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10 Essential Songs :: Blog

10 Essential Guns N' Roses Songs

Monday, April 2: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Guns N' Roses are 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The 1987 release of Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, Appetite for Destruction, was a pivotal moment in rock history. With Guns N' Roses – vocalist Axl Rose, guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler – rock music rediscovered its edge, rage and sense of danger. Guns N' Roses rank alongside a handful of hard-rock bands with punk-rock attitudes – including the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and AC/DC - that shook and shocked the world.

Guns N' Roses formed in Los Angeles in 1985 and Appetite for Destruction, which was released on Geffen Records two years later, would ultimately enjoy a 147-week run on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1991, Guns N' Roses released two volumes of Use Your Illusion on the same day. It was a remarkable outpouring of music, totaling 30 tracks on two CDs. Use Your Illusion I and II each sold 7 million copies and reached Number Two and Number One, respectively. By 1997 only Axl Rose remained from the original Guns N' Roses. However, a rather stable lineup has existed under his leadership since the late Nineties and released Chinese Democracy in 2008.

Here, the Rock Hall suggests 10 essential Guns N' Roses ...


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10 Essential Donovan Songs

Monday, April 2: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Donovan is a 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee

Donovan was a key figure in the creative explosion of the mid Sixties, fusing the folk boom with the experimentation and whimsy of the love generation. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and grew up in England. Early on, he mastered a sizable repertoire of folk and blues songs and had a hit at 18 with his first single, “Catch the Wind.” He soon thereafter made an artistic breakthrough with a unique sound and style that fused folk, blues, jazz, classical, Latin and Indian elements. Donovan’s fruitful union with producer Mickie Most and arranger John Cameron yielded much stylistically far-ranging work during the Sixties.

His biggest year was 1966, when “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow” became major hits, reaching Number One and Two, respectively. The ambitious double album A Gift from a Flower to a Garden (1968) offered an album of songs for adults (Wear Your Love Like Heaven) and another for kids (For Little Ones), which were released separately in the United States.

Donovan continued to pursue his idiosyncratic, pacifist and itinerant outlook in the Seventies with such releases as Open Road, Cosmic Wheels and 7-Tease. Themes of love, compassion and understanding run throughout Donovan’s work ...


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10 Essential Laura Nyro Songs

Monday, April 2: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Laura Nyro is a 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee

Laura Nyro was among the most gifted singer-songwriters of the Sixties and Seventies, and one of the first female singer-songwriters who didn’t come from the folk-music world. Her music reflected a combination of spirituality and street smarts. Bursting with talent, she possessed a soulful soprano, a commanding touch on the piano, and an arsenal of songs that drew from R&B, soul, gospel, jazz, Brill Building pop and Broadway show tunes. Nyro was not easily pigeonholed and almost too unconventional for mainstream tastes. However, she had a fanatical cult following, and many of her songs became popular in the hands of others. Decades later, such radically original female artists as Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Suzanne Vega evinced some of Nyro’s trailblazing sorcery, while male performers, including Elton John and Todd Rundgren, have also credited Nyro as an influence.

Nyro was raised in New York City, where she heard and studied all kinds of music. She was only 19 when More Than a New Discovery, her debut album, was released in 1967. Later that year, aspiring manager David Geffen saw Nyro perform at the Monterey Pop Festival and got her signed to Columbia Records. She released a ...


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10 Essential Bob Seger Songs

Sunday, May 6: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bob Seger

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, Bob Seger is one of rock's most potent performers, insightful lyricists and admired vocalists. He was born Robert Clark Seger on May 6, 1945 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he cut his teeth – and first singles for local imprint Hideout – on the Motor City's rough and tumble scene. Seger lived the life of an archetypal rock and roll journeyman, recording such exceptional albums as 1970’s Mongrel while doggedly working the road. When Seger finally broke through, assuming a rightful place among such fellow travelers as the Eagles and Bruce Springsteen, it was sweet vindication for all the years spent in the shadows. Moreover, a string of multiplatinum albums – including Stranger in Town, Against the Wind, The Distance and Like a Rock – kept him on top. As Seger's career approaches the 50-year mark, having released more than 20 studio and compilation albums with sales exceeding 50 million, the Rock Hall looks at 10 essential Bob Seger songs.

1. 2 + 2 = ?

Released in 1968 under the Bob Seger System moniker, "2 + 2 = ?" was Seger's first single for Capitol Records and helped the band further cultivate a ...


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Road Trip Soundtrack: The Rock Hall's Essential Driving Songs

Friday, September 21: 2 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Rock Hall President and CEO Terry Stewart shares his essential driving songs

Between movies such as 1977's Smokey and the Bandit and 1981's The Cannonball Run – both starring Burt Reynolds – I've long dreamt of hitting the open road with adventure at every turn. When the first film debuted in the late 70s, I was driving a 1967 Ram Air Oldsmobile 442. Of course, with that kind of equipment at my disposal, visions of cross country exploits were inevitable. Alas, it wasn't to be. Jobs, money, a switch to a Toyota Celica and a fear of going to jail derailed those fantasies for good. Or so I thought.

Lo and behold, I now have a chance to live out that dream… sort of. Come Sunday, September 23, I am embarking on the 2012 Fireball Run: Northern Exposure, along with three other teammates. The only difference between this adventure and those on-screen antics I was so captivated by is that we can't speed. The Fireball is more like a game of Trivial Pursuit for eight hours each day, for a week, in a moving automobile traveling a circuitous route from Independence, Ohio, to Bangor, Maine. It's not an exact facsimile, but I'll take it. 

Which leads ...


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10 Essential Irish Rockers

Friday, March 15: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
East German Trabant cars from U2's Zoo TV tour, on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

From the Northern Ireland counties to the southern cities of the Republic, Ireland has been – and continues to be – home to some of the world's best known and most-beloved musicians. With a diverse cast of voices and music, Ireland's contributions to rock and roll have expanded the boundaries of the genre. Artists have acted as a force for change and forward thinking, while providing a record of tradition. Songwriters have delivered uniquely Irish narratives, though rich with universal themes and the human experience.

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum shares its 10 essential Irish rockers.

10 Essential Irish Rockers

Them – "Gloria"

Released in 1964 as the b-side to "Baby, Please Don't Go" (itself a smoldering cover of the Big Joe Williams' song), the Van Morrison–penned "Gloria" became a garage-rock classic, with artists such as the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Patti Smith later covering it. Its three chords, speak-sing vocal delivery and indelible "G-L-O-R-I-A" chorus inspired legions of budding musicians and, along with "Here Comes the Night," gave the Belfast group among its first tastes of success. 

Horslips – "Dearg Doom"

Innovators steeped in tradition, Horslips emerged ...


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