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ESSENTIAL ARTISTS    •    OTHER FAVORITES    •    PLAYLISTS    •    TOP TRACKS  •  THE BLUES

We all make playlists. We have playlists for when we’re sitting on the beach or for a long road trip. We have a playlist for parties. There are those songs we listen to when we’re happy, sad, or want to dance around the house in our underwear. Playlists could be the best of one artist or of one kind of music. You might even make a playlist that has the same word in every song.  Maybe you put together a “Best of” from the year you graduated or got married. Then there’s the times you just hit “random” and enjoy the list the computer compiles for you. The thing is, it’s a lot easier now than ever to make a playlist. Those of us at a certain age  remember when a playlist might have been a stack of records meant to play in a certain order, or hours meticulously putting songs on a cassette to give to someone special.

FIVE STAR

I catalog all my music through iTunes, so these are my 5-star rated songs. Looking over the tracks now, I can see how varied my tastes have run. There’s a little bit of everything in here, including a pair of Elvis songs, classics like the Beatles, along with some blues and soul, new wave, grunge and a few one-hit wonders. My favorite artists are well-represented with the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, and the Police. Each song takes me to a particular time or place, or evokes a certain memory or emotion.

Against All Odds / Phil Collins
Ain't Wastin' Time No More / The Allman Brothers Band
Ain’t No Sunshine / Bill Withers
All Along The Watchtower / Jimi Hendrix
All I Ask / Adele
Always On Your Side (w/Sting) / Sheryl Crow
America / Simon & Garfunkel
Amoreena / Elton John
Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You / Led Zeppelin
Badge (live) / Eric Clapton
Baker Street / Gerry Rafferty
Beautiful / Eminem
Bennie And The Jets / Elton John
Birdhouse in Your Soul / They Might Be Giants
Black Hole Sun / Soundgarden
Blackbird / The Beatles
Blister in the Sun / Violent Femmes
Blue Monday / New Order
Brandy / Looking Glass
California Soul / Marlena Shaw
Channel Z / The B-52's
Come Pick Me Up / Ryan Adams
Crucified / Army of Lovers
Deliverance / The Mission
Desdemona / The Allman Brothers Band
Digging Your Scene / Blow Monkeys
Don't Want You No More / The Allman Brothers Band
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town / Pearl Jam
Eleanor Rigby / The Beatles
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic / The Police
Eyesight To The Blind/Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? / Eric Clapton
Fell On Black Days / Soundgarden
Four Sticks / Led Zeppelin
Get Down Tonight / KC & the Sunshine Band
"Get Up, Stand Up" / Bob Marley
The Ghost In You / The Psychedelic Furs
Going To California / Led Zeppelin
Hallelujah / Jeff Buckley
Happy / Pharrell Williams
Hey Jude / The Beatles
How Soon Is Now / The Smiths
Hurt / Johnny Cash
I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow / The Soggy Bottom Boys
I Melt With You / Modern English
I Ran (So Far Away) / A Flock Of Seagulls
I Shot The Sheriff (live) / Eric Clapton
I'll Go Crazy / James Brown
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed / The Allman Brothers Band
In Your Eyes / Peter Gabriel
Into The Mystic / Van Morrison
Jungleland / Bruce Springsteen
Kentucky Rain / Elvis Presley
Kiss / The Art Of Noise
Layla / Derek and the Dominos

Let's Stay Together / Al Green

Life On Mars? / David Bowie
A Little Less Conversation / Elvis Presley
Live and Let Die / Paul McCartney & Wings
Long Train Runnin' / The Doobie Brothers
Lose Yourself / Eminem
Lovesong / The Cure
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds / Elton John
Make Me Smile / Chicago
Melissa / The Allman Brothers Band
A Million Miles Away / The Plimsouls
Missionary Man / Eurythmics
Misty Mountain Hop / Led Zeppelin
Moondance / Van Morrison

Nothing Compares 2 U / Chris Cornell

Nothing In This World Can Stop Me Worrin' Bout That Girl / The Kinks
Obsession / Animotion
Old Love / Eric Clapton
Omegaman / The Police
One Way Out / The Allman Brothers Band
Personal Jesus / Depeche Mode
Private Idaho / The B-52's
Purple Rain / Prince
Rearviewmirror / Pearl Jam
Rebel Yell / Billy Idol
Reptile / The Church
Rock Lobster / The B-52's
Roxanne / The Police
Saturday In The Park / Chicago
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay / Otis Redding
Solsbury Hill / Peter Gabriel
Somebody To Love / Queen
A Song for You / Ray Charles
Southbound / The Allman Brothers Band
Statesboro Blues / The Allman Brothers Band
Strawberry Fields Forever / The Beatles
Stripped (live) / Depeche Mode
Sunset Grill / Don Henley
Sweet Home Chicago / Magic Sam
Tempted / Squeeze
Terra Nova Cain / The Church
This is Not America / David Bowie
To Look at You / INXS
Trouble No More / The Allman Brothers Band
Turn To Stone / Electric Light Orchestra
25 Or 6 To 4 /
Chicago

Under Pressure (w/David Bowie) / Queen
Under the Milky Way / The Church
West End Girls / Pet Shop Boys
When The Levee Breaks / Led Zeppelin
Where The Streets Have No Name / U2
Whipping Post / The Allman Brothers Band
Wiser Time / The Black Crowes
With Or Without You / U2
Wonderwall / Ryan Adams
Yesterday / The Beatles

SOLITUDE

There are days you want to go off and be alone with your thoughts. For me, there was no better place to be than in northern Michigan.  On a cloudy, windy day, I would head out to a secluded beach along Lake Michigan. It is a place that tourists don't know about, and locals rarely go. It's quiet except for the sound of the waves and the wind through the trees. Some days you can watch a thunderstorm come across the lake for hours, or on others enjoy the best sunset around. These songs take me there.

Against All Odds / Phil Collins
Ain't No Mountain High Enough / Marvin Gaye
All By Myself / Eric Carmen
All I Ask / Adele
Always On Your Side (w/Sting) / Sheryl Crow
America / Simon & Garfunkel
Beautiful / Eminem
Black / Pearl Jam
Black Hole Sun / Soundgarden
Brothers In Arms / Dire Straits
Can't Stand Losing You / The Police
Come Pick Me Up / Ryan Adams
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me / Elton John
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic / The Police
Fell On Black Days / Soundgarden
Fire And Rain / James Taylor
Hallelujah / Jeff Buckley
How Soon Is Now / The Smiths
Hurt / Johnny Cash
I Burn For You / Sting
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / U2
In Your Eyes / Peter Gabriel
It's Probably Me / Sting
Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me / The Smiths
Lovesong / The Cure
A Million Miles Away / The Plimsouls
Needle In The Hay / Elliott Smith
New York Minute / Don Henley
Not Afraid / Eminem
Nothing In This World Can Stop Me

                                 Worrin' Bout That Girl / The Kinks
Oh What A Lonely Boy / Andrew Gold
Old Love / Eric Clapton
Omegaman / The Police
Safe And Sound / Sheryl Crow
She's Gone / Hall and Oates
So Lonely / The Police
Solsbury Hill / Peter Gabriel
Somewhere Out There / Linda Ronstadt
A Song for You / Ray Charles
Stripped (live) / Depeche Mode
Sunset Grill / Don Henley
Take Me Home / Phil Collins
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) / Talking Heads
Time / The Alan Parsons Project
Under Pressure (w/David Bowie) / Queen
Under the Milky Way / The Church
Who Wants to Live Forever / Queen
Wiser Time / The Black Crowes
With Or Without You / U2
Yesterday / The Beatles

BLUES

I absolutely love the blues. I've listened to all the great artists and read about them. I've sat in Chicago blues clubs and listened to all these songs being performed by current artists paying homage to the roots. I've been lucky enough to see BB King and Buddy Guy live. Not coincidentally, my favorite modern bands have been built by remaking blues standards in their own way, like the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, the Black Crowes and Eric Clapton. But this list has all the originals, most connected with the great Chicago Blues sound.

All Your Love (I Miss Loving) / Otis Rush
Baby, What You Want Me to Do / Jimmy Reed
Back Door Man / Howlin' Wolf & Willie Dixon
Boogie Chillun / John Lee Hooker
Boom Boom / John Lee Hooker
Born in Chicago / Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Born Under A Bad Sign / Albert King
Caldonia / B.B. King
Christo Redemptor / Charlie Musselwhite
Cold Shot / W.C. Clark
Cross Road Blues / Robert Johnson
Damn Right, I've Got The Blues / Buddy Guy
Dust My Broom  / Elmore James
Easy Baby / Magic Sam
Eyesight To The Blind / Sonny Boy Williamson
First Time I Met The Blues / Buddy Guy
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl / Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band
Got My Mojo Working / Muddy Waters
Hound Dog / Willie Mae 'Big Mama' Thornton
I Can't Quit You Baby / Otis Rush
I Don't Know / Willie Mabon
I Just Want to Make Love to You (long) / Muddy Waters
I'm A King Bee / Slim Harpo
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man / Muddy Waters
It Must Have Been The Devil / Otis Spann
Juke / Little Walter & His Night Cats
Key to the Highway / Little Walter
Mannish Boy / Muddy Waters
Messin' with the Kid / Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band
Midnight Train (w/Jonny Lang) / Buddy Guy
Milk Cow Blues / Sleepy John Estes
Reconsider Baby / Lowell Fulson
Rocket 88 / The Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet
Shake Your Moneymaker / Elmore James
Sit and Cry (The Blues)  / Buddy Guy
The Sky Is Crying_james / Elmore James
Smokestack Lightning / Howlin' Wolf
Spellbound / Koko Taylor
Spoonful / Howlin' Wolf
Statesboro Blues / The Allman Brothers Band
Sweet Home Chicago / Magic Sam
Texas Flood / Larry Davis & his Band
That's All Right / Arthur (Big'Boy) Crudup
Three O'Clock Blues / B.B. King
Thrill Is Gone / B.B. King
Too Much Alcohol / J. B. Hutto & His Hawks
Trouble No More / Muddy Waters
Wang Dang Doodle / Koko Taylor
When The Levee Breaks / Memphis Minnie
Who Do You Love / Bo Diddley

MICHIGAN SONGS

Growing up, every summer was spent on a lake in northern Michigan. There wasn't a TV, so we always had a radio playing, whther we were inside or outside. The AM station we had on was WIDG, (“Widge by the Bridge” for its proximity to the Mackinac Bridge).  They played pretty much top 40 music, so the popular songs from about 1970-74 have really stuck with me. They have stuck so much that when songs of that era pop up, my sister and I refer to them as “Michigan songs,” and I have a real fondness for them even today.

All By Myself / Eric Carmen
Alone Again (Naturally) / Gilbert O'Sullivan
Annie's Song (Acoustic Mix) / John Denver
Baker Street / Gerry Rafferty
Band of Gold / Freda Payne
Band On The Run / Paul McCartney & Wings
Brandy / Looking Glass
Could It Be I'm Falling In Love / The Spinners
Daughter of Darkness / Tom Jones
Doctor My Eyes / Jackson Browne
Don't Go Breaking My Heart / Elton John
Don't Pull Your Love / Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Give Me Just a Little More Time / Chairmen of the Board
Guitar Man / Bread
Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves / Cher
Heart Of Gold / Neil Young
Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again / The Fortunes
Horse With No Name / America
I Can See Clearly Now / Johnny Nash
I Got A Name / Jim Croce
I'll Never Fall in Love Again / Dionne Warwick
Indian Reservation / Paul Revere & The Raiders
Indiana Wants Me / R. Dean Taylor
It's Magic / Pilot
It's Too Late / Carole King
It's Too Late to Turn Back Now / Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
Just You 'n' Me / Chicago
Lido shuffle / Boz Scaggs
Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes / Edison Lighthouse
Love Will Keep Us Together / Captain & Tennille
Oh What A Lonely Boy / Andrew Gold
Old Fashioned Love Song / Three Dog Night
Philadelphia Freedom / Elton John
Precious And Few / Climax Blues Band
Rock Me Gently / Andy Kim
Rock The Boat / Hues Corporation
Saturday In The Park / Chicago
Seasons in the Sun / Terry Jacks
Share The Land / The Guess Who
Smiling Faces / The Undisputed Truth
Sooner Or Later / The Grass Roots
Spirit In The Sky / Norman Greenbaum
Summer Breeze / Seals and Crofts
Superstar / Carpenters
Then Came You / Dionne Warwick
(They Long to Be) Close to You / Carpenters
Timothy / Buoys
Tin Man / America
Vehicle / The Ides of March
When Will I See You Again / The Three Degrees
Wildfire / Michael Murphey
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald / Gordon Lightfoot
You're So Vain / Carly Simon
You're Still The One / Orleans
Your Love Has Lifted Me / Rita Coolidge

NEW WAVE

I was in college in the mid-1980s, and honestly, a lot of the music was crap-rock and hair bands. There was some music that was decent to listen to, including The Police, U2, Springsteen, Prince. But underground was the new wave sound. Because I wasn't listening to Madonna and Michael Jackson, and because this kind of music was played more on college campuses, I got exposed to a lot of it, and really loved the sound. A lot of this music pops up today in sampling, or can be heard in the background on TV, in movies and in commercials.

Always On My Mind / Pet Shop Boys
Always Something There To Remind Me / Naked Eyes
Birdhouse in Your Soul / They Might Be Giants
Blister in the Sun / Violent Femmes
Blue Monday / New Order
Channel Z / The B-52's
Crucified / Army of Lovers
Deliverance / The Mission
Digging Your Scene / Blow Monkeys
Enjoy the Silence / Depeche Mode
Friday I'm in Love / The Cure
The Ghost In You / The Psychedelic Furs
How Soon Is Now / The Smiths
"Hush, Hush" / The Plimsouls
I Melt With You / Modern English
I Ran (So Far Away) / A Flock Of Seagulls
If You Leave / Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
If You Were Here / Thompson Twins
In A Big Country / Big Country
In Your Eyes / Peter Gabriel
It's A Sin / Pet Shop Boys
It's My Life / Talk Talk
Kids In America / Kim Wilde
Kiss / The Art Of Noise
Life In A Northern Town / The Dream Academy
Love My Way / The Psychedelic Furs
Lovesong / The Cure
A Million Miles Away / The Plimsouls
Missionary Man / Eurythmics
Never Say Never / Romeo Void
Obsession / Animotion
Our House / Madness
Personal Jesus / Depeche Mode
Peter Gunn / Art Of Noise
Pictures of You / The Cure
The Politics Of Dancing / Re-Flex
Private Idaho / The B-52's
Promises Promises / Naked Eyes
Relax / Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Reptile / The Church
Rock Lobster / The B-52's
Smalltown Boy / Bronski Beat
Solsbury Hill / Peter Gabriel
Something About You / Level 42
Stripped (live) / Depeche Mode
Terra Nova Cain / The Church
To Look at You / INXS
Under the Milky Way / The Church
West End Girls / Pet Shop Boys
Whisper To A Scream / Icicle Works

ONE-HIT WONDERS

Just by the genre, these songs made an impact in mainstream music. You hear them and you think, "I know this song. Who sings it?" and it's generally no one you ever remember. There seemed to be quite a few in the early 70s when I first started listening to the radio, several in the disco era, and even a good number into the early 80s. I like having them in my playlists, not because they're one-hit wonders, but because they're decent tunes. It's too bad the artists couldn't follow through with more.

All Right Now / Free
All the Young Dudes / Mott the Hoople
Always Something There To Remind Me / Naked Eyes
Band of Gold / Freda Payne
Brandy / Looking Glass
Brother Louie / Stories
Cars / Gary Numan
Come On Eileen / Dexy's Midnight Runners
Crucified / Army of Lovers
Dancing In The Moonlight / King Harvest
Digging Your Scene / Blow Monkeys
Don't Pull Your Love / Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Don't Want To Fall In Love / Jane Child
Epic (What Is It) / Faith No More
Funkytown / Lipps, Inc.
A Girl Like You / Edwyn Collins
Got To Be Real / Cheryl Lynn
Groove is in the Heart / Deee-Lite
Hold Your Head Up / Argent
I Melt With You / Modern English
I Ran (So Far Away) / A Flock Of Seagulls
I Want Candy / Bow Wow Wow
In A Big Country / Big Country
Indiana Wants Me / R. Dean Taylor
It's Magic / Pilot
It's Raining Men / The Weather Girls
Kung Fu Fighting / Carl Douglas
Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes / Edison Lighthouse
Mexican Radio / Wall of Voodoo
No Rain / Blind Melon
O-o-h Child / The Five Stairsteps
Obsession / Animotion
Oh What A Lonely Boy / Andrew Gold
Our House / Madness
Play That Funky Music / Wild Cherry
Relax / Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Ring My Bell / Anita Ward
The Safety Dance / Men Without Hats
Save Tonight / Eagle Eye Cherry
She Blinded Me With Science / Thomas Dolby
Spirit In The Sky / Norman Greenbaum
Tainted Love / Soft Cell
Take On Me / a-Ha
Timothy / Buoys
Turn The Beat Around / Vickie Sue Robinson
Turning Japanese / The Vapors
Vehicle / The Ides of March
Whip It / Devo
You Get What You Give / New Radicals
99 Luftballoons / Nena

SUPERSTARS

These are the big names, the ones everyone knows. I've never been much of a top 40 person, but talent is talent, and the best ones don't reach the top unless they've made some great music. Now there are obviously many, many more top names than I've listed here, but these are the ones that are in my catalog. And the tracks I've picked might not be the best or the biggest by each artist, but they are the ones that I like.

AC/DC / Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution, You Shook Me All Night Long
Aerosmith / Dream On, Toys in the Attic
The Beach Boys / God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice
The Beatles / Eleanor Rigby, Hey Jude
Bee Gees / How Deep Is Your Love, Tragedy
Bon Jovi / Livin' on a Prayer, Wanted Dead Or Alive
Boston / Don't Look Back, More Than a Feeling
David Bowie / Life On Mars?, This is Not America
Jackson Browne / Doctor My Eyes, Running on Empty
Johnny Cash / Hurt, Jackson
Chicago / 25 Or 6 To 4, Make Me Smile
Eric Clapton / Layla (live), Badge (live)
Phil Collins / Against All Odds, Take Me Home
The Doobie Brothers / Long Train Runnin', Takin' It To The Streets
The Doors / L.A. Woman, Love Her Madly
Bob Dylan / All Along the Watchtower, Like A Rolling Stone
The Eagles / Take It Easy, Hotel California
Fleetwood Mac / Big Love, Tusk
Foreigner / Juke Box Hero, Waiting For A Girl Like You
Guns N' Roses / Paradise City, November Rain
Jimi Hendrix / All Along The Watchtower, Voodoo Chile
Michael Jackson / Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Rock With You
Billy Joel / Just The Way You Are, New York State Of Mind
Elton John / Amoreena, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Kansas / Carry On Wayward Son, Dust In The Wind
The Kinks / Lola, Nothing In This World Can Stop Me Worrin' Bout That Girl
Lady GaGa / Bad Romance, Poker Face
Led Zeppelin / Misty Mountain Hop, When The Levee Breaks
John Lennon / Imagine, Mind Games
Madonna / My Baby's Got a Secret, Into The Groove
Paul McCartney & Wings / Band On The Run, Live and Let Die
John Cougar Mellencamp / Pink Houses, Small Town
Nirvana / Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are
Pearl Jam / Rearviewmirror, Elderly Woman ...
Tom Petty  / Runnin' Down a Dream, Mary Jane's Last Dance
Pink Floyd / Us And Them, Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2
The Police / Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Omegaman
Elvis Presley / A Little Less Conversation, Kentucky Rain
Prince / I Would Die 4 U, Purple Rain
Queen / Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody To Love
The Rolling Stones / Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter
Simon & Garfunkel / Homeward Bound, America
Bruce Springsteen / Jungleland, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (live)
Rod Stewart / Maggie May, You're In My Heart
Barbra Streisand / The Way We Were, Evergreen (A Star Is Born)
Sting / All This Time, If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
U2 / Where The Streets Have No Name, With Or Without You
Van Halen / Little Guitars, Jump
The Who / Love Reign O'er Me, Eminence Front
Stevie Wonder / Higher Ground, Superstition