Just when things were getting interesting, let's go back to classic rock. I'm not talking about covers here, but entirely different songs that happen to have the same title. In no particular order:
1. Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane vs. Queen). The classic argument: Slick vs. Mercury. Range vs. Power. The decadent '60s vs. the decadent '70s. For a while I was a hardcore Airplane partisan, but then this song became the theme for that dreadful Julia Stiles NBC miniseres on "the '60s," nearly pushing me over to Queen. But I'll stand by Grace on this one: "When the truth is found... to be LIIEEESS."
2. Good Times, Bad Times (Rolling Stones vs. Led Zeppelin). The Stones song isn't bad, but I'd rather never hear it again for the rest of my life than miss out on the first five seconds of the Zep tune.
3. What Goes On (Beatles vs. Velvet Underground). Richard Starkey is a wonderful human being, but I don't think he holds a candle to Lou Reed in the songwriting department.
4. I'm Free (The Rolling Stones vs. The Who). A toughie. I say the Stones song edges out the Who take on "Tommy," but the electric heft of the Isle of Wight live track is overpowering. Stunningly, given that we're talking about a Pete Townsend song here, the Stones version is in a commercial, but the Who one isn't. Quick, Pete, call State Farm and get them on board!
5. Gloria (Van Morrison/Them vs. U2). Wow, I love both these songs --as much as anything else on this list. But I think U2's Gloria, particularly the live version on "Under A Blood Red Sky," reaches a level of classic rock sublimity that pre-Astral Van can't quite match. "Hey, this is Red Rocks!... This is the Edge!"
6. The End (The Beatles vs. The Doors). Apparently, lot of people think the Doors epic is pompous psychoblather poured over a single, repetitive riff. Not me. It kicks ass.
7. Girl (The Beatles vs. T. Rex). I love T.Rex, but the Fab Four win this one going away. Still, The Beatles and Stones come out of this little mash-fest at a combined 1-5. What's the deal? Somebody needs to convince Sister Hazel and Staind to commence writing songs with old British invasion titles... I could see Nickelback coming out with a new single, "Dandelion."
8. Changes (The Zombies vs. David Bowie vs. Tupac). A three-way! I'd love to put the Zombies first, thereby further cementing my cred as a classic rock snob, but in point of fact, this is one of the weaker tracks on "Odessy and Oracle" (or maybe I just cleverly enhanced it with that last sentence... you decide). My order: 1) Bowie; 2) Tupac; 3) Zombies.
9. Trouble (Elvis Presley vs. Coldplay vs. Pink vs. Ray Lamontagne). A four-way! I actually don't really know the Pink or the Elvis songs very well, but know that they exist is good enough. Unfashionably but truthfully, I'd put Coldplay first, Ray second, the King third, and Pink last.
10. Crazy (Patsy Cline vs. Aerosmith vs. Seal vs. Britney vs. Gnarls Barkley). A five-way! (If you want to be boring and look up the Wikipedia entry on songs called "Crazy," feel free to do so.... there are probably even more. But I thought of these all by myself!) Where to begin? Actually, most of these songs suck hard. Patsy deserves the edge for alltime classic classicness, but she's never compelled me. I say: 1) Gnarls (As Dick Clark used to say on American Bandstand, "it's got a beat. I can dance to it."); 2) Patsy; 3) Britney; 4) Seal; 5) Aerosmith. Man, I hate Aerosmith.