I saw a really great film today called, “AKA DOC POMUS” at the Angelika Theater in New York City. This wonderful film was a documentary of the life and career of Mr. Doc Pomus. For those of you unfamiliar, Doc Pomus was one of the greatest American songwriters in history. Although now deceased, he was, is and will always be a legendary figure in music. Seeing this film really lit one heck of a fire under my ass. It me want to torch every song (in every Hello Kitty notebook) I have ever written, start over and then commence writing ten million more songs. It fueled a desire to lock myself in a studio and never see the light of day ever again. Really. That aside, this film also inspired me to create a list of some of my favorite songs of all genres that have changed my life and have inspired me as a songwriter from my youth. Here they are in no particular order. (Don’t make fun of me if some of them are mad lame.)
- “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” from Ghost In The Machine by The Police (1981)
I always identified with the lyrics “It’s a big enough umbrella/ but it’s always me that ends up getting wet.”
2. “Across The Universe” from Let It Be by The Beatles (1969)
I love this song because it is a nod to my meditation practice. “Jai Guru Dev”
- “Gin and Juice” from Doggystyle by Snoop Dogg (1994)
My absolute favorite rap song and my #1 karaoke song choice. I will do this at parties, in public restrooms, on cruise ships, at bars etc. I could rap this forwards, backwards, sideways… you get the point.
- “Head Over Feet” from Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette (1995)
Really the entire “Jagged Little Pill” record enormously influenced me as an artist. I used to listen to it on a boom box, while sitting on top of my dresser (back in the day when I was actually small enough to sit on top of a dreser) singing this entire album to myself in the mirror. yes. angst.
5. “Midnight Sun” from Lush Life by Nancy Wilson (1967)
Written by Johnny Mercer and sung by the unbelievably smooth Nancy Wilson. It’s wildly romantic but doesn’t make me want to throw up on myself. No easy feat.
- “Jesus Christ” from The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New (2007)
Brand New’s music pretty much encompasses my youth. I loved “Your Favorite Weapon” but something about the lyrical content and more mature sound of this track really does it for me.
- “My Best Friend’s Girl” from The Cars by The Cars (1978)
One of my favorite bands. Saw Ric Ocasek on the street in front of Electric Lady Studios in NYC once and got so nervous I couldn’t even say “Hi.” Saddest day.
- “Regulators” from Regulate…G FUNK ERA by Warren G (1994)
Another one of my karaoke favorites and a song I used to hear when riding in my older brother’s jeep with his giant subs and Pioneer speakers. Warren G actually follows me on Twitter now which I consider to be a real life advancement. MOUNT UP.
- “Rain King” from August and Everything After by Counting Crows (1993)
“When I think of heaven (deliver me in a black winged bird) I think of flying down into a sea of pens and feathers and all other instruments of faith and sex and God.”
I don’t know what that means but it rules.
- “Get Lucky” from Random Access Memories by Daft Punk (2013)
Sorry not SORRY. I can listen to this song all day long. Whether I’m on the subway or just gyrating in my apartment. One of the best this year. Pharrell, Call me!
- “Karma Chameleon”- from Colour By Numbers by Culture Club (1983)
BOY GEORGE. EYE MAKE UP. 80’s. ENOUGH SAID.
12. “Photograph” from Pyromania by Def Leppard (1983)
DEF LEPPARD. SPANDEX. BIG HAIR. GEETARZ. ONE ARMED DRUMMER. MUTT LANG. ENOUGH. SAID.
13. “Nothin’ But A G Thang” from The Chronic by Dr. Dre (1992)
Dr. Dre is the boss and this song is what rap should be and DEFINITELY is not anymore.
- “Hello Walls” from Hello Walls by Faron Young (1961)
This one was written by Willy Nelson. My Grandfather Ed and I drink way too Miller Lite’s and listen to this one on repeat.
- “Summerwind” from Strangers In The Night by Frank Sinatra (1966)
Another one of my Grandfather’s favorites and in turn it became mine also. When I pass into another realm, I want this at my “passing into another realm” ceremony.
- “Follow You, Follow Me” from …And Then There Were Three… by Genesis (1978)
My mom used to play this one in the car when I was young. It stuck with me.
- “Your Cheatin’ Heart” from Your Cheatin’ Heart by Hank Williams Sr. (1952)
There is not really a better songwriter than Hank Williams Sr. This is the ultimate break up song and the ultimate “you’ll be sorry” song. Eat your heart out men who have wronged me. EAT. YOUR. HEART. OUT. THANK. YOU.
- “Punk Rock Princess” from Leaving Through The Window by Something Corporate (2001)
“You could be my punk rock princess, I could be your garage band king. You could tell my why you just don’t fit in, and how you’re gonna be something.” 16 year old me’s wildest-band boy-loving dream.
- “Hallelujah” from Grace by Jeff Buckley (1994)
Leonard Cohen is a poet, scholar, God and master songwriting talent. “Hallelujah” is haunting, riveting and also depressing. Jeff Buckley nails these elements. I saw Leonard at Radio City Music Hall this past year. He is in his 80’s and has about a million times more energy than I do. I am not proud of this.
20. “Teenage Dream” from Teenage Dream by Katy Perry (2010)
- “Understatement” from Sticks and Stones by New Found Glory (2002)
Pop Punk perfection. Reminds me of being 16 and driving to High School with the windows down. I was a rebel.
- “Semi-Charmed Life” from Third Eye Blind by Third Eye Blind (1997)
I was obsessed with this song in 5th grade and still am. Another fine nostalgia throwback.
- “Wannabe” from Spice by Spice Girls (1996)
These fantastic ladies made me want a career in music. I think I also dislocated my shoulder watching this music video.
- “God Only Knows” from Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys (1966)
Simple and gorgeous. Hearing this song makes you think love lasts forever which also makes us all feel so foolish because let’s get real here, folks.
25. “Moon River” from Breakfast At Tiffany’s Music from the Motion Picture by Andy Williams (1962)
This guys is one of my favorite singers. No frills, no fancy stuff. Just a beautiful tone and voice. I grew up listening to this song and will listen forevermore.
STAY REAL UNTIL NEXT TIME FRIENDS,