Friday, October 23, 2009

TOP 20 R & B Songs of All Times (1st Draft)

OK here are the first possible candidates for the Top 20 R & B songs list that we are developing in random order :

Ain't That A Shame, Fats Domino

Long Tall Sally, Little Richard

Gee Whiz! (Look at His Eyes). Carla Thomas

Lay Down Sally, Eric Clapton

Stand By Me. Ben E King 1961

Stormy Monday, T. Bone Walker 1947

The Thrill Is Gone, B.B. King

What's Going On, Marvin Gaye

The Long and Winding Road, Beatles

Me & Mrs Jones, Billy Paul

Soul Man, Sam & Dave

Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan

Busted, Ray Charles

Respect, Aretha Franklin

Layla, Derek and the Dominos

What'd I Say, Ray Charles

Lite My Fire, The Doors

When A Man Loves A Women, Percy Sledge

Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, James Brown

I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye

Papa Was A Rollin" Stone, The Temptations

Boom, Boom, John Lee Hooker

Chain of Fools, Aretha Franklin

It's Your Thing, The Isley Brothers

Good Man, Good Woman, Delbert McClinton

Everyday I Have The Blues, Joe Williams

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, Elton John

Let The Good Times Roll, Tony Bennett & B. B. King

Good Morning Heartache, Gladys Knight

At Last, Etta James

This Bitter Earth, Gladys Knight

Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Barry White

Love Me Like A Man, Bonnie Raitt

Ain't No Sunshine, Bill Withers

Feel So Bad, Ray Charles

Baby I Am Amazed, Paul MeCartney

Why Me, Delbert McClinton

Never Been Rocked Enough, Delbert McClinton

I'm In Love Again, Fats Domino

Maybe, The Chantels

Sunshine of Your Love, Cream

Well there it is. There are a lot of potential great Blues songs out there and I am sure my readers will come up with many more before we attempt to name the Top 20.


  1. Hello Music Man....I just discovered your blog and I am anticipating hearing everyone's different suggestions of their all-time favorite songs. I have a question: I am a big Beatles fan and although I believe it is impossible to compile a list of the 20 best Beatle songs, do you think we can give it a try?
    This will be fun!

  2. Hi Anonymous, also known as Regita! Welcome aboard and I look forward to your comments going forward. We just expanded our list of Top Favorites to include "The Blues" and now we have your request to cover the Beatles! The great thing about writing a blog is that we can do anything we want, so putting a focus on the Beatles is no problem on this blog. I personally believe that many Beatle songs will join the Great American Song book as soon as they age a little more. We have already listed some on the list of the Top 20 New Great American Standards and I am sure we will be adding a few more as we go along. I will start to develop a list of the "Top 20 Beatles' songs but will certainly need your help to finish the list, so after I publish the list, please send me some additional suggestions. I hope other followers of this blog will also send me some Beatle suggestions also.

  3. I wanted to let everyone know that I have changed the title of this post from Top 20 Blues Songs to Top 20 R & B songs. I believe this will give us more latitude in picking our songs for the list.

  4. Boy, there seem to be a million great songs in this category. I want to nominate "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King in 1961. This song was covered by oh so many artists. Also, for a pure blues song "Stormy Monday" by T Bone Walker in 1947 and again covered by every top blues and many rock artists from B.B. King to Clapton to the Allman Bros. to Albert King to Jethro Tull!

    This should be a heck of a battle to get a top 20. Love the idea.

  5. When I first read the list of Blues tunes (now renamed as R & B) I wondered why MusicMan had included so many Clapton songs. Don't get me wrong here ..., I love EC almost as much as McCartney and my friend Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame). First of all a small correction ..., the Cream song listed is "Sunshine Of Your Love" not Life. I presume that almost everyone knows that the ground-breaking album Disraeli Gears that introduced this song from the 60's is Eric Clapton's genius ..., as is Derek and the Dominoes (Layla). As it further turns out his 6 Grammy award winning album "Unplugged" is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Blues guitar work. I'm not sure that I really considered Clapton's work to be so grounded in Blues - which is actually a missunderstood and maligned form of music over the years, and reasonably technical at that, although once you understand the "rules of the road" it's not that tough to get into. Even today, Clapton's work is argued as a mix of Blues and Hard Rock further blurring the distinction.

    So ..., pure Blues is a harder list to work with, and although R & B is wider it does represent a ga-zillion great songs as Blues67 has stated, and also a "heck of a battle to get to the top 20". Let the games begin.

  6. Yey, Blues67, wanted to respond to your Monday, Oct 26 comment. Yes, there are an unbelievable amount of songs in this category. I am doing some study now on how we got to the term R & B and will be posting shortly. Stay tuned!

  7. Bassman, thanks for your correction on "Sunshine Of Your Love" , just a typo, but good find. I will correct shortly. I should have done some research on this category before I jumped in because I am in over my head on this deal. I am counting on help from you and Blues67 to carry the water on this TOP list!

  8. Update: Just made a few changes: Wonderful Tonight and Knockin' on Heaven's Door off. Great songs but just don't have the feel that I think R & B should have on this list. I like to create playlists that fit perfect together and I am approaching this list with that same thought in mind. Lay Down Sally now on the list.

  9. Hey Bassman and Blues67. Just had a chance to spend a little time on itunes and came across a BB King CD released in 2005 that is a must for both of you to listen to: Titled "80" to celebrate The King's 80 birthday. Check these out: The Thrill Is Gone with Clapton, Early in the morning with Van Morrison, Need Your Love So Bad with Sheryl Crow and Drivin Wheel with Glenn Frey. Just an outstanding CD you need to have in your library. I don't know if you think any of the last three should be on the list but they are good.

  10. Hello Music Man and Bassman, One other clean up item, "I Shot the Sheriff" really belongs to reggae. Bob Marley wrote it and performed it first, though Clapton had his only #1 hit with it. So i wold remove that song as well. I also have a CD called "Riding with the King" which are songs performed jointly by Eric and BB. Eric released a CD of Robert Johnson covers, which really goes back to the early days of the Blues. And I will check out that website, thanks.

  11. Blues67, I agree. "I shot the sheriff is gonezo!


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