Let’s get straight to the point. These are my picks in the category of ‘Songs you must not die before listening to’. I’m keeping the scope of the selection limited to a language called English, a sketchy genre called rock songs this time around. (Do I need to say that the biggest limitation is my own limited exposure? It’s also a language I barely speak). I’ll try to cover as many singers/bands as I can so that the list doesn’t look predictably clustered around a chosen one or two. That’d also mean I’ll sacrifice many outstanding songs for the sake of uniformity across the table. Maybe I can group the songs around the names behind them. Ordering is a dated concept, I don’t care much. Those in RED are must before dying.
1. AC/DC – It’s the most definitive and straight way to Rock n Roll, hard but not heavy, simple but not easy.
Shook me all night long / Highway to hell / Back in black / Thunderstruck
2. Bruce Springsteen – The Boss takes you to different flavors of honesty; hard, soft, folk or glam. He never had a writer’s block. He is one LIVE-time experience.
Brilliant disguise / Born in the USA / My hometown / The river / Tunnel of love / Human touch / Thunder road / …
3. REM – A cryptic journey that makes you wonder about your own consciousness. They weave through frequencies to create a department of sound engineering, I wouldn’t know what ‘alternative’ meant without them.
The great beyond / Man on the moon / Losing my religion / Orange crush
4. Nirvana – Minimalistic, grunge, angst.
In bloom / Smells like teen spirit / Been a son / Come as you are / You know you’re right
5. Pearl Jam – This is a band… maybe the band!
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town / Jeremy / Black / Even flow / Last kiss / Better man / Nothingman / Given to fly / I am mine / Rearviewmirror / …
6. Alice in Chains – Singing lessons from a drug addict to anyone who wants to sing grunge or any other form of rock.
I stay away / Would? / Rooster / Rain when I die
7. Stone Temple Pilots – Grunge.
Interstate love song
8. Dire Straits – Mark Knopfler played, sang and headed this band.
Heavy fuel / Money for nothing / On every street / Walk of life / Brothers in arms / Romeo and Juliet / Tunnel of love
9. Motorhead – Devil-may-care Lenny is the quintessential rockstar. He stuck to his roots, of singing with head held high and spewing venom at death.
Ace of spades / Killed by death / Damage case
10. Soundgarden – Greatest singer according to many list with Matt Cameron on the drums – dark and heavy hardness of early grunge.
Jesus Christ pose / Black hole sun / Fell on black days / Outshined / Spoonman / Loud love
A lot more were expected, I know I’m not quite there. Assume I had a strict word limit in a minimalistic world. I’ve consciously kept the elitists of the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, The Who, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple out – I don’t listen to them (actually I don’t feel doing so) often and they are already parts of major playlists.