My 5th Favorite Song of All-Time

Click here to see an explanation of this list.

Click here to read all previous entries on this list.

And let’s have a look at everything that has come before:

100.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
99.  “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp
98.  “Hotel California” by The Eagles
97.  “American Pie” by Don McLean
96.  “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson
95.  “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” by Dr. Dre
94.  “Bushwick Blues” by Delta Spirit
93.  “For the Workforce, Drowning” by Thursday
92.  “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes
91.  “Shimmer” by Fuel
90.  “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers
89.  “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
88.  “Asleep at the Wheel” by Working For a Nuclear-Free City
87.  “There’s an Arc” by Hey Rosetta!
86.  “Steam Engine” by My Morning Jacket
85.  “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest
84.  “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
83.  “Fits” by Stone Gossard
82.  “Spring Flight to the Land of Fire” by The Cape May
81. “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service
80.  “Sober” by Tool
79.  “Dream is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer
78.  “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?” by The Beatles
77.  “In This Light and on This Evening” by Editors
76.  “Lemonworld” by The National
75.  “Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamente
74.  “A Comet Appears” by The Shins
73.  “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists
72.  “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers
71.  “Life Wasted” by Pearl Jam
70.  “Jetstream” by Doves
69.  “Trieste” by Gifts From Enola
68.  “Oh My God” by Kaiser Chiefs
67.  “The Righteous Path” by Drive-By Truckers
66.  “Innocence” by The Airborne Toxic Event
65.  “There, There” by Radiohead
64.  “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band
63.  “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
62.  “The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band
61.  “Old Man” by Neil Young
60.  “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three
59.  “Knocked Up” by Kings of Leon
58.  “Machine Head” by Bush
57.  “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America
56.  “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones
55.  “Fell on Black Days” by Soundgarden
54.  “The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie
53.  “Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
52.  “Real Muthaphuckin’ Gs” by Eazy E
51..  “Evening Kitchen” by Band of Horses
50.  “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” by Primitive Radio Gods
49.  “Top Drawer” by Man Man
48.  “Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull
47.  “We Used to Vacation” by Cold War Kids
46.  “Easy Money” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
45.  “Two-fifty” by Chris Walla
44.  “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles
43.  “Another Pilot” by Hey Rosetta!
42.  “Revelate” by The Frames
41.  “Wise Up” by Aimee Mann
40.  “Sample in a Jar” by Phish
39.  “Spitting Venom” by Modest Mouse
38.  “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” by Nice & Smooth
37.  “I Shall Be Released” by The Band
36.  “When I Fall” by Barenaked Ladies
35.  “East Hastings” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
34.  “Terrible Love” by The National
33.  “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
32.  “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event
31.  “This Train Revised” by Indigo Girls
30.  “Mad World” by Gary Jules
29.  “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
28.  “Once in a Lifetime” by The Talking Heads
27.  “Growing Old is Getting Old” by Silversun Pickups
26.  “Brian and Robert” by Phish
25.  “Is There a Ghost?” by Band of Horses
24.  “Be Safe” by The Cribs
23.  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland
22.  “Ashes in the Fall” by Rage Against the Machine
21.  “We Laugh Indoors” by Death Cab For Cutie
20.  “Dondante” by My Morning Jacket

19.  “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire

18.  “Oceans of Envy” by Seven Mary Three

17.  “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan

16.  “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

15.  “What a Good Boy” by Barenaked Ladies

14.  “Styrofoam Plates” by Death Cab For Cutie

13.  “Hard to Imagine” by Pearl Jam

12.  “Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead

11.  “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles

10.  “Rattlesnake” by LIVE

9.  “Honey of Generation” by Seven Mary Three

8.  “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire

7.  “Rearviewmirror” by Pearl Jam

6.  “White, Discussion” by LIVE

and my 5th favorite song of all-time is:

“Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles

It may not be one of The Beatles’ more uplifting, anthemic, or emotional songs, but it is by far their most brilliantly-written (I fall very much in the Paul camp, when it comes to songwriting.  Paul is a genuine poet.  John was a great songwriter).  Here, Paul takes an unflinching and sorrowful look here at the human condition, and finds we are alone, and sad, and probably darning socks in the night.  Not a happy song by any means, but the product of a genuine artistic vision, which The Beatles were certainly under no obligation to produce at this point in their career.

No songwriter has ever been able to say as much, as interestingly, with as few words as Paul does here.  Eleanor “waits by the window/ wearing the face that she keeps/ in a jar by the door./ Who is it for?”  You’ve almost got the content of an entire novel there.  And it rhymes.  Pure amazeballs.

And there is an unspoken story that the characters we are introduced to create.  Eleanor and Father McKenzie are, probably, both affiliated with the same church, maybe even both live on the grounds.  Why are they lonely?  Have they ever considered each other as companions?  Is it the cosmic joke that two people are so lonely, so close together?  And what is Paul saying about religion here (writers of Paul’s caliber don’t choose settings by accident)?

Eleanor Rigby

Ah, look at all the lonely people!

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice
in the church where a wedding has been.

Lives in a dream

Waits at the window,
wearing the face that she keeps
in a jar by the door.
Who is it for?

All the lonely people,
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people,
where do they all belong?

Father Mckenzie writing the words
of a sermon that no one will hear.
No one comes near.
Look at him working,
darning his socks in the night
when there’s nobody there.
What does he care?

All the lonely people,
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people,
where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people!

Eleanor Rigby died in the church
and was buried along with her name.
Nobody came.
Father Mckenzie wiping the dirt from his hands
as he walks from the grave.

No one was saved

All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people),
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people),
where do they all belong?

2 Responses to “My 5th Favorite Song of All-Time”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    You remember The Beatles Anthology albums that were released in the mid-90’s? On one of them it had this song, but an instrumental version. I listened to my parents’ copy of that album often and was always sure to listen to this song. It was years before I heard the song with the lyrics, and that bumped it up a zillion notches. It’s quite entertaining as an instrumental too!

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Hell yeah, I loed the Anthologies! That was during the prime of my Beatles discovery. I shelled out big bucks for them on cassette tape!

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