On the initial mikerappaport.com Website, I had a page devoted to my 20 favorite songs. I later realized that it’s pretty difficult — and definitely a little too anal-retentive — to try and put them in order. Besides, I always forget stuff. So this page is just devoted to mentioning some of my favorite stuff that’s on my iPod these days.
“Slow Dancer,” Boz Scaggs — “Silk Degrees” was the album that sold huge for Scaggs, but it was this 1974 album that was the really beautiful one. My first wife turned me on to his music, and my love for Scaggs far outlasted our feelings for each other.
“Come Dancing,” the Kinks — The most underrated of all the great British bands of the ’60s, this song was one of the best of the late ’80s.
“Show Me the Way,” Styx — A band I didn’t much like at the time, Styx has really grown on me with songs like this one.
The Beach Boys catalogue — Hard to believe Mike Love is nearly 70, and hard to believe it has been 47 years since I first heard “Surfin’ Safari.” So many great songs that still touch my heart — “Dont Worry Baby,” “Please Let Me Wonder,” “California,” among others. And yes, I still do wish they all could be California girls.
“Like a Rolling Stone,” Bob Dylan — Rolling Stone magazine called it the greatest rock ‘n’ roll song of all time, and while there might be room for argument, it definitely has to be on any short list. “How does it feel …”
“Fortunate Son,” CCR – Nobody sings like John Fogarty, and along with “Proud Mary,” this has had probably the longest run of any of the Creedence songs. A real message there, along with some great rock.
“Perhaps Love,” John Denver w/Placido Domingo — I’ve always liked John Denver, and there are several other songs of his that I really love, like “Rocky Mountain High” and “I Guess He’d Rather be in Colorado,” but this duet is so beautiful, and it’s the song I think of when I think of my marriage — 17 years and counting.
“Hasten Down the Wind,” Warren Zevon — Linda Ronstadt’s version is prettier, but Zevon wrote the song and it is definitely a man’s song. To me it says 1979 like nothing else.
“Jungleland,” Bruce Springsteen – This is the only 9 1/2 minute song I know that doesn’t seem like it’s anywhere near that. I love just about all of the Boss’s work, but this one is his masterpiece. “The poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be.”
“A Whiter Shade of Pale,” Sarah Brightman – Not the original 1967 Procol Harum version, which is hauntingly lovely in its own way, but Brightman took the song and made it her own. I’ve loved her voice ever since she sang “Capped teeth and Caesar salads” on the Carson show in 1989.
“Here Comes the Sun,” the Beatles – I’m not sure there’s a Beatles song I haven’t heard 500 times. This is one of the ones I could hear another 500 times and still not be tired of it. There really never will be another Beatles.
“The Heart of the Matter,” Don Henley — The Eagles might be the only band that could legitimately challenge the Beach Boys as the greatest American band, but Henley has been no slouch on his own. “End of the Innocence” trashed the Reagan era, and “Boys of Summer” pretty well did in the ’80s as well. Still, it was this song that really touched me.
“Down at the Twist and Shout,” Mary Chapin Carpenter – She performed this song at the pregame for one of the Super Bowls, and it’s pretty different from any of her other stuff. Carpenter is pretty wonderful all the time, but this song about heading down Highway 10 to catch an evening of Cajun fun really moves.
“The Hollywood Waltz,” the Eagles — Not one of their best-known songs, this one is a beautiful ballad that pretty much describes Los Angeles as an aging beautywho may be tired, but she still gets up every morning and faces the day.
“Brown Eyed Girl,” Van Morrison — Still my favorite song, harkening back to the summer of ’67, when I still believed everything was possible and that the brown-eyed girl down the street was all I needed to make me happy.