Please Baby Baby, Please Baby Baby, Please...

Since I'm not just here to entertain you hacks--and because it's Thursday: day of literature for all Barrelhouse Bitches and Boys--I'd like to ask you all to help me out with something I'm writing. Um, trying to write, that is. Conceptualizing, let's say.

The details of my childhood (or what exactly I'm writing) are inconsequential. If all goes well, you'll find out specifics soon enough. But for now, all you need to do in order to help me is ask yourself this:

What are the top five most iconic songs, ever?

Now, let's be straight here. I don't want the BEST songs. It's quite possible that the best music ever is not at all iconic, in your opinion. (Natch, there's potentially an obscure Sigur Ros B-Side that could change the world if only anyone understood Hopelandic, but that's not what I'm going for.) Indeed, quality is not the issue, though it may rightfully play a part in your answer. All I really want are the top five songs that everyone knows the words to and thoroughly enjoys (whether guiltily or proudly.)

It would also help if you could point out a few lines that are particularly memorable/iconic. Unless they are obvious, of course. (Which I guess they should be if the song is as iconic as you say, but whatever.)

Thanks in advance for helping a bitch out. If I get what I need, table dances for everybody!

(By the way, all you strangers, lurkers, stalkers and quiet riots out there who read but never comment: now is the time to speak up. Your girl is counting on you!)



TMC said...

I fear that this is going to lead to a lot more Steve Perry-related content than the blog can handle.

Anonymous said...

Iconic to those around me in the steel backwoods of Ohiah, and perhaps a few other places:

3rd grade: Come on feel the noize, Girls rock your boys, let's get wild wild wild (every roller skating party I went to ever)

5th grade: Might as well Jump, go ahead and jump...Jump (it was this or Thriller)

7th grade: You gotta fight, for your right, to parrrrrrtaaaaaaaaay
(every day on the bus to school)

10th grade: If there was a problem,
Yo, I'll solve it, Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it...
Ice Ice Baby (the whole year there was a cut out picture of VI pasted above one of the meeting room doors at my high school)

12th grade: A denial, A denial A denial A deniiiaallllll
(hey, when Steubenville kids are slamdancing to this at the Key Club Semiformal, you know you've penetrated the mainstream but good)

JP said...

rock star, aaron. thanks.

now the rest of you - come on, man! do it for me. do it for your country. do it for steve perry!

Mike said...

"Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me."

"I'm as free as a bird now ... and this bird you can-not chaaaaaaaange!"

"I'm gonna keep on lovin' you, cuz it's only thing I wanna do."

"Imagine all the people ... livin' life in peace, woo hoo hoo."

Middle-school dance: "So now I come to you, with open arms, nothing to hide, believe what I say."

JP said...

Thanks, Mike.

Though, your JHS was a lot more vanilla than mine. While you were busting out the Air Supply, we were rocking Wild Thing by Tone Loc and Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry.

(And don't think there weren't 12-year-old black and Puerto Rican girls--like my two friends Dashilliva and Marisol--grinding and booty shaking and reggae-whining the butterfly up against the walls of the gym in velvet bodysuits, door-knocker earrings and baggy jeans. Ah, Brooklyn.)

dave said...


She was a fast machine she kept her motor clean she was the best damn woman that I...ever seen...baby YOU! SHOOK ME! ALL! NIGHT! LONG!


Yes I'm ba-aa-aa-aa-aahk, ba-aa-aa-aa-aahk, ba-aa-aa-aa-aahk, ba-aa-aa-aa-aahk...BACK IN BLACK!


It's not anywhere near their best song, but it is iconic as a heart attack: you gotta fight for your right to party.


...and she's building a stairway to fucking heaven...


Sweet Caroline -- DUM! DUM! DUM! -- good times never seemed so good -- SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!

Runners up:

Any kind of hippie shit. We all went to college, right? Buffalo Soldier. Uncle John's Band. You know the drill.

She Blinded Me With Science: SCIENCE!

Fucking Journey: Don't Stop Believin. Nearly unavoidable at this point in time.

Michael Jackson When He Was Still Black: Thriller. Billie Jean. That was some good shit, actually.

Prince: Purple Rain. Little Red Corvette. There's a million of em.

Smells Like Teen Spirit: so good they named a perfume after it, and Courtney Love managed to afford enough plastic surgery to make herself almost hot, and then enough more after that to make herself look like an old tranny dolled up to look like an old soap opera star.

JP said...

you're the best, dave. and it's all so true, dave. so true.

(and also illuminating! now we know that as a young man you had acne, played d & d and never got laid. go you!)

Neil Ellis Orts said...

well, this is a second try. blogger hiccuped or something on my first.

I haven't read any of the responses so far, so I'm not seeing how other people are defining iconic. So I have two lists, one that i believe truly is iconic and that everyone knows, the other limiting myself to top 40 fair.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Happy Birthday to You
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Jesus Loves Me
Itsy Bitsy Spider

For top 40 songs, this is soooooo dependent upon your age. Really. Perhaps that's the point of this exercise, I don't know. Anyway, for people of a certain age, I submit:

Sugar Sugar
Take Me Home Country Roads
Fire and Rain
Close to You

I believe this second batch of songs is so iconic that even if you are not of a certain age, at least one of these songs will be in your head the rest of the day.

I could be wrong.

middle aged and loving it

Neil Ellis Orts said...

having now read the comments, i see that I am entirely not cool enough for this blog.

and I don't know what the hell most of you are talking about.

Maybe I'm just old.

Or iconic means something else now.

(I do get some of the references. A few. And that they remind you of jr. high again reinforces that i'm old.)

So . . . there are people, a large group of people, who know all the words and sing along to AC/DC? I could never understand the words. There were words? And I was in high school for Back in Black, so I guess I have no excuse. I'm terminably uncool.

I'm going to go drown my sorrows in a glass of milk now . . .

needs an older crowd, no matter how much he loves him some Jilly Ess

JP said...

Thanks for your help, Neil. I think you're right about the first group...but of course, I am going for pop music.

As for your second group...so right on. There's only one song on that list that I don't know nearly every word to, but I'm guessing that's more about geography than chronology. Anyway, most of my childhood happened in the eighties, and I still know a bunch of those great 70s (and thereabouts) jams.

JP said...

Plus, I'm OBSESSED with the Carpenters! (What that says about me, I don't want to know.)

Neil Ellis Orts said...

RE: Carpenters obsession.

It means you have an appreciation for one of the very few pop stars with perfect pitch, impeccable phrasing, and a gift for wrenching emotion out of a lyric without hyperbolic vocalizations.

Karen was the real deal. She sometimes deserved better material, but her voice was hard to hate. Even hard rockers of the era admitted to liking the Carpenters.

So hold your head high. Those who deride the Carpenter fan are closet cases who self-hate because society has told them to. More to be pitied than censured.

has a harder time justifying his Partridge Family fixation

dave said...

Copacabana is a great call.

New York, New York, despite the fact that it was never snarled by a long-haired Australian in a schoolboy uniform, is probably as iconic as it can get.

I grew up in Pennsylvania, so our iconic tended toward the heavy metal and southern rock end of the spectrum.

Which reminds me: Freebird!

JP said...

First, yes, I am proud of liking the Carpenters. She truly was no joke, that Karen. Yet the only people who don't make fun of me for this penchant are my (considerable) contingency of gay boyfriends. Ah well.

And Dave...honestly, this may be geography once again, but I really think the only actually iconic thing about Freebird is how people constantly call it out at concerts as a joke. Maybe it's the Brooklyn in me. Maybe my people beat up your people when they came to NYC trying to make it big. Whatever. I don't know, but I can't even really recall how the melody goes. Just saying.

PS - This is going great. I hope I get more. It's gonna be fantastic.

PPS - You know what was fun, Dave? Adding your book to my iRead and GoodReads accounts. Yay friend-fans!

jill alexander essbaum said...

Neil, the moment you typed "Copacabana" you were cool enough to party with Jessica-- Jess, meet Neil. Neil, meet Jess. Now I'm having a fantasy of you two starting a Carpenters' tribute band... IN MY PANTS!

sbasr said...

Sesame Street Theme Song

Thriller - Michael Jackson

With a Little Help From My Friends - The Wonder Years Theme Song

Gin and Juice - Snoop Dog

Black – Pearl Jam

JP said...

Thanks, Jilly. But to quote from Alan Dugan's poem from two posts ago:

By Christ, I am no Carpenter.

And hi, Neil!

jill alexander essbaum said...


TMC said...

With all the talk of geographically iconic songs, I'm reminded of two bands that you hear all the time when you're stuck in the swamps of south NJ: Bon Jovi and The Boss.

Specifically, you can't go to any bar in NJ or Philly without hearing "Livin' on a Prayer" at some point during the night, most likely shouted by a bunch of underage girls.

And, yeah, pretty much everyone here knows everything about Springsteen.
In Philly, he's not as big a deal (except for that Streets of Philadelphia song, but we're suckers like that), but once you cross the Walt Whitman Bridge into NJ, they actually force you to take a 50 question multiple choice test on Springsteen before they'll let you in.

Amy said...

I know it's been mentioned before, but I'm gonna have to go with "Stairway to Heaven." Lines like "and it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune (toon?), then the piper will lead us to reason." What more do you need? Oh, and the guitar solo.

Anonymous said...

it's not iconic, but it's in my head:

Christmas vacation you took a vaction from me-ee-hee, ah ah ah

Neil Ellis Orts said...

okay, i'm in for a Carpenters tribute band, even if I lack perfect pitch. we'll fix it in the mix.

geographically, one song that occurred to me but didn't post because I think this may be a geographical thing is "Amarillo by Morning." I don't even like c&w, but that is just a fine song. "lost a wife and a girlfriend somewhere along the way." It's melancholy, mixing romance and ambition and I don't know what all in what appears to be a simple rodeo song. But I doubt they "get" it in Philly . . .

I could, as I often say, be wrong.

I used to "know" someone online who wrote this great rant/essay on why Copacabana was the quintessential story song. I'm sure I lost that a computer crash or two ago. But it could be a troubadour epic except that you can dance to it, too. (If you disco dance.)

And you know, that little rhythmic percussion thing at the beginning---what is that, cowbells? tin cans?--is just genius.

Ack. I'm revealing too much.

Carpenters tribute band. I'm there. Forget everything else.


JP said...

Okay, Neil. I suppose I'm in if you're in. And I DO sing, but not to. Karen Carpenter standard, of course. But I'll bust out some Superstar if I have to...

Baby baby baby baby oh babeeee...I lo-o-ove you, I really dooo...