Top 50 Favourite Songs: Steven Ward

This was a difficult exercise for me. I think in works. Albums are the main art form for me. I love ranking albums. I almost never rank songs, unless it’s a short list by the same artist (Top 5 Cars songs, etc.).

So this took a little time. I had to refer to my Spotify playlists to get handle on some of my favorite (opposed to the best) songs for this assignment.

I set a couple of parameters: No Beatles, no Rolling Stones and no Beach Boys. There’s so much of that littered all over the Rolling Stone list already. That rule made this easier for me and it allowed me to include songs from a wide variety of genres and artists. Also, only one song per artist. There are some band songs and songs by a solo artist (Steely Dan/Donald Fagen, etc.) but that seemed unavoidable.

I also included two live versions of songs. Those songs are so superior to the recorded versions (at least for me) that their inclusion seemed obvious and downright necessary.

My list is unapologetically filled with songs from the ’70 and ’80s. (I’m 53, so…)

I borrowed Scott Woods’ approach—I listed my top 10 songs and then everything else un-ranked.

Anyway, this is it. My favorite Top 50 Songs of all time. At least my favorites today. It’s going to be weird, folks.


Top 10
1. “Love Train” – The O’Jays (1972)
2. “Be My Baby” – The Ronettes (1963)
3. “Photograph” – Def Leppard (1983)
4. “I’ll Be Around” – The Spinners (1972)
5. “Whiter Shade of Pale” – Procol Harum (1967)
6. “House of the Rising Sun” – The Animals (1964)
7. “Senses Working Overtime” – XTC (1982)

8. “In the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins (1981)
9. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon & Garfunkel (Live Central Park version 1981)
10. “That’s the Way of the World” – Earth, Wind and Fire (1975)

The rest (numbered but not ordered)
11. “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy (189)
12. “Head Over Heels” – Tears for Fears (1985)
13. “The Whole of the Moon” – The Waterboys (1985)
14. “Major Tom” – Peter Schilling (1982)
15. “I Know What I Like – Genesis (1973)
16. “Everybody Dance” – Chic (1977)
17. “Sail On” – The Commodores (1979)
18. “Big Log” – Robert Plant – (1983)

19. “Forget Me Nots” – Patrice Rushen (1982)
20. “Ain’t Nobody” – Chaka Khan (1983)
21. “Unfinished Sympathy” – Massive Attack (1991)
22. “Slit Skirts” – Pete Townshend (1982)
23. “House” – Marillion (1999)
24. “Fall on Me” – R.E.M. (1986)
25. “Your Imagination” – Hall and Oates (1981)
26. “I’ve Seen All Good People” – Yes (1971)
27. “A Song for You” – Ray Charles/Willie Nelson/Leon Russell (2003 live version at Willie Nelson’s 70th birthday tribute)
28. “Strawberry Flats” – Little Feat (1971)
29. “Whispering Pines” – The Band (1969)
30. “I Couldn’t Leave You if I Tried” – Rodney Crowell (1988)
31. “I Fell in Love” – Carlene Carter (1990)
32. “The Rhythm of the Blues” – Mary Chapin Carpenter (1992)
33. “Blame it on Your Heart” – Patty Loveless (1993)
34. “Tell Me If You Still Care” – S.O.S. Band (1982)

35. “Off the Wall” – Michael Jackson (1979)
36. “Speed Your Love to Me” – Simple Minds (1984)
37. “Starlings” – Elbow (2008)
38. “Indifference” – Pearl Jam (1993)
39. “Wasted Years” – Iron Maiden (1986)
40. “Better Be Home Soon” – Crowded House (1988)
41. “Hypnotized” – Fleetwood Mac (1973)

42. “I.G.Y.” – Donald Fagen (1982)
43. “New Kid in Town” – Eagles (1977)
44. “The Oogum Boogum Song” – Brenton Wood (1967)
45. “(Nothing) But Flowers” – Talking Heads (1988)
46. “I’m Gonna Crawl” – Led Zeppelin (1979)
47. “Baba O’Riley” – The Who (1971)
48. “Babylon Sisters” – Steely Dan (1980)
49. “Mack the Knife” – Bobby Darrin (1959)
50. “Tutti Frutti” – Little Richard (1957)


Steven Ward lives in Canton, Mississippi. After spending 25 years in the daily newspaper grind, he made his escape in 2020 and now works as the editor of a monthly magazine for Mississippi’s electric cooperative members. A creature of habit and a U.S. Navy veteran, Steven loves tamales, unsweet tea and his family.


Have a Top 50 Songs list of your own? We’re open for submissions. Details here.


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