Even The Big Dogs Need A Break

As great as they are, we all know the feeling: Not THAT again

Maybe you’ve wondered where the songs listed below are lurking in our collection of the DNA Source Songs of Rock-N-Roll. (Then again, maybe you’ve been too busy trying to take over the world.) The bald truth is, while we contemplated not including them in the main DNA Source Song collection, ultimately we did. They do need a big footnote. Not a Bigfoot note, you should be reminded. DNA strands

We decided to put these songs into a separate category in our Mango Playlists area because just about everyone over the age of twelve knows these songs as well as they know their own face.

We love them. We’re acutely aware of their exalted status in countless halls of fame and the infinite “greatest” lists they often top. And top. And top.

The upside for songs that made the list is that in order to be overplayed – to be as ubiquitous as air – every single one has to be pretty damned fabulous to begin with – if not a #1 smash seller, then certainly a venerated album cut off a monster work that became a concert favorite.

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The Rolling Stones
Out Of Our Heads (1965)

Keith’s classic opening guitar riff grating and grinding. The exuberantly defiant, howling “hey hey hey’s.” The attack against Mad Men style conformity: “He can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.”

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Fun, Fun, Fun

Beach Boys
Shut Down Volume 2 (1964)

The Beach Boys’ audacity in lifting Chuck Berry’s opening riff from “Johhny B. Goode” note for absolute note kicks it off. And, while not quite equaling the old master, Carl Wilson does a job good enough to get Chuck’s blessing on the updating of his patented sound.

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When you care enough to send your psychedelic best, send “Sunshine Of Your Love,” a song that so wholly typifies mid to late-’60s head music that it couldn’t help being overplayed.

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Like A Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited (1965)




To go back to the day in July, 1965, when “Like A Rolling Stone” first hit the record stores and airwaves – when the popcorn really started popping and people went bug-eyed over this intrusion into the straight and narrow – would be an experience.

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Shout it out. Say it randomly like a dog barking at the night. Say it as loud as you want, regardless of where you are. Try it at a funeral. Or the opening night of the opera. Stand up in a fancy-pants restaurant and holler: “Free Bird!”

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Hey Jude

The Beatles
Hey Jude single (1968)

You can take all your criticisms of Paul McCartney, wrap them up in “Hey Jude,” and be done with the crabbing.

Everyone knows that “Hey Jude” is one of the greatest songs of the last century, and its power to amaze and move us continues well into the 21st century. What an achievement.

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Whether “Dream On” is a great song in the most general sense is debatable. It sounds a little thin amidst the other songs on this list, which are indisputable heavyweight champs. But a good middleweight can still punch like hell.

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Hound Dog

Elvis Presley
Hound Dog single (1956)

The catalog of excellent Elvis Presley songs is as long as your arm.

July 19th of 2014 will mark the 60th anniversary of the release of Elvis’s first bonafide hit, “That’s Alright Mama,” the Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup song from1946.

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Derek And The Dominos
Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

In reality, everyone with an ear for Rock lives with Layla as a sort of conceptual friend. She’s as real in our mind’s ear as Runaround Sue,” Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl,” or Holly’s Peggy Sue.”

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Brown Sugar

The Rolling Stones
Sticky Fingers (1971)

“Brown Sugar” is a mystifier. Misogyny. A distasteful fascination with miscegenation. The ghosts of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. Sadism. Infidelity. All the nasty secrets of the American South.

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Stairway To Heaven

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

One part madrigal one part head-banging Heavy Metal like so many other early Zep songs, “Stairway” is as lush as the Garden of Eden and as gritty as a dying industrial city in England. (For the prototype of this kind of Led Zeppelin tune, check out the DNA Source Song “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.”)

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