skydiving naked from an aeroplane


Have any of you heard “November Rain” by Guns’N’Roses lately? Because New York City has the shittiest radio stations on earth (at least when WFUV ain’t coming in), I was stuck on K-Rock 92.3 and “November Rain” came on, and I was mesmerized. Not in a good way, mind you, but the kind of “I can’t believe this song ever existed” sort of way. What a bloated, pretentious, dum-dum piece of shit, and if I recall, the video was just as bad. Something about Stephanie Seymour getting married to Axl Rose, and then Slash leaving the chapel to play a guitar solo during a storm, and then Stephanie Seymour dies, I guess – it all positively reeked of white motherscratchin’ trash.

Yes, I realize I’m of the micro-generation that was about five years too old to take Guns’N’Roses seriously. By the time the “Use Your Illusion” albums came out in 1991, I had already made my left turn onto the Fruity Art Pop Turnpike and found the whole G’n’R aesthetic to be depressingly dirty. Twenty years of listening to guitarists do the riff from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” has only hardened my resolve.

I will admit, however, that the cascading metal of “Welcome to the Jungle” is motherfucking HOT and always will be. It has the undeniable kickassingness of Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood” or “Kickstart My Heart”, even if Axl has one of the worst lines in rock history: “Welcome to the jungle, baby. You’re gonna die!”

“November Rain,” to me, was the logical conclusion of the 1980s. The song gives you a hangover before you even get to the chorus. The strings add a treacly overbearingness to something that wasn’t very fun to begin with – I know they were trying to be Queen a la “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but couldn’t even get close to Paul McCartney’s “Back Seat of My Car” in terms of rock opera. While it was the most requested video of that era, I think time has borne out the truth: you never hear “November Rain” anymore, not even ironically.

So I put it to you: forget about the bloat – what’s your favorite classic balls-out fuckin’ ROCK SONG that makes you want to put your head through some drywall?

0 thoughts on “skydiving naked from an aeroplane

  1. Anne

    “Mississippi Queen.”
    I recall loving Aerosmith’s original “Walk this Way” but subsequently pretty much turning the hard-rock radio switch off.

  2. emma

    I have to agree that Back in Black is up there. But my choice is Golden Earring’s Radar Love. The Pressure Boys did a pretty mean cover of it, too.

  3. cullen

    Lita Ford–Kiss Me Deadly. I’m half kidding, but my wife does love this song whether she’ll cop to it or not.
    Went to a party last Saturday night, didn’t get laid and I got in a fight, but it ain’t no big thing…..

  4. scruggs

    I never was in to hard heavy metal, so this is probably tame by comparison. However, Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker always makes me do a Dwight Shrute in the car.

  5. DFB's&T's

    Some of the 1st ones that come to mind:
    Run To The Hills by Iron Maiden
    Flight of Icarus by Iron Maiden
    Dr. Feelgood by Crue
    Welcome to Jungle by GnR
    Many off of VH’s 1st 2 albums — if anyone puts a Hagar song on this list, they must be immediately castrated.
    Standing in the Shower by Jane’s Addiction
    Somewhere I Belong by Linkin Park
    A few classic Rush songs
    Youth Gone Wild by Skid Row
    Still of the Night by Whitesnake

  6. Jody

    ‘Shoot to Thrill’ from Back in Black.
    ‘Last Chance’ (usually unlisted final track) from the 311 album “Music”.

  7. Scott

    Mountain Song – Jane’s Addiction.
    I heard it repeatedly on a weekend trip to a cabin in the WAAAAY backwoods of Western NC. As you can guess, we were coming down a lot of mountains on that trip.

  8. John Schultz

    I admit, Enter Sandman by Metallica gets my blood flowing- mostly because it reminds me of Va Tech football games.
    Looks That Kill by Motley Crue
    Man In A Box- Alice in Chains
    Shake a Leg / Highway to Hell- ACDC

  9. John Schultz

    I also have to add Shoot to Thrill and Thunderstruck by ACDC.
    For the record, I was almost evicted from my house in Chapel Hill because of Guns N Roses.

  10. mcf

    this might not hit the precise rock genre you are going for, but does RUSH count? If so, “Red Barchetta” — and/or most and any of their incredible volume of songs. (and the LYRICS! for lyrics rock, i nominate “The Trees.”)

  11. Father Tim

    “Unchained”-Van Halen
    Great calls on both “Shoot to Thrill” and “Run to the Hills”, both of which will be stuck in my head now at least until Thursday.

  12. kent

    I have to second “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain. That song is as close to perfect as 3 minutes of rock music can get. I never bought 45s growing up, but I bought that one and studied it like a grad student with a Shakespeare sonnet.
    My real jams I’d place a little later in the game, and a lot less RAWK.
    Sex Pistols “Holiday In The Sun” — what a perfect riff. Anyone else notice the stylistic straight line between Black Sabbath and the Pistols?
    Gang of Four “I Found a Substance Rare” — has their ever been a drummer and guitarist more perfectly meshed into a killing machine?
    The Jam “This Is The Modern World” — if you aren’t moved by just how pissed off Paul Weller sounds in this song, you’re already dead.
    Plastikman “Spastik” — basically 6 minutes of drum machine snare tatoo, but still devastating 15 years on.
    Orbital “Halcyon (Live)” Mashups probably go back to the beginning of recorded music and before, but this is the first brilliant one I ever heard. At the end of Halcyon, Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place On Earth” is put in counterpoint to “Shot Through The Heart” by Bon Jovi is pure effing magic.

  13. GFWD

    All Right Now–Free
    Dead Souls–Nine Inch Nails
    Hollywood Nights–Bob Seger
    Turn Up The Radio–Autograph
    Round & Round–Ratt (gotta love Milton Berle in drag at the dinner table from that video)
    Hold Your Head Up–Argent
    Been Caught Stealing–Jane’s Addiction (DFB’s & T’s put me on that song)
    Rock-N-Roll All Night–Kiss
    Silent Lucidity–Queensryche

  14. jason savage

    i’d enter a different Sex Pistols tune. The opening minute of “Anarchy In the UK” is hair-raising. Awesomely pissed off.

  15. Lorelle

    I have to admit I am more of REM kind of girl…hard rock not so much..but there’s just something about Warrant’s Cherry Pie. I detest metal, but it reminds me of one of my Carolina roommates and good times in the late 80’s/early 90’s spent in our Ramsgate apt.

  16. The other Lee

    it may be cliched but Motorhead – Ace of Spades always gets my blood flowing
    Iron Maiden’s already been mentioned
    I’ll throw in Black Sabbath as well, especially War Pigs and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
    I would propose an additional question for those of us who were milling about Chapel Hill in the early 90’s, is there a song from the Local Bands of that era and area that really get you rocking?

  17. Charlie

    Black Betty – Ram Jam
    On Prince Edward Island, people of a certain age will always remember it because it was our local university hockey team’s “Goal Song” when they were the biggest sporting team in town and drew large crowds regularly. A couple years back our capital’s Canada Day fireworks were played alongside music, mostly classical instrumentals, until it suddenly changed to Black Betty and the 20,000 or so people around me all sang it together like it was the national anthem, followed by laughter and clapping when it ended…good times..

  18. Ehren

    Gotta represent some of the places I’ve lived:
    Motor City:
    Iggy and the Stooges, “Search and Destry”
    “Im a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm
    Im a runaway son of the nuclear a-bomb”
    MC5, “Rocket Reducer No. 62”
    Chapel Hill:
    Polvo, “Thermal Treasure”
    Superchunk, “The First Part”
    Radiohead, “2+2=5”
    Sonic Youth, “Dirty Boots”

  19. DFB's&T's

    I just called Greg From Winston Dorm to give him crap about his inclusion of Silent Lucidity. He and I agreed that it is a decent song, but it does not warrant inclusion in a category of “classic balls-out fuckin’ ROCK SONG[s].”
    In light of that, he and I have agreed on the following parameter that must be added to this category: if one of your selections can be played at Linda’s on an acoustic guitar and there is no need for electricity or amplifier in order to capture the true essence of the song, it can NOT go on this list.

  20. Annie

    For early 90s local (to some of us) head-thrashing rawk, you simply can’t beat Archers of Loaf, “Wrong.” It never failed to get even the most effete scenesters nodding their heads (hands in pockets–no other part of the body moving) like maniacs.

  21. Ian's Muslim Friend (tm)

    If we’re going historical, I think my list would be:
    Jane, Jefferson Airplane
    You’re in Love, Ratt
    some not mentioned songs by mentioned bands:
    YYZ, Rush
    Panama, VH
    Runnin’ with the Devil, VH
    But when I was studying for the bar, I put together a list of rokkin’ songs I like to listen to in a playlist called “Angry Bar Music,” which I listen to now before job interviews, etc:
    We’ve Got a File On You, Blur
    Hate To Say I Told You So, The Hives
    Four Leaf Clover, Old 97’s
    WTFMFWTFAYT?, Jim Infantino
    Mildred Pierce, Sonic Youth
    Fascist, Minutemen
    Shit You Hear At Parties, Minutemen
    I Felt Like a Gringo, Minutemen
    Break My Body, Pixies
    Price of Gas, Bloc Party
    Song 2, Blur
    Zero, Smashing Pumpkins
    Pimple Zoo, Guided By Voices
    Everywhere With Helicopter, Guided By Voices
    F*!#in’ Up, Neil Young & Crazy Horse
    Chemical Beats, Chemical Brothers
    Elektrobank, Chemical Brothers
    Secrets, Mission Of Burma
    Everlong, Foo Fighters
    Coup D’Etat, Circle Jerks
    I’m So Bored with the USA, the Clash
    Rebound, Sebadoh
    Hash Pipe, Weezer
    Down The Hall, Superchunk
    I Like Fucking, Bikini Kill
    Gimme The Car, Violent Femmes
    Repeater, Fugazi
    Institutionalized, Suicidal Tendencies
    Anthrax / Bring Tha Noize, Public Enemy
    Thumb (live), Dinosaur Jr. [Best. Guitar Solo. Evar.]

  22. ken

    Father Tim beat me to it picking the mother of all Van Halen songs: “Unchained”
    However, a few more that get my blood pumping:
    “So This Is Love?”-Van Halen
    “Love Removal Machine” The Cult
    “Crazy Train” Ozzy Osbourne
    “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll) – AC/DC
    Then again, my wheelhouse is alt/indie rock and I could name 1,000 great indie songs of this ilk but not now.

  23. caveman

    The opening strains of Cherub Rock by the Smashing Pumpkins make me want to pound four shots of tequila then go rob a liquor store

  24. Paul G

    Caveman, we really gotta party sometime.
    Lot o’ comments here, but I don’t think anyone’s mentioned Rage Against the Machine. Their entire first album could still incite a coup. And should. (<- do not arrest this man.)

  25. Bud

    Sean, you suck for saying I suck. And for not being able to spell my name. And you’re seriously suggesting Outkast out-rocks Van fucking Halen??
    Sorry if they lack the desired street cred, but Van Halen (with DLR) has rocked my world since ’78.
    Don’t think this means I don’t still love ya….

  26. LFMD

    We Will Rock You – Queen
    Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
    Jumping Jack Flash – Rolling Stones
    Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones
    Highway to Hell – AC/DC

  27. LFMD

    Hi again.
    Sister Christian – Night Ranger.
    Come Sail Away – Styx.
    And, I always loved Journey. The soundtrack of my 70s/80s middle school days. Separate Ways!

  28. Father Tim

    That moment in “Thumb” (live) where you think the song is over and then Mascis kicks it into Mach 5 gear damn near knocks the wind out of me every time I hear it.
    I got a live version of “Alone” off of emusic that gives it a run for its money, but, you’re right, “Thumb” stands alone.

  29. Chuck B

    So many great choices already made, and a few I’ll have to go look up. I will add only these:
    Fear — Let’s Have a War
    Foo Fighters — Monkey Wrench
    Black Sabbath — Paranoid

  30. salem's little sister

    Before every horse show, I’d listen to Limp Bizkit’s Mission Impossible theme song. That song and most of their early stuff gets me all riled up and ready to brawl. Makes me wish I was a girl from Jersey out looking for the ho’ who kissed my man. Or something like that.

  31. Ian's Muslim Friend (tm)

    What I love best about it is the way J casually says, “Yeah, we got another tune for ya.”
    Do you have a link to Alone?
    Also, for pure cheeze, that moment when Workin’ Man (Rush) comes back to the final verse is sweet.
    Last but not least, any Atlantans out there who know Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’?
    If so: POWER FUCKIN’ HOUSE!!!!!

  32. Claverack Weekender

    You have excellent musical taste Kent.
    Voodoo Child
    Helter Skelter
    London Calling
    Breed (Nirvana)

  33. xuxE

    have at theeee!!!!!!!!
    jimi hendrix – voodoo child
    pj harvey – long snake moan *+* yuri-G
    a band called pain – holy
    queens of the stone age – broken box
    living colour – cult of personality
    kravitz – are you gonna go my way
    fugazi – waiting room
    von iva – not hot to trot
    nin – reptile
    glam rock counts too, right?
    hedwig – angry inch
    sweet – ballroom blitz
    b52’s – rock lobster
    prince – lets go crazy

  34. Tenbones

    Been a long time lurker, but had to chime in on this one. How about one from every decade since I was a lad? “To be played at maximum volume.”
    Sister Ray — The Velvet Underground
    Custard Pie — Led Zeppelin
    Briefcase — Fetchin Bones
    Heroin Girl — Everclear
    Go to Sleep — Radiohead
    (Of those already posted, “Black Betty”, yeah, that’s the shit, and “Mississippi Queen”. Tunes to get you speeding tickets.)

  35. gina

    IMF –
    I lived in Chapel Hill, but I LOVED Drivin’ N Cryin’! Saw them several times at Cat’s Cradle. I also went to see Kevn Kinney as a solo artist.

  36. Anne

    More recently:
    “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet
    (Just to prove my rock cred doesn’t end in the 60s)
    And, “Screwdriver” by the White Stripes.

  37. K

    oh my God, Salem’s Little Sister, ditto! I listened to that same song before my last squash tournament to get all mutha F*&Kin’ pumped UP before my game… highly effective to bring the power. I went in feeling I could smash the wee black orb through the back wall! Now, back to regular scheduled programming of being a 30 something mommy of the under 5 set. ;)

  38. craighill

    ian i think it’s hard to criticize anything GN’R did when your blog is named after XTC. unless you meant the stuff those crazy kids did in college then i take it back.
    right now, GN’R’s cover of the stones’ “sympathy for the devil” is my head through the sheetrock song.

  39. Chuck B.

    I can’t believe no one — including me — has named Def Leopard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” yet. That was a staple of college party dancefloor singalongs, and it still gets my head moving.

  40. Father Tim

    I canceled my subscription to emusic awhile back so I can’t post the link. I remember it being an emusic “exclusive” and its a J + the Fog show from I think somewhere in Mass.
    Your “Working Man” call caused me to put down my second choice to “Unchained”: Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” which sounds badass even when the Southern Cal band plays it.

  41. Bill

    Freshman year, the cheesy metal year.
    Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” turned into Whitesnake, Ratt, Stryper, Dio, Dokken, etc., thanks to my hallmates. I ate a lot of Checkers pizza to those tunes.
    But for my money, early Van Halen rocks: “Runnin’ with the Devil” and “Jamie’s Cryin'” in particular. I also have a time-specific fondness for Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” but I’m not sure that fits into this category.

  42. caveman

    standing ovation for salem’s little sister and k’s comments
    Now parden me while I go listen to “Thunderstruck” and pancake block a co-worker.

  43. wottop

    Detroit Rock City: Dumb lyrics, simple music, prototypical Kiss. Love Gun too.
    Hot for Teacher: Especially the kid version of DLR.

  44. Greg T.

    Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench
    NIN – Closer
    Rush – YYZ
    Talking Heads – Burning Down the House
    Dead Kennedys – Holiday in Canbodia
    Mission UK – You are like a Hurricane
    Everything Xuxe said…
    I didn’t like GNR initially but they’ve grown on me. I’m popping Appetite for Destruction in the CD player now…

  45. Greg T.

    As promised, I popped Appetite for Destruction in after my comment… 3 notes into Welcome to the Jungle our 5-yr-old son (Quinn) exclaimed “I love this, Daddy – turn it up!”
    BTW, Guitar Hero is loaded with songs that RAWK…

  46. emma

    IMF – One of my favorite Cat’s Cradle shows in Chapel Hill was Drivin n Cryin. The Georgia Satellites opened up for them. Kevn Kinney proclaimed that “Life is too cheap to drink short wine.” A motto I tried to live by for the next couple of years.
    For the record, I was one of Lorelle’s roommates at Ramsgate in the late 80s, early 90s, but I’m not the metal roommate!


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