... not that logic has anything to do with why I love the music I love. Asterisks (*) denote songs that are available on iTunes.
In no particular order, then:
* “The Fuse,” Bruce Springsteen: The moan in his voice on the last word of the bridge is the most sensual thing ever recorded. I love almost everything Bruce has ever done, but Bruce is so much more than his music, I knew the cut I’d choose would come from “The Rising,” his balm to soothe a shattered country – and, I suspect, himself.
“Slave To Love,” Bryan Ferry: There almost aren’t words to convey why I love this song. The beat, the tempo, Ferry’s voice ... You just get lost in it.
* “Hysteria,” Def Leppard: I was *such* a Def Leppard fan in high school, though my hair-band hair was still in its formative stages, hitting its stride my senior year, when it was really more of a Robert-Smith-of-The-Cure knock-off, and then it was out of control by my sophomore year in college. But I digress. Love this tune. Love the beat, love the chorus, I can relate to the lyrics.
* “Blue Eyes,” Elton John: Just my opinion, of course, but the perfect showcase for Elton’s voice and piano.
* “It’s In The Way That You Use It,” Eric Clapton: Like so many musicians on my list, Clapton has done so much that’s so good, it’s almost impossible to pick one tune. And some will argue that this song is too pop, that it doesn’t show off his guitar prowess, but I don’t care. I love it. Everytime I hear it, I crank it up as loud as I can.
* “What Is Love?”, Howard Jones: This was the first song of Howard’s that I fell in love with. I’ve always been a sucker for keyboards, and I love a guy with a British accent.
“Crazy,” Icehouse: “Man of Colours,” the album that features “Crazy,” is one of my all-time favorites. When I was younger, when cable was young, when we had a Sony Betamax!, I taped the “Crazy” video off of “Friday Night Videos” and fell in love with the long-haired guy singing. I had no idea, at the time, that his name was Iva Davies. Years (and years) later, I was editing the music section of an entertainment publication and decided that the time was nigh to find out what Iva was up to. I assigned the story to myself. Interviewed him. Told him about the video. He laughed and said, “Yeah, I don’t look like that anymore.” But he’s aging very well, and we still trade e-mails. One day, I’m going to Sydney. Have to try to meet him.
* “The Water Is Wide,” James Taylor: Sting chose a JT song for his playlist, and wrote that James has been “blessed with a voice that can melt ice caps.” There is no way I can top that description. A very traditional song that I can’t imagine being sung by anyone else, ever.
“You Believe In Me,” Jeffrey Gaines: An acoustic triumph, if you ask me, which you didn’t, but I’m telling you anyway. Written and sung in a perfect key for me, so one of my favorites for singing along. And I love the messsage. We should all have the faith in ourselves to be the self others see. “Well, I must stand as tall / as I am in your eyes ... No more will I question / what it is you see in me.”
* “Cry Love,” John Hiatt: Songwriter to many, knockout singer in his own right. I love his voice. And please, like you’re gonna find cooler guitar?
* “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” Journey: Steve Perry is one of my all-time favorite voices, maybe my favorite voice in rock. I’ve always had a fantasy of singing this in a karaoke bar and watching people’s jaws drop.
* “Forever,” Kenny Loggins: I can’t tell you why. It’s a secret.
* “Even Flow,” Pearl Jam: Hard, here, too, to pick one song. “Do the Evolution” was tied with this until the last second. But this song is just too perfect. (Eddie is a very good friend of a very good friend of mine, so I’ve been privileged to hear inside stories over the years, though – ahem! – I’ve never met the man.)
* “In Your Eyes,” Peter Gabriel: How can one song be so closely identified with a very particular time, yet be so timeless?
* “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” The Police: Classic sound, that brilliant, innovative, pioneering sound that set Sting and the boys apart, to the betterment of musical history. I love how well this song tells its story. The original verision, please.
* “Why Should I Cry For You,” Sting: “Fragile” was the obvious Sting choice – it’s perfect down to the last note. But everyone picks “Fragile.” This song is another excellent showcase for his voice, and I love the change on the bridge. Another sing-along favorite.
* “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” Tears for Fears: This song was a big part of my ‘80s existence, and came to play another role, many years later. Every time I hear it, I’m reminded of one of the most transformative days of my life. How could I not include it?
“Over You,” H2SO4: The 2 and the 4 should be subscript, as the band’s name is the chemical equation for sulfuric acid. We’ll see if the formatting shows up when I publish this online. This song was selected for my initial list, then cut, then added again. These guys deserve more press, so this is me, doing my part. Of course, the album, “Machine Turned Blues,” isn’t on iTunes. But do check it out somewhere.