5 Best River songs

River Danube
River Danube (Photo credit: Istvan)

I thought about this and I asked about this before writing. River songs are more personal than most; opinions are all over the place. The original idea was to write the 5 best and 5 worst but I am tossing that “worst” idea off the bridge. People were so heartfelt and responsive that I can’t risk putting one of their songs on a bad list and crushing it. River songs are often deep and intense and I have too much respect for all involved in this process.

Almost made the cut:

Blackwater- The Doobie Brothers… The River- Bruce Springsteen… …Burn On, Big River-Randy Newman

Here we go on a little trip:

5. The Sea Refuses no RiverPete Townshend

“The sea refuses no river and the river is where I am” -I have been critical of all the old rockers shaking it around for these geriatric tours – I feel like if you missed them in their prime , then you missed them, because wheeling them out now for a “re-heat” show is something else. The Who have fallen into this trap and I was never a big Pete Townshend fan to begin with….but….but …this is a great song. It speaks to the equality and inevitability of all of us in a stark and poetic way.

Pete Townshend at Beaulieu standing in front o...
Pete Townshend at Beaulieu standing in front of his amps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Eminem- Stan (with Elton John)

For this list I am utilizing the services of Sir Elton John as a knighted Rock Star to justify bringing a hip-hop artist to the cave. Dido also heavily involved as her song and vocals were used in the studio version. A difficult song that deals with a difficult subject. It is edgy, powerful and surprising (remember when rock music used to be that?)

3. Washing of the Water-Peter Gabriel

This song kills me every time I have seen Peter Gabriel. The intensity that emanates from this simple tune is profound and at another level. It may not be manly to admit that a piece of music can completely overwhelm and turn a not tough dude into complete mush, so I won’t.

2. Take me to the River- The Talking Heads

Oh, the joy and celebration of being artsy was never as much fun as with this hypnotic and cool bunch. If you never saw David Byrne dancing around in his big suit followed by a stint of running around and around the whole stage like a raving lunatic-then you missed some of the best that the 80’s had to offer. What a trip these guys and girls brought you on.

1.When the Levee Breaks- Led Zeppelin

A song from Zeppelin 4 that is a remake of a 1927 blues song about a flood can almost make this list before I even hear it. But I have to hear it again and again and it still sounds great. The Drum track may be the best to ever grace any rock song…and unlike other tunes from this seminal  chunk of vinyl -it has not been overplayed and otherwise abused.

And a big thank-you to Blackjayne for asking this question and making me generate this post! We are all connected in the blogosphere.

Best of, worst of, Deaths 2012

Pete Townshend's Guitar
Pete Townshend’s Guitar (Photo credit: soul_motor)

The end of the year means we will see  lists to make sense of it all. What was good or bad –who did we lose and why.

The good news for rock music – We have plenty of candidates for the good and bad lists. Whatever genre you like – we can make a list.

And on the other side- rock music has now been around long enough that some of the players are starting to expire from the same things as the general population.  Those terrible things that will happen to us all…the frailties of old age are taking them away. The days of  “he choked on his own vomit” are being replaced by “yeah, there were some health issues, but he was old ”

I knew these days would come…Pete Townshend  once said “Never trust anyone over 30” and he also said “Hope I die before I get old”…I don’t think he says that anymore.  The Who may be the poster boys for the Geriatric road warriors of rock music in this century…”Quick get a ticket while we are still breathing” tours are raking in the bucks.

I am just going to take three of the many we lost this year.

Jim Marshall 1923 – 2012

This is the end of a good long run for the inventor of the Marshall Amplifier. The electric guitar became the star of the show even if you were sitting outside the arena. Les Paul or Stratocaster  alike could be plugged into this bad boy to scream and cry for the masses.

Lee Dorman  1942-2012

“In-a-Gadda-da-Vida, baby”- Bassist Lee Dorman expired in his car at 70 years old, he was on the transplant list with some heart problems. Iron Butterfly did break-up and reform over the years-still burning the left over jet fuel from the smash hit record of 1968…it is amazing to think that one great hit can keep something viable for such a long period of time.

Ronnie Montrose 1947-2012

Great guitar player.  Battling cancer and self inflicted gunshot wound. This happens too often all around us…it does not make the news and only those with intimate knowledge of each situation know the real details. Cancer and death and devastation of lives and families are all intertwined in a complex web of difficult decisions.