What’s your favorite song by [band name here]?

Oh, I love that song.

Music: Bands Sam LovesHow many times have you been talking about music and somebody says hey, what’s your favorite tune by [fill in the blank]? I have no idea how many times I’ve asked or tried to answer that one, but many. Many many.

I thought it might be fun to do a little post where I confront the question head-on … about a lot of bands. And then I’d invite you to play along and tell us what your faves are. So I pulled together a long list of artists. Some are famous, some less famous, some contemporary and some from back in the day.

If there are bands here you don’t know it may be because I’ve been telling you how awesome they are but you’ve ignored me.

Whatever – you don’t have to answer each of them if you don’t want. And you can add to the list – if I haven’t included somebody you think I should have, stick them in the comments, I’ll answer, and we’ll see what everyone else thinks, too. At the bottom I’ve even provided a clean list to make it easier for you to copy and paste if you want to play along.

So, away we go. And what the heck, we’ll include some videos along the way.

U2: Start with the tough one – this is my favorite band and I like most of their songs a lot. But let’s go with … “A Sort of Homecoming.” Or “Pride.”

Graham Parker: Yeesh. Ummm. “Local Girls” or “Get Started, Start a Fire.” I’m off to a waffling start, huh?

The Lost Patrol: Early (with Danielle) – “Cup at My Crater.” Later (with Mollie) – “Justine.”

The Raveonettes: “She Owns the Streets”

Don Dixon: “If I Could Walk Away From Her (I’d Run Away With You)”

Eels/E: “A Most Unpleasant Man”

Rick Springfield: “What’s Victoria’s Secret?”

Pink Floyd: “Wish You Were Here”

Catherine Wheel: “Show Me Mary” (dedicated to those who know me very, very well)

The Police: A tie. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” for obvious reasons. And “Shadows in the Rain,” which would never be here if I hadn’t seen it live.

Van Morrison: “Carrying a Torch.” Again, for those who know me too well.

Jets Overhead: Even though I’m in the video for “What You Really Want,” the answer here is “Boredom and Joy.”

Lush: Jesus, how to pick from all their songs? “Ladykiller,” I guess.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: “She Ain’t a Child No More”

The Gaslight Anthem: Many candidates. Let’s say “The ’59 Sound.”

Bob Mould/Sugar/Husker Du: Gods, this is hard. “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.”

R.E.M.: “So. Central Rain.” Or maybe “Main in the Moon.”

Green Day: “American Idiot”

Queen: “The Prophet’s Song.” From Day 1.

Fiction 8: Okay, I’m biased as hell here, and yes, I’m going with one of the songs I co-wrote with them – “Hegemony.”

Goldfrapp: Duh. “Ooh La La.”

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart: “Heart in Your Heartbreak”

IAMX: Tough one. “My Secret Friend.”

Electric Six: “Infected Girls”

Jeffrey Dean Foster/The Pinetops: So many choices, but really – “The Summer of the Son of Sam.”

Shiny Toy Guns: “Rainy Monday”

Warren Zevon: Sweet hell. Pick one of 50. Ummm. “Lawyers Guns and Money” or “Keep Me In Your Heart,” for such very different reasons.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: “Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song)”

Superdrag: “Baby’s Waiting”

The Killers: “Miss Atomic Bomb”

She & Him: “I Was Made For You”

Fish/Marillion: “Kayleigh”

Fountains of Wayne: “Stacy’s Mom”

Peter Gabriel: Easiest answer on the list – “Games Without Frontiers.”

Fitz and the Tantrums: Fuck. Not more than ten choices here, huh? Let’s go with “MoneyGrabber.”

The Blueflowers: “In Line With the Broken-Hearted”

Dixie Chicks: This is a runaway – “Not Ready to Make Nice,” maybe the best fuck-you song ever written.

Franz Ferdinand: “No You Girls”

Cheap Trick: “Dream Police”

The Outfield: “Say It Isn’t So,” although “Voices of Babylon” and “My Paradise” get honorary mentions.

David Bowie: “DJ”

Mayer Hawthorne: Damn, this is hard. Uhhh. “You Called Me.”

Johnny Clegg/Savuka/Juluka: Can I pick ten? That’s cheating? [sigh] Okay, I’ll go with “I Call Your Name.” But also his tribute to Dudu Zulu, after he was murdered, so “The Crossing (Osiyeza).”

Joy Division: I was never a big JD fan, but how about “Shadowplay”?

New Order: “True Faith.” Although the video for “Round and Round” is in my all-time top ten.

Nine Inch Nails: “Wish”

Elton John: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” although you could swap it out for half of Captain Fantastic or maybe “Rocket Man” and I’d be fine.

Metric: “Artificial Nocturne” – and if you don’t know why pay close attention to those first eight words.

Adam Marsland/Cockeyed Ghost: “Two Children In A Bed”

Bruce Springsteen/E Street Band: “The River”

Interpol: “Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down”

Editors: “Papillon”

Space Team Electra: Those in the know will expect me to say “Luminous Crush” or “Shadow,” or maybe even “Amnesia” or “Glitter Galaxy.” But no. I’ve always loved “Saints Are Bleeding” and will always hate that I was never able to talk Myself into playing it live in any of the dozens of live shows I saw them do.

Box the Walls/Wendie Colter: “Ferris Wheel”

Garbage: “I’m Only Happy When It Rains”

Elvis Presley: “Suspicious Minds”

Sam Cooke: “Wonderful World”

The Cars: “My Best Friend’s Girl”

Sarah McLachlan: “Silence”

Doco: “Too Much That Way” or “I Dare You.” Can’t decide.

Imogen Heap/Frou Frou: The cover of “Holding Out For a Hero” from Shrek. Inspired.

Amy Winehouse: “Rehab”

Ryan Shaw: “Morning Noon & Night”

The Cult: “She Sells Sanctuary”

Paul Lewis/YNOT?!: “Mojo,” “The Painting” or “Let It Go.” It hurts to say it because I have co-written a couple songs with Paul but I like these better than my own work.

The Beatles: “Let It Be”

The Cure: “Fascination Street”

Verve: Nope, not “Bittersweet Symphony.” “Slide Away.”

World Party: “Sweet Soul Dream”

Led Zeppelin: “Rock and Roll”

Phoenix: “1901”

Saint Etienne: Tough call, but probably their cover of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.”

Dum Dum Girls: “Bedroom Eyes”

The Samples: “Little Silver Ring”

Foo Fighters: “White Limo”

Gossip: “Love and Let Love”

Radiohead: Hint – I loved Beavis and Butt-head.

Erasure: “Phantom Bride”

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes: “Trapped Again”

Hanson: “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin'”

The Shins: “It’s Only Life”

The Fixx: “One Thing Leads to Another,” with “Red Skies at Night” in a close second.

Let’s Active/Mitch Easter: “Last Chance Town.” Or “Blue Line.”

A Perfect Circle: “Magdalena”

Tool: “Stinkfist”

Maria McKee/Lone Justice: “Gotta Sin to Get Saved” (solo) and “After the Flood” (LJ)

Queensrÿche: “Walk in the Shadows”

Electric Light Orchestra: “Rockaria”

Stabbing Westward: “Happy”

Switchblade Symphony: “Invisible”

Echo & the Bunnymen: “Lips Like Sugar”

London Grammar: “Hey Now”

The Church: “Under the Milky Way”

Leisure McCorkle: “Does She Really Know?”

Dire Straits: Well hell, this is a ten-way tie, innit? Fuck. Let’s go with “”Romeo & Juliet.

The Kinks: “Art Lover”

The Rolling Stones: “Far Away Eyes”

Oasis: “Live Forever”

Elvis Costello & The Attractions: “Oliver’s Army”

Big Head Todd And The Monsters: “Bittersweet”

Boston: “Foreplay/Long Time”

Roxy Music: “Avalon”

The Eagles: “Lyin’ Eyes”

Aerosmith: “Dream On”

Joe Jackson: You think I’m going to say “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” But you’re wrong. “One More Time.”

Aimee Mann: “50 Years After the Fair” or “I Should Have Known.”

Sex Pistols: “God Save the Queen”

The Ramones: “I Wanna Be Sedated,” dedicated to my brothers at ΘX.

Rammstein: You’re kidding, right?

Bauhaus/Peter Murphy: “All Night Long”

Badfinger: “Baby Blue”

Bad Company: “Rock and Roll Fantasy”

Bachman-Turner Overdrive: “Takin’ Care of Business”

Ian Hunter/Mott the Hoople: “All the Young Dudes”

The Jesus and Mary Chain: “Something I Can’t Have”

Liz Phair: “Polyester Bride”

Adele: “Rolling In The Deep”

The Smashing Pumpkins: “Today”

The dB’s: “Lonely Is as Lonely Does”

Baron Bane/Ida Long: “My Slow World”

The Who: “Baba O’Reilly”

The Clash: “Brand New Cadillac”

Men at Work: “Down Under” or maybe “Everything I Need.”

Jason Isbell/400 Unit: “Stopping By”

Matthew Grimm/Hangdogs: “Real Americans”

Gin Blossoms: “Found Out About You”

Dotsun Moon: My opinion changes every time I listen to 4am. Right now the answer is “Flutter.”

Van Halen: “Dance the Night Away”

Massive Attack: “Teardrop”

Gorillaz: “Clint Eastwood”

Duran Duran: “Girls on Film” or maybe “New Moon on Monday”

My Bloody Valentine: “Only Shallow”

Supergrass: “Pumping on Your Stereo”

Arcade Fire: I really can’t answer here – never been a fan, but I include them because I know a lot of you guys are.

Alice in Chains: Honestly, just about anything on Jar of Flies. But let’s not waffle, so “Don’t Follow.”

Otis Redding: “Stand By Me”

Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

The Raspberries: “Overnight Sensation”

The Go-Go’s: “Lust To Love”

Genesis: “Home By the Sea”

Fleetwood Mac: “Rhiannon”

The Psychedelic Furs: “Heartbreak Beat”

Squeeze: “Pulling Mussels From the Shell”

Tears for Fears: “Sowing the Seeds of Love”

Indigo Girls: “Kid Fears”

Eurythmics: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”

Marvin Gaye: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

Queens of the Stone Age: “No One Knows”

George Harrison: “Crackerbox Palace”

Paul McCartney: “Band on the Run”

John Lennon: “Imagine”

Ringo Starr: “Photograph”

John Mellencamp: “Rain on the Scarecrow”

The Knack: “Good Girls Don’t”

Blur: “Song 2”

Steely Dan: “Deacon Blues” – hey, it’s about my alma mater.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones: “Call Me”

Prince: “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”

Oingo Boingo: “Skin”

Jeff Buckley: At the risk of pissing off his legions of completely irrational fans, does he have a candidate other than “Hallelujah”?

The Smiths: “Girlfriend in a Coma”

Depeche Mode: “John the Revelator”

Tom Petty/Heartbreakers: “Free Fallin'” solo, “American Girl” with The Heartbreakers.

Ministry: “NWO”

Kiss: “Shout It Out Loud”

Matthew Sweet: “I’ve Been Waiting”

Nick Lowe: Tie. Either “I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock And Roll)” or “The Rose of England.”

Teenage Fanclub: “Take The Long Way Around”

White Zombie/Rob Zombie: “More Human Than Human”

The Romantics: Actually no, not “What I Like About You.” Nope, I’m going with “One in a Million.”

Jason & The Scorchers: “Absolutely Sweet Marie”

The Beach Boys/Brian Wilson: “Kokomo.” Just kidding. Beach Boys would be “Rock and Roll Music” and Wilson solo is “Your Imagination.”

The Bangles: “If She Knew What She Wants”

Stevie Wonder: “Superstition”

George Clinton/Parliament/Funkadelic/etc.: “Atomic Dog”

There you go. Now, if you’re so inclined, it’s your turn.

U2: Start with the tough one – this is my favorite band and I like most of their songs a lot. But let’s go with … “A Sort of Homecoming.” Or “Pride.”

Graham Parker:

The Lost Patrol

The Raveonettes

Don Dixon


Rick Springfield

The Killers


Pink Floyd

Catherine Wheel

The Police

Van Morrison

Jets Overhead


Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

The Gaslight Anthem

Bob Mould/Sugar/Husker Du

Green Day


Fiction 8


The Pains of Being Pure At Heart


Electric Six

Jeffrey Dean Foster/The Pinetops

Shiny Toy Guns

Warren Zevon

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club


She & Him


Fountains of Wayne

Peter Gabriel

Fitz and the Tantrums

The Blueflowers

Dixie Chicks

Franz Ferdinand


Cheap Trick

The Outfield

David Bowie

Mayer Hawthorne

Johnny Clegg/Savuka/Juluka

Joy Division

New Order

Nine Inch Nails

Elton John


Adam Marsland/Cockeyed Ghost

Bruce Springsteen/E Street Band



Elvis Presley

Sam Cooke

The Cars

Sarah McLachlan


Imogen Heap/Frou Frou

Amy Winehouse

Ryan Shaw

The Cult

Paul Lewis/YNOT?!

The Beatles

The Cure


World Party

Led Zeppelin


Saint Etienne

The Samples

Foo Fighters




Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes


Dum Dum Girls

The Shins

The Fixx

Let’s Active/Mitch Easter

A Perfect Circle


Maria McKee/Lone Justice


Electric Light Orchestra

Stabbing Westward

Switchblade Symphony

Echo & the Bunnymen

London Grammar

The Church

Leisure McCorkle

Space Team Electra:

Dire Straits

The Kinks

The Rolling Stones


Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Big Head Todd And The Monsters


Roxy Music



Joe Jackson

Aimee Mann

Sex Pistols



Bauhaus/Peter Murphy


Bad Company

Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Ian Hunter/Mott the Hoople

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Liz Phair


The Smashing Pumpkins

The dB’s

Baron Bane/Ida Long

The Who

The Clash

Men at Work

Jason Isbell/400 Unit

Matthew Grimm/Hangdogs

Gin Blossoms

Dotsun Moon

Van Halen

Massive Attack


Duran Duran

My Bloody Valentine


Arcade Fire

Alice in Chains

Otis Redding


The Raspberries

The Go-Go’s


Fleetwood Mac

The Psychedelic Furs


Tears for Fears

Indigo Girls


Marvin Gaye

Queens of the Stone Age

George Harrison

Paul McCartney

John Lennon

Ringo Starr

John Mellencamp

The Knack


Steely Dan

St. Paul & The Broken Bones


Oingo Boingo

Jeff Buckley

The Smiths

Depeche Mode

Tom Petty/The Heartbreakers



Matthew Sweet

Nick Lowe

Teenage Fanclub

White Zombie/Rob Zombie

The Romantics

Jason & The Scorchers

The Beach Boys/Brian Wilson

The Bangles

Stevie Wonder

Box the Walls/Wendie Colter

George Clinton/Parliament/Funkadelic/etc.


  • ” Something in the way she moves” The Beatles

  • Dr. Denny Wilkins

    So much music, so little time. But the Pink Floyd choice — Wish You Were Here — I found interesting. It reminds so much of that period of my life that memory did not record, or, to put another way, was derailed during my inebriated interlude. Floyd has made some wonderful, bewitching music, and some pure trash in later works — but your choice represents the whole quite well.

  • Is this the same as your huge giant Spoify list with the huge giant name? I shared that with a friend and it inspired him to do the same. So now I have 2 huge giant lists that I’ll never get through.

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