Best Singles of Each Artist: Volume 2

One song per artist. No runners up.

1) Metallica
2) The Rolling Stones
3) Beethoven (song or symphony)
4) Michael Jackson
5) Bob Dylan
6) Guns ‘N Roses
7) Whitney Houston
8 ) Billy Joel
9) Pearl Jam
10) REM

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48 thoughts on “Best Singles of Each Artist: Volume 2

  1. Once again, most of my picks are pretty mainstream.

    1) Metallica — Enter Sandman (This song was my introduction to Metallica and I can’t shake it. An awesome, thumping opening.)
    2) The Rolling Stones — Gimme Shelter (Always been a favorite. One of the greatest openings ever.)
    3) Beethoven — Symphony No. 9 (Haunting. Gorgeous.)
    4) Michael Jackson — Smooth Criminal (This song has one of the greatest rhythms of any song, ever.)
    5) Bob Dylan — Positively 4th Street (I’m blown away that the most recent “best of” album didn’t include this awesome song.)
    6) Guns ‘N Roses — Sweet Child O’ Mine (This was my most difficult decision. I thought it would be November Rain, but after another listen it doesn’t hold up as well as this one, which has one of the greatest opening guitar riffs of all time.)
    7) Whitney Houston — I Will Always Love You (Sorry, but this is a good song. Dolly Parton’s original doesn’t even touch this one.)
    8 ) Billy Joel — Piano Man (He’s got a lot of good ones, but there’s something so pure about this song that he was never able to match.)
    9) Pearl Jam — Black (This was another toughy. Like most teens of the early 90’s, Ten and Nevermind swept me into the new music scene and I’ve always considered this their best song, but only barely.)
    10) REM — Losing My Religion (I’m admittedly not a huge REM fan and this song is, in my opinion, their most emblematic.)

    Admittedly many of my picks lean to the early 90’s which was when I really discovered popular music. But I’m okay with that, it was a good time for music.

  2. 1) Metallica – One
    2) The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black (or maybe Ruby Tuesday)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – if you’re going to claim the Ninth, I call dibs on the Fifth
    4) Michael Jackson – Billy Jean
    5) Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
    7) Whitney Houston – meh
    8 ) Billy Joel – You May Be Right (if only because I had this stuck in my head the other day, and it comes from my favorite Joel album)
    9) Pearl Jam – meh. It all sounds like the precursor to Creed and Nickelback to me. (Yes, I’m being unnecessarily provocative.)
    10) REM – So. Central Rain.

  3. 1) Metallica – One
    I had just read Johnny Get Your Gun when this album/video came out. Plus I saw them twice on this tour.

    2) The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
    Tied with Sympathy For The Devil. The Stones really have some brilliant songs.

    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – ? No idea.

    4) Michael Jackson – Rock With You
    Or Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough. Early Michael rules.

    5) Bob Dylan – All Along the Watchtower

    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Sweet Child of Mine
    My husband’s cousin bought a house from the keyboardist of GNR. We sat in the pool and thought about what kind of gross things had probably gone on in that pool.

    7) Whitney Houston – The Greatest Love of All
    I’m a sucker for cheese.

    8 ) Billy Joel – Only the Good Die Young
    Had it as a single when I was a kid, listened to it constantly. Still have the single. And still listen to it constantly.

    9) Pearl Jam – Jeremy
    Mainly because I knew a kid in high school who had brought a gun to school at his previous school, intending to kill himself. He spent some time in a mental hospital.

    10) REM – Losing My Religion
    In general I prefer their early stuff, but this song is one of my all-time faves.

  4. I thought you would put up PJ and REM which are difficult for me. But here goes:

    1) Metallica – Unforgiven (too mainstream?)
    2) The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black (one of my all-time faves)
    3) Beethoven – #9 (Favorite since playing it on my cello in 5th grade)
    4) Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal (also his best video)
    5) Bob Dylan
    6) Guns ‘N Roses (Sweet Child O’ Mine – just for the opening though)
    7) Whitney Houston – don’t know
    8 ) Billy Joel – Piano Man
    9) Pearl Jam – Off He Goes (could have gone with a doezen different songs depending on how I feel)
    10) REM – I’m going to go with Country Feedback

  5. With Pearl Jam, my internal debate had the following songs:

    Off He Goes
    Yellow Ledbetter
    Indifference
    Nothingman
    Elderly Woman…
    Porch
    State of Love & Trust

    With REM, I think Losing My Religion is their best song, just not my favorite.

  6. 1) Metallica – pass
    2) The Rolling Stones – Start Me Up (for Keith, not Mick)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – #5
    4) Michael Jackson – Beat It (only because it spawned such an awesome Weird Al parody)
    5) Bob Dylan – Knockin on Heaven’s Door
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine (what Tim J said)
    7) Whitney Houston – pass
    8 ) Billy Joel – She’s Got a Way
    9) Pearl Jam – Yellow Ledbetter
    10) REM – Can’t Get There From Here

  7. 1) Metallica – Enter Sandman

    2) The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil

    3) Beethoven – Symphony #6. (I was always partial to that one, probably because it was the one featured in “Fantasia.”

    4) Michael Jackson – Enjoy Yourself (as part of the Jackson 5)

    5) Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone

    6) Guns ‘N Roses – nothing, really

    7) Whitney Houston – I dunno; she never did much for me. I’d rather hear Donna Summer. If pressed, I’d have to say I Want To Dance With Somebody

    8 ) Billy Joel – Captain Jack

    9) Pearl Jam – Black

    10) REM – Don’t Go Back to Rockville (love the song for the shout-out to the town I live in…)

  8. Okay, this list brought me out of lurk status.

    1) Metallica – Master of Puppets (great tempo changes and blend of guitar styles)
    2) The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – Moonlight Sonata
    4) Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough
    5) Bob Dylan – All Along the Watchtower
    6) Guns ‘N Roses –
    7) Whitney Houston – I got nothing for her
    8 ) Billy Joel – Only the Good Die Young. Adolescent seduction at its best.
    9) Pearl Jam – Jeremy
    10) REM – This is the hardest, because it’s a moving target for me. If I had to pick one now, Nightswimming.

  9. 1) Metallica- wherever I may roam
    2) The Rolling Stones- gimme shelter
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony)- 9th symphony
    4) Michael Jackson- thriller
    5) Bob Dylan- like a rolling stone
    6) Guns ‘N Roses- November rain
    7) Whitney Houston- I’m your baby tonight
    8 ) Billy Joel- only the good die young
    9) Pearl Jam- once (I loved that entire album)
    10) REM- losing my religion

  10. 1) Metallica: One (I’m not a fan, but I recognize their skills, which are evident here.)
    2) The Rolling Stones: Brown Sugar (One of my faves overall)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony): #9 (Still can bring tears in the last movement)
    4) Michael Jackson: Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough (A great party song)
    5) Bob Dylan: Brownsville Girl (a tough call, but I love this song. Very quotable.)
    6) Guns ‘N Roses: Live and Let Die (Their songs seem even sillier now, but this cover is better than the original)
    7) Whitney Houston: Joy (from The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack. Not a fan, but this is a good gospel song)
    8 ) Billy Joel: She’s Got a Way (It was all downhill from there.)
    9) Pearl Jam: Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (I’ve grown into this and it haunts me sometimes)
    10) REM: Untitled (from Green; Find the River a close second)

  11. Metallica – Enter Sandman

    Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

    Beethoven – Ode to Joy (come on, could there be any other choice?)

    Michael Jackson – I not to think about him. If I had to pick Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough

    Bob Dylan – Not a huge Dylan fan but Lay Lady Lay is a fantastic song.

    Guns n Roses – Yeah, this is a cheesy pick, but I got to go with their McCartney cover of Live and Let Die.

    Whitney Houston – You Give Good Love

    Billy Joel – New York State of mind. (Speaking of which I have a great duet of him singing this with Tony Bennet)

    Pearl Jam – Evolution

    REM – Drive

  12. 1) Metallica — One. Loud and thumping and it had a freaky video
    2) Rolling Stones — Paint it Black. I first got into it after hearing the U2 remake. After I heard the original I realized just how horrible the remake was.
    3) Beethoven — Symphony No. 5
    4) Michael Jackson — I’ll Be There (is t fair to use a Jackson 5 song?)
    5) Bob Dylan — Rolling Stone. Truth is though I always love his music more when somebody else is singing it.
    6) Guns ‘N Roses — Paradise City
    7) Whitney Houston — I Will Always Love You . Much better than Dolly PArton, and one of the few Houston songs that interests me.
    8 ) Billy Joel — Goodnight Saigon. Really depressing and fantastic.
    9) Pearl Jam — Yellow Ledbetter. This is the toughest pick of this group, I could easily put ten more in it’s place.
    10) REM — Orange Crush

  13. Metallica – who cares
    Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
    Beethoven – hell if I know
    Michael Jackson – The Love You Save
    Bob Dylan – Shelter from the Storm
    GnR – Paradise City
    Whitney Houston – a waste of oxygen
    Billy Joel – Tell Her About It ? (not a huge fan, sorry)
    PJ – I gonna cheat here:

    REM – End of the World as We Know It

  14. 1) Metallica – Wherever I May Roam
    2) The Rolling Stones – Dead Flowers (off the Stripped CD)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – No idea
    4) Michael Jackson – Bad
    5) Bob Dylan – All Along the Watchtower (though Jimi’s version is superior)
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Yesterdays
    7) Whitney Houston – Didn’t We Almost Have It All – Ha, I really don’t know her music outside of American Idol contestants
    8 ) Billy Joel – Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
    9) Pearl Jam – Corduroy
    10) REM – Drive

  15. 1) Metallica: Enter Sandman
    2) The Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Devil
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony): Moonlight Sonata
    4) Michael Jackson: Billie Jean
    5) Bob Dylan: Forever Young
    6) Guns ‘N Roses: Welcome to the Jungle
    7) Whitney Houston: The Star Spangled Banner — To everyone saying “meh” and so on, I just have to say that today she may be a sad ruin of what she once was, but in her prime she had easily the most beautiful voice of her generation.
    8 ) Billy Joel: Piano Man
    9) Pearl Jam: Wishlist
    10) REM: It’s the End of the World As We Know It

  16. 1) Metallica – Master of Puppets (syncopated rhythms, melodic middle section, blazing solo after, classic Metallica, great live (seen from 2nd row, 5th row and 8th row)

    2) The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar (not very PC, great riff)

    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major

    4) Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (earlier MJ is better)

    5) Bob Dylan – You’re a Big Girl Now (Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde – classic albums)

    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle (classic opening riff to the first song on the first album of a new band)

    7) Whitney Houston – don’t listen to very much

    8 ) Billy Joel – New York State of Mind

    9) Pearl Jam – Evenflow (great live versions out there)

    10) REM – Talk About the Passion (off Murmur – when I first got into REM – great album)

  17. 1) Metallica — Sandman (Pretty much the only song I know of from them…)
    2) The Rolling Stones — Paint it Black (though “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” gets sung more at my house)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) — 5th Symphony
    4) Michael Jackson — I’ll Be There
    5) Bob Dylan — All Along The Watchtower
    6) Guns ‘N Roses — Welcome To The Jungle
    7) Whitney Houston — errr… got nuthin. Pass.
    8 ) Billy Joel — ummm… Bigshot (with a “meh”)
    9) Pearl Jam — Betterman
    10) REM — Fall On Me (but there are a lot to choose from)

  18. 1) Metallica – “One”
    2) The Rolling Stones – “Can’t Get No Satisfaction”
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – Symphony #5 First Movement
    4) Michael Jackson – Thriller
    5) Bob Dylan – Someday Baby
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Sweet Child O Mine
    7) Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (I heard “I Will Always Love You” far too much on my mission to even consider liking it).
    8 ) Billy Joel – “She’s Got A Way”
    9) Pearl Jam – Jeremy
    10) REM – Losing My Religion

  19. I don’t have a lot to add to the discussion about most of these artists, but I think there is a sleeper here with Beethoven. If you haven’t heard it, since it’s just a piano sonata, please spend ten minutes at some point soon listening to the Waldstein Sonata. It runs neck and neck with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto for my favorite work of Classical/Romantic music.

    Horowitz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ5QKjmkinU

  20. BTW – am I the only one to find it somewhat odd to call Beethoven’s 9th “a best single”? LOL. Seems like more of a concept album. That’s why I said Ode to Joy rather than the 9th Symphony. The Symphony is like an album and the movement like a single.

  21. 1) Metallica – Battery
    2) The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black (the peppiest song about being depressed)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – Fur Elise, I guess.
    4) Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Something (love the chorus at the end)
    5) Bob Dylan – I want to say Tangled Up in Blue, but I’m going to say Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Sweet child
    7) Whitney Houston – Wow, used to really like her, can’t think of any songs except that one about children. I’ll go with: I Will Always Love You from that movie or something.
    8 ) Billy Joel – Uptown Girl
    9) Pearl Jam – Black (so sad)
    10) REM – Near Wild Heaven

  22. 1) Metallica- Harvester of Sorrow
    2) The Rolling Stones- Paint it Black
    3) Beethoven- Ode to Joy
    4) Michael Jackson- Billie Jean
    5) Bob Dylan- All Along the Watchtower
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Paradise City
    7) Whitney Houston – that Dolly Parton Song
    8 ) Billy Joel – Piano Man
    9) Pearl Jam – Black
    10) REM – Losing my Religion

  23. 1) Metallica – The Four Horsemen
    2) The Rolling Stones – Rocks Off
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – I’m not really sure why this is here. 9 modern-day pop artists and one 200-year old classical composer.
    4) Michael Jackson – Rock With You
    5) Bob Dylan – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Nightrain
    7) Whitney Houston – The only song I can bring to mind is her awful Dolly Parton cover
    8 ) Billy Joel – I hate his music
    9) Pearl Jam – I Got Id
    10) REM – Radio Free Europe

  24. 1. Metallica: I can go with “One.”
    2. Stones: I love “Brown Sugar.” Partly it’s that the song is so (deliberately) offensive; partly it’s the sax.
    3. Beethoven: I love “Piano Sonata In C Minor, Opus 13, “Grande Sonate Pathétique” II – Adagio Contabile” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cELMIRPiZw&feature=related)
    4. Michael Jackson: probably “Thriller,” although you can’t really go wrong.
    5. Dylan: “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
    6. Guns ‘N Roses: ???
    7. Whitney Houston: I haven’t listened to anything she’s done in a long time. She did a “Star-Spangled Banner,” right?
    8. Billy Joel: “The Entertainer”
    9. Pearl Jam: “Jeremy” hit me when I was younger, so I’ll go with that.
    10. REM: “Drive.”

  25. 1) Metallica- The Unforgiven
    2) The Rolling Stones- Wild Horses (you forget how many great songs)
    3) Beethoven- 3rd Symphony Eroica (Love the opening two thumps)
    4) Michael Jackson- Billie Jean
    5) Bob Dylan- Knocking on Heaven’s Door (my son when he was little used to sing Knocking on Kevin’s Door – the name of one of my best friends)
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Paradise City
    7) Whitney Houston – I do feel sorry that she’s all strung out, but she is my all time most loathed pop artist
    8 ) Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are *grin*
    9) Pearl Jam – Black Hole Sun *wink*
    10) REM – Driver 8

  26. “8 ) Billy Joel – I hate his music”

    Laugh out loud. My ex-wife hated Billy Joel so much that she would literally leave a store if a Billy Joel song came on. ~

  27. 1) Metallica – I don’t know their earlier stuff at all, so One
    2) The Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – I guess the Ode to Joy from the 9th (I really need to know more about classical music)
    4) Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror (because I am a cheeseball)
    5) Bob Dylan – Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Civil War
    7) Whitney Houston – I wanna dance with somebody
    8 ) Billy Joel – Stiletto
    9) Pearl Jam – I’ve only ever listened to Ten, so Alive
    10) REM – Nightswimming (I’m irritated that someone got there before me) ;)

  28. 1) Metallica –
    2) The Rolling Stones – Waiting for a Friend (with the great Sonny Rollins sax solo)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – Egmont Overture
    4) Michael Jackson –
    5) Bob Dylan – Maggie’s Farm (electric live at Newport)
    6) Guns ‘N Roses –
    7) Whitney Houston –
    8 ) Billy Joel – Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
    9) Pearl Jam – Elderly Woman….
    10) REM – End of the World

  29. 1) Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls

    2) The Rolling Stones – can’t pick just one

    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – Piano Sonata #8, second movement

    4) Michael Jackson – Thriller

    5) Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

    6) Guns ‘N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle

    7) Whitney Houston –

    8) Billy Joel – Just The Way You Are

    9) Pearl Jam – [I don't really like this band]

    10) REM – Everybody Hurts

  30. 1) Metallica – I’m probably in the vast minority, but I loved the song “No Leaf Clover” from their S&M album (the one with the full orchestra)…probably one of my favorite albums of all time
    2) The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black, for many of the same reasons people have mentioned
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – Moonlight Sonata
    4) Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
    5) Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A’Changin’
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – In the Jungle (though it’s quite overplayed, the first time I heard it I loved it).
    7) Whitney Houston – The Star Spangled Banner, Super Bowl XXV (1991)

    8 ) Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the fire
    9) Pearl Jam – Alive
    10) REM – Man on the Moon

  31. MCQ, I’m just not a fan of grunge music, Pearl Jam included. The one thing I admire about Pearl Jam is that they tried to stick it to Ticketmaster. Sadly, their efforts in that direction did not succeed.

    I’m a big fan of Billy Joel and simultaneously aware that there are a bunch of people who are contemptuous of his music. Couldn’t care less.

    I didn’t mean to leave Whitney Houston blank on my list. She was a very talented singer. I would choose her song “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)”.

  32. Brandt, have you listened to all of Billy Joel’s music?

    “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is awful.

    If I had to pick Billy Joel’s worst song ever, that would be the one.

  33. danithew, I think the reason why I labeled that one as my favorite is more for sentimental reasons than for quality reasons (because you are right, it’s ridiculous). That was the first introduction I had to Billy at the age of 9, finding his Storm Front cassette among the rubble of our house while it was being built.

    While it was a forgettable album, it paved the way for me finding many of his better things.

    DONT THINK LESS OF ME, DANITHEW!!!!!!!

  34. 1) Metallica – “Master of Puppets”
    2) The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil”
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – “A Fifth of Beethoven” by The Big Apple Band/Walter Murphy
    4) Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”
    5) Bob Dylan – “Shelter from the Storm”
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – “Welcome to the Jungle”
    7) Whitney Houston – skip
    8 ) Billy Joel – Anthony Bourdain (whom I love!) has one rule for his kitchen… absolutely no Billy Joel allowed!
    9) Pearl Jam – “Yellow Ledbetter”
    10) REM – “Radio Free Europe”

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  36. 1) Metallica – “Master of Puppets”
    2) The Rolling Stones – so many good ones but I’ll go with “let it loose” (or “under my thumb” or “salt of the earth”)
    3) Beethoven (song or symphony) – “take the skinheads bowling” (grin)
    4) Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror”
    5) Bob Dylan – “Maggie’s Farm”
    6) Guns ‘N Roses – “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” Dylan deserves more, GnR less.
    7) Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You” but Dolly Parton did it better. Houston should have gone for a cooler old country song. She and Bobby Brown could have dueted “The Last Thing on My Mind”
    8 ) Billy Joel – I don’t know. “Uptown Girl” You listen to Billy Joel to be annoyed, right?
    9) Pearl Jam – “Better Man”
    10) REM – “Hyena” I love all REM though.

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