For those just joining us, this column has been running for three years. In 2019 and 2020 it was like this; me making it up as I go along, picking a theme of varying topicality and public interest every week to amuse myself, but in 2018 it was an endeavor to pick my five (or s0) favorite songs from each year from 1967 to the present.
I know, it’s shocking that I had a point. But it’s true.
One thing I did back then, because I was so much younger and 2020 hadn’t yet sucked out my very soul, was also include a bunch of honorable mentions at the bottom of each column in addition to my top five. I made a ludicrously long playlist of both the top fives and honorable mentions and put that on this week because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to listen to.
Stay with me, this ramble is going somewhere, I swear.
While listening to the songs I didn’t choose as a top song alongside the ones I did, I’ve come to second-guess myself. Some of these honorable mentions really should have been among the top five. So consider this my corrections column, where I admit five of my mistakes and try to make them right.
T. Rex — “Bang a Gong”
Usually I wouldn’t put an artist in back-to-back columns, but in 1971 I made an exception to add John Lennon’s “Imagine” immediately after “Working Class Hero.” That was a mistake.
First, I shouldn’t have put two Lennon songs back to back, and “Imagine” is the worse of the two, so it should’ve been the one to be cut. Second, I don’t even really like “Imagine.” I only added it due to peer pressure from the imaginary mob of judgy Internet people. It was only my fifth column so I hadn’t started reveling in your rage yet.
My replacement choice is “Bang a Gong” by T. Rex, which is a better song that’s neither as sappy nor as overplayed. Listen to this and “Working Class Hero” and forget about “Imagine.”
Foreigner — “Cold as Ice”
I added the “Star Wars” theme in the 1977 edition because, obviously, “Star Wars” is great. There’s never a bad reason to bring up “Star Wars.”
In this case, though, I should have brought up “Star Wars” without committing a spot on the list to it. Especially when Foreigner was on the table with “Cold as Ice.” It’s a really good song!
Also, as an additional confession, apparently I was rushed when writing that week because not only did I add a copout to the top five but I left quite a few songs out of the honorable mentions. So belated shoutout to “Hotel California,” “Rich Girl,” “Jet Airliner” and “Lucille.”
Ratt — “Round and Round”
You know Ratt, right? If not for their music then for that one really funny Geico commercial about the house with a Ratt problem.
Well, back when I wrote the 1984 list, I wanted to include Ratt’s hit “Round and Round,” which is the one they play in the aforementioned commercial. But then I cut it so I could include Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” out of a sense of obligation to the ’80s as a concept.
Well, I take it back. It’s not even the best Madonna song and I don’t owe the ’80s anything. Ratt is better than Madonna.[Gokhman note: I quit. Can I quit? No? Damn].
Oasis – “D’You Know What I Mean”
As it turns out, 1997 was an absolutely fantastic year for music. Just amazing. Any five songs from my honorable mentions from that column would make the top five in nearly any other year.
But with all those choices I put one of my least-favorite Janet Jackson songs in the top five, because it was Outside Lands weekend and Janet was playing. I sold out for that sweet SEO and I regret it. [Gokhman note: If you really sold out for SEO, then this column would have been about “Star Wars,” since you just typed “Star Wars” 10 times up above]. So please, in your memory, retroactively swap out Oasis with “Together Again.”
You know what? Let’s go one step further. Let’s retroactively make 1997 10 songs long. Swap “Together Again” with “D’You Know What I Mean” and add “Around the World,” “Song 2,” “Your Woman,” “Breathe” and “Tubthumping.” That would make it much better.
Boy did I 1977-up 1997.
Dirty Vegas — “Days Go By”
For the 2002 edition I caved to peer pressure from former RIFF staffer Kyle Kohner to include a song from Interpol’s Turn Out The Bright Lights. Now, “Obstacle 1” comes up every time I put on the top fives playlist and I’m stuck with it. I guess that’s what I get for listening to other people.
What’s especially egregious is that I had the chance to pump up underrated classic “Days Go By” instead! I love that song and nobody remembers it! It got lost in the iPod era memory hole and I passed up a chance to expose both of my readers to it. For shame.
So I’m rectifying that now. Forget about Interpol. We’re all about Dirty Vegas now.
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.