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NME Blogs - The Big Picture

20 Best Tracks Of NME's Lifetime - As Voted By You

By NME Blog

Posted on 25 Jul 12

 
 

Last month, as part of NME's ongoing 60th birthday celebrations, we announced our top 100 tracks of NME's Lifetime. And then we passed it over to you. Over the last few weeks, NME.com users have been voting for their top 20 choices. The results are in! See who came first, and scroll down to listen to these songs as a Spotify playlist.








  • 20.   The Verve - 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'

  • An iconic video, an iconic riff, and an iconic track. 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' felt like a sign of the times - frustrated, pissed-off, but determined to rise up. Ashcroft sang "I'm a million different people from one day to the next", but he felt like all of us. Photo: NME


    Photo: NME



  • 19.   Bob Dylan - 'Like A Rolling Stone'

  • The track that changed Dylan forever. Before writing 'Like A Rolling Stone', he was despondent, tired of his musical direction. After he crafted the lyrics from a long-form poem, he was revitalised. Accusations of 'Judas' followed, but Dylan ploughed ahead. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 18.   The Beatles - 'Eleanor Rigby'

  • From mop-tops to the Maharishi, 'Eleanor Rigby' marked a change in The Beatles. Interestingly, none of the group played instruments on the track - aside from vocals by Paul, John and George. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 17.   The Rolling Stones - 'Paint It Black'

  • With a distinctive sitar riff, and an off-kilter rhythm, the isolation in 'Paint It Black' is reinforced by its melodic strangeness. Jagger commented that the lyrics were about a funeral, but the desolation echoes outside of personal experience. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 16.   Davie Bowie - 'Heroes'

  • When Bowie met Berlin, big things happened. Inspired by the Berlin wall, and by collaborator Brian Eno, 'Heroes' real charm lies in its production, care of Tony Visconti. The bombastic lyrics are coupled with epic synth riffs, to create a swell of confidence, despite what the next day might bring. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 15.   Pulp -'Common People'

  • A six-minute social portrait, in 'Common People', Jarvis Cocker managed to paint a picture of snobbery among the supermarket aisles. An antidote to 'Parklife', 'Common People' showed the other side of the coin. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 14.   The Who - 'My Generation'

  • Punk before punk. The sound of four speed freaks spitting in the eye of anyone - anyone - who dared look at them a bit weird. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 13.   The White Stripes - 'Seven Nation Army'

  • What a riff. What a voice. What drum beat. What a combo. The White Stripes may be no more, but with a track like this, they'll never go away. Photo: Andy Willsher


    Photo: Andy Willsher



  • 12.   The Smiths - 'How Soon Is Now'

  • The ennui in 'How Soon Is Now' is all around. From Marr's echoing guitar opener, to Morrissey's claims that "I am the son and heir, of nothing in particular", 'How Soon Is Now?' yearns so much it hurts. Photo: Getty


    Photo: Getty



  • 11.   Oasis - 'Wonderwall'

  • Wonderwall seems too simple to work. No showy tricks, just a band, a vocalist, and a cello, and the admission that "there are many things that I'd like to say to you, but I don't know how". Photo: Dean Chalkley


    Photo: Dean Chalkley



  • 10.   The Kinks - 'You Really Got Me'

  • Hormones, guitars, hair gel, tight trousers - whatever is it, it's making the Kinks so riled up that it's all they can do to get through the song. 'You Really Got Me' is under two and a half minutes of pure desire. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 9.   Arctic Monkeys -'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'

  • It's got everything: energy, humour, originality, intelligence and effortless style. A track that will still make this list in another 60 years time. Photo: Dean Chalkley


    Photo: Dean Chalkley



  • 8.   The Clash - 'London Calling'

  • Police brutality, social criticism, worries about infrastructure - wouldn't make a number one these days, would it? More's the pity. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 7.   The Smiths - 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'

  • A strange kind of love song, is 'There Is A Light...' The lush musicality of the song manages to sweep the listener away with the romantic image of lovers dying side by side, almost obscuring the fact that the protagonist has been forced to leave home. Photo: Getty


    Photo: Getty



  • 6.   The Cure - 'Boys Don't Cry'

  • This Cure classic has kept many an indie dancefloor alight over the past 30 years. The jittery drums and instantly recognisable guitar riff remind listeners that there's more to the track than the rousing chorus, though. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 5.   Nirvana - 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'

  • What more can be said about 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'? The sound of a scene, the sound of change. And still indecently thrilling over 20 years on. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 4.   The Strokes - 'Last Nite'

  • Too cool to care, The Strokes made New York in the 00's seem like the most exciting place in the world. And debut single 'Last Nite' still makes it seem that way. Photo: Dean Chalkley


    Photo: Dean Chalkley



  • 3.   Joy Division - 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'

  • It has been made into something celebratory. Its elegantly expressed sentiment is universal; love is not undying. Photo: PA


    Photo: PA



  • 2.   The Killers -'Mr Brightside'

  • Pomp and circumstance for the indie age, 'Mr Brightside' was a novella with guitars. And that chorus. That chorus. Photo: Andy Willsher


    Photo: Andy Willsher



  • 1.   Amy Winehouse - 'Rehab'

  • Reportedly written in just three hours, Amy's delicious V-sign to the virtues of abstinence proves that music is at its realest and rawest when you sing what you know. Photo: Tom Oxley


    Photo: Tom Oxley




 
 
 
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