Las 30 mejores canciones de la historia del rock

21. «God only knows» (The Beach Boys). Lo más cerca que el pop estuvo de Mozart

«Pet Sounds» figura entre los mejores discos de la historia y aquí es donde aparece esta absoluta genialidad de Brian Wilson. Con texto de Peter Asher y una espectacular interpretación de Carl Wilson, se trata sin duda de una de las mejores canciones de siempre.

Es lo más lejos que se puede llegar en el pop. Capas y capas de sonido, cambios de tono constantes, acordes invertidos, instrumentales que separan el tema en varias pequeñas oberturas… Es todo de una complejidad extrema, pero que no se nota. Todo transcurre con aparente ligereza. No se pueden hacer más cosas en menos de tres minutos.

22. «A change is gonna come» (Sam Cooke). La cumbre del pájaro cantor, una de las mejores canciones de la historia del soul y de la música

Una magna introducción sitúa en la rampa de salida la voz de Sam Cooke. Y cuando éste entra se para el mundo: «Nací junto al río en una pequeña carpa /  Ah, y al igual que el río, he estado corriendo desde entonces / Ha pasado mucho tiempo, mucho tiempo por venir / Pero sé que vendrá un cambio, oh sí lo hará».

No se podía cantar mejor que este hombre, con unos registros casi sobrenaturales y una demoledora capacidad para transmitir emoción. Además, componía sus propias canciones. «A change is gonna come» es sobrecogedora, convertida en un himno sobre los derechos raciales.

23. «London Calling» (The Clash). La revolución estaba en las calles y en Strummer

Joe Strummer y Mick Jones fueron los Lennon y McCartney del punk. Ambos eran dinamita componiendo: uno con sus riffs, el otro con sus melodías y sus textos. Si el punk fue algo serio fue gracias especialmente a The Clash.

«London Calling» dio título a un álbum tan abrasador que casi dolía. La canción es pura rabia, empezando con el inmortal riff de guitarra y continuando con el desesperado relato de lo que era aquel Londres conservador y reaccionario de finales de los 70. «Londres se está inundando / Y yo vivo junto al río», aúlla Strummer en una de las frases más hermosamente contundentes jamás cantadas.

24. «Alison» (Elvis Costello). La imposible mezcla de Bob Dylan y Burt Bacharach

Por aquellos tiempos no había nadie tan airado como Elvis Costello, un muchacho altamente irascible siempre a punto de estallar. Con «Alison» se alejó de su estilo más reconocible de la primera época y consiguió armonizar el vitriolo de Dylan con la clase de Burt Bacharach para crear una de las canciones más hermosas de nuestra era.

La melodía es tan bella como la instrumentación. Y cómo olvidar el lirismo de la guitarra del músico de sesión John McFee, un genio del «pedal-steel» que aquí se salió con las seis cuerdas. Una de esas canciones que nunca te cansas de escuchar y de recordar. Una canción que gusta imaginar.

25. «Try a little tenderness» (Otis Redding). O cómo dirigir el observatorio del soul

Una vieja canción de los años 30 fue revisada por Otis Redding tres décadas después para instalarse en lo más alto del observatorio del soul. Salvo Aretha Franklin, no ha habido nadie mejor en el género. Y mira que hubo competencia.

«Try a little tenderness» es una cumbre de la música popular y posee uno de los más impresionantes «crescendos» de la historia. Partiendo casi del silencio se llega progresivamente al estruendo por obra y gracia de una banda irrepetible (Booker T. & The MGs) y una voz salvaje. Otis Redding es inolvidable.

26. «American girl» (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers). La «nueva ola» de América

Aunque menos estudiada y reconocida, Estados Unidos también tuvo su «nueva ola» y uno de sus máximos representantes fueron Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers durante sus primeros discos. De hecho, «American Girl» fue un éxito en las islas británicas y pasó casi inadvertido en su país antes de que el tiempo lo pusiera como un gran clásico de la canción estadounidense.

Aquí está la anfetamínica urgencia del punk con el latido melódico de los Byrds y una letra juvenil pero no tonta. La banda es una apisonadora y la enorme canción concluye con un icónico solo final de Mike Campbell para quitarse el gorro. Estos tipos solo tenían 20 años cuando hicieron esto.

27. «Respect» (Aretha Franklin). El registro más reivindicativo y demoledor del soul

«Respect» no solo es una de las mejores canciones de la historia. Escrita por Otis Redding, Aretha Franflin tomó posesión de ella y se la apropió para crear un magno himno sobre los derechos de las mujeres. «Respeto».

La interpretación es una barbaridad. Qué registros tenía esta señora. Qué dominio y control de la voz. Además, coincidió con la mejor época de Atlantic Records, llena de musicazos y con un sonido abrasivo y natural que encajó con la brutal personalidad de la gran dama del soul.

28. «That’ll be the day» (Buddy Holly). Una genialidad más de uno de los primero grandes genios de la historia de la música

Pocos llegaron tan lejos como Buddy Holly en tan poco tiempo. Dejó decenas de canciones memorables en apenas unos años de carrera y «That’ll be the day» es apenas una pequeña muestra representativa de una obra única e influyente como pocas. Sin él, Beatles, Elvis y Dylan no hubieran sonado igual. Es decir, nada hubiera sonado como ahora.

«That’ll be the day» fue uno de sus primeros éxitos y todo comienza con un brillantísimo riff de Stratocaster. Porque en eso también fue pionero Buddy Holly, uno de los primeros grandes guitarristas de la historia. Luego está esa melodía tan característica, tan luminosa. Y ese sonido. Porque, de nuevo, él también fue pionero en trabajar las canciones con osados arreglos de estudio. En fin, un verdadero genio a reivindicar.

29. «Do you remember rock ‘n roll radio» (Ramones). El nuevo siglo del pop

Juntar a Phil Spector y Ramones parecía a primera vista un disparate surrealista, pero en perspectiva fue de lo más natural. Porque los Ramones no eran punks, sino «poppies» devotos de la era dorada de los «oldies». Con todo su punto de locura y esas guitarras aceleradas, pero el punk era otra cosa.

«Do you remember rock ‘n roll radio» es la obra de varios genios: el de Spector, con ese personalísimo muro de sonido, y la brillantez interpretativa de Joey Ramone y sus compinches. Durante la grabación, la banda sufrió un ataque de nervios a diario ante la reconocida maldad de Spector, pero valió la pena (si no se estuvo allí). Stay tuned!

30. «California» (Joni Mitchell). Una canción revolucionaria para una compositora e intérprete revolucionaria

Posiblemente Joni Mitchell sea la compositora e intérprete más influyente entre las cantautoras de las posteriores generaciones. Y en parte se debe a su sensacional disco «Blue«, de 1971. Todo el innovador estilo de la canadiense está aquí: sus acordes abiertos, sus inflexiones vocales, sus letras tan llenas de costumbrista imaginación…

Mitchell compuso «California» en el «exilio» francés y cuenta con una instrumentación de lujo: la guitarra de James Taylor, la percusión del gran Russ Kunkel y sobre todo el pedal-steel de aquel genio del instrumento que fue Sneaky Pete Kleinow. Todo es freco y lleno de personalidad en esta fabulosa canción tan llena de esa nostalgia que proporciona un océano de separación.

 

 

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