My Favorite Ten Songs Today

My Favorite Ten Songs Today


1.         Blue Sky –Allman Brothers Band

2.         In Memory of Elizabeth Reed Live at Fillmore East-Allman Brothers Band

3.         Dreams-Allman Brothers Band

4.         Katy Lied-Steely Dan

5.         Bad Sneakers-Steely Dan

6.         Everybody’s Talking-Harry Nilsson

7.         Bluebird-Leon Russell

8.         Sympathy for the Devil-The Rolling Stones

9.         Birthday-Beatles

10.   Shelter from the Storm-Bob Dylan

It’s impossible for me to choose ten favorite songs with a straight face because I listen to music constantly and mostly according to my moods or needs at a given moment. Sometimes I need inspiration or to be consoled or just want to rock out. So the list would change from moment to moment. These songs have been meaningful over the years and I still listen to them regularly.

What are your favorites?

Blue Sky-is my all-time, hands down favorite song. I’ve been hearing the song for over fifty years and never tire of it. The first time I heard it, it was a beautiful spring day and I was mesmerized by the utter beauty and musicianship. Dickie Betts wrote the song about his wife and the tune captures wonderfully the sweet, aching longing of love. Betts and slide maestro, Duane Allman have extended solos that amount to a conversation about love and longing, then fuse together in a twin lead at the end. Sublime!

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed-is another complex tune written by Dickie Betts. That this is a live performance just boggles my mind. It captures the Allman Brothers at the very top of their formidable game. The whole band shines and there isn’t a single false note. They just nailed it here! 

Dreams-is penned by Gregg Allman. I list the song here because it saved my life when a bad trip led to me being suicidal when I was a teenager (it’s in my book!). Gregg sings the song with conviction and force and I love the southern gothic, elegiac aspects to this tune. A man at the end of his rope but who still finds a way to keep pushing forward.

Katy Lied-Ah Steely Dan! Ah Steely Dan lyrics! They’re not usually clear but we can say the song is about heroin addiction (or substitute your addiction of choice) and betrayal (substitute your ex-lover who done you wrong). It’s such a beautifully sad song and there is a stellar sax solo by Phil Woods that makes this a classic.

Bad Sneakers-Another tough tune to figure but a lovely song from Steely Dan. Maybe its about the music biz, success and fears about one’s mental or spiritual condition? To me the song is about alienation and longing (love or substance maybe both?) as reflected by the music. I always felt sadly soothed by this tune.

 Everybody’s Talking- Harry Nilsson’s voice is a force on this version! This song has been a comfort when feeling down or relationships aren’t clicking and I feel estranged. This tune always makes me feel a little less alone.

 Bluebird -this is one of the best songs about lost love. The orchestration is full and lush and as usual Leon makes outstanding use of lovely background vocals and the tune is imbued with Leon’s mix of Gospel and other soulful influences.

 Sympathy for the Devil-I’ve always loved this song lyrically and musically. The rhythm section is pushes the tune’s considerable pace and Keith Richards lets lose with an incendiary solo. This is another tune that I listened to a lot during my addictions but it has survived the test of time.

 Birthday-the sheer exuberance of this tune and McCartney’s vocals hook me. It’s hard to be in a bad mood after hearing this song. Ringo pushes the tune ahead with his steady but propulsive beat. It’s probably not the greatest Beatles song but I love it anyway.

 Shelter from the Storm-it’s hard to pick one Dylan song (he had to be on the list) but for me this one always resonated. The apparent existence of biblical references aside, I interpret the song to be about lost love (are we seeing a theme here?) but the narrator knows he contributed to being cast out/rejected. A song of regret then. It’s haunting and beautiful to my ears.