I've been thinking recently about the crucial place that hard-driving rock and roll songs play in our lives. What is the ultimate party mix tape? Everyone has a different one, but I assume most of yours are lame. Here are my choices for songs that prove you are not a member of the living dead.
1, ``Super Freak,'' by Rick James. This a very special song, the kind you don't bring home to mother. You can substitute MC Hammer's ``Can't Touch This,'' if you must. Either one gets you off the couch.
2, ``My Sharona,'' the Knack, glandular rock at its best. I can also appreciate those souls who prefer the less refined ``Good Girls Don't.''
3, ``Secret Agent Man,'' the old rocker is funny and slightly cool at the same time.
4, ``One Way or Another,'' by Blondie. I stand ready at all times for Debbie Harry to ``getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha'' me.
5, ``Born To Run, the Boss,. a song meant to be screamed at the top of your lungs during the drive down Highway 195 between Spokane and Pullman. Collectors of oddities might prefer the faux-Richard Nixon version, as performed on ``Saturday Night Live.''
6, ``Twist and Shout,'' the Beatles version. Listening to John Lennon's exuberant singing, and the lads' playing, brings tears to your eyes. Baby, we are gonna work it all out.
7, ``Rock and Roll,'' Led Zeppelin, one of the most straight-ahead rock chargers of all time, a mix of guitar, drums and vocals that we should shoot off into deep space to warn any alien cultures that they better not mess with us.
8, ``I Want You to Want Me,'' Cheap Trick. Guitar warrior Rick Neilsen launched a million air-guitar acolytes with his riffs, and the overwrought chorus of fans on the record is a perfect illustration of how rock moves us.
9, ``You Really Got Me,'' Van Halen. Proof that your front man can be a blissful idiot and a genius at the same time.
10, ``Start Me Up,'' Rolling Stones. I saw the Rolling Stones perform in Missoula last year, and they opened the concert, as they do most shows, with this anthem. Enuf said.