The 100 Best Singles In My Head
AND THE WINNER IS . . .
[ . . . drum roll, please!]
Well, I told you it would be subjective. These are not the top five singles of all time on Rolling Stones' list, or Mojo's list, or any other list put together by rock snobs or music pundits. I haven't jiggered it to showcase my favorite bands (look, no Kinks! no Nick Lowe!) or to make a political statement or to show off my superior taste. You'll notice I've already written about all of these songs -- BUT OF COURSE!! These are simply the five singles that knocked me hardest off my feet in the course of my life.
And yeah, they're all from the 1960s, because that was the decade that made me the music fan I am. Or more importantly, that made me the person I am. Which is really what the music's all about, isn't it?
[Click on the highlighted links to read my earlier posts on those songs]
1. "The Letter" / The Box Tops (1967)
I hear those knocking lead-in drum beats, and I am GONE. When all is said and done, the essence of rock and roll is nothing more or less than hormonal teenage cravings, and nobody has ever expressed that randy yearning better than an absurdly young Alex Chilton, fronting this seminal Memphis pop group.
2. "Happy Together" / The Turtles (1967)
They were hardly one-hit wonders, but even the Turtles never again hit such a sweet spot, a magical convergence of lilting melody, playful rhythms, and intimate vocals that will forever be the soundtrack of my eighth-grade nirvana.
3. "She's Not There" / The Zombies (1964)
The first 45 I ever owned -- if only my taste had always been this impeccable!
4. "If I Fell" / "And I Love Her" / The Beatles (1964)
Desperately in love with the Beatles -- okay, okay, in love with Paul McCartney, who was in 1964 the most beautiful man on the planet -- of course I had both of these tracks on the Hard Day's Night album, the first LP I ever owned. But I simply had to buy the single too, so smitten was I with this matched set of John/Paul declarations of love.
5. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" / "God Only Knows" / The Beach Boys (1966)
Honestly, I wasn't a Beach Boys fan, not really. And by 1966, I already had the Beatles to keep me warm -- what did I need with these clean-cut California boys in their squaresville striped shirts? But then they unleashed this pair of gloriously inventive tracks, back and front of one 7-inch vinyl masterpiece, and set a new gold standard for rock-pop brilliance.
And now, YOU tell ME -- what would your #1 be?