Ok, the moment you’ve all been waiting for...My top ten. Dave Letterman, eat your heart out.
10. “What Is Life” – by George Harrison
Tell me, what is my life without your love/Tell me, who am I without you, by my side
You know a group is good when its individual members are successful on their own. My mom has said that Beatles music is so timeless mainly because so many songs are love songs. Clearly, George stuck to this winning strategy when branching off.
9. “Maybe I’m Amazed” – by Paul McCartney
Maybe I’m amazed by the way you love me all the time/Maybe I’m afraid of the way I really love you
Paul McCartney is endearing to me for many reasons, but one of the greatest is his love for Linda, his wife who died of cancer long ago. In fact, he loved her so much, he insisted she sing with his band, Wings, even though she couldn’t carry a tune. In my mind I make the distinction that he is singing this song to her and not Heather Mills.
8. “I’m Glad There Is You” – by Jamie Cullum (not sure who wrote it, but his version is my fave)
In this world of overrated pleasures/and underrated treasures/I’m glad there is you
The first time I heard this song was on The Cosby Show. Claire Huxtable took Cliff out to dinner for his birthday and had a singer perform this song for him (please don’t ask me why/how I remember these things). I’m not sure of the original singer/songwriter, but this Jamie Cullum version is my absolute favorite. I love it so much, I put it and others on a cd I gave to all my bridesmaids in their welcome basket.
7. “The Scientist” – by Coldplay
Questions of science/Science and progress/Do not speak as loud as my heart.
Sadly, I do not know Chris Martin personally, but I like to believe he is a truly sensitive artist. The lyrics of this song are mournful enough, but the music really makes it. I mean, how could Gwyneth Paltrow pick a dud? And if you’ve never seen the video, grab a Kleenex first.
6. “Something” – by The Beatles
Something in the way she knows/And all I have to do is think of her
Another great Beatles love song. The first line of this song actually inspired the James Taylor song, “Something in the Way She Moves.” What’s good enough for James Taylor is more than good enough for me.
5. “Danny’s Song” – by Kenny Loggins
Love the girl who holds the world in a paper cup, drink it up/Love her and she'll bring you luck.
I’ve taken it upon myself to make up the backstory for this song. Kenny Loggins wrote this for his wife when she found out she was going to have a baby boy, which they consequently named Daniel. In true Kenny Loggins form, the music is simple enough to let the words shine. I love this song so much that I specially requested it at my wedding reception.
4. “Christmas Song” – by Dave Matthews
The people He knew were/Less than golden-hearted/Gamblers and robbers/Drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers/Like you and me
We all know Dave Matthews puts out great music, but this song exposed a different side of him to me. I first heard it on the cd he made with Tim Reynolds (which I bought at midnight when it was released in 1999 – you know, the blue one). Come to find out, it actually first appeared on the Remember Two Things album, but I like the live version best.
3. “Moon River” – by Peter Mayer
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker/Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' your way
If I’m not mistaken, Henry Mancini wrote this song for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, performed by Audrey Hepburn’s famous Holly Golightly character. Sex and the City fans might remember Carrie and Mr. Big dancing to the Andy Williams version of this song in a season finale episode (Carrie’s a little like Holly, don’t ya think?). Though recorded by many, this Peter Mayer version is my favorite.
2. “Sweet Baby James” – by James Taylor
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep/But singing works just fine for me
I love lullabies. I can remember listening to some of them on an old yellow cassette as a little one – no doubt I would be brought to tears if I heard it again. I don’t necessarily think this is one of JT’s most famous songs, but the cowboy lullaby is definitely one of his best and one of my favorites. I remember going to a James Taylor concert with Alexa in junior high and waiting on him to play this one. Fortunately, he did as the encore.
1. “Hey Jude” – by The Beatles
Take a sad song and make it better./Remember to let her into your heart,/Then you can start to make it better.
Very few of you are probably surprised that a Beatles song perches atop my favorite song list. As with many great songs, myth and mystery surrounds the real meaning of “Hey Jude” and for whom Paul wrote it. My personal favorite anecdote is that Paul wrote this song for John Lennon’s son Julian during his parents’ divorce; he originally intended “Hey Jules,” but changed it to “Hey Jude” because it was easier to sing. Each verse is different, beginning with simple vocals and ending with a grand refrain. 7 minutes of music perfection. Cheers, Paul.
Well, there they are – my favorite songs of all time. Not sure what, if anything, you learned about me by reading this list, but hopefully it challenged you to come up with your own favorite songs or books or movies. Music isn’t something we can escape, so you might as well embrace the best.