a perfect love song. It is impossible not to put a smile on your face. Your body just sways when Stevie starts to sing.
  • London Calling, by The Clash, 1979: I needed some punk rock.  This has always been my favorite Clash song. Not an original choice, but when the hard-driving guitars hit in time with the pounding drums, you gotta move.
  • Welcome to the Terrordome, by Public Enemy, 1989: Still one of my favorite rap songs, by one of my favorite rap groups. Chuck D was/is incredible. Politics, anger, poetry.
  • Waterfall, by The Stone Roses, 1989: A perfect pop song. Between 1988 and 1990, The Stone Roses created incredibly infectious music.  I highly recommend their eponymous 1989 debut album for 11 perfect pop songs much like the one I chose.
  • Sennen, by Ride, 1991: Ride is mostly forgotten today, but twenty years ago they captured the ‘shoe-gazing’ flash of the early 90’s. Wall-of-sound production, jingly-jangly guitars, whispered lyrics.  Love it.
  • Lover, You Should’ve Come Over, by Jeff Buckley, 1994:  Jeff Buckley released the album ‘Grace’ in 1994.  Three years later, while working on his second album, he drowned in the Mississippi River. A tragic ending for an artist with incredible potential.  Here is a live version of my favorite song from his finished masterpiece.
  • Paranoid Android, by Radiohead, 1997: Ah, what Radiohead song to pick?  I will go for this one simply for the line, “Ambition makes you look pretty ugly, kicking screaming Gucci little piggy.” Another live version.  Radiohead is amazing live.
  • Via Chicago, by Wilco, 1999: For me, Wilco is an ‘album band’ more than a ‘song band’. Their albums have been great, but I can’t say many of their songs would be in my top ten.  However, Via Chicago is an exception.  My wife makes fun of me for liking ‘sad bastard’ music, and I would say this song definitely fits into that category.
  • The Way He Sings, by My Morning Jacket, 2002: My Morning Jacket does something different with each album.  Though I also enjoy their more experimental stuff, this shows their melodic chops.

So, there you go.  I don’t often listen to many of these songs at this point in my life, but they go up on my all-time favorites. I intentionally avoided more recent music because I can’t be sure my favorite song of this year will still be a favorite in 2014. However, there are a couple songs that look promising.   You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb by Spoon, Laredo by Band of Horses, Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes, Skinny Love by Bon Iver, Green Aisles by Real Estate, Dance Away by Smith Westerns or Lazuli by Beach House have a good chance of making this list in the future. We will need to wait and see.