Ah, if I could only have another chance. I'd get it right this time.
I'm sure you all remember (actually, does anyone remember?) "The Making Of the Top 100," my 2012 column in which I unveiled My 100 Favorite Songs Of All Time. Last summer I released my next 100. And then this spring, as I meticulously prepared my third 100 -- which I played for a select crew over the Fourth of July weekend -- it occurred to me how bass-ackwards I did this whole production. Damn! How much more impressive and dramatic would it have been had I released the third 100 (counting down from #300 to #201), then the second 100, and then finally . . . drum roll . . . "Hank's 100 Favorite Songs Of All Time"!
Okay, okay. I never said I was the strategic thinker in the family.
I also had an important revelation as I worked on this summer's list. When I made public my Top 100 back in 2012, I swore I'd never go back and re-do the order. I was adamant that the way I felt about those 100 songs back then was perfectly valid for that point in time. If my tastes changed, so be it.
But now something was bothering me.
When I made that first list two summers ago, "Somethin' `Bout a Truck" by Kip Moore didn't exist yet. So the best I could do is give it the #101 slot in 2013. But it's clearly one of my Top Five songs of all time. And earlier this year, after re-reading Patti Smith's memoir, and getting back into a heavy Patti Smith phase, I realized that her version of "Gloria," which I'd previously positioned at #116, might well be the greatest rock & roll song of all time!
I also had to admit that perhaps I got a little over-excited with some newcomers when I did the original list, and Adele might have been over-valued with both #13 ("Rolling In the Deep") and #34 ("Someone Like You"). Ditto for Lady Gaga. Though I'll defend to the death my two top-20 rankings for Eric Church ("Springsteen" at #18 and "Drink In My Hand" at #4. Yes, you heard me -- #4).
So what I've decided: Next year, instead of releasing a new list, I'll reconfigure My 300 Favorite Songs Of All Time. That will be THE definitive list -- the only one you'll need on your iPod if you, say, decide to drive across the country and back with your dog.
And before getting into some highlights from this summer's big 100, allow me to warn you against judging my picks too harshly. Two years ago, my youngest son Robby and his friends laughed out loud at a lot of my choices, particularly songs from back in the day that they'd never heard of. Then, gradually, they began asking if they could download my play list onto their phones and iPods. Last fall, Robby and a bunch of buddies drove from L.A. to San Francisco for the USC-Stanford game. The soundtrack for this carload of 20-year-old college kids? Yup! Hank's 100 Favorite Songs Of All Time.
And now, without further ado, this year's Top Ten countdown! (Well, actually #210-#201):
210. "Surfin' Safari" / The Beach Boys (1962)
209. "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" / The Traveling Wilburys (1988)
208. "C'mon, C'mon" / Sheryl Crow (2002)
207. "Gold On the Ceiling" / The Black Keys (2011)
205. "Gloria" / The Shadows of Knight (1966)
204. "Helpless" / Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970)
203. "The Waiting" / Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1993)
202. "So You Want To Be a Rock & Roll Star" / Patti Smith (1979)
201. "Radio Nowhere" / Bruce Springsteen (2007)
You'll be able to see my entire Top 100 -- well, actually #201-#300 -- on my Beagle Man blog (see below for URL) in the next few days.
Don't agree with my choices? Horrified that Taylor Swift placed six songs in my Top 300, compared to only four for the Beatles? Then I'll tell you what I tell friends and family who were there at the "release party." MYODL (Make Your Own Damn List).
Hank Herman is a Westport writer, and "The Home Team" column appears every other Friday. You can also keep up with Hank's adventures on his blog, "Beagle Man," on the Westport News website at: http://blog.ctnews.com/beagleman. To reach Hank, e-mail him at DoubleH50@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @BeagleManHank.