Having already spent too long musing over what the British public might choose as The Nation’s Favourite Beatles Number One tomorrow night (that’s something else worth watching on TV this week, repeated on Sunday afternoon), how about this for a teaser: What’s the best acoustic song of all time?
I’ve given it some thought and am curious to learn how you might vote. You get to choose one from a list of 50. Impossible, I know, so to make it easier please choose ten from the list (which is still difficult, particularly as you only really get to choose nine, because I should hope you could never omit ‘Wish You Were Here’).
If that leaves you feeling tetchy, do add another ten that did not feature in the list, to soothe your mind. There are so many notable omissions. Where’s Pete Seger? Shouldn’t Crosby, Stills and Nash be there?
I certainly need more Joni (‘Both Sides Now’), more Neil Young (‘Old Man’), much more Dylan (‘Blowin’ In the Wind’, ‘Masters of War’, ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’), at least one more from Cat Stevens (‘Father and Son’?), something of Donovan’s (‘Catch the Wind’) – and probably a good dozen more besides.
Richard Thompson’s ‘Dimming of the Day’, covered by David at the Royal Festival Hall in 2001 of course, for one; ‘The Sound of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel; ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ by Bill Withers; James Taylor’s ‘Fire and Rain’; America’s ‘A Horse With No Name’; ‘Stuck In the Middle With You’ by Stealers Wheel; Supertramp’s ‘Give a Little Bit’; ‘California Dreaming’ by The Mamas and Papas…
From more recent years, I’d like to throw in: ‘No Rain’ by Blind Melon; The Lemonheads’ ‘Ride With Me’; ‘Hey There Delilah’ by Plain White T’s; ‘Billy Davey’s Daughter’ by Stereophonics; The Verve’s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’; ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me?’ by Travis; Jack Bugg’s ‘Broken’… There are so many.
Some of these mightn’t be ‘acoustic’ enough for some of you, perhaps.
Anyway, here are my preferred ten from an impressive list of 50 and, should you need inspiration, here are 40 acoustic rock songs as chosen by Planet Rock listeners, who, as you can see, have exquisite taste.
The Beatles – Yesterday
Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven
Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
The Kinks – Lola
John Lennon – Working Class Hero
Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Cat Stevens – Wild World
Neil Young – The Needle and the Damage Done
Do also let us know which of the many chart-topping Beatles hits you think will come out on top in the Nation’s Favourite poll. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t wish to bet money on the outcome.
(Thanks for the idea and for reminding me of so many truly beautiful acoustic songs, Paul.)