1. Lloyd Price | Stagger Lee
This is one of those songs that just resonated with me from the first time I heard it. The Groove is SO Ridiculous and his Storytelling is Hilariously Great. The version that really struck me was the original one, there are some others that don't have the same Groove happening. This tune is one of those tunes that always makes me Smile and Feel Uplifted.
2. Aerosmith | Mama Kin
First of all, Steven Tyler was my biggest influence Growing Up. This song had the coolest Guitar Sound that I had ever heard!!! Steven then comes in with his first lyric It ain't easy livin' like a gypsy... and I was floored with how cool and right on the Energy was. Aerosmith had a Rawness in those days that will always live on through this song.
3. The Matt Catingub Big Band | Blues & The Abscessed Tooth
I played this tune in my Jazz band in High School and was always blown away by the Energy. It's a DB Blues, which is Cool to begin with. The end of the song has one of the slickest Sax section solos and then is topped with some Trumpet hits that blow the roof off of the house, while the Rhythm sections swings SO hard. A great Modern Big Band tune!!
4. Mahalia Jackson | In The Upper Room
I used to be a courier to earn some extra cash and I used to drive all around Eastern Massachusetts. Mahalia was one of my favorite Escapes while I was Driving around. I used to stare at the Blue Winter Sky while Mahalia soothed my mind. Her voice is so Beautiful and Rich. This song is one of my favorites of her's and make everything seem OK when I hear it.
5. Led Zeppelin | Tangerine
My first love at age 17 got me hooked on Zeppelin. She loved them and worshipped Jimmy Page, which of course made me want to be Jimmy Page... They will always have that Nostalgia for me and this song always pulls at my heart strings. Zeppelin III was my favorite Zep album and this track off that album is so Perfect for being in Love for the First Time. A True Classic Track.
6. Lenny Kravitz | I Build This Garden For Us
I loved the Romance in Lenny's first two records. I was in my Freshman Year of College and I was in Love for the First Time (same girl in the Zep story) and I really believed in the Idealism of this song. He sings (and screams) with such Passion that I basically fell in Love with him too. Years later, we played a show with him, and I stood next to him on the side of the stage watching Alicia Keys perform. I couldn't even say anything to him, I just stood there like a groupie soaking in his Energy. This song is Prime Lenny!!
7. Motley Crue | Livewire
I left College after my Freshman year to pursue my Rock Star Ambitions. I moved from Massachusetts to Miami. There I met three long haired Rocker guys who also shared my Dream. I remember driving in the drummer's old Camaro and he was cranking this song. The Music was so Alive and Rocking and it was the first time I felt Free in Life. Cigarettes, Pot, Acid and Alcohol and some Motley Crue cranking on the Stereo. The cowbell hits at the end are also Undeniably Cool!!
8. Igor Stravinsky | The Firebird Suite (1919) (played by BRT Philharmonic Orchestra Brussels, conductor Alexander Rahbari)
One night I got High and put this on while I was laying in bed in the Dark. The Stereo was at my feet, so the Music came from a certain direction towards me. I was absolutely blown away by how Stravinsky seems to be throwing Sound up in the Air and letting it blow in the wind. This was the first time that I really saw Sound and realized how much Freedom lurks inside of Music's possibilities. A True Work of Art and a Brilliant Composer.
9. George Michael | Careless Whisper
This song actually hurts my heart. It brings me back to a time when I was maybe 10 years old and I can literally feel my Life at that time. I remember walking around a store with headphones on listening to this and being in my own world. The video was so Perfect too!! The Sax line, the Vocal Desperation, the Sadness... A Perfect Song for a kid to feel Life for the First Time.
10. Stevie Wonder | Love's In Need Of Love Today
It was hard to pick a song of Stevie Wonder's. I want to say that Songs In The Key Of Life is just One Amazing Song put together as an Album. This song and album take me back to the Summer of 1995 when I was 21 and REALLY getting into Writing and Playing Music. I was Deep into getting High and checking out Music in the Third Person. I think this song sums up the Awesomeness that was Stevie Wonder in this era, but this album is one of the most Amazing pieces of Art in Musical History. His Depth of Emotion and Musicianship at this point in his career is Astonishing and Moving.
+11. The Police | Roxanne
When I was in High School, I remember Jogging one night during a Snow Storm. I had my headphones on and this song came on and Energized me in such an Intense way. The Police had such a Raw Energy and combined with Stuart Copeland's Slightly Rushed way of playing and Sting's Unique Vocals, they just owned their Music so Hard. Roxanne also was the first time I fell in Love with flipping the snare around on the one & three (which happens at the end) to create more Energy in Music. It's still one of my favorite Drum beats and I always remember this moment of Realizing how Cool that was.
+12. Eurythmics | Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
The Synth line had me hooked!! It was so Fresh Sounding at the time and Annie was such a bad ass with her Orange hair. MTV was just starting out and she owned it. This is one of those tunes that represents my Childhood perfectly. I was 9 or 10 years old and KNEW this was Amazing. The vibe is so Specific and Peculiarly Presented...
+13. Billy Joel | It's Still Rock & Roll To Me
This is where it All started for me. I was around 7 years old and had the 45 single of this. I used to sit there in front of my little Blue record player and listen to this over and over and over again. I listened to it so much that the record became completely worn out!! It just sounded so Different and Great. I listened to and loved a lot of Music from this time because my Mom had an AM radio in her car. This one stands out as probably the moment where I first fell in Love with Music. Little did I know that I'd become a Musician and would actually make a living Making Music. I had an awesome moment later on in Life when I got the chance to produce Liberty DeVitto, who played drums on this song. I told him that this tune was important to me and asked if he would play it with me (just Bass & Drums). We played it and I had a HUGE grin on my face, especially when he played the drum fill into the verse!! Life came Full Circle at that moment and I would've never dreamed that I'd someday play with one of the people on that record I was listening to when I was 7. AWESOME.