A Special Report from Agent Carter
The process of creating this list was just as difficult as some of the other lists I have created in the past. Certain letters came to me right away, while others required a bit of research and a process of elimination. I could easily have two A to Z lists to present to you all.
But, you will just have to make do with one for now. Enjoy!
A – A Kind of Magic by Queen
Queen is one of my favorite bands. They have been included in many of my playlists and I have had their 2-cd set greatest hits album (Queen Greatest Hits I & II, the one with the gold cover) in my collection for years. There isn’t a song of theirs that I dislike. So naturally, they were going to appear here easily as the first song, given that their music certainly has a kind of magic for me.
B – B.Y.O.B. by System of a Down
I recently noticed that some of the mixtapes I have created or been involved with, have not had nearly enough heavy metal in them. This song is a good representation of what I considered heavy metal in high school. I was listening to a lot of System of a Down, Disturbed, Korn, etc. during my formative years and yes, I had the Hot Topic wardrobe to match.
C – Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis
Before my formative years, a lot of my musical influences came from my mom. One of the big genres was oldies, and among that genre one of the big artists was Elvis. I have quite a few favorites when it comes to The King, but this one is at the top.
D – Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen
Speaking of genre influences from mom, the other big genre was 80s music and mostly pop with some rock mixed in. So it was pretty much meant to be, that my favorite Bruce Springsteen song would be one from the 80s. Most of the songs that I like from him are on the Born in the U.S.A. album.
E – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams
I have loved this song since the first moment I heard it in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I developed a simultaneous crush on Bryan Adam and Kevin Costner, all because of this song and that movie. As a kid, this movie was constantly in the VCR and you can best believe I sang along with the end credits every single time.
F – Faint by Linkin Park
It’s been nearly half a year and yet it is still weird to hear a Linkin Park song on the radio and know that Chester Bennington (former lead singer) is no longer with us. I still remember which Linkin Park album (Meteora) I listened to when I first got into the band, back in high school. It has Somewhere I Belong, Numb, and of course my favorite, Faint.
G – Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio
I have never been a big rap fan, except for when it comes to certain rappers from the late 80s and early 90s. Among them was Coolio, and this song was the only reason my mom bought me his cassette tape for my birthday one year. It was my first tape with a parental advisory on it. What can I say? I was a very mature 9 year old.
H – Hair of the Dog by Nazareth
Now we get to the first letter where I had multiple options to narrow down from, but ultimately I settled on Hair of the Dog. This song definitely feeds my classic rock habit. I’ve always liked classic rock, but didn’t actively listen to a lot of it until I started watching the TV show Supernatural (which has some great classic rock in its earlier seasons). The show reminded me of just how much I liked the genre and sparked a renewed obsession over the last five years. Not surprisingly, this song was featured in an episode of Supernatural.
I – In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
There was no way the letter “I” was going to be anything other than In Your Eyes. It is, hands down, my favorite Peter Gabriel song and one of my all time favorite songs. Ever since I first heard it on the radio, there was just something that I connected with in this song, and as I got older I just kept appreciating it more and more. For the lyrics and the way his voice sounds, the romantic overtures and imagery. I just love everything about it and that was even before I saw the famous John Cusack scene. I’m probably the only person who that would still work on, simply based on how much I love this song.
J – Jive Talkin’ by The Bee Gees
Thanks to mom, again, I’m a fan of The Bee Gees. I remember listening to them as a kid and wondering, how is Barry able to make his voice go that high? It was always a fun game to try and match Barry’s voice, spoiler alert: I couldn’t and it didn’t sound pretty. Jive Talkin’ isn’t my number one favorite Bee Gees song, but it was the only one where I didn’t have a conflicting song picked for the same letter.
K – Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
This list would not be complete without a Led Zeppelin song, to once again represent my love of classic rock. This was another easy choice, Kashmir was the first to pop into my head when I thought of the letter K. I can’t say this is my favorite song of theirs, because I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite. It’s Led Zep, every single song is unique and special in its own way. For example, this song has a great guitar opening that is immediately recognizable. But then you have Immigration Song which has that infamous shouting (most recently used in Thor: Ragnarok). And that’s not even mentioning their other staples like Stairway to Heaven and Whole Lotta Love.
L – La Camisa Negra by Juanes
After several years of Spanish classes in high school and college, I am still only at a beginner’s level in fluency. If I’m ever stranded in Mexico, I could probably navigate my way to a library and ask where their bathroom is. Despite not knowing much Spanish, I do like listening to Spanish music: Shakira, the Gypsy Kings, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Daddy Yankee, Carlos Santana. This song I actually heard in my Spanish class in college. It was used in a learning video when we were going over clothing. La Camisa Negra translates to The Black Shirt. I have loved this song ever since. It’s got a fun beat to it and Juanes has a great voice.
M – Modern Love by David Bowie
Similar to Queen, there was no way a David Bowie song was not making it onto this list. He is my absolute favorite, just inching ahead of Freddie, from his glam rock days to his days as The Goblin King. But before the “Magic Dance,” he encouraged other people to dance with the album Let’s Dance. This was his most popular album, at least commercially, and he hated it. It’s a pop album that made him conform to the popular music style of the 80s. It has Let’s Dance, China Girl, and this song. Of all the songs on the album, Modern Love is my favorite and the least played on the radio compared to the other two, so maybe that’s part of it. I love an underdog.
N – Never Tear Us Apart by INXS
This letter required a little bit of research again, just because my mind went blank on songs beginning with “N”. But as soon as I looked up some online, I quickly came up with a few songs to choose from. I finally settled on Never Tear Us Apart over No Scrubs by TLC (which will make the next list). It’s my favorite INXS song and comes off the album Kick which also has my remaining favorite songs from the band. So it really feels like this choice was meant to be. It’s a great 80s song and I have to turn up the radio every time it comes on.
O – Ohne Dich by Rammstein
Keeping up with the must-include-more-heavy-metal theme, I will always include Rammstein in lists whenever I can. They are my heavy metal gateway band. I can still remember the point in my childhood when I first discovered Rammstein while I was still in middle school. Since my first album of theirs, Mutter, I’ve picked up almost every other album, except the last two. This particular song is from their 2004 album, and my second to last purchased album, Reise Reise. The last album I purchased was Rosenrot in 2005.
P – Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones
I have to admit, I’m more of a Beatles fans. It’s not that I dislike The Rollings Stones, I just have a harder time getting into a lot of their songs. Except for one. This is hands down my favorite Stones song. I have loved it for years and even tried to learn it on guitar once. I did pretty good with a small portion of the intro, but that was it. There’s just something about the lyrics and the drums mixed with an awesome guitar riff, I just absolutely love it.
Q – Quit Playing Games With My Heart by The Backstreet Boys
I grew up in the 90s, so I definitely had a boy band phase and my boy band was The Backstreet Boys. I liked *NSYNC as well, but BSB came first. I still remember when mom and I were first introduced to the band by a friend of my mom’s. She actually let us borrow her copy of the album, Backstreet’s Back, until we eventually bought our own. We didn’t get another one until mom bought me Millenium for my birthday which had Larger Than Life and Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely. After that, I moved into my heavy metal phase and never heard any of their stuff from the 2000s. Their 90s stuff will always have a special place in my heart though and I have no problem listening to it today.
R – Roxanne by The Police
Aside from Queen, the only other greatest hits box set I have is one for The Police. I’ve been a big fan since I was a kid and first got into 80s music. It wasn’t a huge leap to go from listening to Rod Stewart, which I also grew up on, to listening to bands like Genesis and The Police.
S – The Show Must Go On by Queen
I needed a song with “S”, but I also really wanted to include another Queen song. So I made the decision that the word “the” does not count and picked The Show Must Go On off the album, Innuendo. This was the last album that Freddie Mercury worked on before his death. The album came out in early February of ‘91, and he died later that same year. There would be other albums after his death that would feature new music with Freddie’s vocals, but these were mixed and cobbled together from recordings made prior to his death. The Show Must Go On is the last track on the album and my favorite of this album. This song perfectly portrays the feelings of a man who knows his life is coming to an end soon, he’s tired and weary but he’s not ready to give up the show just yet. Freddie kept his illness a secret for four years, until it was finally revealed to the press that he had AIDS on November 25th, 1991. Within 24 hours, he was dead.
T – This Charming Man by The Smiths
This is my favorite song from The Smiths. It has interesting lyrics, a fun guitar sound and an equally fun music video, which shows the band standing on top of flowers while Morrissey flails about a couple flower stalks as he sings. I had heard of the band before, but I only more recently really got into them when I was reintroduced 4-5 years ago by a friend. Since then, I’ve discovered my love of many songs by The Smiths.
U – Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
This was another very easy letter. This Nat King Cole classic popped into my head right away. It’s one of my all time favorite songs, and fits right up there with the romantic crooning songs by ‘Ol Blue Eyes (Frank Sinatra). It’s…pardon the pun…an unforgettable song. And if it doesn’t tempt you to want to sing along to it, or at the very least dance to it, then I’m sorry but you just might be dead.
V – Vienna by Billy Joel
This is a great song that reminds you to slow down in life, you can still get where you’re going without rushing. A place will wait for you, it’s not going anywhere, so there’s no need to be in a hurry to get there. When you’re impulsive and ambitious, you tend to miss out on things that can bring you just as much joy. Now, that’s not to say being ambitious is a bad thing. In the song itself, you’re reminded to keep on dreaming, but to be realistic about those dreams. It’s good to have dreams and goals, just don’t let pursuing those dreams get in the way of enjoying the little things in life. Plus, I’ve always wanted to go to Vienna, so I often like to imagine it’s waiting for me, as well.
W – Wig-Wam Bam by The Sweet
The Sweet were recently brought back to the foreground for music lovers, thanks to the inclusion of their song, Fox on the Run, on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack. I hadn’t heard the song much, but I was definitely familiar with their hit, Ballroom Blitz. I immediately fell in love with Fox on the Run and started looking up more of their songs. I then discovered my mom had been a big fan of theirs in the 70s and knew all their songs. I have mom to thank for my love of Brit Rock and Brit Glam Rock. So when it came to finding a song for “W”, this one was still fairly fresh in my memory. If you watch the video, or pay attention to the lyrics, you’ll figure out pretty quickly the theme of this song. There was an obsession with Native American culture in Europe in the 60s and 70s, and while songs like this were not politically correct, they didn’t mean any harm by them. They were fun songs to dance and sing along to. The 70s was a different time.
X – Xanadu by Olivia Newton John & ELO
Speaking of a product of the 70s, this song and its associated movie certainly had that tail-end of the 70s disco feel, but at the beginning of a decade that saw people moving toward pop music, rock, and hip hop; The 80s. Now, I have never seen the movie, that came out in 1980, but I have heard enough about it over the years. It was a musical meant to bank on Olivia’s success with Grease, and with her talent plus songs written by ELO, how could it go wrong? Except that it did, the movie was a flop and has become the butt of many jokes. But every once in a while, it shows up in music shows and reminds everyone that it exists. It’s also one of the few songs out there starting with the letter “X”.
Y – You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra
This was again a very easy letter to fill in and was the first to pop into my head for “Y”. Do I really have to say anything about this song? Everyone knows it, has heard it, and many people love it. Just as I do. It’s a song that has been redone by many artists. But it’s this version, the original, that will always be my number one.
Z – Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie
Let’s Dance was the first Bowie album I was introduced to around the same time as Labyrinth, due to its heavy radio play when I was a small child in the late 80s and early 90s. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered his fantastic back catalog: Space Oddity, Star Man, Moonage Daydream, Suffragette City, Changes, Young Americans, Fame, Golden Years, Heroes and many more. So “Z” was always going to be Ziggy Stardust, as tribute to Bowie’s earlier days and was filled in right after “A”.
So there you have it, my debut post for AgentPalmer.com. I hope you enjoy listening to this A to Z list of songs, or at least reading about them. And if you’re lucky, there may be another list in the future.
Agent Carter (@ThisAgentCarter) is a writer, podcaster, and geek. From Jane Austen to Agatha Christie, Doctor Who, Marvel, DC, and more, she geeks on books, nerds on movies, enjoys music, and fedoras.