Magazine was one of the most influential bands of the post-punk era, known for their blend of art-rock, avant-garde sensibilities, and intense live performances. Led by the charismatic and enigmatic singer-songwriter Howard Devoto, the band’s music was characterized by intricate guitar work, unconventional song structures, and Devoto’s distinctive vocals. Despite their relatively short career, which spanned only four studio albums and a handful of singles, Magazine left an indelible mark on the music world and inspired countless artists in their wake. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 best Magazine songs of all time, highlighting the band’s most memorable and impactful tracks. From the propulsive post-punk of “Shot by Both Sides” to the haunting beauty of “The Light Pours Out of Me” and the frenetic energy of “Motorcade,” these songs showcase the range and depth of Magazine’s unique sound. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the band’s music, this list is sure to provide a comprehensive overview of the best that Magazine had to offer. So let’s dive in and discover the top 10 best Magazine songs of all time.
1. Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone”
“Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan is a seminal song that is widely considered to be one of the greatest in the history of popular music. Released in 1965, it was a significant departure from Dylan’s earlier acoustic folk style, and marked a turning point in his career as he embraced rock and roll. The song features powerful lyrics that speak to the disillusionment and alienation felt by many young people at the time, and it was praised for its innovative use of imagery and metaphor. Musically, “Like a Rolling Stone” is characterized by its driving beat and organ riff, which combine to create a powerful and memorable sound. The song’s chorus, with its iconic refrain of “how does it feel?”, has become one of the most famous in all of rock music. Overall, “Like a Rolling Stone” is a landmark achievement in the history of popular music, and its influence can still be felt in the work of countless artists today.
2. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is a classic rock song by the British rock band, The Rolling Stones. Released in 1965, the song has become one of the band’s most recognizable hits and an anthem for a generation. The song’s catchy guitar riff, sung lyrics, and rebellious attitude made it a popular song with both rock fans and critics. The lyrics express the frustration and restlessness of a young man who can’t find satisfaction in a world of advertising, commercialism, and sexual repression. The song’s theme was relevant to the social and cultural changes that were taking place in the 1960s, making it a symbol of youth rebellion and counterculture. The song was also one of the first to feature distorted guitar and innovative use of feedback, which became a hallmark of rock music in the years to come.
3. John Lennon “Imagine”
“Imagine” is a beautiful and iconic song by John Lennon that was released in 1971. The song is known for its powerful lyrics and peaceful message, encouraging listeners to imagine a world without borders or conflict. It features Lennon’s signature piano playing and simple yet effective melody, making it one of the most recognizable songs in history. The song has become an anthem for peace and unity and has been covered by countless artists over the years. It remains a beloved and powerful song that inspires hope and encourages us to envision a better world.
4. Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On”
Marvin Gaye’s 1971 hit “What’s Going On” is a soulful protest song that remains relevant to this day. With its hauntingly beautiful melody and poignant lyrics, the song addresses the social and political turmoil of the time, with themes of war, poverty, and racial injustice. Gaye’s soulful voice captures the sense of frustration and confusion felt by many during that time, while the instrumental arrangement features a driving rhythm section and soaring strings that add to the song’s emotional intensity. “What’s Going On” remains one of the most iconic songs of the 1970s and a powerful example of music’s ability to speak to the issues of its time.
5. Aretha Franklin “Respect”
“Respect” is a classic R&B and soul song, originally written and recorded by Otis Redding in 1965, but made iconic by Aretha Franklin’s 1967 cover. The song is about a woman demanding respect from her man, with the lyrics emphasizing the importance of mutual respect in any relationship. Franklin’s powerful vocals, backed by the energetic horns and the catchy rhythm, create an unforgettable and empowering anthem that continues to resonate with audiences today. The song quickly became a chart-topping hit, and earned Franklin two Grammy Awards in 1968. “Respect” is widely regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time, and has been covered and sampled by countless artists in various genres over the years.
6. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”
The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” is a classic psychedelic pop masterpiece, released in 1966. It features a complex arrangement with a wide range of instruments and sound effects, showcasing the band’s innovative approach to music-making. The song is known for its catchy melody, unusual chord progressions, and Brian Wilson’s falsetto vocals. It also includes the use of the electro-theremin, a new instrument at the time that adds to the song’s otherworldly sound. The lyrics are optimistic and uplifting, reflecting the positive vibrations that the song aims to evoke. The song was a commercial and critical success, reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming one of the most beloved and influential songs in pop music history.
7. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode”
“Johnny B. Goode” is a rock and roll classic that was released by Chuck Berry in 1958. The song tells the story of a young boy from Louisiana who dreams of becoming a famous musician, and Berry’s iconic guitar riff and energetic vocals make it an instantly recognizable hit. The lyrics describe Johnny’s musical journey and his rise to fame, highlighting the power of rock and roll as a means of self-expression and liberation. Berry’s innovative guitar playing on this track, with its distinctive riffs and bends, helped to shape the sound of rock and roll for years to come, and the song has been covered by countless artists in various styles. Its popularity and cultural significance have earned it a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.” “Johnny B. Goode” remains a beloved classic that continues to inspire and entertain audiences of all ages.
8. The Beatles “Hey Jude”
The iconic “Hey Jude” is a song by the Beatles that has become a timeless classic. Written by Paul McCartney and originally released in 1968, this masterpiece remains one of the most recognized and beloved songs of all time. With its memorable chorus, emotional lyrics, and catchy melody, “Hey Jude” has the power to move and inspire listeners across generations. The song’s length, clocking in at over seven minutes, was unconventional for its time, but it allowed for a powerful build-up and emotional release. The song’s message of hope, love, and perseverance has resonated with audiences for over 50 years, making it a true testament to the Beatles’ legacy. From its opening piano chords to its uplifting “na-na-na-na” outro, “Hey Jude” remains a shining example of the Beatles’ songwriting prowess and continues to be a staple on classic rock radio stations around the world.
9. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song that defined a generation and revolutionized rock music in the early 1990s. The song’s iconic opening riff, thundering drums, and Kurt Cobain’s gritty vocals propelled it to become an instant classic. The lyrics, often interpreted as a commentary on the apathy and disaffection of youth culture at the time, struck a chord with millions of fans around the world. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a massive commercial success, propelling Nirvana and the grunge movement to the forefront of popular culture. Its influence can still be felt in music today, with many bands citing it as an inspiration. Despite its widespread acclaim, the song’s meaning remains somewhat elusive, with Cobain himself often evading questions about its significance. Nonetheless, its impact on the music world is undeniable, cementing Nirvana’s place in history as one of the most important and influential bands of all time.
10. Ray Charles “What’d I Say”
“What’d I Say” is a classic song by Ray Charles, released in 1959, which became one of his signature tunes. The song is a soulful and infectious combination of gospel, blues, and R&B, with Charles’ raw and powerful vocals driving the melody. The song features a memorable call and response between Charles and his backup singers, and an irresistible dance beat that has made it a party favorite for decades. The song’s lyrics are suggestive and risqué for its time, with Charles asking his audience, “Tell me what’d I say? / Say, what’d I say? / Tell me what’d I say? / Right now, right now, right now.” The song’s influence on popular music cannot be overstated, as it helped to bridge the gap between gospel and secular music and paved the way for the rise of soul music in the 1960s. It is a true classic that remains beloved by music fans of all ages.