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STAIRWAY TO HELL

OUR LIST OF THE MOST OVERPLAYED CLASSIC-ROCK SONGS OF ALL TIME.

Have we missed anything? Are there overplayed classic-rock songs that have somehow escaped our notice? Let us know by sending your suggestions to Westword, c/o Michael Roberts, P.O. Box 5970, Denver, CO 80217, or faxing them to us at 296-5416. (No phone calls, please, or our receptionist will kill us.) It's easy, it's fun, and it will make you feel better the next time you hear "Smoke on the Water." Or maybe not.

THE HITS KEEP ON COMING (sidebar)
Although it might seem to be otherwise, classic-rock stations actually do broadcast songs by artists other than those included in our primary list. But not many. Outfits that haven't risen into the golden circle are generally restricted to one song that--can you believe it?--is played incessantly. According to our correspondents, these are the ten they hear most of all.

10. "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys," by Traffic (1971). Meandering jamming and a slew of passages stitched together into a sprawling musical quilt. Traffic's recent reunion prompted a massive yawn from concert-ticket buyers, but DJs still hold it dear. Especially when they're in the mood for a nap.

9. "Takin' Care of Business," by Bachman Turner Overdrive (1974). Yet another track first heard by young people in TV commercials. Rock rebellion has never been so salable.

8. "Dust in the Wind," by Kansas (1978). "Carry On My Wayward Son" may be more excessive (a plus for classic rockers), but this appalling piece of treacle still gets aging glue-sniffers misty. Then again, a trip to the hobby shop could probably do the same.

7. "Green Grass and High Tides," by the Outlaws (1975). It sounds a little like Lynyrd Skynyrd, a little like the Allman Brothers and a little like the Eagles, and it's about as long as the average NFL game. That's how classic-rock DJs spell love.

6. "Piece of My Heart," by Janis Joplin (1971). You may not have noticed, but this is the first and only female artist who made a mark in our poll--and among the also-rans, only Heart and Stevie Nicks were even mentioned by our respondents. Is classic rock sexist? Well, is Jesse Helms senile?

5. "Radar Love," by Golden Earring (1974). A quartet from the Netherlands that had two hits (the other one was 1983's "Twilight Zone") and then disappeared from the face of the earth. Who knew at the time that the lyric "The radio plays that forgotten song" would someday seem like a reference to "Radar Love"?

4. "Frankenstein," by the Edgar Winter Group (1973). Among the most popular (and dippiest) rock instrumentals ever made. We'd take "Walk, Don't Run" over it any day.

3. "Slow Ride," by Foghat (1976). Brainless grinder seemingly made for guitarists to throw their long hair to. Maybe that's why Henry Rollins hasn't covered it.

2. "Money for Nothing," by Dire Straits (1985). Upon its arrival, this MTV smash was ballyhooed as social commentary worthy of Randy Newman. In actuality, it's a turgid, one-joke endurance test featuring a guest appearance by Sting. Money for nothing, indeed.

1. "All Right Now," by Free (1970). An underdog victor, the track sounds like Bad Company, because vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke were in both that band and Free. These acts share in common a catchy approach to meat-and-potatoes rock that becomes downright annoying with repeated listens. Like the kind you're subjected to every day on classic-rock radio.

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