The Top 15 Listened to Songs of All time (according to me)

For your reading pleasure the following are the top 15 listened to records, according to me, with an assist to Spotify who tells me what I’ve been listening to. I submit this is a fine list of music. They don’t exactly match my top songs of all time, but surely directionally do so. There’s a few “bubbling  unders” that would make the list too. More on them later

Given COVID I am now averaging 10,000-12,000 steps daily from nearby walks of roughly 5 miles daily. I walk often with my daughter Carolyn, who moved back from Manhattan in March and will return to the city in 2021, post-COVID. But often I walk alone with my companion Spotify. The all-knowing Spotify provides me with the list of top songs based on plays. Big Brother is watching…and listening too. 

Here’s a link to the top 15 songs I have been listening to on these walks. You’ll note that there has not been any good music since 1986, the newest songs on the list. The music industry is clearly in a 34 year slump.

Here they the top 15 listened to songs in reverse order:

15. Steve WinwoodWhile You See A Chance 1981

I love Steve Winwood and have seen him live many times. First time I saw him he was as part of the short-lived super-group Blind Faith (Winwood, Clapton, Grech, Baker) at Madison Square Garden in 1969. No too shabby a band but only lasted a year. While You See a Chance was an upbeat song from the album Arc of a Diver.

14. Christopher CrossNever Be The Same 1980

We’ll see more Christopher Cross later, but this catchy tune is from his debut Grammy winning album. Upbeat musically,  though  the lyrics alas are not as uplifting.

13. Donald Fagen– I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World) 1982

Donald Fagen, as every Steely Dan fan knows, is the co-founder of the band (along with the late Walter Becker). Fagen is lead vocalist for Steely Dan and has a voice you can’t miss. This tune was from his solo album, The Nightfly.  The “I.G.Y.” of the title refers to the “International Geophysical Year”, in 1957-1958. It was the I.G.Y. international scientific project promoting collaboration among the world’s scientists. Fagen’s lyrics sarcastically discuss the widespread optimistic vision of the future at that time. More music from Fagen/Steely Dan to come on the top 15.

12. Paul SimonYou Can Call Me Al 1986

Great tune from a great album, Graceland. This song (and #11) are the “new” songs on the list (from 1986). Obviously, Simon had many mega hits as a solo artist and even more as part of Simon & Garfunkel, but I really love this one. Great tune to walk to.

11. Bruce Hornsby & the Range—Every Little Kiss 1986

Another newbie on the list from 1986 I loved this song and album from the first time I heard it. The Way It Is was a bigger hit, but this one hit home for me. I always loved Hornsby’s distinctive piano style, and Hornsby played with the Grateful Dead for many years thereafter which only enhances my appreciation for his music.

10. Talking HeadsRoad to Nowhere 1985

This song was from Little Creatures toward the end of the Heads. Another Talking Heads song will follow as well. David Byrne, their lead singer, is a personal favorite and is a genius. His American Utopian tour/Broadway show is not to be missed (available on HBO as well). Byrne creates on a plane we mere mortals can only try to grasp.

9. 38 SpecialHold on Loosely 1981

Can’t really explain this one. I was not a big 38 Special fan. The were kind of a vanilla rock band to me. But I did like this song and obviously I listen to it often

8. Steely Dan–Hey Nineteen 1980

I can name that tune in one note every time. Really. This is the 2nd of three Fagen/Steely Dan songs on the top 15. Loved the lyrics and the concept of the 19-year-old not knowing Aretha Franklin. Also sadly a mention of “hard times befallen the Soul Survivors” whose leader Richie Ingui recently passed away. Don’t know the Soul Survivors? Expressway to Your Heart is top 15 worthy (but falls short)

7. King HarvestDancing in the Moonlight 1973

If you are a one-hit wonder, let your hit be a mega hit. Dancing in the Moonlight was indeed that hit, and in my last top 20 songs of all time was #1. A great song, a supernatural delight. And a favorite of mine during my Rutgers/WRSU years

6. Jackson Browne—Somebody’s Baby 1982

This was #1 in an earlier Lonny Strum top songs of all time. What an uplifting song that makes me smile, and think about being at the beach. The song was featured on Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the best teen movie of all time, a classic.

5. Grateful DeadRipple 1970

Ripple is from American Beauty which just celebrated its 50th anniversary and is the best album of all time. There are so many songs from this album that are great. And the album also featured Sugar Magnolia, my favorite Dead concert song, which is often the last song before the enchore. Ripple, a mellower song is often the last song sending the crowd home smiling, a feeling I’ve had many times and hope to have again.

4. Steely DanPeg 1977

The third of Fagen/Steely Dan songs, Peg, is from the terrific Aja collection. Great song to walk to and put a bounce in your step.

3. Talking HeadsOnce in a Lifetime 1980

You may ask yourself, is Strum obsessed with David Byrne? The answer would be yes. He is a genius and I am in awe of his talent not just from the Heads days but today as well. This song is part of American Utopia tour/show. He is a once in a lifetime talent.

2. Doobie Brothers—What a Fool Believes 1978

Another song I can name in one note. Brilliant in every way. Kenny Loggins was co-writer with Michael McDonald. Among the many Doobies songs and McDonald solo songs, this reigns as his best.

1. Christopher Cross—Sailing  1979

The ultimate “Yacht rock” song. I am not a sailor and don’t even like boating at all. Yet, this song relaxes me and reminds me of happier times on the beach at Belmar with Beth and falling asleep in the afternoon while hearing the song on my beach radio. Now I can just smile thinking about listening to it for the first time 40 years ago.

For your listening pleasure here’s a link to the top 15

That’s the top 15 songs I am listening to. I missed a few favorites that were “bubbling under”. Classics like

Looking Glass—Brandy

Redbone—Come and Get Your Love

Keith—98.6 (yup a personal fave)

I realize my list reeks of the Sirius XM Yacht Rock station playlist. Most of these tunes can be found there. Admittedly I am addicted to Yacht Rock, and am proud to be so. Looking at the list objectively it’s kind of “smooth” and I am showing my advanced age. Nothing to be ashamed of there. What was exciting was that I heard all these songs when they were new “on the radio” where everyone heard them for the first time. One of the many reasons why I loved the medium when I grew up.

But these songs stand the Lonny Strum test of time and are my friends as I walk and sing along. I appreciate their companionship. Thanks.

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