1. “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra
Ol Blue Eyes is one of the best-selling vocalists of all time. His voice is legendary and represents a true talent. This song is jazz-standard and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
2. “Let it Ride” by Bachman Turner Overdrive
We can forgive Canada for Justin Bieber because they already gave us their best in BTO. This song was a particular hit for the band, coming off their second album, and has even been featured in several films.
3. “Listen to the Music” by Doobie Brothers
The band’s first big hit, coming off their second album, has been a staple in their repertoire ever since. It serves as a call for world peace. Writer Tom Johnson said if the world leaders could just sit on a grassy hill somewhere and either smoke enough dope or just listen to some good music they would forget about all their grievances and get along. Not exactly realistic foreign policy, but the song is musically and lyrically positive and has a great feel.
4. “Surf Wax America” by Weezer
Weezer has remained one of those enigmatic rock bands across their career, thanks in no small part to the eccentricities of River Cuomo. This song, from their first album (Blue Album, 1994), uses surfing as a metaphor for drinking alcohol. It’s been identified as a “sarcastic call to hedonism.” While surfing and chilling are clearly inviting, alternatives to the “rat race,” there are also realizations that this life is not safe. Cuomo sings of being “caught in the undertow,” implying he can’t quit the habit (“now I can never go home). It’s an interesting song, but if I am honest, it mostly just makes me think about the beach – which is why I ended up listening to it this week.
5. “Learning to Fly – Live” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
This is a classic Petty song, and one nearly everyone knows, but the live version is distinctly different from the original. This version, from the band’s Live Anthology album (2009), is more mellow and has some great piano fill to it. I like the original, but I admit I love this version of the song.