2,467 Times Is Enough

I was driving with my friend John today and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven started to play on the radio. I quickly changed the station and John objected just as quickly. “Put that back on!” John exclaimed as if I’d committed an act of heresy. “That’s Stairway”, he continued, “you can’t turn that off, it’s the greatest rock and roll song ever.”

Grudgingly, and without vocal objection, I changed the station back to where it was and listened to Stairway to Heaven for what I estimate is about the 2,467th time. And that’s enough. Really. It’s enough.

Now, before you drag me in angry e-mails and call me all sorts of names, know this…I’m a big fan of Led Zeppelin. BIG fan. See? I’m putting the word BIG in all caps in the hopes that it helps get my point across. They’re a great band. I also really LIKE Stairway to Heaven too. I just don’t want to hear it for a while. I need a break. I’m simply not one of those people who can hear his favorite songs over and over and over and over again for 45 years and still love them.

Me and that song, we need a little distance. Think of it like this. Ever hear the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? That’s where I am with Stairway to Heaven, and these nine other songs that make up the following list of songs I will not voluntarily play for at least the next year or so:

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin: See above

Back in Black – AC/DC: I vowed to only pick one song from each artist, but if I hadn’t done that, there would be another track from this album making the list. I’m not telling you which one because that would be like putting it on the list.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen: Yeah yeah, I know it’s a great song. I also know it continues to remain relevant, reaching new generations by being connected to movies. But it’s not new to me, and hasn’t been since I was 11 years old. Between its original run, Wayne’s World and the Queen Biopic, it is unquestionably the song I’ve heard more than any other in my life.

Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd: I have to be honest. I’ve always hated this song. I don’t know which I hate more, the annoyingly slow drawl in the first part of the song, or the seemingly never ending outro. What I do know is they could have ended Free Bird at about the 6:00 minute mark and it would have been a better song. I’d have still hated it, but less. Instead, it goes on for nearly 9 minutes and there is actually an extended version that breaks the 10 minute mark. An extended version of Free Bird? What the hell for?

Taking Care of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive: How does this song not go away? If you provide me a reasonable, well written explanation, I’ll put it up on IHAE. I won’t pay you, but you’ll get a writing credit and the satisfaction of knowing you defended a song you presumably still love.

Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses: You were probably expecting Sweet Child O’ Mine, but I’ve heard this one more because I used to like it more. Yes, that really does make sense if you think about it.

Babe – Styx: One of my all time favorite rock bands, it pains me to put Styx on this list but I have to. I’ve heard this song so many times over the years from the day it came out that I probably couldn’t bear it even if it didn’t foreshadow the coming fall from grace of Styx in my eyes. This one is personal to me and I knew it meant bad things to come. You hear that Kilroy? I knew you were coming.

Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey: This song came out around 1981. I think it was the first single from their album Escape, which itself went on to become one of those albums everyone seemed to have. It is a good song that got quickly overplayed and has been oft played ever since. I didn’t have a problem with the way The Sopranos ended the TV series with the sudden black screen, but did they have to give Don’t Stop Believin’ new life?

Seven Nation Army – White Stripes: I’m big into alternative rock and it seemed unfair to me to look past this genre, especially when considering that some alt-rock classics are, like Seven Nation Army, nearly 20 years old. I’m not going to sugar coat this. The fact that this song gets played at sporting events, and that I still attend sporting events put this song on this list for me.

In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins: Yes, you read that right. I don’t want to hear In The Air Tonight for at least a year. Maybe even two years, or eight years. It’s a great song, but it was overplayed from the start and is such a genre-crossing song it was and still is played regularly on all sorts of radio stations. I recently heard this song on 3 different satellite radio stations at the same time while in my car. Afraid to hear it on a 4th station, I turned the radio off entirely.

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