So I run into one of my Constant Readers and everybody's a critic the guy says, ''Your column's suckin' out lately, Steve. You're losin' your edge.'' My first impulse is to tell him I have a cozy place where he can put my column, but since he looks like a recently retired Hell's Angel, I rethink this option. Instead I ask him what he thinks would make a good piece.
''Best rock songs of all time,'' he says. ''That subject always starts arguments, especially if you don't put 'Stairway' on there.''
I realized he was right. Especially since the idea of putting ''Stairway to Heaven'' on such a list grosses me out. So I decided to take my biker buddy up on his idea. Twenty-four great songs, one for every hour of the day, picked by the Infallible Me.
I began by throwing out most of those Internet lists, because they're full of ballads (''Tears in Heaven'' as rock & roll? Oh, really?), soul (''When a Man Loves a Woman'' is a great song but it's not rock), and tunes that have been played to death. There's also an amazing number of draggy songs on the lists, like ''Hotel California.'' When would I like to hear that one again? Uh...how does never work for you?
I also eliminated all disco. I love Thelma Houston's ''Don't Leave Me This Way'' (plus everything by KC and the Sunshine Band, sue me), but it ain't rock & roll.
The stuff that hasn't stood the test of time went out too. When ''Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds'' or ''Born to Be Wild'' comes on my car radio (which is, by the way, a NO SUPREMES ZONE), I break my fingers switching the station. These songs have nothing new to say to me. The songs on the list that follows always have something new to say. So, with no further introduction, THE 24 GREATEST ROCK SONGS EVER MADE.
They really are. Trust your Uncle Stevie on this.
Image Credit: Rolling Stones: Robert Knight/Retna; Everett Collection(2)
MOST POPULAR GALLERIES OF 2007: Countdown! Here, the greatest rock songs ever made, according to EW columnist Stephen King