10 Awesome Songs You Should Know

These songs will run the gamut, from well-known to obscure. But they’re incredibly awesome, and you should know the words to all of them.

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This list is going to run the gamut, from songs you’ve never heard of to songs that are absolute staples. Here are ten songs you should know the words to — for different reasons…

Buddy Holly:  True Love Ways 

Most people view Elvis Presley as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Wrong. It was Buddy Holly, who brought the music to the mainstream, wrote his own songs, and produced his own songs before his untimely death in a plane crash at the age of 22 in February of 1959.

If there was no Holly, The Beatles wouldn’t have existed. And this song is a clue as to what he might have accomplished had he lived a full life.

Key passage:

Just you know why
Why you and I
Will bye and bye
Know true love ways

Sometimes we’ll sigh,
sometimes we’ll cry
and we’ll know why just you and I know true love ways.

 

The Hollies: The Air That I Breathe

Most people don’t know who The Hollies are, but recognize lots of their songs, including Bus Stop and Long Cool Woman. The Air That I Breathe is obscure, but its rawness is amazing. And yes, the band named themselves after Buddy Holly.

Key passage:

Making love with you
Has left me peaceful, warm, and tired
What more could I ask
There’s nothing left to be desired
Peace came upon me and it leaves me weak
So sleep, silent angel, go to sleep

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Yes to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe

 

 

The Beatles: Yesterday

Yes, it’s the first one that everyone should know. This song was the first that featured only one Beatle — Paul McCartney. The initial lyrics came to him in a dream and the initial title was Scrambled Eggs. Seriously.

There are always regrets in life. And this song sums it up pretty succinctly.

Key passage:

Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

 Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

 

 

Bob Dylan: Like A Rolling Stone

When Dylan went electric, lots of his most ardent fans hated it. But if he hadn’t gone electric, we would’ve been deprived of this masterpiece — often recognized as the best song of all time.

Key passage:

You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel?
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

 

 

Harry Chapin: Taxi

The odds are that you have no idea who Harry Chapin is. I only know who he is because my mother is one of his biggest fans. His biggest hit, Cats In The Cradle, is one pretty much everyone knows. Taxi was a hit in the ’70s, but not the chart-topper Cats In The Cradle Was.

It’s a tale of what could have been but also a tale of realization.

Key passage:

Something about her was familiar
I could swear I’d seen her face before
But she said, “I’m sure you’re mistaken”
And she didn’t say anything more

It took a while, but she looked in the mirror
And she glanced at the license for my name
A smile seemed to come to her slowly
It was a sad smile, just the same

 

 

Righteous Brothers: Unchained Melody

If you’ve seen the movie Ghost, you know this song. You almost certainly know it even if you somehow haven’t seen Ghost. It’s simple and complex all at once and features one of the best vocals you’ll ever hear.

Key passage:

Oh, my, love, my darling I’ve hungered for
Your touch, a long lonely time
And time goes by, so slowly and time
Can do so much, are you still mine
I need your love,
I oh I need your love,
God speed your love to me.

 

Bob Dylan: Visions Of Johanna

Dylan is an absolute genius. And that genius is on full display on Visions Of Johanna, which features lyrics that are so amazing that it’s impossible to even fathom at times.

Key passage:

Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ‘lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place

 

 

The Eagles: Peaceful Easy Feeling

The Eagles are one of the best American bands of all-time, but they sometimes get a bad rap because their songs can be viewed as too simplistic. Guess what? Not every song needs to be deep or multifaceted, like Dylan’s are for instance. This one is pretty much perfect.

Key passage:

I like the way sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown
And I want to sleep with you in the desert night
With a million stars all around

I got a peaceful easy feelin’
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standin’
On the ground

 

 

Vampire Weekend: Hannah Hunt

Critics have a love/hate relationship with Vampire Weekend and to some, they’re an acquired taste. To me, they’re awesome. And their 2013 album Modern Vampires Of The City was an absolute masterpiece, with Hannah Hunt serving as one of the highlights.

Key passage:

A man of faith said
Hidden eyes could see what I was thinking
I just smiled and told him
That was only true of Hannah
And we glided on through Waverley and Lincoln

Our days were long our nights no longer
Count the seconds, watching hours
Though we live on the US dollar
You and me, we got our own sense of time

 

 

Derek and the Dominoes: Bell Bottom Blues

When people think Eric Clapton, they usually think Layla or Wonderful Tonight. This song, though, is Clapton at his most vulnerable. And it’s amazing.

Key passage:

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don’t want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

 

Want to hear all of these staples? We’ve put them all together for you in this playlist:

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