There are certain legions of people who are willing to kill for far less than the following statements. There are certain things you are not allowed to say. Things like, ‘Well maybe Hitler was right, maybe we didn’t need that many Jewish people, after all they did kill Jesus’, and ‘Except the discretely packaged bomb in my luggage? Ha, just kidding officer, I have nothing to declare’. So let me please just preface this entire article by saying that this is completely subjective and not the sort of thing intended to inspire a hate-filled tsunami of nasty comments (although I do live for those).
I love rock music, I breath the stuff. I dice it up with a limited edition, holographic Miles Davis ‘Kings of Jazz’ collector card and snort it up through a rolled up picture of David Bowie fucking his guitar through the hole. I hold my Led Zeppelin concert lighter under my bent royal mint produced commemorative ‘John Lennon Got Shot’ spoon and inject pure, untainted rock into my eyeballs. I insert blues suppositories shaped like Muddy Waters’ fat head directly into my anus. I have a mild case of emphysema from inhaling too much smoke whilst burning Madonna posters and I personally take it upon myself to kill a fairy every time Brian Adams rhymes 'Girl' with 'World'. You get the picture, right. I like rock and roll. And I am not saying that these songs are bad. No way. Absolutely not. All I’m saying is that maybe, just maybe, these songs are possibly a little bit overrated for what they are. Just maybe. A bit.
1) Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
Don’t get angry, hear me out. I love the Led. Love that shit. I brush my teeth to that shit. Fucking love Led. Sometimes I take Led Zeppelin IV out of its case and have sex with it through the hole in the middle of the CD. There’s nothing weird about that. It’s probably weirder if you haven’t done that. What’s wrong with you?
All I’m saying, and calm down, okay, is that maybe this song isn’t actually one of the top five greatest rock songs of all time. It’s a good song, okay, stop yelling, okay, all I’m saying is that maybe, at eight minutes long it gets a little… boring… Yeah, I know that you get that kick ass guitar solo six minutes in, but that’s still six minutes of folk rock. WHICH I LOVE, okay, I’m not trying to shit on folk rock here, I’m just saying that maybe the intro sounds a little bit like Pokemon background music. I’m not having a go at Pokemon background music, either, okay, so just settle down. All I’m saying is that it’s probably not the best guitar solo in the world, as a lot of people say it is. I think Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits gets that pip.
I mean, I love this song. Go out and buy this song right now. Do it. It’s a fucking kick-ass song. All I’m saying is, it’s not numero uno in rock history and I feel that maybe, sometimes people can get a little over the top about it. There’s nothing wrong with those people okay, calm the fuck down, okay, I’m just saying stuff.
2) American Pie – Don Mclean
This is a song that regularly pops up in top ten lists and we’ve all heard it more times than we’ve heard Justin Bieber say ‘Baby’ (which is a lot for me because that song’s my ringtone – FACT). The thing with American Pie is that, other than some pretty nifty piano work, the instrumental side of things isn’t that mind-blowing. The drumming is pretty uninspired for the most part and the guitar work isn’t overwhelmingly intricate. There’s not a major rock and roll crescendo in this, it doesn’t peak noticeably at any point and send a shiver up your spine like the best songs do, but then, it’s not really supposed to be that kind of rock. Oh yeah, and it also goes for EIGHT FUCKING MINUTES. And unlike Stairway, it doesn’t progress as pleasingly for those eight minutes. It progresses satisfactorily. And there’s no guitar solo. And I really hate the ending, where the vocals become layered, as if it’s the end of a fucking musical. It gets a bit too Simon and Garfunkel for mine.
So why does it keep popping up in top ten lists? I think the reason that douchebags waste dollar coins on this song in pub jukeboxes is simply because the lyrics are so sing-a-long-able. Everything rhymes so perfectly, it doesn’t take a particularly talented vocalist to bust it out and it has the word ‘rolling stone’ in it, which for me is a sign of a good rock song. It’s like Green Eggs and Ham. It’s not complex by any means, but the words fall in place so enjoyably, you can’t help but continually read it.
But good lyrics shouldn’t justify a place in the top ten rock and roll anthems of all time. If that were the case, there are several limericks above the urinal at my local about men from Venus that should be up along side Dylan and Jagger in the all time greatest list.
3) Heard it on the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
Me and Nick Hornby have many things in common. We’re both English, we both fail to receive the proper credit that we fully deserve and we both consider one of the top five rock songs of all time to be by Marvin Gaye. It just isn’t this song. It’s Let’s Get it On.
This song really gets on my nerves for several reasons. It’s a little repetitive, but then, these Motown songs were more about the vocals than they ever where about the music. In fact Motown is pretty much responsible for modern R&B music, adding more weight to the argument that perhaps it’s a good idea to knock down Detroit and turn it into a giant carpark for the parts of America that are still positively contributing.
Other reasons I hate this song include Marvin Gaye’s uncharacteristically unenthused singing, the irritating soul singers providing the backing vocals and of course, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s eleven minute cover. My friend says he makes love to that song and suggested I do the same. But then what would I do for the other eight minutes?
Yep. If you want a good Marvin Gaye song, make it ‘Let’s Get it On’. Now there’s a song to fuck Led Zeppelin IV to.
4) Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is one of the greatest song writers of all time. He has penned some of the finest rock and roll ever conceived by mortal man or Keith Richards. He just can’t sing. Or play harmonica. Or play guitar very well. It’s a crushing circumstance. Want proof? Listen to this;
And then listen to this;
And then listen to this;
And then this:
And then this;
And then this;
Bob Dylan was once quoted as jokingly saying ‘Oh yeah, I write great songs for Jimi (Hendrix) to play’. If only it stopped there, Bobski. His version of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ gets into top ten lists (commonly at pole position), and I firmly believe the song is one of the greatest ever. Just not when it’s sung by him.
But hey! If you want a good Bob Dylan song that nobody has covered, and indeed even heard of, check out ‘Most of the Time’. If ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ is one of the most overrated rock songs, ‘Most of the Time’ must be one of the most underrated.
5) Imagine – John Lennon
I can’t stand peace activists. Naive idealistic dicks, the whole bunch of them, and if they have a national anthem, it’s this. It’s got a wanky, pretentious video clip with Yoko ‘My Name Sounds like a Type of Japanese Biscuit’ Ono. No wonder Lennon got shot. Chapman just had a pleasingly ironic sense of humour. That’s some good, dry British wit there Chapman. I see what you did.
The song is… Actually, it’s kinda catchy… Nowhere near as annoying as ‘Hey Jude’, even if the lyrics do sound like they were written by a fifth grader in a letter to Santa. I mean, ‘Hey Jude’ probably should be here. Now there’s an overrated song. In fact…
Imagine – John Lennon Hey Jude – The Beatles
What a fucking moody song. This generally makes it into the top five list of any shallow asshole whose record collection consists of half a dozen ‘Best of’ albums, a 1970’s rock compilation that he picked up at a garage sale and Billy Piper’s ‘Honey to the Bee’ single (first CD I ever owned). Completely derivative, monosyllabic lyrics slapped together no doubt with a rhyming dictionary and bottle of scotch for a muse. McCartney and Lennon probably shat this one out on a damp Wednesday afternoon whilst watching Eastenders. ‘Remember to let her into your heart and then you can start to make it better’? Really? Really, that’s the line you chose? I’m not saying I’m a decent lyricist (that’s a lie, check out my Reddit Poem), but I could probably come up with a better line that that whilst being butt-raped. Don’t believe me? Here’s a short list of better lines that I just pissed out at a moment’s notice;
- Remember to let her into your lung, then you’ve begun, to breath slightly better.
- Remember to let her in through your fence, so you can commence, to casually pet her.
- Remember to tie her down to the bed, last time she fled, you ran out to get her.
- It puts the lotion onto its skin, it’s easier to trim, her flesh when it’s wetter,
- Dismember that bitch’s hands and her feet, then you can eat, clean up once you’ve ate her.
…That got a little dark.
6) Everything and anything by KISS.
That is all.
You may now commence saturating my comments area with varied degrees of disgust, offence and sheer hatred, safe in the knowledge that I'm aware and prepared for it.