Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: A Million Songs

Million You didn’t think this was actually going to be a list of one million songs, did you? That’s almost as naive as trusting me with a million dollars. I wouldn’t have trusted 22-year-old me with a block of expired cheese.

It all worked out, though. Tales From the Crypt was saved from a production shutdown, and Ginger Lynn was spared my lascivious elevator stares. Win-win!

“One million” remains a magical number, even if inflation has taken quite a bit of the mystique away. It’s our shorthand for “a lot” — “I’ll give you a million reasons,” “You’ve done that a million times,” “Not for a million dollars,” on and on.

So of course there are lots of “million” songs. Here are eight of them — you’re going to need to fill in the other 999,992:

“Millionaires Against Hunger,” Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is a B-side from the “Taste the Pain” CD single. Funky Chilis remains my favorite era of the band.

“Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to be a Millionaire,” AC/DC. Probably my all-time favorite AC/DC track, and definitely my favorite AC/DC lyric: “I’ve got patches / on the patches / on my old blue jeans / Well they used to be blue / when they used to be new / and when they used to be clean.”

“One of the Millions,” XTC. From Oranges and Lemons, a must-have XTC album (but they all are).

“Million Miles,” Heart. I think Fanatic is as good as any album in the Heart discography and better than a lot of them. Check it out.

“A Million Miles Away,” Plimsouls. Hardly a deep cut, but one ’80s song that never loses its awesome.

“One In A Million,” Guns N’ Roses. Easily the most controversial song that Guns N’ Roses ever recorded, which is saying something.

I always err on the side of First Amendment rights, even when I agree that speech is offensive. Artists exist in a unique social space. To some extent they function as our proxies, grappling publicly with issues that we may be grappling with privately. Mark Twain dealt with racism, Judy Blume dealt with adolescence, and Huey Lewis struggled with the desire for a new drug; specifically one that won’t make him sick, does what it should, won’t cost too much, or make his face break out.

Is this really how young Axl felt about immigrants, homosexuals, law enforcement and African Americans? Personally it matters a lot, but I don’t know Axl personally. Artistically it doesn’t matter at all. Once a piece of art (or “art,” if you prefer) is out there, it stands on its own. If “One In A Million” incited hatred, it brought no beauty into the world. On the other hand, if some mullethead heard this cut and thought, “Sweet Alice’s codpiece, is that what I sound like? Time for a change,” then the Gunners performed a public service.

I don’t want to live in a world where nothing objectionable is ever said. Objectionable things are thought, and they always will be. Not exposing them to daylight is nothing but denial.

“A Million Miles Away,” Rory Gallagher. Another “Million Miles Away,” this one from the great Rory Gallagher. Man, what a guitar player. This is truly trivial, but Gallagher’s sweat was so acidic (or something) that it stripped the paint off of his Stratocaster.

“I’d Wait A Million Years,” The Grass Roots. This has to be one of the last cuts with Creed Bratton, who left the band in 1969 so he’d have a great story to tell 30 years later should he be featured on a sitcom starring Steve Carrell.

Okay, people, let’s have them. There are a lot more million songs out there, and I’m listening.


photo Wikimedia Commons

1 reply »

  1. The Grass Roots!! I was going to throw that one up and you already did it, I don’t stand a chance with you. I listened to this album non-stop when I was ten years old. I’d play it over and over in the den at my grandmother’s house, and to her credit she was a good sport about it and didn’t tell me to “turn off that damned noise.” I know every song on that album – you just transported me back to my awkward skinny thick glasses bad haircut mess of a self, rocking it like no one was there (because no one was). Thanks for the trip down memory lane. 🙂


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