Last week, like everyone else, I was gutted by the news of Prince’s death. His music has been so much a part of my life. Mr. Donovan and I even danced to a Prince song (“Forever In My Life”) for the first dance at our wedding!

His individualism, imagination, and frank treatment of sexuality were a big influence on me as a creative person. I honestly thought he would live until he was at least one hundred.

Prince created a couple of my very favorite songs ever. So did David Bowie, who died earlier this year. One of my mutuals on Twitter posted this, which really got me thinking.


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That’s why I thought I would do a list of my very favorite songs and celebrate some of the music that’s meant so much to me, unrelated to tragedy. It’s incredible how much a song can mean to you.

This isn’t one of those lists where the blogger is trying to show how cool or discerning they are, because I am a grownup. I don’t have any guilty pleasures. If I like something, I like it, and that goes for music as much as anything else.

I like a lot of opera, but I didn’t include any arias here because it just seemed weird with the pop songs.

These aren’t really in order, except that I put Bowie and Prince first out of respect. Warning for mature lyrics, not to mention just plain ridiculous lyrics.

1. “Golden Years,” David Bowie

Okay, if I did have to pick a number one favorite song, this might be it. I loved what they did with it in A Knight’s Tale. RIP David Bowie, RIP Heath Ledger, and let’s enjoy every single day that we can…

2. “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps),” David Bowie

The title track of a perfect album.

‘3. Erotic City,” Prince

Not as many people seem to know this B side to “Let’s Go Crazy,” but it’s fantastic to dance to. When I was a kid, kids could go to grown-up clubs and they just got stamps on their hands saying you couldn’t give them alcohol. There were many days when I finished my school day, went to work the evening shift at the library, got off at 9:30, and then went with my friends to a club full of gay people and straight people, black people and white people, and danced till 1 a.m., and then dragged myself home to do my homework, and that club always played this song.

And here’s a funny thing. I haven’t used iTunes for a long while now, but the car we bought last year won’t play Spotify or Pandora from my phone unless I have at least one song downloaded onto my phone. So I have one song on my phone, and that is “Erotic City.”


4. “Raspberry Beret,” Prince

“In through the out door, out door.” This might be just about everyone’s favorite Prince song. It’s so delightful.

5. “Bryn,” Vampire Weekend


6. “Feeling Good,” Nina Simone

Wait, this actually might be my favorite song ever.

7. “Crazy in Love,” Beyonce

I first heard this at a fashion show, of all places! This song started to blare, the Ralph Lauren models stalked out, and I was electrified. It’s the only fashion show I ever went to, and I don’t care much about the fashion world (though I do care a lot about style.) This is one of my very very favorites.

8. “Astral Weeks,” Van Morrison

This song is almost too emotional and spiritual for me to listen to often. Mr. Donovan played it the morning after our first night together. (ETA: It’s kind of funny that on youtube, I have the top comment on this song.)

9. “Moondance,” Van Morrison

Ahhh just so romantic. We have been married for such a long time now, and we are still lovers and very best friends. I think we love each other more than ever. This song makes me think of that — the dance that just goes on and on.

10. “Train in Vain,” The Clash

This was originally a hidden track on London Calling, recorded at the last minute. Although I know it’s heresy, I think the Clash might have been the best rock band of all time.

11. “Percussion Gun,” White Rabbits

I love bands with two drummers! The drumming plus the piano here is amazing. I like the album Milk Famous better than this one, though.

12. “These Stones Will Shout,” The Raconteurs

I worry about Jack White because he just seems to work nonstop. And he just collaborated on a song with Beyonce! I never would have imagined them working together, but it makes all the sense in the world.

13. “What I’d Say,” Ray Charles

Sometimes I just have to listen to this loud.

14. “Kashmir,” Led Zeppelin

My dad listened to a lot of classic rock like this when I was a kid.

15. “Three Girl Rhumba,” Wire

Probably no one knows this one but me. Another band ripped off the riff, though, so it might sound a little familiar because of that!

16. “Come Near,” Lykki Li

Ominous and epic. I just now watched the video for the first time.

17. “E-Pro,” Beck

This was on my writing soundtrack for the paranormal romance novel I completed last year – the first one in the trilogy.

18. “Gold Lion,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs

And this is on the writing soundtrack for book two! Mysterious lyrics, super fun to scream-sing along to.

19. “Teardrop,” Massive Attack

Also on the book 2 soundtrack. It’s so gorgeous and emotional. God, I just love it.

2o. “Blame It On Me,” George Ezra

Kind of hard to resist this guy.

21. “Soft Serve,” Soul Coughing

Kind of a quintessential summer song.

22. “La Grange,” ZZ Top

The best driving-at-night song there is.

23. “Extreme Ways,” Moby

The Bourne movies with Matt Damon used this song to such great effect. I am so freaking excited about the new one!

24. “I’m Not Done,” Fever Ray

I love her spooky songs. The TV show The Vikings used another one off the album as their theme song.

25. “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” Jay-Z

Jay-Z is always telling me to turn the music up in my headphones and I pretty much always do.

26. “Got Nuffin,” Spoon

I saw these guys in concert once, and at the end of the concert I asked the sound guy for the hand-written set list. He gave it to me, and the people around me were so jealous. “Got Nuffin” not only sounds great, but has fantastic, uplifting lyrics.

27. “Lust for Life,” Iggy Pop

“I’m worth a million in prizes!” Iggy Pop is the best.

28. “Elevate My Mind,” Stereo MCs

Here’s the thing. I didn’t know the name of this song, but I loved it. And for fifteen years, I couldn’t track it down! And then I found it and I almost cried!

29. “Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

This video expresses my enthusiasm pretty well. This song is just perfect really.

30. “The Best Is Yet to Come,” Tony Bennett

Love the song, love the singer. How old is he? I’m a fan of his on Facebook and he still has so much energy!

31. “Chelsea Dagger,” The Fratellis

This also happens to be the theme song for the Chicago Blackhawks. Every song on the album is great.

32. “Six Different Ways,” The Cure

And Head on the Door is a perfect album of course.

33. “You Sexy Thing,” Hot Chocolate

Always makes me smile!

34. “More, More, More,” Andrea True Connection

I didn’t fall in love with this until I saw the movie The Last Days of Disco. Have you seen that? It’s so smart and fun.

35. “Butterflies and Hurricanes,” Muse

I am pretty sure Muse is one of those bands that it’s not cool to like? I love them.

36. “King Kunta,” Kendrick Lamar

Layered funk that builds and builds.

37. “Semi-Charmed Life,” Third Eye Blind

I loved this song so much I named a category of my blog after it! This is one of those songs that feels like a soundtrack to my life.

38. “Creator,” Santigold

Here’s something funny: a month or two ago, I thought to myself, “I wonder if Santigold has done anything lately,” and she had dropped an album that day! The new stuff is great too. She is so creative and original and her songs are so catchy. This song is a great anthem for a creative person.

39. “Rio,” Duran Duran

I feel like I would kill this one at karaoke.

40. “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf),” AWOLNATION

41. “Galvanize,” Chemical Brothers

A great motivational song.

42. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” Nirvana

The original title of this intense and creepy-as-hell song, which is well over a hundred years old, is “In the Pines.”  This is from their unplugged album, which I like the best.

43. “Ulysses,” Franz Ferdinand

Every single song this band does is so damn catchy.

44. “Rock On,” David Essex

I’ve loved this one as long as I can remember.

45. “Hello Good Morning,” Diddy – Dirty Money, ft. Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj

This is a great song for when it’s Monday morning and you’re getting ready for work and you’re planning to kick ass all week.

46. “More Than This,” Roxy Music

So, so romantic and lush.

47. “Fitzpleasure,” Alt-J

Alt-J gets a lot of grief for the nasal-falsetto vocals, even though that style of singing is popular in lots of music around the world. Nobody else sounds like this band. This is the first song I ever heard by them, and when it came on the radio when I was driving, it about blew my head off. And that bass line, oh my goodness.

48. “Left Hand Free,” Alt-J

This is actually my favorite Alt-J song.

49. “Flagpole Sitta,” Harvey Danger

This obnoxious song is like Green Day’s best, except it’s not theirs.

50. “Best Day Of My Life,” American Authors

It’s so happy!

Of course, it’s possible that if I did this next week the list would look somewhat different!

Did I list any of your favorites? Do you hate all my favorites? That’s okay. What are yours? I might like to add them to my playlists. Thanks for stopping by!