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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Top 10 Untouchable Songs


Many artists make a name for themselves by attempting to recreate, reinterpret or copy someone else's work and somehow make it their own. Some achieve success using this method but there are certain songs and or versions of songs that just cannot be recreated or outdone. The bar has been set too high. Few things in life are perfect but we have compiled 10 masterpieces that are untouchable.

1. Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come 

It is Cooke's perfect pitch and the strain  in his voice that, in your darkest times, keeps you from giving up. The song has the ability to automatically create a memory; attaching it to something meaningful in your life. It's not a song that cheers you up but a song that enables you to get up. This song has been replicated but never duplicated. Cooke's voice is the description of soul, a voice so clear that you could tune your instrument to it.

2. Etta James - At Last

Etta James' delicate delivery of such sweet notions juxtaposed with her otherwise brash personal demeanor make for a classic tune to which remains unparalleled. James' ability to boisterously exclaim her new found love while still remaining in complete control of pitch and cadence allows the listener a vignette into the tragic soul singer's personal life, which was wrought with loneliness and sorrow. The song must have caught her at the perfect time in her career.

3. Bob Marley - Redemption Song

None other that Bob Marley could combine a portion of a Marcus Garvey speech with simple instrumentation to produce an anthem that gives a true sense of history. "Redemption Song" is a strong reminder of what we should aspire to be and the clear connection that our actions, goals, privileges and purpose are not just our own but belong to our ancestors for their struggles.

4. Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

This is the most disturbing song Billie Holiday ever recorded. Written after a trip to the deep South, Billie was inspired to write the first song speaking out against racism. The chilling imagery delivered through Holiday's haunting vocal styling brings the listener back to a time that was not long ago but is conveniently forgotten.

5. Patsy Cline - Crazy

This song was written by Willie Nelson specifically for Patsy Cline to sing. She conveyed to him stories of past relationships and magic happened in the studio. Stylistically, Cline's pitch and timbre is unmatched as she effortlessly cruised through this classic tune.

6. Ella Fitzgerald - Summertime 

Originally an operatic piece composed by George Gershwin but sung to me as a lullaby before bed; Ella's performance of this smooth aria is rich enough to captivate the attention of adults but sweet enough to calm a small child and lull them back to sleep.

7. Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain

Leave it to Prince to turn a love song into one of the greatest rock n' roll songs ever. After 100 million records sold worldwide, "Purple Rain" remains Prince's signature song. It has been covered countless times but none come close to the original.

8. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

"I Will Always Love You" is an extremely personal record originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton, which actually charted 3 separate times for Ms. Parton herself. In 1992, Whitney Houston covered  this country classic and blew it out of the water, selling 12 million copies, and turning it into the signature song of its decade! Whitney infused stratospheric notes, elements of gospel, and powerful emotion with crystal clear technical precision to deliver the greatest performance of her epic career.

9. Louie Armstrong - What A Wonderful World

 Louis Armstrong's raspy vocals transform simple, and somewhat sappy lyrics into a touching song about the simple beauty the world has to offer. Armstrong's gravely touch lends a greater appreciation of pleasures that most of us take for granted. This song is more about Armstrong's vocal performance than the lyrics or music themselves. He makes this song which is why his version can never be outdone.

10. John Lennon - Imagine

This song wasn't truly appreciated until years after it was released. Lennon proclaimed that "Imagine" was as good as any record that he had written for The Beatles. This anthem for peace, love, and humanity has been covered by dozens of platinum recording artists but given Lennon's iconic status at his death, his original version stands alone.

Honorable Mention:

Otis Redding - Sittin' One The Dock Of The Bay

Co-Authored by Queen Vance


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