es·sen·tial (ə sen′s̸həl, i-) uh-sen-shuh l
1. of or constituting the intrinsic, fundamental nature of something; basic; inherent
2. absolute; complete; perfect
3. absolutely necessary; indispensable; requisite
something necessary or fundamental; indispensable, inherent, or basic feature or principle
Many of the songs on my list are the first release or first “hit” by the artist. These songs introduced me to their music. When some of these artists no longer had a home on commercial radio, they were still embraced by independent public radio. So these songs are essential. They are necessary, without hearing these songs I would not have discovered these artists and continued to listen to their music, buy their CD’s or download their songs.
1. “Falling Slowly” – Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (2007-2008)
Having won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2007, to me this song epitomizes that a good song doesn’t necessarily have to be a commercial hit to be recognized. The movie and soundtrack to “Once” were great examples of the fact that the little guy does sometime come out on top.
2. “Driving” – Everything But The Girl (acoustic version) (1990 & 1996)
This song just flows. I love hearing it while I’m driving. Love how it sounds on the radio.
3. “Walking in Memphis” – Marc Cohn (1991)
Marc Cohn won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1991 on the strength of this song. Cohn’s songwriting has only continued to improve, too bad commercial radio all but abandoned him after this hit.
4. “Lullaby” – Shawn Mullins (1998)
Commercial success may have alluded Shawn Mullins since “Lullaby”, but he’s found his niche as a great story teller. It’s still a highlight when Shawn sings his “medley” of this greatest hit in concert.
5. “Solitude” – Edwin McCain (1995)
This is what a great story song should sound like. Yes, I know you may dismiss this because Edwin McCain teamed up with the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius Rucker. But it’s a testament to McCain’s songwriting abilities.
6. “No Such Thing” – John Mayer (2002)
The 21st century is continuing to introduce us to talented songwriters. John Mayer co-wrote this song with Clay Cook. Mayer is still young but his songwriting ability and wisdom are far beyond his years.
7. “All I Wanna Do” – Sheryl Crow (1994)
The ultimate catchy pop song. Sheryl Crow keeps cranking them out year after year after year.
8. “That Girl Can Sing” – Jackson Browne (1980)
This was one of those songs that stood out while I was in high school. It seemed so sophisticated and ahead of its time. It still sounds good.
9. "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)" – Enya (1988)
A sound that really was unique and still is.
10. “One Headlight” – The Wallflowers (1997)
I love listening to this song in my car, in the rain, with the windshield wipers going. I know it’s one of those “super groups”, but it’s a good song.
11. “Runaway Feeling” – The Thorns (acoustic version) (2003)
Okay, maybe only the record label was convinced it was a good idea to team up Shawn Mullins, Matthew Sweet and Pete Droge. But the music they produced was magical.
12. “One of Us” – Joan Osborne (1995)
A lot of us have a copy of “Relish” and remember Joan Osborne for this wonderful song.
13. “I Don’t Want to Wait” – Paula Cole (1997)
There’s a reason this song stayed on the charts for almost a full year - I don’t know what more to say, other than I just like this song.
14. “Marlene on the Wall” – Suzanne Vega (1985 & 1986)
Typical example of the songs Suzanne Vega has recorded over the years that makes it fit in perfectly with the music at WYEP.
15. “Someday We’ll Know” – New Radicals (1999)
I actually discovered this song on Daryl Hall & John Oates’ CD “Do It For Love“. Then I heard it on WYEP. Songwriters surely know a good song when they hear it.
16. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt (1991)
Only Bonnie Raitt can make a song sound like this. Sultry.
17. “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” – Baz Luhrmann (1999)
Forgive me for including a “one hit wonder”. I just think this song has a great message for all of us and you probably won’t hear it on any other radio station.
18. “River” – Joni Mitchell (1971)
There’s a reason why so many artists have covered Joni Mitchell songs. They are well written songs that stand the test of time. “River” is a holiday themed song, that just conjures up so many vivid images.
19. “Smooth” – Santana (featuring Rob Thomas) (1999)
One of those songs that I never get tired of hearing and I turn up the radio each time it comes on.
20. “All I Want” – Toad the Wet Sprocket (1992)
Young artists who made a song that gets stuck in your head.
A holiday song as an extra:
21. “Driving Home for Christmas” – Chris Rea (1988)
I heard this song years ago on the radio while driving in Canada around the holidays and have loved it ever since.
Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host