I finally got around to flipping through Rolling Stone‘s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.” Oh, man — where to begin?
How about #71: “Take It or Leave It” by the Strokes. Excuse me? I think my ears must have been affected by all the bitchin’ guitar heard during this song, but did Rolling Stone really just say that the 71st greatest guitar song of all time is one written by the Strokes? Seriously?
This is the millionth example of why Rolling Stone‘s music coverage needs to be euthanized. I mean, “Take It or Leave It” is a decent song and all and I still like that first Strokes record, but there are an estimated 7 billion songs that should rank above “Take It or Leave It” on a list bearing the words Greatest Guitar Songs. (Estimated by whom? Me, and anyone who has ever actually listened to that song.)
It’s so sad. You can just picture the magazine’s aging editors sitting around a table in the Wenner Sweat Lodge going, “Uh, do you guys think we need a few songs released in the past twenty years to go with the 79 songs written pre-1988?” (Seriously — there are only 21 songs on the list released after 1987. And three of those are by ’60s/’70s-obsessed musicians Phish, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Mayer. And another is by Sublime. Yes, Sublime. So, the list contains just 18 acceptable modern-sounding songs from the past 20 years. By way of comparison, 36 are taken from the seven-year period between 1967 — the year old man Wenner founded Rolling Stone — and 1973 alone. Pass the Geritol. And the prunes. And sign me up for Life Alert.)
The list’s many, many, many omissions are unbearable:
There is nothing by Soundgarden on the list.
There is nothing by the Replacements on the list.
There is nothing by Dinosaur Jr. on the list.
There is nothing by Rush on the list.
Van Halen’s “Unchained,” possibly the greatest guitar song ever written, is not on the list.
There is only one Nirvana song on the list, and it is not “Milk It.”
There is only one Black Sabbath song on the list.
There is only one Guns n’ Roses song on the list.
As incensed as I became upon discovering the many artists and songs that didn’t make the cut, I was actually cursing whenever a band I liked appeared on the list. Like, I love the Pixies as much as anyone, but is “Debaser” really their best “guitar song”? No — that would be “Bone Machine” or “Where Is My Mind?” or even “Here Comes Your Man.” I love the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?” but how can they include that just a few years after snubbing Johnny Marr on their equally infuriating 100 Best Guitarists of All Time list? And here’s the Smashing Pumpkins song they selected: “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.” Not bad, but it’s no “Siva.” Or “Zero.” Or even “Mayonnaise.”
I could go on and on about how lame this list is. And I will. Strangely, I don’t have much issue with the top 10. Hard to complain about “Johnny B. Goode” being number one or “Purple Haze” being number two. And I can live with Cream, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones and “Stairway to Heaven” placing high. But the Allman Brothers Band? Jesus.
My mouth is foaming now so I’m going to have to publish this prematurely. Somewhere Bob Stinson is rolling over in his grave. Luckily, he’s probably too drunk to care.
WHY I’M ANGRY TODAY
I hate transcribing interviews.