Toronto Mike

My Ten Tracks


I've taken dozens of notes and mulled the options for months but I've finally done it.  I've managed to arrive at a list of ten songs that might just be my ten favourite tracks of all-time.

This was no easy feat.  I started with a short list of about fifty songs and slowly whittled them down.  There was much internal debate with some amazing personal favourites being relegated to the cutting room floor.  All the heavy "hard rock" tunes seemed to bite the dust before the top ten with System of a Down's "Chop Suey!" being the last of that genre to go at the bitter end.  Shockingly, no song from The Tragically Hip appears on this list, although a few were close.  Without a doubt, this list is subject to change and will no doubt change before the month is through.  Some days The Five Stairsteps is a slam dunk, some days it's barely a top fifty.  Sometimes Radiohead is well represented, this time they're not.  Sometimes all ten songs are from Arcade Fire's "Funeral", this time, not a single one.

Without further delay, I present to you my favourite songs of all-time.  I call this entry, my ten tracks.

Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World
This one was a no-brainer for me.  Its place in the soundtrack of my life was solidified sixteen summers ago when it was played on the Polar Express every night during the CNE after closing.  It became the thought provoking anthem of my summer of '89 and I can't hear it without drifting back.

Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
Tragically dead at the age of 30, Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" lives on as a haunting tribute.  It's a special song, covered by many artists, but no one did it as well as Buckley.  I'm sharing this track tomorrow.

Hayden - Bad As They Seem
I think I was hooked on Hayden immediately following the first time I heard the first three chords of this song.  It's a simple and sweet folksy tune about a guy who digs a chick he can't have.  I simply can't tire of this one.

Nirvana - All Apologies (Unplugged)
Following Kurt Cobain's suicide, the unplugged version of this song was my mourning anthem.  The In Utero version was great, but this stripped down rendition was Cobain's swan song.  It was a farewell to a generation that came of age to his poetry.  That was my generation, and this was my farewell.

Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary
It's unbelievable that a band that has produced so much brilliant original material would appear on this list twice with two covers.  This time, it's Victoria Williams getting the golden treatment by Ed and the gang and it's spectacular.  To me, this song is my first year at U of T and riding the subway with my walkman.

Pearl Jam - Throw Your Arms Around Me
Pearl Jam took this song from Hunters and Collectors and made it their own.  It's ultra romantic without being sappy and custom-made for weddings.  A tasteful love song that truly will echo through the ages.

Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
If things are hectic and I need to chill, I listen to this song and all is well.  Enough said.

Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man
This songs inclusion on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack instantly tattooed this gorgeous tune into my psyche.  Lyrically and musically it's a gem.

James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
Always a favourite of mine, "Sweet Baby James" guaranteed itself a spot in my ten tracks when it came time for Taryn and I to name our son.  We were having some difficulty finding common ground when I thought of this song.  The rest is history and I can't hear this song without thinking about my sweet baby James.

Neil Young - Helpless
He's the godfather of grunge and a Canadian hero.  One note from this man and my ears are ecstatic.  Is "Helpless" his best?  That all depends upon what day you're asking the question.  Today, it's one of my ten tracks.

I'm emotionally exhausted from this exercise.  With over 13000 songs in my collection, there are hundreds and hundreds that I absolutely love.  When I embarked on this quest, I never imagined it would be as difficult as this.  If you're up for the challenge, Share your ten with me and I'll post them.  G'night all, I'm beat.

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About Toronto Mike
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