black vinyl record on white table

Timeless Songs – Part 1

In case I have not made it clear already, I love music. Music plays an important part in my life. So I decided to make a list of songs I consider timeless. I don’t claim that these songs are the best in any way; is just that I keep coming back to them every now and then, even after all these years.

These songs are in no specific order. I may be obsessed with one of them today and with some other one tomorrow.

Also, I did an interesting experiment with this post. I actually listened to each song and then wrote about it. For any song where I did not find anything to write about, I discarded from this list.

Hotel California (1977) – Eagles

The first time I remember hearing this song was at my erstwhile friend Bhavesh’s house. He had just found the Hell Freezes Over video and his family had gathered around the computer to watch it. So this version stuck with me over the years. The starting notes of this song was one of the first songs I learnt to play on the guitar. It was quite some time till I even heard the original version & even then it took me quite some time to develop a taste for it. Now, I listen to the original version more and the Hell Freezes Over one not so much.

Overall, this is a timeless classic that will stay with me till the end of my days. The guitar duet between Don Felder and Joe Walsh is unparalleled in rock history.

I suggest you also listen to this (very well done) parody.

Comfortably Numb (1979) – Pink Floyd

I don’t remember exactly when I heard this song for the first time, but I assume it didn’t leave a big impact on me then. What I do remember is, like the previous entry, I listened to the Pulse version of this song before I did The Wall version. Over time, this song grew on me, especially when I saw the movie and understood the meaning behind the lyrics.

The song is special, because of the fantastic guitar solos by David Gilmour.

The first solo starts off with an uplifting note and is simpler in nature.

The second solo starts much later and is more serious in nature. It is also much longer and technical. If you like the song, do watch the movie to understand the deeper meaning as the protagonist loses his mind.

Dreams (1977) – Fleetwood Mac

Like the previous entries, the first time I heard this song was the cover version in this concert. But the original version came to me from my friend who now goes by the name of Lee La.

This song was also my introduction to Fleetwood Mac.

I think I love this song because of how melodious it is, in spite of not being too technical or having complicated solos. I also love the bass track.

The FLV version of the below video was one of the few videos I kept on my Nokia E50.

Sheep (1977) – Pink Floyd

Even though I had been a Pink Floyd fan for a long time, I hadn’t heard Animals. and when I did it drove me crazy. Of all the songs in that album, Sheep is my favourite.

This song is like an unstoppable train, relentless in its pace, reflected in the distorted guitar shredding. The bass track is also awesome.

I love how the song crawls down to a near stop around the 3:50 mark, stays that way for some time and then goes back to its frantic pace.

This song still reminds me of those Think Floyd concerts back in India.

Come as you are (1992) – Nirvana

Although when I was young, I preferred the heavier songs from Nirvana, I have stopped listening to most of them over the years, leaving this as one of the few Nirvana songs I still listen to, regularly.

This song is defined by its melody and simplicity. The bass, guitar, drums are all relatively easy to play, leaving only Cobain’s angtsy vocals that still cannot be matched.

Echoes (1971) – Pink Floyd

I had just come back from a trip from back home in Kolkata and the first thing I did was install my Worldspace satellite radio system. I put on Orbit Rock and went to take a shower, when this song started. Even though I had never heard it before, I immediately recognised it as a Pink Floyd song and was captivated and listened to (all 23 minutes of it) in my towel. After it finished, I went online and looked up Orbit Rock’s schedule to find out the name of this song.

Over the years this song has left a deep impression on me. I am not sure why, but this song reminds me of driving to office just before Durga Puja and being excited about the upcoming holidays.

The Live at Pompeii version is even more special as it has an elaborate bass track by Roger Waters.

I remember going to office listening to this song and reaching before it got over and then spending up to 10 more minutes in the car in the parking waiting for it to get over. One day, like this, a colleague knocked on my window to ask me why I was sitting in the car alone and I pretended not to notice him.

The Chain (1977) – Fleetwood Mac

I didn’t listen to rumours till (relatively) recently, but what an album! But this section is about my favourite song from the album, not the album itself.

The song starts off slow with Lindsey Buckingham’s haunting guitar plucking with chorus vocals coming in after. The bass and guitar duet-solo is also iconic.

To understand the deeper meaning of this song, I suggest you watch  the Classic Albums episode of this album, which explains the personal turmoils the band members were facing.

I Can’t Tell You Why (1979) – Eagles

This is my favourite Eagles song of all time, I just love it so much. It made me a fan of Timothy Schmit’s beautiful vocals and Don Felder’s haunting guitars.

The song is slow and easy-going. The 2 solos are just beautiful.

I bought an electric guitar to play these solos. I grew long hair and a beard, wore a shirt with a big collar and recorded myself playing the 2 solos.

The FLV version of the below video was one of the few videos I kept on my Nokia E50.

This song also reminds me of my early courtship period with my (now) wife in Nagpur.

Time (1973) – Pink Floyd

This is my favourite song from The Dark Side of the Moon. The opening clock sounds are so iconic, many movies, songs and TV shows have used them over the years. And every time I hear them, I get excited for this song followed immediately by disappointed when its not this song.

Nick Mason’s drum solo in the beginning is iconic, too. Gilmour’s solo is amazing; I even learnt to play it at one point of time.

This is one of those songs, whose lyrics I have used to live my life by, mainly how not to waste your time on unpleasant things (like toxic relationships) and if you aren’t careful, the world leaves you behind.

The song ends with a reprise of Breathe, which is also a song I like.

Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pts 1-5 (1975) – Pink Floyd

The number of times I have listened to this composition would surely be close to a thousand. This is my favourite morning song. The >13 min long Parts 1-V are perfect to listen to when your morning coffee hasn’t kicked in and you want to take it easy.

The song never picks up too much tempo.

I prefer the live versions of this song, especially the one from  Delicate Sound of Thunder.

This version reminds me of my time in Nagpur when I had finally gotten serious about studies and rewarded myself between study sessions by listening to music. I remember listening to it on a shitty Samsung phone, whose SD card retainer had broken and I had to use tape to keep it inside.

Linger (1993) – The Cranberries

I remember listening to this one in college. Although Zombie was the more popular The Cranberries song, I preferred Linger. I just find this song so melodious and haunting. My ultimate feel-good song.

2 Minutes to Midnight (1984) – Iron Maiden

This is my go-to song when I want a dose of heavy metal. The guitar riffs and the bass track are just amazing.

I find the lyrics fun (I don’t consider them deep or something). One of the things I do is, when I am speaking/chatting with someone, I try to fit-in the lyrics of this song somehow into the conversation. Has led to hilarious conversations in some cases, especially when the other person recognises what I am doing and responds in kind.

One great moment was when I discovered that there’s a clothing store named Golden Goose.

A clothing chain called Golden Goose
A clothing chain called Golden Goose

One (1988) – Metallica

Whenever I buy a new set of speakers or headphones, this is the song I test on it. The song starts off in a soft melodic setting, but it develops through multiple sections into heavier and faster speed metal sounds, leading up to a tapping solo by Kirk Hammett, and a dual guitar section by Hammett and James Hetfield. The double bass drumming by Lars Ulrich is the only bass in the song as this album famously has almost no bass guitar sound.

Riders on the Storm (1971) – The Doors

Ah! One of the most beautiful & melodious songs ever. Such beautiful bass and keyboard tracks. The first time I heard this song was not the original version, but the Snoop Dogg cover, in the game Need for Speed: Underground 2.

This song reminds me of leaving Someplace Else late at night while its raining outside or has stopped raining, but the streets are still wet.

We also had a fun rule in our family for many years. Whenever it would rain (rare in Gurgaon), we would play this song.

O Re Nil Doriya (2009) – Arnob & Nazia Ahmed

I first heard this song at our favourite (now defunct) Bengali restaurant & fell in love with its melody and simplicity. Although it’s in a language I understand, the dialect is foreign to me and I don’t understand all the lyrics.

One thing I love to do, is go to Ibirapuera Park, sit on my favourite bench facing the lake and listen to this song.

I also want to go to Bangladesh one day and listen to this song while sailing on the Padma.

Zombie (1994) – The Cranberries

Zombie is a powerful anti-war anthem by The Cranberries, which is still relevant today, because humans can’t stop making war.

My earliest memory of this song goes back to our college second year fresher’s party where my friend Arka was (supposedly) going to perform this song with a junior girl on the vocals. We were all quite excited, so you can imagine our disappointment when we found out the girl had fainted and the performance was cancelled.

That’s it for Part 1 of this post, look out for Part 2, soon.

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