When is a band's 'best song' not their best song?


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seemeel
06-20-2010, 10:47 PM
So I did a search, and nothing... so here goes:

I was thinking recently about Top X song lists (such as the RS Top 500 Songs) and I found myself thinking, 'yeah that song's okay, but not their best...' Yeah, this song might be the most successful, or be the best known, or whatever it might be, but I don't think it's the band's best song...

Let me furnish you with a few examples:

Pink Floyd - their single Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) was tremendously successful, and it's easily their best selling single. But, I think that they have many, many better songs. Comfortably Numb (my all-time favourite song) is the obvious example, but Wish You Were Here, Time, Money, Echoes,Shine On You Crazy Diamond... there are so many songs that I personally think are much better.

Led Zeppelin - behemoths of rock and roll and the band that brought us Stairway to Heaven, which is, depending on your source, the most played song on US FM radio. Now, unlike the previous example, it is a brilliant song, but I argue that it's because of the pure rock and roll riff at the end that this is the case. The intro is nice, and certainly very recognisable, but I don't think it's that mind-blowingly superb. The solo and hard rock section are brilliant, I won't deny that. But, I enjoy other Led Zep songs just as much, if not more. The first example (and in my opinion, their best song) is Rock and Roll because it is just that: pure rock and roll. I absolutely love it. Kashmir is another one. Whole Lotta Love is a superb song, as is Communication Breakdown . Even Thank You, I think, is better than the first 5 minutes of Stairway.

Rolling Stones - best known for the song Satisfaction, which at the time was so revolutionary in its content - the first popular song to talk about menstruation, for example. And that's where a good deal of its popularity comes from (Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone could be another example?) but musically, I don't think that it's their finest work. The song's attitude is something different, and it's a contemporary thing. I like to think that music transcends generation, but the attitude towards the music does change. Styles come and go, and lyrical content becomes less edgy (which in this case was a major factor in teh song's success). It can be hard sometimes to appreciate just how good a song from the 60s or 70s is, but that's a whole other argument. Anyway, I much prefer It's Only Rock and Roll, which I think IS their finest song, and absolutely typifies what the Stones are all about. I also prefer Brown Sugar and Jumpin' Jack Flash to the aforementioned Satisfaction.

So those are the three that jump to mind. I am interested to hear your opinions and thoughts on the subject. Please add your own examples as well. Obviously I'm more classic rock oriented, but such 'best song' labels would exist for any established, commercially successful band.

Please don't troll! :)

MagicsDevil
06-20-2010, 10:51 PM
That is so objective, man,


I'm not even going to argue with anything you just said. But OK. :shrug:

Artemis Entreri
06-20-2010, 10:53 PM
That is so objective, man,


I'm not even going to argue with anything you just said. =/


This.

But I will argue with your sig...

seemeel
06-20-2010, 10:54 PM
That is so objective, man
Of course it is. That's why I said, "I am interested to hear your opinions and thoughts on the subject." I know mine (and now you do too) and I'd like to know yours.

drummz11
06-20-2010, 10:55 PM
If it's their most famous they had to have done something right.

Gibson1196
06-20-2010, 10:57 PM
Red hot chili peppers most well known song is Dani California. It is a wonderful song but not their best. They have some better songs. I like Cant Stop, Cailfornication, and Snow much better.

Here_is_no_why
06-20-2010, 10:58 PM
Rush - Tom Sawyer.

Spirit of the Radio is WAY better.

seemeel
06-20-2010, 10:59 PM
If it's their most famous they had to have done something right.
Absolutely. Here's an example: Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) was the Number 1 Single for Christmas 1979... they released it at exactly the right time (good work by their management, I suppose?), and that, good sir, is what Pink Floyd did right.

Gibson1196
06-20-2010, 11:01 PM
Spirit of Radio pwns

Dawgs4Vick
06-20-2010, 11:01 PM
I would have gone even farther down the line with the songs you mentioned, but I guess not way too far off, like for example my favorite zep song is ten years gone, and my favorite stones song is either stray cat blues or sweet virginia. Also have a cigar is by far my favorite pink floyd song, though wish you were here is a close second along with comfortably numb as you suggested. The reason some songs are more successful than others has a little to do with the timing of the release of singles but other than that it's hard to say why some songs are more successful than others,

SiggyBond23
06-20-2010, 11:03 PM
Foo Fighters have Best of You as their big claim to fame. but then, you go back and hear Everlong, My Hero, and some later hits like Long Road to Ruin and Wheels. All great songs, but when you dive in lyrically, Everlong is so profound and My Hero is unique in focusing on an everyman.

Weezer and Beverly Hills. That grabbed a lot of attention, but then you think of Undone and Say It Ain't So, and when you put those in context, they defined 90s music

guitarsftw
06-20-2010, 11:05 PM
I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. Now, he has a TON of well-known songs, and one of his most popular songs is "Born in the USA", which is one of my least favorite songs of his (I still love everything he does).

Tster
06-20-2010, 11:07 PM
So what you're trying to say is that 'is the most commerically succesfull song by a band there best song'
It can be, but its based on opinion. Labels push certain songs foward. They get in the public. But the songs on the album, you personally might prefer - making it their best song

imo

seemeel
06-20-2010, 11:08 PM
Some interesting opinions. Thanks to those of you who actually shared something constructive instead of just nay-saying.

Here's another one - Metallica and the Black Album. It had Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters, both of which were rather successful. But I much prefer One, and Master of Puppets. The absence of Kirk's excessive wah pedal use is one appealing factor! :D And I would call those songs 'true' Metallica - before they succumbed to the pressure of radio-friendly hard rock music...

BrainDamage
06-20-2010, 11:12 PM
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, which is the reason a lot of these lists are totally worthless. When it comes to lists put together by major magazines or radio stations, you said it yourself- most of the songs are the most successful or best known songs by that particular band...the hits.

seemeel
06-20-2010, 11:13 PM
So what you're trying to say is that 'is the most commerically succesfull song by a band there best song'
It can be, but its based on opinion. Labels push certain songs foward. They get in the public. But the songs on the album, you personally might prefer - making it their best song

imo

In some cases, yes. But in the case of Led Zeppelin, the single Rock and Roll (which I said was my favourite Led Zeppelin song) failed to chart in the US and performed rather modestly elsewhere (compared to the success of Whole Lota Love, for example). And as is well known, Stairway to Heaven was never even released as a single. So in some cases, yes I mean the most commercially successful song, but not always.

Tarsplitter
06-21-2010, 04:57 PM
So you think those bands' second famous song is better than their most famous... heh.

seemeel
06-21-2010, 05:08 PM
So you think those bands' second famous song is better than their most famous... heh.
No, not necessarily. Perhaps you should actually read what I have written.

And also, by 'bands' second famous song', do you mean the famous one that came chronologically second? OR do you mean their second-best known song? Sort it out dude, this is a serious thread.

BrainDamage
06-21-2010, 05:27 PM
So you think those bands' second famous song is better than their most famous... heh. So what?

VitaminX
06-22-2010, 12:13 PM
Smells like Teen Spirit.

seemeel
06-22-2010, 12:35 PM
Smells like Teen Spirit.
Good example.

dillon1022
06-22-2010, 03:53 PM
enter sandman, one, or fuel by metallica. Good, popular songs, but they don't touch their top ten best.

Also the eagles' hotel california, once again, great song, but not their best.

stonegolem13
06-22-2010, 04:47 PM
Basically, you're taste in music doesn't coincide with the majority of the population...you're in the right forum :cheers:

BestBassistInMI
06-22-2010, 07:11 PM
Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "Godzilla" also come to mind. "I Love the Night" and "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" are far superior.

But "Fuel" by Metallica is a totally sweet song.

Aeolian Harmony
06-22-2010, 07:34 PM
Van Halen's "Jump"

seemeel
06-22-2010, 09:37 PM
enter sandman, one, or fuel by metallica. Good, popular songs, but they don't touch their top ten best.

Also the eagles' hotel california, once again, great song, but not their best.
I agree with Enter Sandman and Fuel - they're fine songs I suppose, but not that good. I do rate One as Metallica's best song though... What do you think is their top ten best? The good old stuff from Master of Puppets I suppose. It was a very, very good record.

As for the Eagles - I prefer The Last Resort, among others, to Hotel California.

VitaminX
06-23-2010, 06:24 AM
top 10 metallica for me is very tricky -
(in no particular order)
creeping death
welcome home
eye of the beholder
orion ... does this to me... : O
ride the lightning
dyers eve
...and justice for all
the god that failed
wherever I may roam
sad but true

dillon1022
06-23-2010, 08:09 PM
My top ten Metallica songs would be:
1.Outlaw Torn
2.Cyanide
3.Battery
4.Sweet Amber
5.Nothing Else Matters
6.Master Of Puppets
7.Bleeding Me
8.Dyer's Eve
9.The Four Horsemen
10.Unnamed Feeling

seemeel
06-23-2010, 08:34 PM
4.Sweet Amber
10.Unnamed Feeling

St. Anger? Really? I think that every song on that record is as bad as the rest. But it's your opinion and you're entitled to it.

dillon1022
06-23-2010, 10:23 PM
^riffage and lyrics. st. anger had the best of them.