Those pesky song lists — writing 101 #3


I always feel a slump coming on when I see or hear the question what are your three (two, four, six) favorite songs.  I’ve loved music all my life.  Took piano and voice lessons for many, many years, sang in choirs, sang in a band.  I love jazz, string quartets, most—definitely not all—rock and roll, pop, kirtan, meditation music, bits and pieces of Broadway musicals and big band and blues and zydeco…

Ask me today my favorites might be a group of jazz songs.  Ask me later today, my favorites might be some of Dvorak’s string quartets.  Ask me tomorrow, I might name some 60’s rock songs and an hour later it might be 70’s rock.  For me, there’s no such thing as a list of two or three.

Unless you ask me for my three favorite pieces of opera.  Don’t really care for opera.  I’d be hard put to name you three pieces I like.  After the Flower Duet and Nessun Dorma it would be a struggle to name a third, though I quite enjoyed practicing the Habanera (Carmen) in my voice lesson days.  And I’m pretty sure I don’t know the names of three country western songs.

So here I am, inwardly slumping at the assignment to write a piece about my three favorite songs.  How do I elevate three?  How do I ignore the dozens that clamor to be top of the list?  Well, I just refuse.  Here’s a selection from a few genres; some choices are really a group—too bad, it’s my version of assignment three and I refuse to take a bad grade.  Make sure you scroll all the way down to Steve Goodman.

The mood of the moment


Compared to What?  Les McCann

The lyrics are a real downer but the music always lifted me anyway

Take Five —  the Dave Brubeck and Carmen McRae version (Live at Basic Street East)

What can I say – can’t beat it

Toss-up between Common Ground and Icarus – Paul Winter


Anything Beatles

Anything Moody Blues

Rock the Casbah – Clash

String Quartets:

Anything Dvorak

Anything Mendelssohn

Anything Schubert

That group is pretty much any day…


Kashi Vishwanath Gange – Krishna Das

Shri Ram Jaya Ram – Jai Uttal

You could put most of Jai’s music on my list any day, any time…

Bolo Bolo – Steve Ross


Moolah Mantra – Deva Premal

Fairy Wings – Steve Rowland

Travel Through the Space of Experience from Swami Janakananda’s Experience Yoga Nidra

I put this one on a loop for meditation and sometimes I taught whole yoga classes to it

A little Broadway:

I Have Dreamed – King and I

Out of My Dreams – Oklahoma

The Sweetest Sounds – No Strings

Since he spanned a few genres, I can’t quite place him but explore the songbook of Steve Goodman and you can hardly miss – I love so many I really can’t name one or three…


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2 thoughts on “Those pesky song lists — writing 101 #3

  1. I’d have a tough time picking three too. It all depends upon the day and mood. Right now I love all of me by John Legend. But I also like Sheherazade by Rimsky Korsakov and Debussy as well as Led Zeppelin. I didn’t even like Zeppelin when I was a teenager in the 70s. Your list is fun!


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