1. Dolly Parton, "Jolene." This oft-covered early hit for Parton is wonderful, but I continue to wonder how a woman so clearly dedicated to making the most of herself would write a song like this one. In real life, I imagine Dolly kicking Jolene's ass.
2. The New York Dolls, "Looking for a Kiss." If you're only going to watch one video here, this is your extra-special goody. Of course, if you can't stand the Dolls, ignore that statement. It's rare-to-me, that's for sure. Much as I love David Johansen, it must be said: Johnny Thunders ruled.
3. Aretha Franklin, "Until You Come Back to Me." We head into the mid-70s and Aretha's still cranking out the great hits.
4. Mott the Hoople, "I Wish I Was Your Mother." Interesting video from the Hunter/Ronson days, with Mick on mandolin playing Levon to Ian's Dylan. If you aren't familiar with this one, you need to take a listen. It's lovely in all sorts of odd ways.
5. The Who, "Love Reign O'er Me." With apologies to the many who know the story, the video link (which may come down at any moment) purports to be from the infamous Cow Palace concert where Moonie lost it. Seems real enough to me, anyway. For those who haven't heard, Keith Moon did a lot of drugs and alcohol even by his prodigious standards, and soon after this song, he passed out on stage. They stopped playing, Moonie was dragged back stage, they revived him, they returned to the stage, he made it a bit longer, and he passed out again. The Who tried playing as a trio, and then Pete Townshend asked the audience, probably half in jest, "Can anybody play the drums?" Out of the crowd came 19-year-old Scot Halpin. He played the rest of the concert, took bows with the band, and at the end of the year, Rolling Stone named him "Pick-Up Player of the Year."
6. Elton John, "Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)." Next to "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," my favorite Elton John track, mostly for "Love Lies Bleeding," which is an appropriately monster rocker after the terrific buildup.
7. Sly and the Family Stone, "If You Want Me to Stay." His last great moment, and isn't that sad.
8. Sylvia, "Pillow Talk." Can you be a one-hit wonder, two times? First she was half of Mickey and Sylvia, calling for her lover boy in "Love Is Strange." Sixteen years later, she had this solo hit. She wasn't done, either ... she co-founded Sugar Hill Records and was a driving force behind "Rapper's Delight."
9. Tower of Power, "So Very Hard to Go." Not sure if this is true, but I feel like Tower of Power elicits fonder memories here in the East Bay.
10. Robin Trower, "Daydream." I saw a lot of great bands at Day on the Green concerts back in the day ... Led Zeppelin, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Grateful Dead, Santana, The Band. My fondest DoG memory, though, is of Robin Trower playing "Daydream" while someone in the top row of the upper deck slowly set loose a toilet paper roll. You'd get people trying to do that trick all afternoon, but only rarely did someone have the skill to get that paper unfurled so that the entire thing drifted over the stadium. Meanwhile, guitar heroes were perfect for those stadium shows ... you didn't need the intimacy of a club, you just let loose with killer solos that the audience could feel in their boots all the way to the nosebleed seats. This is Trower's greatest song, and I know a lot of people reading this are thinking "Robin Trower had a great song?" For some reason, he's not mentioned very often, although guitar heroes are making a comeback, so maybe he'll have his day. "Daydream" features one of the most exquisite solos ever by anyone. The video is from somewhere indoors, maybe Winterland, but when he holds that long note near the end of the song (talk about hurts-so-good), imagine that roll of toilet paper.