Top 50 Favourite Songs: Tim Powis

I only saw the Rolling Stone list for the first time today (October 12). What alerted me, a couple of weeks ago, to its existence was Robert Christgau and his wife Carola Dibbell’s ballots, which they posted on Christgau’s And It Don’t Stop blog around when the Rolling Stone list was published. (I always find individual lists more interesting than general ones.) As with the Christgaus, I’ve compiled a list of favourite singles, rather than songs. It would take me months to figure out my 50 favourite songs, and I don’t think Scott wants to wait that long. Needless to say, many of these songs would appear on that list as well.

Numbers one and two are definitely my top two. Beyond that things soon degenerate from roughly descending order to whatever song popped into the brain I was racking. Maybe the order in which that happened reflects how much I love the song, relatively speaking, but I wouldn’t count on it.

I’ve limited myself to one song per artist, which in most cases wasn’t too difficult. (Syndicate of Sound was a toughie.) I’ve listed the A and B sides of two entries because I consider the B-sides every bit as good as the A sides. Torn between “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows,” I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that the latter was the B-side of the former, which took care of that dilemma.

I’ve done lists like this before, many years ago, exchanging one via fax with Phil Dellio and later submitting a very similar list to his zine Radio On. I don’t think my list has changed a lot since then (darned if I can find either of those old ones). There’s nothing here more recent than 1994. I’ve heard plenty of good new songs since then, but they didn’t reach me in that singular way.

Some honourable mentions—songs I wanted to shoehorn into my top 50 (but then what would I delete?): “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” (Marvelettes, 1967); “Time Has Come Today” (Chambers Brothers, 1968); “Grazing in the Grass” (Hugh Masekela, 1968); “Israelites” (Desmond Dekker, 1969); “Tired of Being Alone” (Al Green, 1971), “Albert Flasher” (Guess Who, 1971); “Ballroom Blitz” (Sweet, 1973), “Love Train” (O’Jays, 1973), “Surrender” (Cheap Trick, 1978), “Broken Hearted Me” (Anne Murray, 1979); “Almost Gold” (Jesus and Mary Chain, 1992); “Lo Boob Oscillator” (Stereolab, 1993), “You Get What You Give” (New Radicals, 1998)… I know I’ll think of others as soon I’ve sent this off.


1. “She Loves You,” Beatles (1963)
1.” Let’s Hang On,” Four Seasons (1965)

3. “Jumping Jack Flash”/”Child of the Moon,” Rolling Stones (1968)
4. “Sally Go Round the Roses,” Jaynetts (1963)
5. “Turn Turn Turn,” Byrds (1965)
6. “Waterloo Sunset,” Kinks (1967)
7. “Hot Smoke and Sassafras,” The Bubble Puppy (1969)
8. “Little Girl,” Syndicate of Sound (1966)
9. “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” James Brown (1965)
10. “Can You Get to That,” Funkadelic (1971)
11. “God Save the Queen,” Sex Pistols (1977)
12. “More, More More,” Andrea True Connection (1976) True to its title, best experienced in the longest version you can find.

13. “Shame, Shame, Shame,” Shirley and Company (1976)
14. “They Don’t Know,” Tracey Ullman (1983)
15. “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On),” John Lennon (1970)
16. “On the Road Again,” Canned Heat (1968)
17. “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly and the Family Stone (1969)
18. “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted,” Jimmy Ruffin (1966)
19. “Iko Iko,” Dixie Cups (1965)

20. “Land of 1,000 Dances,” Chris Kenner (1962)
21. “(Isn’t Love Unkind) In My Life,” A Foot in Coldwater (1973)
22. “Erotic City,” Prince (1984) The version I know (apparently there’s also a shorter, higher-pitched version in circulation) is the B-side of the 12-inch single of “Let’s Go Crazy”– a good song but nowhere close to “Erotic City.”
23. “Cruisin’,” Smokey Robinson (1979)
24. “I Say a Little Prayer,” Aretha Franklin (1968)
25. “Whole Lotta Loving ,” Fats Domino (1958)
26. “Soon,” My Bloody Valentine (1991))
27. “Maggie May,” Rod Stewart (1971)
28. “Dot Dash,” Wire (1978)
29. “Look of Love,” Lesley Gore (1964)
30. “Unless You Care,” Terry Black (1964)

31. “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” Lovin’ Spoonful (1965)
32. “We Like Birdland,” Huey “Piano” Smith (1958)
33. “Can We Still Be Friends,” Todd Rundgren (1978)
34. “I Can’t Control Myself,” Troggs (1966)
35. “It’s Nasty (Genius of Love),” Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (1982)
36. “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby,” Barry White (1973)
37. “Metal Guru,” T. Rex (1972)


38. “Gold Soundz,” Pavement (1994)
39. “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” Stevie Wonder (1973)
40. “Games People Play,” Spinners (1975) I’ve come to prefer prefer the longer, album version of “Games People Play” (which includes a short piano solo mid-song), but I didn’t hear that until years after I was smitten by what I eventually learned was a shortened single edit, which is plenty great enough.
41. “Everybody Dance,” Chic (1978) Long version, please.
42. “Everybody Everybody,” Black Box (1990)
43. “Everything Flows,” Teenage Fanclub (1990)
44. “Sunshine Superman,” Donovan (1966)
45. “Death Party,” Gun Club (1983)
46. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”/”God Only Knows,” Beach Boys (1966)
47. “Pretty Thing,” Bo Diddley (1956)
48. “My Ever Changing Moods,” Style Council (1984)
49. “I Love Your Smile,” Shanice (1991)
50. “Hungry Heart,” Bruce Springsteen (1980)


3 thoughts on “Top 50 Favourite Songs: Tim Powis

  1. Great list, Tim! Can’t believe that I missed putting “Hot Smoke & Sasafrass” on my own list (coming soon). As with you, “Surrender” came very, very close for me, too. And I’m shocked — shocked! — that your beloved Barry “The Bear” White only made it to No. 36!

  2. Tim, do you remember how often we heard the 12″ of Erotic City at Bill’s? to me it was the sound of my Kensington Market period. That, and Sam Kinison. (by the way, “Chariots of Foam” just lost out to Dua Lipa on my list… Ravester

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