Top 500 Songs

I am counting down my top 500 songs. The countdown is updated with every issue of Lemmon Lines! Check back every Tuesday for more!

1. “Small Town” (1985) John Mellencamp
Memory: I was born in a small town. And, I live in a small town. Will probably die in a small town. Oh, those small communities.
2. “Heard It in a Love Song” (1977) Marshall Tucker Band
Memory: Surprising, eh? I can safely say that I’ve listened to this song more than any other in my life. Always play it at least five times in a row.
3. “Maggie May” (1971) Rod Stewart
Memory: This was my all-time favorite song for more than a decade. Some 47 years later, pretty sure I can recite all of the lyrics. “Wake up, Maggie, I think I’ve got something to say to you …”
4. “American Pie” (1972) Don McLean
Memory: Perhaps the most iconic song of my generation. I just love the picture this song paints … so descriptive. When I hear it today on Oldies 103.7, I sing along from start to finish – just like I’ve done for the past 46 years.
5. “The Pretender” (1976) Jackson Browne
Memory: It’s about someone going through the motions in life, having lost sight of his dreams in order to pursue the almighty dollar. Such an inspiring song – it’s been known to give me goosebumps.
6. “Hurricane” (1975) Bob Dylan
Memory: Thanks to this protest song about the imprisonment of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, I first became aware of “social justice” in America. Amazing lyrics that tell a compelling story.
7. “Love Grows” (1970) Edison Lighthouse
Memory: The group may have been a “one-hit wonder,” but did you know Tony Burrows was also the lead singer for hits such as “My Baby Loves Lovin’” (White Plains) and “Beach Baby” (First Class)?
8. “Against the Wind” (1980) Bob Seger
Memory: What a great song about “life.” It’s a man reflecting on how the end of a relationship resulted in him losing his way, and then he got back on track. An outstanding vocal performance.
9. “December 1963” (1975) Four Seasons
Memory: This is the 28th song in the countdown from 1975. Why so many from that year? Well, it was my first full year with a driver’s license. Can you relate?
10. “Go Your Own Way” (1977) Fleetwood Mac
Memory: My favorite “concert” moment of all-time. Thanks to Google, I found the date of the concert at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis: Sept. 20, 1977. Remember the song – a great combination of guitars and drums – like it was yesterday.
11. “Summer of ‘69” (1984) Bryan Adams
Memory: Love how the lyrics paint a picture of a young person trying to make it in the music industry. Included in the song is a line that is a great “life lesson” – that is, “Ain’t no use in complaining when you’ve got a job to do.” Wish more people took that line to heart.
12. “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” (1981) Journey
Memory: A staple on Oldies 103.7 … and for good reason. It’s a true classic – raise your hand if you know every word to the song. In 2009, it was introduced to a new generation through the TV show “Glee.”
13. “My Eyes Adored You” (1975) Frankie Valli
Memory: A great song about unrequited love. Love the picture this song paints – as it takes you from a crush in elementary school to the later stages of life and wondering what might have been.
14. “Crimson and Clover” (1968) Tommy James and the Shondells
Memory: The song title doesn’t make any sense – it’s the lead singer’s favorite color and flower, respectively – but this a good example of “sound” trumping “lyrics.” The version by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts was outstanding as well, but the original gets the tiebreaker.
15. “Peace of Mind” (1977) Boston
Memory: To me, this is the “perfect” rock song. If you’ve followed this countdown, you know I love songs with powerful guitars – and this is definitely an “air guitar” classic. I’m really glad that Boston came along during my college years!
16. “1979” (1996) Smashing Pumpkins
Memory: I’d describe this as a “mesmerizing” song. That is, for the longest time, I couldn’t understand the lyrics, yet I listened to the song over and over again. Another example of the video elevating the status of the song.
17. “Any Way You Want It” (1980) Journey
Memory: As far as “air guitar” songs go, it doesn’t get any better than this one! I’ve imagined myself on the stage with Journey many a time playing this song. One of the legendary band’s best.
18. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (2007) Fergie
Memory: Such a soulful vocal performance about the end of a relationship and moving on. On several occasions, I’ve listened to this song five or six times in a row. And, as has always been the case, the last time is just as good as the first. Nicely done, Stacy Ferguson.
19. “Who Loves You” (1975) Four Seasons
Memory: Talk about a group that reinvented itself. The Four Seasons were popular in the early 1960s, but they reached new heights with a string of hits in the mid-’70s. They sounded like two completely different groups.
20. “Free Fallin’ ” (1989) Tom Petty
Memory: It’s a shame that news of Tom Petty’s death didn’t get the attention it deserved. (That’s because it happened the same day as the shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas – 59 people died.) This song never gets old. What made it so great was the video.
21. “Badlands” (1978) Bruce Springsteen
Memory: In my college dorm, the guy next door played this song a dozen times a day. Watching the crowd sing it during a Springsteen concert is a sight to behold.
22. “Heart of the Matter” (1989) Don Henley
Memory: Such well-crafted lyrics. Within this heartfelt song is a line with some great “life” advice – “You keep carrying around that anger, it’ll eat you up inside.”
23. “Band on the Run” (1974) Paul McCartney & Wings
Memory: As is the case with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I consider this song a modern-day “masterpiece.”
24. “If You Leave Me Now” (1976) Chicago
Memory: Hard to believe this song is 41 years old! I always associate it with my freshman year of college.
25. “My Maria” (1973) B.W. Stevenson
Memory: Twenty-three years later, Brooks & Dunn made this a No. 1 hit on the country charts. Gotta give the nod to the original, though.
26. “Whenever I Call You ‘Friend’ ” (1978) Kenny Loggins (with Stevie Nicks)
Memory: One of the great duets of that era. Ah, such an innocent time back then.
27. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (1980) AC/DC
Memory: There are a few songs in the countdown that I’ve listened to seven or eight times in a row, on multiple occasions. This is one of them.
28. “Running on Empty” (1978) Jackson Browne
Memory: I still remember buying the cassette (remember those?) and listening to this song for the first time.
29. “Love is the Answer” (1979) England Dan & John Ford Coley
Memory: This Todd Rundgren-penned song is guaranteed to lift your spirits.
30. “Little Jeannie” (1980) Elton John
Memory: This song usually isn’t listed among Elton John’s top hits, but it’s my favorite because it’s so uplifting.
31. “Get the Party Started” (2001) Pink
Memory: When I heard this song for the first time, I had never heard of Pink. Yet I told my wife, “That’s going to be a No. 1 hit.” (Turns out it made it only to No. 4, though.)
32. “Beast of Burden” (1978) Rolling Stones
Memory: Just a great “guitar” song – and there have been plenty of those in the countdown, for sure.
33. “Second Chance” (1988) 38 Special
Memory: An outstanding vocal performance. The song’s original name: “I Never Wanted Anyone Else But You.”
34. “Still the One” (1976) Orleans
Memory: A simple song with a simple message. Those of a certain age will remember this as the theme song for ABC’s fall season in the late 1970s.
35. “Layla” (1971) Derek and the Dominos
Memory: The opening belongs in the Hall of Fame for “air guitar” riffs.
36. “Takin’ Care of Business” (1974) Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Memory: Sadly, most people today probably associate this song with Office Depot commercials.
37. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (1987) Guns N’ Roses
Memory: One of the greatest intros of all-time. This song was the band’s first, and only, No. 1 hit.
38. “Wonderful Tonight” (1977) Eric Clapton
Memory: Just a beautiful ballad. Supposedly, he wrote it while waiting for his wife, Pattie Boyd, to get ready for Paul and Linda McCartney’s annual Buddy Holly party.
39. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (1976) Blue Oyster Cult
Memory: A rare song (for me) in that the lyrics don’t matter. Just love the “sound” and how it all comes together.
40. “Never Been Any Reason” (1975) Head East
Memory: One of the more obscure songs in the countdown, as its peak position in the Billboard Hot 100 was only No. 68. Still, it’s an “air guitar” classic.
41. “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” (1971) Paul and Linda McCartney
Memory: Looking back, it’s kind of a goofy song. By the way, Paul McCartney really had an uncle named Albert.
42. “At Seventeen” (1975) Janis Ian
Memory: It was easy to relate to this song, as I turned 17 the same year it was a hit. A lot of truth in the lyrics, whether 1975 or 2017.
43. “That’s What Friends Are For” (1985) Dionne Warwick and Friends
Memory: A memorable video with superstars from that era (Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John) taking their turns at the microphone.
44. “Beach Baby” (1974) First Class
Memory: The quintessential “summer” song.
45. “Born in the USA” (1984) Bruce Springsteen
Memory: Powerful imagery about the treatment of Vietnam veterans.
46. “Father and Son” (1971) Cat Stevens
Memory: I became hooked on lyrics during my senior year of high school when our English teacher had us read the words of our favorite song to the class. This is the song I chose!
47. “Collide” (2004) Howie Day
Memory: Such an uplifting song.
48. “Reunited” (1979) Peaches & Herb
Memory: One of the great duets of all-time.
49. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (1987) Starship
Memory: Didn’t know until doing research that the song was co-written by Albert Hammond (of “It Never Rains in Southern California” fame) and Diane Warren (many hits, including Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.”)
50. “Nobody Knows” (1996) The Tony Rich Project
Memory: An outstanding vocal performances by someone I thought would have a string of hits.
51. “You’ll Never Find” (1976) Lou Rawls
Memory: If I were to rank my favorite “voices” of all-time, this gentleman would be in the top spot.
52. “Please Don’t Leave Me” (2009) Pink
Memory: A soulful performance by a supremely talented musician.
53. “Love Is All Around” (1967) The Troggs
Memory: As the covers by other bands have proven (the one by Wet Wet Wet in the 1990s is the most notable), this song could be a hit in any decade.
54. “While You See a Chance” (1981) Steve Winwood
Memory: Ah, yes, my favorite song in 1981.
55. “Load Out / Stay” (1978) Jackson Browne
Memory: The countdown’s fourth “2-fer” … that is, they’re two songs treated as one. The lesser-known “Load Out” is a beautifully crafted song about performing on the road.
56. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” (1971) Creedence Clearwater Revival
Memory: Do you know the story behind this song? John Fogerty says it’s about the rising tensions within CCR and the imminent departure of his brother from the band.
57. “You Were Meant for Me” (1996) Jewel
Memory: Love the picture this one paints. A great vocal performance.
58. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (1975) Elton John
Memory: I became hooked on lyrics in high school, when an English teacher had us read the lyrics of our favorite songs aloud. Someone picked this one.
59. “I Hate Myself for Loving You” (1988) Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Memory: What a great “motivational” song. If this one doesn’t get you going, nothing will.
60. “Bad Time” (1975) Grand Funk
Memory: Such an easygoing song. For Top 500 countdown purposes, it had the advantage of being released shortly after I started driving.
61. “Don’t You Want Me” (1981) The Human League
Memory: Love the “back and forth” between the singers.
62. “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975) Queen
Memory: I consider this to be a modern-day “masterpiece.” Seriously, what are the chances someone could take the strange lyrics and turn it into one of the most iconic songs of all-time? A testimony to Freddie Mercury’s greatness.
63. “My Hometown” (1984) Bruce Springsteen
Memory: If you’ve been following the countdown, you know I love songs about “life.” This one paints such a great picture.
64. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1976) Elton John and Kiki Dee
Memory: A feel-good duet. Remember the video? Loved Elton’s plaid jacket and Kiki’s shiny hair.
65. “Again Tonight” (1991) John Mellencamp
Memory: Probably the most obscure song in the Top 100. A classic “bar band” tune.
66. “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (1974) Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Memory: An “air guitar” classic!
67. “Here Comes the Sun” (1969) The Beatles
Memory: Such an uplifting song, which was written by George Harrison (and not the prolific combo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney).
68. “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” (1976) England Dan & John Ford Coley
Memory: I always associate this song with driving home on weekends during my freshman year at Indiana State University. Strange, eh?
69. “How to Save a Life” (2004) The Fray
Memory: This song probably would make my wife’s all-time Top 10. I love the drum solo at the very end.
70. “Hurts So Good” (1982) John Mellencamp
Memory: Hard to beat the combination of guitar, drums and powerful vocals.
71. “It Never Rains in Southern California” (1972) Albert Hammond
Memory: For me, this was a great “karaoke” song before I knew “karaoke” even existed. This song should be a staple on oldies stations, but it’s been decades since I heard it on the radio.
72. “Get Ready” (1970) Rare Earth
Memory: I didn’t particularly like this song when it was released … but it got better with age, thanks to the various oldies stations I listened to through the years.
73. “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” (1977) Jimmy Buffett
Memory: Just a great song about perspective and “life.” My favorite line: “If it suddenly ended tomorrow, I would somehow adjust to the fall.”
74. “Follow You Follow Me” (1978) Genesis
Memory: A rarity for me in that the lyrics don’t matter.
75. “I’m Sorry” (1975) John Denver
Memory: The final No. 1 pop hit of the singer’s memorable career. Trivia: Back in 1978, I stood in line all night to buy tickets for his concert in Terre Haute, Indiana.
76. “Just Remember I Love You” (1977) Firefall
Memory: You can’t beat this song for simplicity. That’s a good thing.
77. “Dancing in the Moonlight” (1973) King Harvest
Memory: The song I associate with the time I started listening to Chicago’s WLS-AM.
78. “I Want to Know What Love Is” (1984) Foreigner
Memory: This power ballad is the band’s biggest hit.
79. “Sweet Cherry Wine” (1969) Tommy James and the Shondells
Memory: An underappreciated song. I say that because you never hear it on Oldies 103.7.
80. “Everlasting Love” (1974) Carl Carlton
Memory: One of two songs to be a Billboard Top 40 hit in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. (The other one is “The Way You Do the Things You Do” – which, I don’t mind telling you, didn’t come close to making the Top 500.)
81. “Bye Bye” (1998) Jo Dee Messina
Memory: A good example of a video adding value to a song. Without the video, this song probably wouldn’t be in the Top 100.
82. “Rock Me Gently” (1974) Andy Kim
Memory: You can’t help but sing along with this high-energy song.
83. “One of These Nights” (1975) The Eagles
Memory: The title track on the first cassette I ever purchased.
84. “Never Let You Go” (2000) Third Eye Blind
Memory: The fourth song in the countdown by a band that faded from the scene way too fast.
85. “Dance with Me” (1975) Orleans
Memory: The type of song that spans the generations. It could be a hit today.
86. “Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding” (1973) Elton John
Memory: The third “2-fer” in the countdown … because the two songs are treated as one. Always seemed like this composition was ahead of its time.
87. “Pink Houses” (1983) John Mellencamp
Memory: Contrary to popular belief, this is not a “celebrate America”-type song. It’s a harsh criticism of the “greed is good” culture in the ’80s.
88. “Cat’s in the Cradle” (1974) Harry Chapin
Memory: What a great song about the stages of life.
89. “The Joker” (1973) Steve Miller Band
Memory: I’ve never taken an illegal drug in my life, but I always love faking it by belting out the “midnight toker” line.
90. “I Want You Back” (1969) The Jackson 5
Memory: The first No. 1 hit by Michael Jackson (then 11 years old) and his brothers.
91. “Indiana Wants Me” (1970) R. Dean Taylor
Memory: Granted, this made the Top 100 only because I’m from Indiana. Supposedly, he wrote the song after watching the movie “Bonnie & Clyde.”
92. “The Right Thing to Do” (1973) Carly Simon
Memory: A love song she wrote for her then-husband, James Taylor. Back then, she had such a cool “vibe.”
93. “Runaway Train” (1993) Soul Asylum
Memory: A great song in its own right, but the video – with images of missing children shown throughout – moved it into the “classic” category.
94. “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” (1971) Lobo
Memory: If this song doesn’t put you in a good mood, nothing will. I could listen to it a dozen times and not get tired of it.
95. “Livin’ on a Prayer” (1986) Bon Jovi
Memory: It’s considered the band’s signature song. One I instantly associate with MTV.
96. “Promises” (1978) Eric Clapton
Memory: Even though the lyrics are just so-so, the song has such an easy-going rhythm.
97. “What Is Life” (1971) George Harrison
Memory: My ears always perk up when I hear the distinctive opening – love those electric guitars. With this song, he became the first ex-Beatle to have two Top 10 hits.
98. “Midnight Train to Georgia” (1973) Gladys Knight & the Pips
Memory: A vocal performance with tremendous soul, along with an easy-to-visualize story.
99. “Standing Still” (2001) Jewel
Memory: Listening to this song on the open road is sure to add 10 mph to your speed.
100. “The End of the Innocence” (1989) Don Henley
Memory: Such powerful lyrics. This was his fifth solo Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, more than any other member of The Eagles.
101. “We’ve Only Just Begun” (1970) The Carpenters
Memory: One of the all-time great wedding songs. I’d probably put it at the top of the list.
102. “Day After Day” (1971) Badfinger
Memory: When you heard this song for the first time, did you think it was the Beatles? Sure sounded like them!
103. “Man in the Mirror” (1988) Michael Jackson
Memory: A powerful message and a powerful vocal performance. In doing research, it was surprising to learn that Michael Jackson, who was an exceptional songwriter, did not write this song.
104. “Sweet Caroline” (1969) Neil Diamond
Memory: One of the great feel-good songs of all-time.
105. “More Than a Woman” (1977) Bee Gees
Memory: Hey, perfect timing for this song to appear in the countdown, as “Saturday Night Fever” is currently playing at Riverside Theatre!
106. “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” (1994) Prince
Memory: Prince’s last Top 5 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100.
107. “Celebration” (1980) Kool & the Gang
Memory: I always associate this high-energy song with a college basketball game – the band played it after my school (Utah) won a close game against archrival BYU.
108. “We are the World” (1985) USA for Africa
Memory: A truly iconic song, thanks mainly to the accompanying video. Superstars galore – I remember all of the singers and their verses.
109. “Just Like Heaven” (1987) The Cure
Memory: Thirty years after the fact, it was surprising to learn this song didn’t climb higher than No. 40 on the Billboard charts.
110. “My Sweet Lord” (1971) George Harrison
Memory: The first No. 1 single by an ex-Beatle.
111. “Daniel” (1973) Elton John
Memory: Supposedly, the record company didn’t want to release this as a single because it was too long and too somber to be a hit.
112. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1983) Cyndi Lauper
Memory: What a debut for this one-of-a-kind singer!
113. “Travelin’ Man / Beautiful Loser” (1976) Bob Seger
Memory: The second “2-fer” in the countdown … because they are usually treated as one song. Four decades later, the transition between songs still gives me chills.
114. “Brandy” (1972) Looking Glass
Memory: For some reason, I’ve always associated this song with eighth-grade shop class.
115. “We Built This City” (1985) Jefferson Starship
Memory: I’ve never understood why this song gets such a bad rap. (For example, in 2016, Gentlemen’s Quarterly magazine called it the “worst song of all-time.”)
116. “Come Monday” (1974) Jimmy Buffett
Memory: One of those songs I could listen to multiple times and not get tired of it.
117. “I’ll Be There” (1970) The Jackson 5
Memory: A monster hit for both the Jackson brothers and, 22 years later, Mariah Carey.
118. “Wherever You Will Go” (2001) The Calling
Memory: The song topped Billboard’s Adult Top 40 charts for 23 weeks, the second-longest running No. 1 in the chart’s history. (“Smooth” was No. 1 for 25 weeks.)
119. “Forever in Blue Jeans” (1979) Neil Diamond
Memory: I’ve always liked the picture this song paints.
120. “Come and Get Your Love” (1974) Redbone
Memory: This song was a Top 5 hit in ’74 (Redbone) and a Top 20 hit in ’95 (Real McCoy).
121. “Ironic” (1996) Alanis Morissette
Memory: A nice showcase for her distinctive voice.
122. “Everytime You Go Away” (1985) Paul Young
Memory: Though written by Daryl Hall and recorded by Hall & Oates in 1980, the pop duo didn’t release it as a single.
123. “The Hustle” (1975) Van McCoy
Memory: The countdown’s second instrumental.
124. “Mandy” (1974) Barry Manilow
Memory: Weren’t you surprised to learn this song was about a dog?
125. “Get Together” (1969) The Youngbloods
Memory: The song has an interesting history. Years before peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard charts, it was recorded by several groups, including The Youngbloods in ’67.
126. “China Grove” (1973) Doobie Brothers
Memory: If you’ve been following the countdown, you know I love songs with powerful guitar riffs.
127. “Video Killed the Radio Star” (1979) The Buggles
Memory: This song is known for being the first video ever shown on MTV. Nearly 40 years later, radio stars are alive and well.
128. “Rocket Man” (1972) Elton John
Memory: Just a beautifully constructed song.
129. “ABC” (1970) The Jackson 5
Memory: The second No. 1 hit in a string of chart-toppers from the group led by 12-year-old Michael Jackson.
130. “My Heart Will Go On” (1997) Celine Dion
Memory: Surprisingly, I never got tired of this song – even though I heard it on the radio a gazillion times.
131. “Fox on the Run” (1975) Sweet
Memory: A memorable song from my high school years because Sweet was the headliner for my first concert.
132. “Start Me Up” (1981) Rolling Stones
Memory: The opening riff is an “air guitar” classic. Good example of a song that has aged well.
133. “Rock and Roll Heaven” (1974) The Righteous Brothers
Memory: There was a long list of names in ’74. Would love to see the lyrics reworked, with names from the past 43 years added, and released as a single.
134. “Sooner or Later” (1971) Grass Roots
Memory: Such a “happy” song by one of my favorite bands from that era.
135. “Heads Carolina, Tails California” (1996) Jo Dee Messina
Memory: It’s one of those songs I could listen to five or six times in a row and not get tired of it.
136. “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” (1972) Jim Croce
Memory: The song would have to be completely restructured to be a hit today. I mean, when is the last time you dealt with a telephone operator?
137. “Breathless” (2000) The Corrs
Memory: Before I knew four siblings from Ireland recorded this song, I thought it was by the Go-Go’s.
138. “Heart of Gold” (1972) Neil Young
Memory: Song engrained in my head because my older brother played it over and over again.
139. “Born to be My Baby” (1988) Bon Jovi
Memory: Simple lyrics and an infectious chorus – the key ingredients for the band’s success through the years.
140. “Eye of the Tiger” (1982) Survivor
Memory: Theme song of the movie “Rocky III.” One of the all-time great “motivational” songs.
141. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (1967) Frankie Valli
Memory: I didn’t particularly like this song when it was first released. However, that all changed when it was featured in the 1978 movie “The Deer Hunter.”
142. “If You Leave” (1986) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD)
Memory: This one is remembered for being on the “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack. Hard to believe it has been 31 years!
143. “Ain’t Even Done with the Night” (1981) John Mellencamp
Memory: One of his early hits. Sounds as good today as it did back then (when he performed as “John Cougar”).
144. “Lean on Me” (1972) Bill Withers
Memory: Such a powerful voice. Best of all, you could clearly understand the lyrics.
145. “Sharing the Night Together” (1978) Dr. Hook
Memory: A soothing ballad by a hit-making band that shortened its name from Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show (an improvement, if you ask me).
146. “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)” (1979) Robert Palmer
Memory: A hard-charging, rock ’n roll classic by a singer who died way too soon.
147. “Passionate Kisses” (1993) Mary Chapin Carpenter
Memory: Back when this song was a hit, I listened to it over and over … and over again.
148. “Wildfire” (1975) Michael Murphey
Memory: I remember the girls at my high school loved this song! Great combination of vocals and storytelling.
149. “Flashdance (What a Feeling)” (1983) Irene Cara
Memory: In need of motivation? It’s tough to beat this song. (Includes a lyric with some sound “life” advice: “Take your passion, and make it happen.”)
150. “Leader of the Band” (1981) Dan Fogelberg
Memory: A touching tribute to the singer’s father.
151. “I Can See Clearly Now” (1972) Johnny Nash
Memory: I always associate this song (along with “Dancing in the Moonlight”) with the time I first started listening to Chicago’s AM powerhouse, WLS.
152. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” (1999) Shania Twain
Memory: While this song reached the Top 10 in six countries, it was surprising (in hindsight) to learn that it peaked only at No. 23 in the United States.
153. “Something About You” (1985) Level 42
Memory: The British band had 20 Top 40 hits in the UK, but it achieved that feat only twice in the United States.
154. “The Rubberband Man” (1976) The Spinners
Memory: A timeless toe-tapper from a great vocal group.
155. “Game of Love” (2002) Santana with Michelle Branch
Memory: Great chemistry in this collaboration. (Trivia: Tina Turner was the original vocalist. However, she refused to make a video, so it was released as a single with Michelle Branch.)
156. “Deacon Blues” (1977) Steely Dan
Memory: The lyrics always baffled me, but you can’t beat the overall vibe.
157. “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)” (1978) Chris Rea
Memory: Rea wrote the song after observing his teenage sister’s reaction (utter devastation) to breaking up with her boyfriend.
158. “Ridin’ the Storm Out” (1973) REO Speedwagon
Memory: At my high school, the “cool” kids were way ahead of the curve in liking this band.
159. “I Could Not Ask for More” (1999) Edwin McCain
Memory: Part of the original soundtrack for the movie “Message in a Bottle.”
160. “We Belong” (1984) Pat Benatar
Memory: My favorite song by the singer you associate with the early years of MTV.
161. “Rock On” (1973) David Essex
Memory: This version reached only No. 5 on the Billboard chart. The 1989 remake, by Michael Damian, made it all the way to No. 1.
162. “Semi-Charmed Life” (1997) Third Eye Blind
Memory: The third song in the countdown by this band. Spoiler alert: There may be more to come.
163. “Burning Love” (1972) Elvis Presley
Memory: The last Top 10 hit by Elvis. As I said before, I liked songs by “old” Elvis a lot more than ones by “young” Elvis.
164. “Happy Together” (1967) The Turtles
Memory: I still remember the band performing this song on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
165. “Solsbury Hill” (1978) Peter Gabriel
Memory: Although this song never cracked the Billboard’s Top 40, it’s been a part of a few movie soundtracks.
166. “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” (1970) John Lennon
Memory: This was the first solo single by a member of the Beatles to sell a million copies.
167. “You’re Still the One” (1998) Shania Twain
Memory: A song that has special meaning for any couple married for at least a decade.
168. “Waiting for a Star to Fall” (1988) Boy Meets Girl
Memory: I could listen to this song 10 times in a row and not get tired of it.
169. “Do You Believe in Love?” (1982) Huey Lewis and the News
Memory: I’m not a big fan of the group, but how can you not sing along with this one?
170. “I Write the Songs” (1975) Barry Manilow
Memory: Another song I instantly associate with Chicago’s AM powerhouse, WLS. Always thought it was interesting a member of the Beach Boys wrote it.
171. “Reason to Believe” (1971) Rod Stewart
Memory: This song spent 41 weeks in Billboard’s “Hot 100” (the longest of any by the legendary singer).
172. “Keep on Loving You” (1980) REO Speedwagon
Memory: The band, popular in the Midwest in the 1970s, broke through nationally with this power ballad.
173. “Love Train” (1972) O’Jays
Memory: Before learning to drive, I listened to Chicago’s AM powerhouse, WLS, in my bedroom – and this song was a staple.
174. “Jack & Diane” (1982) John Mellencamp
Memory: Anyone who grew up in the Midwest can relate to this song. Love the picture he paints with the lyrics.
175. “Mamma Mia” (1976) ABBA.
Memory: This one rocketed up the countdown after seeing the play by the same name.
176. “Smoke from a Distant Fire” (1977) Sanford-Townsend Band
Memory: I always associate this song with my summer job (working for my dad doing road construction) in Somerset, Kentucky.
177. “Lost in Love” (1980) Air Supply
Memory: Not many men would admit to liking Air Supply, but that’s OK.
178. “Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate” (1976) Jackson Browne
Memory: The only song in the countdown that was never released as a single. A gem within my all-time favorite album, “The Pretender.”
179. “You Can’t Change That” (1979) Raydio
Memory: If this one doesn’t put you in a good mood, nothing will.
180. “Take It to the Limit” (1975) The Eagles
Memory: This one would rank No. 2 on the list of my all-time favorite concert songs.
181. “Lonely Nights” (1982) Bryan Adams
Memory: A song that helped launch the little-known Canadian rocker to stardom.
182. “Please Don’t Go” (1979) KC and the Sunshine Band
Memory: A surprising release at the time because it wasn’t a disco song.
183. “If You Could Read My Mind” (1970) Gordon Lightfoot
Memory: A ballad by a singer with a distinctive voice.
184. “It Must Have Been Love” (1990) Roxette
Memory: Although it was originally released in Europe as a Christmas song, it became a hit because it was part of the soundtrack for the movie “Pretty Woman.”
185. “Under Pressure” (1981) Queen with David Bowie
Memory: A superstar collaboration, and one of the most recognizable bass riffs in rock history.
186. “Kentucky Rain” (1970) Elvis Presley
Memory: A soulful, “storyteller” song.
187. “6th Avenue Heartache” (1996) The Wallflowers
Memory: Lead singer Jakob Dylan (Bob’s son) wrote this song when he was 18 years old … I mistakenly thought he would have hits for the next few decades.
188. “Night Moves” (1976) Bob Seger
Memory: Little did I know at the time that he would become one of my all-time favorite singers.
189. “How Do I Live” (1997) LeAnn Rimes
Memory: This version gets the nod over Tricia Yearwood’s. Amazing stat: The song spent a record 62 consecutive weeks – more than a year! – in Billboard’s Top 40.
190. “Teach Your Children” (1970) Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Memory: A timeless message.
191. “Armageddon It” (1988) Def Leppard
Memory: The band’s two live-performance videos (this one and “Pour Some Sugar on Me”) are iconic.
192. “Shadows of the Night” (1982) Pat Benatar
Memory: She won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for this one. Well deserved.
193. “Come and Get It” (1970) Badfinger
Memory: Like many of you, I thought this was a Beatles song the first time I heard it.
194. “Two Tickets to Paradise” (1978) Eddie Money
Memory: Back in the day, if I were inclined to do karaoke, this would have been among my top picks.
195. “Help Me, Rhonda” (1965) Beach Boys
Memory: By the masters of harmony.
196. “After the Love Has Gone” (1979) Earth, Wind & Fire
Memory: If you’re in the midst of a breakup, you’ll be tempted to throw a “pity party” after listening to this one.
197. “Rock the Casbah” (1982) The Clash
Memory: You aren’t going to find many songs by punk rock bands in this countdown. Gotta love that bass!
198. “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” (1978) Linda Ronstadt
Memory: She took a song, originally recorded by the writer (Warren Zevon), and turned it into a hit.
199. “Born to Run” (1975) Bruce Springsteen
Memory: Are you old enough to remember him being on the cover of Time and Newsweek the same week in October ’75? It was the first time I’d ever heard of him.
200. “Life in a Northern Town” (1985) The Dream Academy
Memory: Just a beautifully crafted song.
201. “Year of the Cat” (1976) Al Stewart
Memory: My freshman year in college! Good times.
202. “Stand” (1989) R.E.M.
Memory: Although the lyrics have no nutritional value, it’s still a “fun” song. Memorable video, too.
203. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” (1977) Meat Loaf
Memory: In doing research for this song, I learned it peaked at only No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Strange, because it’s an all-time classic.
204. “Theme from ‘Happy Days’ ” (1976) Pratt & McClain
Memory: Forty years later, I still remember every scene from the opening of the TV show.
205. “Lonesome Loser” (1979) Little River Band
Memory: A Top 10 hit by one of the most underrated groups from that era.
206. “Viva la Vida” (2008) Coldplay
Memory: A rarity in that the song title is nowhere to be found in the lyrics.
207. “Carolina in My Mind” (1976) James Taylor
Memory: I didn’t fully appreciate this song until long after it was a hit.
208. “Working My Way Back to You” (1979) The Spinners
Memory: Ah, the essence of harmony.
209. “Our House” (1982) Madness
Memory: Most people over age 55 probably prefer the song with the same title by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Not me.
210. “Sugar, Sugar” (1969) The Archies
Memory: A “bubblegum” classic. Do you remember the cartoon “video” on the TV show? If not, check out YouTube.
211. “Without You” (1971) Nilsson
Memory: Giving the nod to Harry Nilsson’s version over those by Badfinger (1970) and Mariah Carey (1994).
212. “September” (1978) Earth, Wind & Fire
Memory: A song that instantly lifts your spirits.
213. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (1989) Billy Joel
Memory: As far as I’m concerned, the way he crafted this song (with historical snapshots serving as the lyrics) is pure genius.
214. “I Go Crazy” (1975) Paul Davis
Memory: Such a soothing ballad.
215. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983) Bonnie Tyler
Memory: With this lengthy song (4 minutes, 30 seconds), she became the first Welsh singer to have a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s pop chart.
216. “I Get Around” (1964) Beach Boys
Memory: I’ve seen the Beach Boys in concert in three different decades. They’ve been around for six (including the current one)!
217. “How’s It Going to Be” (1997) Third Eye Blind
Memory: The band’s second song in the countdown.
218. “Driver’s Seat” (1979) Sniff ‘n’ the Tears
Memory: My speed on an open highway would increase by at least 10 mph when this song came on the radio.
219. “Imagine” (1971) John Lennon
Memory: The biggest hit of the ex-Beatle’s solo career.
220. “If You Go” (1994) Jon Secada
Memory: This is his second song in the countdown. It was his last Top 10 hit.
221. “Back to December” (2010) Taylor Swift
Memory: The best songs are often based on personal experience, and this one is an apology to a former boyfriend.
222. “I Melt with You” (1982) Modern English
Memory: A song I instantly associate with the early 1980s.
223. “It’s So Easy” (1977) Linda Ronstadt
Memory: While the original version (in 1958 by the Crickets) failed to make the charts, she turned it into a Top 5 hit.
224. “Love is Alive” (1976) Gary Wright
Memory: Instead of playing “air guitar” for this song, it was my first attempt at “air keyboard.”
225. “Vacation” (1982) The Go-Go’s
Memory: A great summer song. Remember the video?
226. “Good Lovin’ ” (1966) The Young Rascals
Memory: According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is one of the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.
227. “Babe” (1979) Styx
Memory: Styx had eight Top 10 hits, but this was the only one to reach No. 1.
228. “Use Me” (1972) Bill Withers
Memory: A high-energy song with lyrics you can understand.
229. “She’s Just My Style” (1965) Gary Lewis & the Playboys
Memory: Everything about this song says mid-1960s. Could be mistaken for a Beach Boys song.
230. “Man on the Moon” (1992) R.E.M.
Memory: An unusual song in that it’s a tribute to comedian Andy Kaufman, who died in 1984. Kaufman was known for his Elvis impersonation.
231. “For the Good Times” (1970) Ray Price
Memory: Yet another song that was drilled into my head by my hometown radio station! It’s a classic, though.
232. “Soak Up the Sun” (2002) Sheryl Crow
Memory: Such an upbeat song.
233. “Miracles” (1975) Jefferson Starship
Memory: The album (“Red Octopus”) was the first cassette I ever ordered from the late, great RCA Music Club.
234. “Free Bird” (1974) Lynyrd Skynyrd
Memory: If Southern rock had a Mount Rushmore, this would be one of the song titles chiseled in stone.
235. “Night Fever” (1978) Bee Gees
Memory: If you listen to this song while at work, your productivity is sure to increase.
236. “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” (1972) The Spinners
Memory: A classic feel-good song.
237. “Authority Song” (1984) John Mellencamp
Memory: A smile-inducing video, and a great concert song.
238. “How Bizarre” (1996) OMC
Memory: Pretty sure this is the only song in the countdown by a New Zealand group.
239. “Because the Night” (1993) 10,000 Maniacs
Memory: The MTV “Unplugged” version, featuring Natalie Merchant, gets the nod over the ones by each of the song’s co-writers, Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen.
240. “West End Girls” (1984) Pet Shop Boys
Memory: Second song in the countdown by the group with a most unusual name.
241. “I Love Rock ’n Roll” (1982) Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Memory: A song you instantly recognize on the radio … even 34 years after the fact.
242. “Nice to Be with You” (1972) Gallery
Memory: One of the best “feel good” songs from that era.
243. “We Just Disagree” (1977) Dave Mason
Memory: Sadly, in today’s world, there’s no such thing as “just disagreeing.”
244. “Make Your Own Kind of Music” (1969) “Mama” Cass Elliott
Memory: Another example of a relatively obscure song from your childhood sticking with you decades later.
245. “Closing Time” (1998) Semisonic
Memory: A radio staple in the summer of ’98.
246. “Heat Wave” (1975) Linda Ronstadt
Memory: Has anyone had more hits doing remakes of original songs?
247. “Modern Love” (1983) David Bowie
Memory: Hard not to sing along with this one.
248. “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” (1978) Styx
Memory: From an era when AM radio was still relevant. This song was a big hit on Chicago’s WLS.
249. “Take Me Home Tonight” (1986) Eddie Money
Memory: Love his backstory of being a New York City Police Department trainee. His father, grandfather and brother were members of the NYPD.).
250. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (1966) Beach Boys
Memory: We’re at the halfway point of the countdown!.
251. “One of Us” (1995) Joan Osborne
Memory: Theme song of the TV show “Joan of Arcadia” (which I never watched).
252. “Welcome Back” (1976) John Sebastian
Memory: The perfect theme song for the “Welcome Back, Kotter” TV show.
253. “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” (1975) John Denver
Memory: Gotta love his enthusiasm in singing this one.
254. “Suspicious Minds” (1968) Elvis Presley
Memory: I liked the songs by “old” Elvis a lot more than those by the hip-shaking “young” Elvis.
255. “Dancing Queen” (1975) ABBA
Memory: If not for the play “Mama Mia,” this song probably wouldn’t have cracked the Top 500.
256. “Listen to the Music” (1972) Doobie Brothers
Memory: You instantly associate this band with the ’70s.
257. “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” (1974) Carly Simon
Memory: OK, I had a crush on her way back when … and that is evident throughout this countdown.
258. “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” (1973) George Harrison
Memory: Liked him better as solo act than with Beatles.
259. “We’ve Got Tonight” (1978) Bob Seger
Memory: This song could be a hit in any decade.
260. “Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?” (1972) Hurricane Smith
Memory: This one’s for you, Dave Vivona! (The clerk at the downtown post office in Vero Beach has been waiting for this song in the countdown.)
261. “Oh Sherrie” (1984) Steve Perry
Memory: Biggest solo hit by Journey’s former lead singer.
262. “It’s a Heartache” (1977) Bonnie Tyler
Memory: Such a soulful vocal performance. It’s one of the top 100 best-selling singles of all-time.
263. “Couldn’t Get It Right” (1976) Climax Blues Band
Memory: The song is about the British band’s life on the road in the United States.
264. “Different Drum” (1967) The Stone Poneys (featuring Linda Ronstadt)
Memory: Did you know Mike Nesmith (who made a name for himself with The Monkees) wrote this song?
265. “Games People Play” (1975) The Spinners
Memory: Few groups were better than The Spinners for songs that helped turn your frown upside down.
266. “It’s My Life” (2000) Bon Jovi
Memory: One of the great anthems from that era.
267. “Hitchin’ a Ride” (1969) Vanity Fare
Memory: Such a “happy” song, one you instantly associate with that era.
268. “Thunder Island” (1978) Jay Ferguson
Memory: In the nearly 10 years I’ve lived here, I have not heard this song on our “oldies” station. Which is a shame.
269. “Sharp Dressed Man” (1983) ZZ Top
Memory: Gotta love the band’s videos.
270. “Amie” (1973) Pure Prairie League
Memory: Amazingly, this band still tours today. Talk about getting maximum mileage out of a hit song.
271. “Good Morning Starshine” (1969) Oliver
Memory: A song from the musical “Hair.”
272. “Dreamlover” (1993) Mariah Carey
Memory: The biggest hit of the summer of ’93, thanks in large part to the accompanying video.
273. “Mama’s Pearl” (1971) The Jackson 5
Memory: The lyrics are nothing special, so credit goes to Michael Jackson’s amazing vocal performance.
274. “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” (2001) Five for Fighting
Memory: If my wife were to put together a list of her all-time favorite songs, this one might make the Top 50.
275. “867-5309 / Jenny” (1982) Tommy Tutone
Memory: The most famous phone number in America.
276. “No One is to Blame” (1986) Howard Jones
Memory: Not a glamorous name for singer, but solid song.
277. “Tonight’s the Night” (1976) Rod Stewart
Memory: Having a woman speak French, and sounding very sexy, really added to this song.
278. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (1987) U2
Memory: The video, featuring band members walking around the crowded streets of Las Vegas, is a classic.
279. “Jumper” (1998) Third Eye Blind
Memory: Became the third Top 10 single from self-titled album. I really thought this band would have staying power.
280. “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” (1971) The Fortunes
Memory: You can’t resist singing along with this one.
281. “Reminiscing” (1978) Little River Band
Memory: The Australian band’s biggest hit in the U.S. It was a bigger hit here than in Australia.
282. “I’ll Stand by You” (1994) The Pretenders
Memory: Chrissie Hynde’s voice is so soulful – especially in this song.
283. “Another Day” (1971) Paul McCartney
Memory: One of Paul McCartney’s most underappreciated hit songs, if you ask me.
284. “Drops of Jupiter” (2001) Train
Memory: A strange title, but the magic is in the lyrics.
285. “Leather and Lace” (1981) Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
Memory: Simply a beautiful duet.
286. “Don’t Pull Your Love” (1971) Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Memory: Sounds as good today as it did 45 years ago.
287. “Live Like You Were Dying” (2004) Tim McGraw
Memory: While I have no desire to go skydiving or ride a bull named Fu-Manchu, there’s no denying this song makes you want to live life to the fullest.
288. “I’m Like a Bird” (2001) Nelly Furtado
Memory: The perfect voice … such an uplifting song.
289. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (1986) Crowded House
Memory: Thirty years later, I still perk up when I hear the intro on the radio.
290. “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (1969) The Hollies
Memory: Did you know Elton John, then known as Reginald Dwight, played piano on this song?
291. “If It Makes You Happy” (1996) Sheryl Crow
Memory: I always liked her story – after graduating from college, she was a music teacher at an elementary school.
292. “I’m Free” (1993) Jon Secada
Memory: The former backup singer for Gloria Estefan had a handful of hits as a solo artist.
293. “Give Peace a Chance” (1969) John Lennon
Memory: Peace seemed more attainable back then, no?
294. “Thank You” (2000) Dido
Memory: The perfect love song.
295. “People Got to be Free” (1968) The Rascals
Memory: As the story goes, this song was written after band members were threatened by a bunch of rednecks when their tour bus broke down in Fort Pierce.
296. “Joy to the World” (1971) Three Dog Night
Memory: Hokey lyrics, but you can’t help but sing along.
297. “I Can’t Hold Back” (1984) Survivor
Memory: Couldn’t resist singing along with this one.
298. “Landslide” (1975) Fleetwood Mac
Memory: The cover by the Dixie Chicks was actually more popular, but I give the nod to the original.
299. “Wichita Lineman” (1968) Glen Campbell
Memory: Anyone else remember this song on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”?
300. “Not Ready to Make Nice” (2006) Dixie Chicks
Memory: The country trio’s powerful “answer” to being ostracized in 2003 after criticizing President Bush in London before the start of the Iraq War.
301. “Shower the People” (1976) James Taylor
Memory: A song with a simple message about love.
302. “Top of the World” (1972) The Carpenters
Memory: Ah, such innocent times back then.
303. “Step by Step” (1981) Eddie Rabbitt
Memory: A fairly obscure song (for a Top 500 countdown, anyway) by a country artist known for his songwriting.
304. “Let’s Get It On” (1973) Marvin Gaye
Memory: If this doesn’t get you “in the mood,” nothing will.
305. “Waiting on the World to Change” (2006) John Mayer
Memory: This song gives me hope that meaningful lyrics still matter in today’s world.
306. “Bad Moon Rising” (1969) Creedence Clearwater Revival
Memory: John Fogerty has one of the most distinctive voices in rock ’n roll.
307. “I Gotta Feeling” (2009) Black Eyed Peas
Memory: The song of the summer of ’09. It topped the charts for 14 consecutive weeks.
308. “Everybody Wants You” (1982) Billy Squier
Memory: A classic “air guitar” song.
309. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (1971) John Denver
Memory: Pretty cool this is West Virginia’s official state song.
310. “Werewolves of London” (1978) Warren Zevon
Memory: The lyrics are just plain silly, but it’s hard to resist “howling” along.
311. “Manic Monday” (1986) The Bangles
Memory: Prince wrote the song, but it wouldn’t have reached No. 2 without the vocals of Susanna Hoffs.
312. “You Wear It Well” (1972) Rod Stewart
Memory: An underappreciated song that I haven’t heard on the radio since the ’70s.
313. “The Power of Love” (1993) Celine Dion
Memory: No question, she’s one of the top vocalists of our time.
314. “Red Red Wine” (1988) UB40
Memory: Nothing against Neil Diamond’s original version, but the reggae beat turned this song into a classic.
315. “Touch Me in the Morning” (1973) Diana Ross
Memory: A tremendous vocal performance. It was the second single by the former lead singer of The Supremes.
316. “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965) Bob Dylan
Memory: I love songs with powerful lyrics, and this one definitely falls into that category.
317. “Money for Nothing” (1985) Dire Straits
Memory: One of the great “air guitar” songs from that era.
318. “Turn the Beat Around” (1976) Vicki Sue Robinson
Memory: A high-energy song that was later covered by Gloria Estefan.
319. “Cherish” (1985) Kool & The Gang
Memory: A soothing ballad from a group known for dance tunes.
320. “It Don’t Come Easy” (1971) Ringo Starr
Memory: Much to my surprise, Ringo had several hit songs as a solo artist.
321. “Chasing Cars” (2006) Snow Patrol
Memory: I’ll always associate this song with our move from Ohio to Florida.
322. “Rain on the Scarecrow” (1986) John Mellencamp
Memory: Such powerful lyrics, as the Indiana native went to bat for farmers.
323. “Brown Eyed Girl” (1967) Van Morrison
Memory: It’s hard to not sing along with this one.
324. “Hey Jude” (1968) The Beatles
Memory: Quick, when was the last time you heard this song on the radio? For me, it’s been more than a decade.
325. “It’s Too Late” (1971) Carole King
Memory: As Neil Sedaka once sang, breaking up is hard to do.
326. “Call Me Maybe” (2012) Carly Rae Jepsen
Memory: The unofficial song of the 2012 Summer Olympics, thanks to all of those parody videos.
327. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (1998) Aerosmith
Memory: If I would have heard this song one more time, it might not have made the Top 500.
328. “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” (1987) Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield
Memory: A perfect pairing for this song. Great chemistry.
329. “You’re My Best Friend” (1976) Queen
Memory: I instantly associate this song with my freshman year in college.
330. “I Don’t Want to Live Without You” (1987) Foreigner
Memory: A soothing ballad. One of Foreigner’s finest.
331. “Come On, Eileen” (1982) Dexys Midnight Runners
Memory: “Poor old Johnnie Ray.” I always wondered what the popular 1950s singer thought of the song’s opening line.
332. “It was Almost Like a Song” (1977) Ronnie Millsap
Memory: Not many songs by country artists in the countdown, but this was a soulful vocal performance.
333. “Love Story (2008) Taylor Swift
Memory: She used “Romeo and Juliet” as inspiration for a real-life situation, but changed it to have a happy ending.
334. “I’ve Seen All Good People” (1971) Yes
Memory: The first half of this nearly 7-minute song would probably make the Top 200.
335. “Holiday” (1983) Madonna
Memory: The superstar’s first hit single.
336. “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” (1977) Meat Loaf
Memory: I don’t like clapping during songs at concerts, but I do it every time when I hear this one on the radio.
337. “Tide is High” (1980) Blondie
Memory: Even though this song has no nutritional value, Blondie made it irresistible.
338. “You Get What You Give” (1998) New Radicals
Memory: The title says it all about the lives we live, no?
339. “Beds are Burning” (1987) Midnight Oil
Memory: Back then, I didn’t realize this was a protest song about something going on in Australia.
340. “All I Wanna Do” (1994) Sheryl Crow
Memory: Another example of a video making the song even better.
341. “Precious and Few” (1971) Climax
Memory: A song I instantly associate with junior high.
342. “Best of My Love” (1974) The Eagles
Memory: Only after Don Henley’s string of hits in the ’80s did I fully appreciate this song.
343. “Club Can’t Handle Me” (2010) Flo Rida
Memory: Granted, this song is completely out of character for me, but it’s so addictive. I can’t listen to it just one time.
344. “Runaway” (1978) Jefferson Starship
Memory: I liked Starship a lot more than Airplane!
345. “I Just Can’t Help Believing” (1970) B.J. Thomas
Memory: The only B.J. Thomas song in the countdown. The song he’s known for (“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”) didn’t make the cut.
346. “Nowhere Man” (1965) The Beatles
Memory: I have no idea what the lyrics mean, but you can’t beat the harmony by John, Paul and George.
347. “I Wish I Had a Girl” (1988) Henry Lee Summer
Memory: Hokey video, but great song!
348. “Money” (1973) Pink Floyd
Memory: A song that was ahead of its time. To this day, I don’t have a clue about the origin of the band’s name.
349. “I’m So Excited” (1984) The Pointer Sisters
Memory: A high-energy song that’s perfect for background music while you’re working at the computer.
350. “Lonely Boy” (1977) Andrew Gold
Memory: Love the story of family dynamics told within.
351. “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” (1965) Herman’s Hermits
Memory: A song you instantly associate with the ’60s.
352. “Don’t Wanna Lose You” (1989) Gloria Estefan
Memory: Has it really been more than a quarter-century since this ballad was a hit?
353. “Radar Love” (1973) Golden Earring
Memory: If you wanted to be one of the “cool” kids in high school, you had to like this song.
354. “Spirit in the Sky” (1969) Norman Greenbaum
Memory: One of the great one-hit wonders of all-time.
355. “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” (1976) Eric Carmen
Memory: For a song with such a “downer” message, it’s hard not to feel good as you’re singing along.
356. “Patches” (1970) Clarence Carter
Memory: One of the most obscure songs in the countdown. Love the story of dependability told within.
357. “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me” (1982) Juice Newton
Memory: A song I always associate with the good times of summer. Humorous video, too.
358. “A Lover’s Concerto” (1965) The Toys
Memory: I used to have a hard time understanding the lyrics, but that didn’t stop me from humming along.
359. “Here Come Those Tears Again” (1977) Jackson Browne
Memory: The story behind the song (his 30-year-old wife committed suicide) is heartbreaking.
360. “Hella Good” (2002) No Doubt
Memory: As Whitney Houston said in one of her songs, “I don’t know why I like it. I just do.”
361. “O-o-h Child” (1970) Five Stairsteps
Memory: Such an uplifting song. You can’t help but sing along by the end.
362. “Hot Stuff” (1979) Donna Summer
Memory: A pretty good “rock” debut for someone known as the Queen of Disco.
363. “Right Back Where We Started From” (1976) Maxine Nightingale
Memory: Another song drilled into my head by Chicago’s AM powerhouse, WLS.
364. “The Lonely Bull” (1962) Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass
Memory: I laugh about it now, but their “greatest hits” compilation was the second cassette I ever purchased!
365. “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990) Sinead O’Connor
Memory: One of the most memorable music videos of all-time.
366. “Touch of Grey” (1987) The Grateful Dead
Memory: The video, which showed skeletons playing musical instruments, is a classic.
367. “Life is a Highway” (1991) Tom Cochrane
Memory: The risk of getting a speeding ticket always went up when this song came on the radio.
368. “Rockin’ Robin” (1972) Michael Jackson
Memory: Chicago’s AM powerhouse, WLS, played this upbeat song every 15 minutes. Or so it seemed.
369. “Honey” (1969) Bobby Goldsboro
Memory: Yet another example of my hometown radio station’s influence on this list!
370. “Once in a Lifetime” (1981) Talking Heads
Memory: Hard to believe that when this song was originally released, it never cracked Billboard’s Top 100.
371. “Baby Hold On” (1978) Eddie Money
Memory: It’s hard not to sing along with an Eddie Money song.
372. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” (1988) Def Leppard
Memory: Music videos made Def Leppard’s hit songs even better.
373. “More, More, More” (1976) Andrea True Connection
Memory: I always associate this song with Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” countdown.
374. “My Way” (1969) Frank Sinatra
Memory: Are you happy now, Vinny? (That’s an inside joke with someone who has been following the countdown and waiting for appearance by Mr. Sinatra.)
375. “Jet Airliner” (1977) Steve Miller Band
Memory: I swear, my college roommate played this song a billion times in our dorm room. Good thing I liked it.
376. “Danny’s Song” (1971) Loggins and Messina
Memory: “Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you, honey.” Love the lyrics and the story behind the song.
377. “You’ve Got a Friend” (1971) Carole King
Memory: The version by James Taylor could have been in this slot, but I gave the tiebreaker to the songwriter.
378. “The Most Beautiful Girl” (1973) Charlie Rich
Memory: My hometown radio station played this song every morning for months on end. As you can see, it made a lasting impression!
379. “Meet Me Half Way” (1987) Kenny Loggins
Memory: A soothing ballad. He’s at his best singing “slow” songs. (I can’t stand “Footloose,” for example.)
380. “Follow Me” (2001) Uncle Kracker
Memory: Yes, even I was surprised an Uncle Kracker song made the countdown.
381. “Wonder” (1995) Natalie Merchant
Memory: What a voice. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job with this song.
382. “Lady in Red” (1986) Chris de Burgh
Memory: This would make my Top 10 list for favorite “romantic” songs.
383. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” (1985) John Parr
Memory: I know it’s strange, but I always think of Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez (stars of the movie of the same name) when I hear this song. The thing is, I can’t remember any scene from the movie
384. “Do You Remember?” (1990) Phil Collins
Memory: Not a big fan of Phil Collins (“Sussudio” would make my Bottom 500), but he nailed this one.
385. “Angel of the Morning” (1981) Juice Newton
Memory: Had I flipped a coin, the 1968 version by Merrilee Rush could have been in this spot.
386. “Jack and Jill” (1978) Raydio
Memory: Everyone can relate to a story about Jack and Jill, no?
387. “We Will Rock You” / “We Are the Champions” (1977) Queen
Memory: Stomp, stomp, clap … stomp, stomp, clap. Are you with me? This song combo fits my definition as a “masterpiece.”
388. “Change Would Do You Good” (1997) Sheryl Crow
Memory: This former schoolteacher had an impressive string of hits back in the ’90s.
389. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (1961) The Shirelles
Memory: Did you know this song, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, was the first No. 1 hit by an all-girl group in the U.S.? It’s the second-oldest song in the countdown.
390. “All My Life” (1990) Linda Rondstadt and Aaron Neville
Memory: The first dance at our wedding reception in 1996! Aside from that, though, it’s just a beautiful song.
391. “When Will I See You Again?” (1974) The Three Degrees
Memory: One of the songs I associate with the time I started driving and listened constantly to Chicago’s AM powerhouse, WLS.
392. “I Love the Nightlife” (1978) Alicia Bridges
Memory: One of the iconic songs of the disco era. Don’t you love the way she pronounced the word “action”?
393. “Hand in My Pocket” (1995) Alanis Morissette
Memory: What a gifted songwriter. She does a great job of “painting a picture” with her lyrics.
394. “Through the Years” (1982) Kenny Rogers
Memory: A popular song on DVDs that celebrates a person’s life or a long marriage … for good reason.
395. “Don’t Look Back” (1978) Boston
Memory: One of those songs I instantly associate with college. Ah, good times.
396. “Dreams” (1977) Fleetwood Mac
Memory: This one catapulted Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie Nicks, to “superstar” status.
397. “Here Comes My Baby” (1967) The Tremeloes
Memory: I don’t think it’s possible to listen to this song and not sing along.
398. “The Rising” (2002) Bruce Springsteen
Memory: What a powerful song … it’s just what the country needed after 9/11.
399. “Look Away” (1988) Chicago
Memory: Like the Four Seasons, Chicago enjoyed a second wave of popularity more than a decade after the initial wave subsided.
400. “Rock the Boat” (1974) Hues Corporation
Memory: While this song doesn’t necessarily stand the test of time, it has great sentimental value.
401. “Lotta Love” (1978) Nicolette Larson
Memory: Neil Young wrote it (bonus points), but I’m glad Nicolette Larson recorded it.
402. “Somebody to Love” (1976) Queen
Memory: You know, while I liked Queen back in the ’70s, I didn’t appreciate until years later just how good the Freddie Mercury-led band really was.
403. “My Baby Loves Lovin’ ” (1970) White Plains
Memory: The lead singer of White Plains was Tony Burrows. He also sang lead for Edison Lighthouse, which (spoiler alert!) has a song much deeper in this countdown.
404. “Boogie Wonderland” (1979) Earth, Wind & Fire (with The Emotions)
Memory: This song is a toe-tapper. One of the iconic songs of the disco era.
405. “Last Song” (1972) Edwin Bear
Memory: I always associate this song with “The Midnight Special.” The group’s long-haired frontman played the drums while singing it.
406. “Photograph” (1973) Ringo Starr
Memory: It’s hard not to sing along with this one. Ringo co-wrote it with George Harrison, making it their only “official” collaboration.
407. “Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine In” (1969) 5th Dimension
Memory: In my pre-teen years, the 5th Dimension might have been my favorite musical group.
408. “All By Myself” (1975) Eric Carmen
Memory: Heard this song, before it became a hit, at my first concert ever. Eric Carmen was the warm-up act for The Sweet at Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.
409. “You are the Sunshine of My Life” (1973) Stevie Wonder
Memory: One of the greatest love songs ever written.
410. “Penny Lane” (1967) The Beatles
Memory: Back in 2004, Rolling Stone had this song at No. 456 on its list of the “500 greatest songs of all-time.” Which, I suppose, makes the ranking on this list within the margin of error.
411. “You’re a Friend of Mine” (1985) Clarence Clemons and Jackson Browne
Memory: A most unusual collaboration. Just a “happy” song … hard to believe it’s 30 years old!
412. “I Would Do Anything for Love” (1993) Meat Loaf
Memory: My respect for “Mr. Loaf” went up a few notches after seeing him in concert.
413. “Reflections of My Life” (1970) The Marmalade
Memory: I always associate this song with the Vietnam War era.
414. “Whoomp! (There It is)” (1993) Tag Team
Memory: If you’re in a group setting (and alcohol is involved), how can this song not put a smile on your face?
415. “Why” (1992) Annie Lennox
Memory: What a voice. She sings with such emotion.
416. “Dance the Night Away” (1979) Van Halen
Memory: I can take David Lee Roth only in short doses. Had another band (Bon Jovi?) recorded this song, it probably would have cracked the Top 400.
417. “This One’s for the Girls” (2003) Martina McBride
Memory: Such great advice for girls of all ages. I could listen to this song five times in a row and not get tired of it.
418. “Check It Out” (1987) John Mellencamp
Memory: A song that makes you think about the type of life you are living.
419. “Ramblin’ Man” (1973) The Allman Brothers
Memory: This is one of those songs that has aged well. I like it more now than when it was a hit on the radio.
420. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” (1989) Tom Petty
Memory: Always a highlight of a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers concert. (The Lemmons have seen them three times.) An “air guitar” classic.
421. “Carlene” (1999) Phil Vassar
Memory: A feel-good song with a great video to complement the story told by the piano-playing Vassar.
422. “Photograph” (1983) Def Leppard
Memory: If someone asked me to name 10 things I associate with the 1980s, the band’s videos would probably make the list.
423. “Crazy on You” (1976) Heart
Memory: Would probably make my Top 10 list for best “air guitar” songs.
424. “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)” (1999) Baz Luhrmann
Memory: If I had to describe it in a word, it would be “cool.” What great advice for high school graduates.
425. “Greatest Love of All” (1986) Whitney Houston
Memory: If Whitney hadn’t recorded it, the George Benson version would have made the list.
426. “Tik Tok” (2009) Ke$ha
Memory: Perhaps the most surprising song to make the list, no?
427. “Walk Away Renee” (1966) The Left Banke
Memory: One of the song’s co-writers lives in Sebastian.
428. “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” (1974) Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
Memory: Ah, yes, the summer I took driver’s ed. Heard it every day, multiple times, while we drove around town with the teacher.
429. “Candida” (1970) Dawn, featuring Tony Orlando
Memory: It’s hard not to sing along with this song, even though I’ve never met anyone with the name of Candida.
430. “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” (1967) Aretha Franklin
Memory: A classic in every sense of the word. Several other artists have recorded this song, but Aretha’s version is still the best.
431. “The Warrior” (1984) Scandal
Memory: In doing some research, I was surprised to learn this song hit No. 1 in Canada but made it only to No. 7 in the United States.
432. “Eve of Destruction” (1965) Barry McGuire
Memory: This song with such powerful lyrics helps keeps things in perspective. That is, the world has been “on the brink” for 50 years.
433. “You and Me” (1977) Alice Cooper
Memory: I was never a big fan of Mr. Cooper’s boa-constrictor schtick, but this ballad was a good fit for his voice.
434. “Go All the Way” (1972) The Raspberries
Memory: As a freshman in high school, I found myself singing along without really grasping the meaning of the lyrics.
435. “North to Alaska” (1960) Johnny Horton
Memory: The oldest song in the countdown. Would have been a perfect karaoke song back in the day.
436. “Cocaine” (1977) Eric Clapton
Memory: You instantly know this song when you hear the guitar riffs. A true classic.
437. “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981) Kim Carnes
Memory: I actually met the song’s co-writer one time right here in Vero Beach.
438. “Shannon” (1976) Henry Gross
Memory: I have to admit, but I was taken aback when I found out this song was about a dog!
439. “What’s Up?” (1992) 4 Non Blondes
Memory: This song has a Vietnam War-era “feel” about it … even though it came along a quarter-century later.
440. “Alone Again (Naturally)” (1972) Gilbert O’Sullivan
Memory: WTTB’s Bob Soos will roll his eyes over this song making the list, but I love the storytelling aspect of it.
441. “Call Me” (1980) Blondie
Memory: Sadly, Richard Gere in “American Gigolo” is the first thing that comes to mind.
442. “Rolling in the Deep” (2011) Adele
Memory: I had no idea what the song title meant, but couldn’t resist singing along.
443. “Superstar” (1971) The Carpenters
Memory: It wasn’t “cool” for a guy in eighth grade to like The Carpenters, but I did.
444. “Wind Beneath My Wings” (1982) Lou Rawls
Memory: Most people probably prefer the Bette Midler version. Not me. Would make my Top 10 for most “inspiring” songs.
445. “Macarena” (1996) Los Del Rio
Memory: I’ll always associate this song with our wedding reception. The dancing on the wedding video is priceless!
446. “The First Cut is the Deepest” (1977) Rod Stewart
Memory: A hit during my college years, I remember liking this song a lot more when I learned Cat Stevens wrote it.
447. “Coming Around Again” (1986) Carly Simon
Memory: The first of three Carly Simon songs in the countdown. I’ve always loved her style.
448. “Old Days” (1975) Chicago
Memory: I always associate this song with playing American Legion baseball. Strange, eh?
449. “The Freshmen” (1996) The Verve Pipe
Memory: A song that always prompts reflecton. “For the life of me, I cannot remember, what made us think that we were wise and we’d never compromise?”
450. “Be True to Your School” (1963) Beach Boys
Memory: Can today’s high school students relate to this song? I doubt it. Such innocent times back then.
451. “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)” (1973) Moody Blues
Memory: When this song gets going, you can’t help but sing along. Would make my Top 20 for best song titles, too.
452. “The Twilight Zone” (1982) Golden Earring
Memory: A better song when you’re behind the wheel driving on the open road than, say, sitting at your desk at work.
453. “I’ll Be” (1998) Edwin McCain
Memory: This is one of those songs I could listen to five times in a row … and it keeps getting better.
454. “Seasons in the Sun” (1974) Terry Jacks
Memory: A monster hit on WLS in Chicago shortly after I got my driver’s license. Seemed like they played it every 10 minutes.
455. “Stand Back” (1983) Stevie Nicks
Memory: Stevie was a hit machine in the early 1980s. Another example of a video adding to a song’s “staying power.”
456. “The Way It Is” (1987) Bruce Hornsby and the Range
Memory: I love to play “air guitar” when a song calls for it … and this one allowed me to polish my “air piano” skills.
457. “Escapade” (1990) Janet Jackson
Memory: Without the video to accompany it, this song wouldn’t be in the Top 500.
458. “I Just Want to be Your Everything” (1977) Andy Gibb
Memory: A feel-good song that I associate with driving home from college on the weekends. Ah, good times.
459. “Please Come to Boston” (1974) Dave Loggins
Memory: Whenever I heard this song on the radio, I tried to duplicate the “aching” in the singer’s voice. Failed every time.
460. “Come to My Window” (1994) Melissa Ethridge
Memory: A great song, full of emotion. Remember the video, with Juliette Lewis as a suicidal mental patient?
461. “Dream On” (1976) Aerosmith
Memory: At the time (senior year in high school), this was a song by just another up-and-coming band. Who knew Aerosmith would still be relevant today?
462. “The Sign” (1993) Ace of Base
Memory: In the beginning, I had a hard time understanding the lyrics … but that didn’t stop me from singing along.
463. “Carry On My Wayward Son” (1977) Kansas
Memory: Nothing says “college years” like this one! It would make my Top 20 for best openings of a song.
464. “Hanging by a Moment” (2001) Lifehouse
Memory: Lifehouse had the potential to become another Goo Goo Dolls or Matchbox Twenty, but fell short.
465. “No Rain” (1992) Blind Melon
Memory: Here we are 20-plus years later, and I still remember the video.
466. “You Are” (1983) Lionel Richie
Memory: You know, there’s something to be said about a love song with simple lyrics.
467. Theme from “Rocky” (“Gonna Fly Now”) (1977) Bill Conti
Memory: If this song doesn’t motivate you to get going, nothing will.
468. “Wind of Change” (1991) Scorpions
Memory: This song would be a hit in any decade, from the 1960s to today.
469. “Here I Go Again” (1982) Whitesnake
Memory: A classic from one of the “hair bands” in the ’80s (back when I still had hair).
470. “Fantasy” (1978) Earth, Wind & Fire
Memory: I love how this song starts out slow and builds to the point where you can’t resist singing the high-pitch parts.
471. “Tragedy” (1979) Bee Gees
Memory: With this song, released before the start of a U.S. tour (yes, I purchased tickets), the Bee Gees were at the peak of their popularity.
472. “I Feel Fine” (1964) The Beatles
Memory: One of the first great “air guitar” songs.
473. “The Flame” (1988) Cheap Trick
Memory: This one doesn’t fit the Cheap Trick mold. Like a good ballad, it has you singing along before the end.
474. “Smooth” (1999) Santana and Rob Thomas
Memory: Some musical pairings don’t work (Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, for example), but this one did.
475. “Little Deuce Coupe” (1963) Beach Boys
Memory: “Well I’m not bragging, babe, so don’t put me down, but I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town.” Tell me those lyrics don’t take you back to the ’60s.
476. “Bad Day” (2006) Daniel Powter
Memory: It’s easy to relate to this song, no? I’m kind of surprised this has been Daniel Powter’s only hit.
477. “My Sharona” (1979) The Knack
Memory: One of the last big hits from the era when AM radio was still relevant. Still remember a radio DJ comparing The Knack to the Beatles.
478. “Walking on Broken Glass” (1992) Annie Lennox
Memory: Such a powerful voice. A memorable video, set in the 1700s, with Hugh Laurie (TV’s “House”) and John Malkovich.
479. “Bubbly” (2007) Colbie Caillat
Memory: A simple song that puts a smile on your face. Nothing wrong with that.
480. “Your Life is Now” (1998) John Mellencamp
Memory: Love the lyrics of this underappreciated song. “Would you teach your children to tell the truth? Would you take the high road if you could choose? … Your life is now.”
481. “Sherry” (1962) Four Seasons
Memory: OK, this is one of those songs that wouldn’t make the Top 500 if it were released today. Don’t know why I like it, I just do.
482. “California Gurls” (2010) Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg
Memory: I can take Katy Perry only in short doses (and Snoop Dogg in even shorter doses), but this song is 3 minutes, 56 seconds of fun.
483. “Do That to Me One More Time” (1979) Captain & Tennille
Memory: Not many guys would admit to having a Captain & Tennille song on the list, but that’s OK. It’s a nice, romantic song.
484. “Love the Way You Lie” (2010) Rhianna featuring Eminem
Memory: Not a fan of either as an individual performer, but I have to give them props for this one.
485. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” (1969) Crosby, Stills & Nash
Memory: You know, for the longest time, I thought the name of this song was “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes.”
486. “Rock and Roll All Nite” (1975) Kiss
Memory: One of the anthems from my high school years. Sounds just as good today as it did back then.
487. “Jar of Hearts” (2010) Christina Perri
Memory: Love the emotion in her voice, and the story she tells in this song.
488. “Peace Train” (1971) Cat Stevens
Memory: More than four decades later, we seem to have moved further away from peace.
489. “Story of My Life” (2013) One Direction
Memory: Alex Preston singing this song on “American Idol” is what catapulted it into the Top 500.
490. “Thank You for Being a Friend” (1978) Andrew Gold
Memory: I liked this song long before it became associated with the TV show “Golden Girls.”
491. “Real World” (1998) Matchbox Twenty
Memory: I never understood the band’s name, but it had a string of Top 500-caliber hits in the late ’90s.
492. “Say You Love Me” (1975) Fleetwood Mac
Memory: When I was a high school senior, a girl read the lyrics to this song during English class. Remember it like it was yesterday.
493. “Abraham, Martin and John” (1968) Dion
Memory: “Anybody here seen my old friend John? Can you tell me where he’s gone?”
494. “Carrying Your Love with Me” (1997) George Strait
Memory: I’m not a big fan of country music, but I could listen to this song over and over.
495. “All Summer Long” (2008) Kid Rock
Memory: A feel-good song made even better with “Sweet Home Alabama” riffs.
496. “I Feel for You” (1984) Chaka Kahn
Memory: By incorporating the singer’s name into the lyrics, this was a song ahead of its time.
497. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (1969) Peter, Paul & Mary
Memory: Learned this song during sixth-grade chorus!
498. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (1997) Green Day
Memory: “Seinfeld” finale!
499. “Cat Scratch Fever” (1977) Ted Nugent
Memory: Great one for the “air guitar.”
500. “One Tin Soldier” (1971) Coven
Memory: “The Legend of Billy Jack”!