Top 50 Favourite Songs: Jeremy Fairall

Organized chronologically, not only because it saves me the agony of ranking, but also because it gives the illusion of a narrative. Also, it allowed me to do something cute with the side-by-side pairing of #40-41; you probably do not need to have heard the Emm Gyner song to get it, but listen to it anyway. The organization also allows the list to grow less canonical as it goes on, a reflection of how I received popular taste of the past (I was born in 1978) vs. how my own tastes developed through childhood, adolescence and on into early middle age (or whatever we are calling 43 these days). At the very least, I hope the presence of enough popular favourites on this list encourages readers to take a chance on some of the less well known stuff.

1. “Jailhouse Rock,” Elvis Presley (1957)
2. “Walking to New Orleans,” Fats Domino (1960)
3. “Save the Last Dance For Me,” The Drifters (1960)
4. “Then He Kissed Me,” The Crystals (1963)
5. “My Girl,” The Temptations (1964)
6. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” Aretha Franklin (1967) [review]
7. “Street Fighting Man,” The Rolling Stones (1968)
8. “No Easy Way Down,” Dusty Springfield (1969)

9. “Everyday People,” Sly & the Family Stone (1969)
10. “And it Stoned Me,” Van Morrison (1970)
11. “How Could I Let You Get Away,” Spinners (1973)
12. “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Gladys Knight & the Pips (1973)
13. “Sweet Emotion,” Aerosmith (1975)
14. “Cortez the Killer,” Neil Young (1975)
15. “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” Thelma Houston (1976)
16. “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” Billy Joel (1977)
17. “The Card Cheat,” The Clash (1979)
18. “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan,” Marianne Faithful (1979)

19. “Life During Wartime,” Talking Heads (1979)
20. “Tattooed Love Boys,” Pretenders (1980)
21. “Living it Up,” Rickie Lee Jones (1981)
22. “Radio Free Europe,” R.E.M. (1983)
23. “All Through the Night,” Cyndi Lauper (1983)
24. “Steel Claw,” Tina Turner (1984)
25. “Crazy For You,” Madonna (1985) [review]
26. “The Working Hour,” Tears for Fears (1985)
27. “Underworld,” Tommy Keene (1986)
28. “Coming Up Close,” Til Tuesday (1986)
29. “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” Prince (1987)
30. “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Sinead O’Connor (1990)
31. “Thanksgiving in Reno,” Too Much Joy (1991)
32. “Whose Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses,” U2 (1991)
33. “Move With Me,” Neneh Cherry (1992)

34. “You’re Aging Well,” Dar Williams (1993)
35. “Inverness,” The Loud Family (1993)
36. “Jacques et Gilles,” Kate and Anna McGarrigle (1996)
37. “People We Want,” Kenickie (1997)
38. “Tony,” Patty Griffin (1998)
39. “Mountain Angel,” Dolly Parton (2001)
40. “Straight to Hell,” Emm Gryner (2001)

41. “Paper Planes,” M.I.A. (2007)
42. “Graveyard Girl,” M83 (2008)
43. “California,” EMA (2011) [review]
44. “Slippery Slopes,” Jenny Lewis (2014)
45. “War on the East Coast,” The New Pornographers (2014)
46. “Run Away with Me,” Carly Rae Jepsen (2015)
47. “Sorry,” Beyoncé (2016) [review]
48. “Black Beatles,” Rae Sremmurd (2016)

49. “Famous Tracheotomies,” Okkervil River (2018)
50. “Americans,” Janelle Monáe (2018)


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


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