Best Singles of Each Artist: Volume 1

Below is a list of 10 well-known and prolific artists which you can only post what you consider their best song. Only one song per artist. No runners up.

1) Beastie Boys
2) U2
3) Radiohead
4) David Bowie
5) Led Zeppelin
6) Smashing Pumpkins
7) Mariah Carey
8 ) The Beatles
9) Aerosmith
10) Madonna

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49 thoughts on “Best Singles of Each Artist: Volume 1

  1. Reviewing my answers I realize most of them are pretty cliché. Oh well. They are well-beloved songs for a reason.

    1) Beastie Boys — Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun (their best song on their best album)
    2) U2 — One (transcends the ballad)
    3) Radiohead — Let Down (as close to a perfect song as I know)
    4) David Bowie — Space Oddity (precisely captures the odd genius of Bowie)
    5) Led Zeppelin — Stairway to Heaven (sorry, but it’s an incredible song)
    6) Smashing Pumpkins — Disarm (an all-time favorite song)
    7) Mariah Carey — Without You (best pipes in the business, and just a great song)
    8 ) The Beatles — A Day in the Life (this song is hauntingly genius)
    9) Aerosmith — Dream On (a classic among classics)
    10) Madonna — Vogue (simply a genius song)

  2. 1) Beastie Boys – So Wat’cha Want
    2) U2 – Bad
    3) Radiohead – Reckoner (not a huge Radiohead fan)
    4) David Bowie – Can I have “Under Pressure”?
    5) Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings (The world is a vampire…)
    7) Mariah Carey – Vision of Love
    8 ) The Beatles – A Day in the Life
    9) Aerosmith – Dream On
    10) Madonna – Like a Prayer

  3. 1) Beastie Boys — “Fight for your right to party” (I don’t really listen to them, so I’m probably not qualified to say)
    2) U2 — “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”
    3) Radiohead — “Creep”
    4) David Bowie — “Rebel Rebel” (or maybe “All the Young Dudes” if Mott the Hoople counts)
    5) Led Zeppelin — “Kashmir”
    6) Smashing Pumpkins — “1979”
    7) Mariah Carey — …?
    8 ) The Beatles — “Hey Jude”
    9) Aerosmith — “Toys in the Attic”
    10) Madonna — “Justify my love”

  4. 1) Beastie Boys – “The Sounds of Science” (like Rusty said, their best song on their best album)
    2) U2 – stopped caring about them long ago
    3) Radiohead – “The Bends”
    4) David Bowie – “Queen Bitch” (very representative of my favorite Bowie era)
    5) Led Zeppelin – Maybe “Over the Hills and Far Away”
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – “Hummer” just my fave of their songs, so dreamy/sleepy, especially at the end.
    7) Mariah Carey – That one song w/ ODB
    8) The Beatles – “She Said, She Said”
    9) Aerosmith – “Walk This Way”
    10) Madonna – “Like a Virgin”

    The only artists on this list I listen to with any regularity any more are the Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Bowie, Pumpkins (although a lot less than I used to). But none of them expect for Bowie are in heavy rotation on my iPod.

  5. @Rusty

    Just relistened to “Let Down” and I remember how good of a song it is. Would reconsider my choice for Radiohead at this point.

  6. 1) Beastie Boys — “Sure Shot” or “So What’cha Want”

    2) U2 — “I Will Follow”

    3) Radiohead — Silence (I hate Radiohead)
    4) David Bowie — “Changes”
    5) Led Zeppelin — “Ramble On” or maybe “D’yer Mak’er”

    6) Smashing Pumpkins — meh. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”
    7) Mariah Carey — meh
    8 ) The Beatles — Too many to choose. Maybe “Hide Your Love Away”

    9) Aerosmith — Maybe “Walk this way” or “Back in the Saddle” or “Dream On”
    10) Madonna — Meh. I sort liked “Ray of Light”

  7. This is going to be tough because I don’t care for some of these bands.

    1) Beastie Boys – um…”Sabotage”? pass
    2) U2 – “Bad”
    3) Radiohead – pass
    4) David Bowie – “Suffragette City”
    5) Led Zeppelin – pass
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – “Rhinoceros”
    7) Mariah Carey – pass
    8.) The Beatles – “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
    9) Aerosmith – “Sweet Emotion”
    10) Madonna – um…”Crazy for You”? pass

  8. Curse you Rusty for this awesome feature.

    1) Beastie Boys – Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun
    2) U2 – Lemon (just kidding. It’s Bad)
    3) Radiohead – pass. Too many. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
    4) David Bowie – Golden Years
    5) Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings
    7) Mariah Carey – Vision of Love
    8 ) The Beatles – A Day in the Life
    9) Aerosmith – Jamie’s got a gun
    10) Madonna – Vogue

  9. Sure Shot or Intergalactic vie for top ranks with the BB as well.

    Curse you for making me choose with radiohead.

  10. 1) Beastie Boys – pass
    2) U2 – With or Without You
    3) Radiohead – pass
    4) David Bowie – Starman
    5) Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – Melon Collie… (title song)
    7) Mariah Carey – Without You
    8) The Beatles – Ticket to Ride
    9) Aerosmith – Dream On
    10) Madonna – pass

  11. 1) Beastie Boys – Sure Shot (gotta love that crazy flute riff): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5GXj1jwb1U

    2) U2 – Such a hard choice, but I keep going back to this:

    Best intro ever written.

    3) Radiohead – High and Dry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCPDiEz-GcE

    4) David Bowie – Rebel Rebel:

    One of the greatest riffs ever.

    5) Led Zeppelin – No contest:

    6) Smashing Pumpkins – Again, it’s really no contest:

    http://static.grindtv.com/1.2.3695/swf/video.swf?sa=1&si=1&i=33674

    7) Mariah Carey – Don’t really care.

    8 ) The Beatles – Revolution:

    9) Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion:

    10) Madonna – I have a lot of favorites, but this is probably at the top: Don’t Tell Me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRLHro9EPD0

  12. 1) Beastie Boys – Sabatoge
    2) U2 – Running to Stand Still (hello harmonica)
    3) Radiohead – Creep
    4) David Bowie – Changes
    5) Led Zeppelin – Going to California
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
    7) Mariah Carey – Without You
    8) The Beatles – In My Life
    9) Aerosmith – Walk This Way
    10) Madonna – Like a Prayer

  13. I am woefully ignorant of a couple of these artists. So, most of these will be mainstreamy.
    1) Beastie Boys – Wotcha Want
    2) U2 – Where the Streets Have no Name
    3) Radiohead – Creep (only song by them I can identify unprompted)
    4) David Bowie – Space Oddity
    5) Led Zeppelin – Rock n Roll
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – Today
    7) Mariah Carey – I’ll be There
    8 ) The Beatles – Paperback Writer
    9) Aerosmith – Cryin’
    10) Madonna – Crazy for You

  14. 1) Beastie Boys – Interglactic
    2) U2 – live version of Bad
    3) Radiohead – The Bends
    4) David Bowie – Golden Years
    5) Led Zeppelin – Ramble On
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly
    7) Mariah Carey – The one that she goes really high and makes her voice warble around a bit before going back low.
    8 ) The Beatles – A Day in the Life
    9) Aerosmith – Back in the Saddle
    10) Madonna – Like a Prayer

    Lots of bands on this list I don’t care much about. If I put my ipod on random I could go days without hearing Madonna, Radiohead or Aerosmith. And I’m pretty sure I don’t have any Mariah Carey stuff.

  15. 1) Beastie Boys – probably Shadrach off of Paul’s Boutique.
    2) U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
    3) Radiohead – Creep (like John C, it’s only RH song I can identify unprompted- I know, I know.)
    4) David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
    5) Led Zeppelin – Black Dog
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – pass
    7) Mariah Carey – no clue
    8 ) The Beatles – Hey Jude
    9) Aerosmith – Dream On
    10) Madonna – La Isla Bonita

  16. @ Tracy M

    Beastie Boys – probably Shadrach off of Paul’s Boutique

    I went back and forth between this one and my pick. Nice choice. I forgot how great the lyrics are on that entire album. Here’s just a little nugget.

    Only 24 hours in a day
    Only 12 notes a man can play
    Music for all and not just one people
    And now we’re gonna bust with the Putney Swope sequel
    More Adidas sneakers that a plumber got pliers
    Got more suits than Jacoby & Meyers
    If not for my vices my bugged out desires
    My year would be good just like Goodyear’s tires
    So I’m out pickin’ pockets at the Atlantic Antic
    And nobody wants to hear you cause your rhymes are so frantic
    I mix business with pleasure way too much
    I mean wine and women and song and such
    I don’t get blue I gotta mean red streak
    You don’t pay the band your friends and that’s weak
    Get even like Steven like pulling a Rambo
    SHADRACH MESACH ABEDNAGO

  17. Wow, lots of great pics. A few surprises:

    1) All of the passes on Radiohead. For those who passed, have you even listened to OK Computer?
    2) So many of you are too cool for Mariah. Too bad, she really is (was?) amazing.
    3) That anyone else chose A Day in the Life as their favorite Beatles song. I guess I’m not as alone in that one as I thought.
    4) Nobody else has chosen One or Disarm. Maybe the two greatest songs from the early 90’s.
    5) Geoff’s disdain for following rules (ONE answer!) and generally negative attitude.

  18. What a fun post. Don’t respond so quick Rusty!

    1) Beastie Boys – She’s On It (makes me think of Madonna)
    2) U2 – A Sort of Homecoming (magical)
    3) Radiohead – no comment
    4) David Bowie – Changes
    5) Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm
    7) Mariah Carey – I’ll Be There
    8 ) The Beatles – A Day in the Life tied with And I Love Her (because it was sung at my brother’s funeral)
    9) Aerosmith – Dream On
    10) Madonna – Don’t Tell Me (I listened to this song on repeat for like, a year)

    For all the Mariah haters:

  19. You have to understand that a lot of people can’t stand Thom Yorke’s voice. I think Geoff put it put it right a few months back, they’re black licorice. You either love them or hate them, not much in between.

    U2’s One is way down on my list of favorite U2 songs.

  20. 5) Geoff’s disdain for following rules (ONE answer!) and generally negative attitude.

    Har!

    (To make up for my bad attitude I went back and added a few embedded videos to my choices)

  21. BTW — I would have chosen “I’ll be there” for Mariah Carey but I like the Jackson 5 version a lot more so I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

  22. Well yeah, no one beats the Jackson 5. I fell in love with Mariah when I saw that Unplugged performance. She was so full of joy to be singing, it was contagious to watch her.

  23. “All of the passes on Radiohead. For those who passed, have you even listened to OK Computer?”

    Yes.

    Radiohead is a band that I feel like I should like, but just don’t. It all seems so somber and serious to me. I’ve just never been able to get into it. Every now and then, I try to give the band another chance, but it just doesn’t stick.

  24. I’ve listened to it, but not for a few years. I can’t play it with my husband around, he HATES Radiohead. I don’t think they’re horrible, I just have trouble with Thom Yorke’s whiny voice. I have trouble with Neil Young’s too.

    I’m sure if I’d seen Radiohead live I’d be a huge fan.

  25. I’ve just never been able to get into it. Every now and then, I try to give the band another chance, but it just doesn’t stick.

    That’s me and seafood.

  26. Intentionally not looking at anyone else’s lists yet.

    Beastie Boys: Intergalactic

    U2: New Year’s Day

    Radiohead: High and Dry (although I nearly put National Anthem)

    David Bowie: I’m Deranged (David Lynch version)

    Led Zeppelin: In My Time of Dying

    Smashing Pumpkins: Ava Adore (Not a big Pumpkins fan though)
    Mariah Carey: Umm. Really? I couldn’t even name a song.
    Beatles: Here’s Comes the Sun
    Aerosmith: Sweet Emotion
    Madonna: Really don’t like Madonna. But if I had to pick Material Girl.

  27. I tried to pass on Radiohead, not because I don’t love them but because there were too many songs for me to choose from.

  28. 1) Beastie Boys – Sounds of Science
    2) U2 – Running to Stand Still
    3) Radiohead – Creep (only know it from Rock Band)
    4) David Bowie – Suffragette City
    5) Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 (had to look this up, Today is the only one I know from memory, and RB)
    7) Mariah Carey – Vanishing (have to be an early fan to know it)
    8 ) The Beatles – Day in the Life
    9) Aerosmith – Amazing
    10) Madonna – Take a Bow

  29. 1) Beastie Boys- sabotage
    2) U2- pride (in the name of love)
    3) Radiohead- my iron lung
    4) David Bowie- life on mars?
    5) Led Zeppelin- Kashmir
    6) Smashing Pumpkins- zero
    7) Mariah Carey- fantasy
    8) The Beatles- let it be
    9) Aerosmith- angel
    10) Madonna- express yourself

  30. 1) Beastie Boys- Sabotage
    2) U2- New Year’s Day
    3) Radiohead- Paranoid Android
    4) David Bowie- Moonage Daydream
    5) Led Zeppelin- Stairway!
    6) Smashing Pumpkins- Thirty-three
    7) Mariah Carey- That peppy christmas tune (“All I Want for Christmas”?)
    8) The Beatles- A Day in the Life
    9) Aerosmith- Dream On
    10) Madonna- no faves

  31. LZ has to be their cover of Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks.” If it isn’t, it’s “Since I been Lovin you”

    I like whoever chose “Running to Stand Still” or U2, and if not that, I nominate “Mothers of the Disappeared.

    Radiohead: “Street Spirit”

    I have no strong opinions about the others.

  32. Hide Your Love Away is so awesome. That was my second choice. I like A Day In The Life, but it was recently voted the #1 Beatles song on some other list, so I have heard it a lot recently.

    Susan, I love that we picked the same Madonna song. I don’t know how anyone can not love that song. It could convert a monk to be a Madonna fan.

  33. I have to give a thumbs up to Running to Stand Still as well. Notice how many songs from Joshua Tree got picked.

    Bad used to be the one song that U2 played live in every show. It’s definitely still in my top 5.

  34. 1) Beastie Boys – Sabotage (love the cop video)

    2) U2 – Walk On (so hard to choose – have seen multiple times in concert all across western US)

    3) Radiohead – Paranoid Android (also impossible to narrow down – a band I’ve flown across the country to see – this is nearly a perfect song on a 5-star album)

    4) David Bowie – This is not America

    5) Led Zeppelin – Kashmir (wonderful mix of blues, rock, and non-traditional)

    6) Smashing Pumpkins – If There is a God (Piano version – hauntingly beautiful) (from Machina II – never officially released – “If there is a God / I know He likes to rock / He likes His loud guitars / And his spiders from Mars”)

    7) Mariah Carey – Seriously?

    8) The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby (again, hard to choose, love the imagery in this one and commentary on life)

    9) Aerosmith – Dream On (mmmmmmmm. Gets me from the opening riff)

    10) Madonna – Justify My Love (not many more sensual songs than this one, written with and background vocals by Lenny Kravitz, how cool)

  35. 1) Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right

    2) U2 – One

    3) Radiohead – don’t like them
    4) David Bowie – “Heroes”

    5) Led Zeppelin – When The Levee Breaks

    6) Smashing Pumpkins – I Am One

    7) Mariah Carey – don’t know any songs by her
    8 ) The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows

    9) Aerosmith – Draw the Line

    10) Madonna – Into the Groove

  36. 1) Beastie Boys – no idea
    2) U2 – I Fall Down
    3) Radiohead – High and Dry
    4) David Bowie – Major Tom :)
    5) Led Zeppelin – All of My Love
    6) Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
    7) Mariah Carey – ???
    8 ) The Beatles – In My Life
    9) Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion
    10) Madonna – Frozen

  37. I love Radiohead. I voted High and Dry, but there is that moment in Karma Police, just before he sings “for a minute I lost myself”, that is the all time best two seconds in pop music. So much tension in one moment of harmony, rhythm and melody, just totally brilliant.

  38. 1) Beastie Boys: can’t stand ‘em
    2) U2: Where the Streets Have No Name
    3) Radiohead: Lucky (2nd choice: How To Disappear Completely)
    4) David Bowie: Life On Mars
    5) Led Zeppelin: Ramble On
    6) Smashing Pumpkins: 1979
    7) Mariah Carey: Ehhhhhhh….. Without You
    8 ) The Beatles: I Am The Walrus
    9) Aerosmith: Cryin’
    10) Madonna: Vogue

  39. 1) Beastie Boys — Sure Shot
    2) U2 — hmm… Two Hearts Beat as One
    3) Radiohead — Karma Police
    4) David Bowie — Five Years
    5) Led Zeppelin — Going to California
    6) Smashing Pumpkins –not a big fan, but I like Tonight, Tonight
    7) Mariah Carey — Is it called Take a Look at Me Now? The Phil Collins song she covered.
    8 ) The Beatles — Help! (That’s a gut reaction.)
    9) Aerosmith — Eat the Rich
    10) Madonna — Like A Prayer

  40. 1) Get it Together
    2) Sunday Bloody Sunday
    3) Paranoid Android
    4) Sound and Vision
    5) Dazed and Confused
    6) 1979
    7) Emotions (?)
    8) AR medley that includes “Carry that Weight”
    9) Crazyamazicrying
    10) Get Into the Groove

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