The Rising - Bruce Springsteen (2002) - the album that three of these quotes come from

The Rising - Bruce Springsteen (2002) - the album that three of these quotes come from

My mother telling me “my favorite song line is from Les Miserables – ‘To love another person is to see the face of God.’ ” reminded me that I’ve been meaning to do this list. These are not the 100 Greatest Lines on Rock History – hell, if I wanted to truly just get the 100 best lines I could quote every line from “Imagine” and “Blowin in the Wind” and pretty much call it a day.

Instead, these are lines that reflect me – not Veronica – just me. Some of them reflect my political beliefs. Some of them reflect my attitude. Some of them reflect my sense of humor. But they are all lines that speak to me and I think they’re all lines worthy to be remembered. Many of them I have used as epigraphs in various unpublished stories or novels.

Because they are lines from rock and roll, the above line from Les Miserables will not be included even though I agree with my mother that is the most wonderful line in any song. There are also three areas I want to address before my actual list.

  1. Great Song Titles – Some song titles themselves are worthy of inclusion on this list – only one song on here includes the song title – but a few titles that would be worthy of inclusion just for the title are “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “The Times They Are A-Changin,” “We Gotta Get Outta This Place,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” and “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
  2. Great Songs I Couldn’t Find a Specific Line From – Even though all the following songs are among my favorite, both as songs and as lyrics, I couldn’t come up with any specific line to use: “Help,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Paint it Black,” “Closer to Fine,” “Leaves That are Green,” “Fortunate Son,” “For What It’s Worth,” and “American Idiot”
  3. Popular Lines – Like I said, I could just quote all the lines from “Imagine” and “Blowin in the Wind,” but I didn’t and they aren’t included at all – they are so widely quoted they don’t feel specific enough to me – I also eliminated the great lines “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” from “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, “You’re still alive she said / But do I deserve to be” from “Alive”, “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold,” from “Stairway to Heaven”, “I hope I die before I get old,” from “My Generation” and “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” from “My My Hey Hey.”

Now here’s the list – 100 great rock lines (I’ve tried to limit each quote to a few lines – a few got eliminated because the full power of the quote was too long – namely the final verse of “Jungleland”), presented in chronological order, complete with the name of the writer (not necessarily who sings it). So you’ll see the name of Bruce Springsteen a lot. A lot.

1. Do you recall a girl who’s been in nearly every song?

“Peggy Sue Got Married” (Buddy Holly) – 1959

2. Don’t forget who’s taking you home and in whose arms you’re gonna be

“Save the Last Dance for Me” (Pomus / Shuman) – 1960

3. Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew

Go out and round up everyone who knows more than they do

“Desolation Row” (Bob Dylan) – 1965

4. Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

“Eve of Destruction” (Barry McGuire) – 1965

The Sounds of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel's 1966 album

The Sounds of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel's 1966 album

5. The words of the poets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls

“The Sounds of Silence” (Paul Simon) – 1965

6. Look at all the lonely people

“Eleanor Rigby” (Lennon / McCartney) – 1966

7. I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

“Leavin on a Jet Plane” (John Denver) – 1967

8. She is leaning out for love / She will lean that way forever

“Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen) – 1968

9. Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike

They’ve all come to look for America

“America” (Paul Simon) – 1968

10. There must be some way out of here

“All Along the Watchtower” (Bob Dylan) – 1968

11. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

“Me and Bobby McGee” (Kris Kristofferson) – 1970

12. Heavenly wine and roses / Seem to whisper to me as we smile

“Sweet Jane” (Lou Reed) – 1970

13. And we all shine on

“Instant Karma” (John Lennon) – 1970

14. This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

“Vincent (Starry Starry Night)” (Don McLean) – 1970

15. Half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where

“The Only Living Boy in New York” (Paul Simon) – 1970

16. There we were all in one place / A generation lost in space

“American Pie” (Don McLean) – 1972

17. It’s a town full of losers / I’m pulling out of here to win

“Thunder Road” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1975

18. Remember Terry, all the movies we’d go and see

Trying to learn how to walk like the heroes we thought we had to be

“Backstreets” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1975

19. Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine

“Gloria” (Patti Smith) – 1975

20. Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in the cage

“Wish You Were Here” (Roger Waters) – 1975

21. I ain’t no fool for love songs that whisper in my ears

“Still Crazy After All These Years” (Paul Simon) – 1975

22. Staying up nights in the Chelsea Hotel

Writing “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” for you

“Sara” (Bob Dylan) – 1975

23. We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds

In the name of destiny and in the name of God

“The Last Resort” (Don Henley / Glenn Frey) – 1976

24. We never knew we could want more than that out of life

“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” (Billy Joel) – 1977

25. You can keep my things / They’ve come to take me home

“Solsbury Hill” (Peter Gabriel) – 1977

26. Some people just give up living / Start dying little by little, inch by inch

“Racing in the Street” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1978

27. It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive

“Badlands” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1978

28. I’m hiding in Hondurus / I’m a desperate man

Send lawyers, guns and money / The shit has hit the fan

“Lawyers, Guns and Money” (Warren Zevon) – 1978

29. The silicon chip inside her head got switched to overload

“I Don’t Like Mondays” (Bob Geldof) – 1979

30. I believe in this and it’s been tested by research

That he who fucks nuns will later join the church

“Death or Glory”  (Strummer / Jones) – 1979

31. There is no pain, you are receding

“Comfortably Numb” (Roger Waters) – 1979

32. Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true

“The River” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1980

33. Why is the bedroom so cold?

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Ian Curtis) – 1980

34. Time isn’t holding us / Time isn’t after us

“Once in a Lifetime” (David Byrne) – 1980

35. Everything dies baby, that’s a fact

But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

“Atlantic City” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1982

Love Over Gold - the Dire Straits album with both Telegraph Road and Industrial Disease (1982)

Love Over Gold - the Dire Straits album with both Telegraph Road and Industrial Disease (1982)

36. I’ve run every red light on Memory Lane

“Telegraph Road” (Mark Knopfler) – 1982

37. Two men say they’re Jesus / One of them must be wrong

“Industrial Disease” (Mark Knopfler) – 1982

38. A generation without name, ripped and torn

“Like a Song” (Bono) – 1983

39. Negotiations and love songs are often mistaken for one and the same

“Train in the Distance” (Paul Simon) – 1983

40. I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad

That the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had

“Mad World”  (Roland Orzabel) – 1983

41. I was living in London with the girl from the song before

“The Late Great Johnny Ace” (Paul Simon) – 1983

42. Born down in a dead man’s town

“Born in the U.S.A.” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1984

43. We busted out of class, had to get away from those fools

We learned more from a 3 minute record than we ever learned in school

“No Surrender” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1984

44. I am human and I need to be loved

“How Soon is Now” (Morrissey / Marr) – 1984

45. This is my life, it’s what I’ve chosen to do

“Minutes to Memories” (John Mellencamp) – 1985

46. You poor take courage / You rich take care

This world was made a common treasury for everyone to share

“The World Turned Upside Down” (Billy Bragg) – 1985

47. Every generation throws a hero up the popcharts

“The Boy in the Bubble” (Paul Simon) – 1986

48. Burn down the disco / Hang the blessed DJ

Because the music that they constantly play says nothing to me about my life

“Panic” (Morrissey / Marr) – 1986

49. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine” (Berry / Buck / Mills / Stipe) – 1987

50. I love you because I need to / Not because I need you

“Luminous Time (Hold On to Love)” (Bono) – 1987

51. I’ll see you again when the stars fall from the sky

“One Tree Hill” (Bono) – 1987

52. Dear God, I hope you got the letter / I pray you can make it better

“Dear God” (Partridge) – 1987

53. If you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it

“Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards” (Billy Bragg) – 1988

54. Jesus could have baked the most delicious cake in the world

“Jesus Was Way Cool”  (King Missile) – 1988

55. I’ve a rich understanding of my finest defenses

“World Leader Pretend” (Berry / Buck / Mills / Stipe) – 1988

56. Dreams, they complicate my life

“Get Up” (Berry / Buck / Mills / Stipe) – 1988

57. I do believe anger is offset by sorrow

What we destroy today we might regret tomorrow

“We 3” (Dave Pirner) – 1988

58. And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention

“(Nothing But) Flowers” (David Byrne) – 1988

59. They say that you are always the last to know

They say that all that glitters is not gold

It’s not just that you’re never coming back to me

It’s the bitter way that I was told

“The Comedians” (Elvis Costello) – 1988 version

60. It’s so hard to love when love was your great disappointment

“Rattlesnakes”  (Lloyd Cole) – 1989

61. Everybody’s talking about this new decade

Like you say the magic number and say goodbye to the stupid mistakes you made

“Waiting for That Day” (George Michael) – 1990

62. There are reasons here to give your life

“The Stairs” (A Farriss / M Hutchence) – 1990

63. Have you come here for forgiveness / Have you come to raise the dead

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head

“One” (Bono) – 1991

64. You’d set the table for the barber Sweeney Todd

You’d clip the wings off of any rising god

“The Riverflow” (The Levellers) – 1991

65. The noise we thought would never stop / Died a death as the punks grew up

“One Way” (The Levellers) – 1991

66. She said “tell me are you a Christian, child”

And I said “Maam, I am tonight”

“Walking in Memphis” (Marc Cohn) – 1991

67. With the lights out it’s less dangerous

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Kurt Cobain) – 1991

Little Earthquakes (1991) - the debut album of Tori Amos

Little Earthquakes (1991) - the debut album of Tori Amos

68. I’ve been looking for a savior on these dirty streets

I’ve been looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets

“Crucify” (Tori Amos) – 1991

69. Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon

“Silent All These Years” (Tori Amos) – 1991

70. How long before my soul gets it right

Can any human being ever hope to reach that kind of light

“Galileo” (Emily Saliers) – 1992

71. I know I ain’t nobody’s bargain

But hell, a little touch-up and a little paint

“Human Touch” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1992

72. I’m rolling down California 5 / With your laughter in my head

I’m gonna have to drown it out to survive

Cause those dreams are dead and I’m alive

“I’m Alive” (Jackson Browne) – 1993

73. The white men think they’re at the top – ask any proud white male

One million years of evolution – we get Danny Quayle

“Insanity” (Danny Elfman) – 1993

74. I’m not about to give thanks or apologize

“Rearviewmirror” (Eddie Vedder) – 1993

75. Some die just to live

“Immortality” (Eddie Vedder) – 1994

76. Lord when I die I don’t want no part of heaven

I would not do heaven’s work well

“Youngstown” (Bruce Springsteen) – 1995

77. The preacher just left in the middle of the service

Because death was one thing but women made him nervous

“String of Pearls” (Dave Pirner) – 1995

78. We sit outside and argue all night long

About a God we’ve never seen but never fails to side with me

“Standing Outside of a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand”  (O’Connor / Feather / Feather) – 1996

79. You will never understand what it means to live your life with no meaning or control

“Common People”  (Moby) – 1996

80. She brushes my face with her smile

“Jupiter Crash” (Robert Smith) – 1996

81. I’m trying not to move / It’s just your ghost passing through

“Putting the Damage On” (Tori Amos) – 1996

82. How about how good it feels to finally forgive you

“Thank U” (Alanis Morissette) – 1998

83. There’s a lot to be said for nowhere

“MFC” (Eddie Vedder) – 1998

84. We’re baptized in these waters / And in each other’s blood

“American Skin (41 Shots)” (Bruce Springsteen) – 2000

85. Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine / And all this darkness past

“Land of Hope and Dreams” (Bruce Springsteen) – 2000

86. A dream of life comes to me

“The Rising” (Bruce Springsteen) – 2002

87. A little revenge and this too shall pass

“Lonesome Day” (Bruce Springsteen) – 2002

88. May the living let us in before the dead tear us apart

“Worlds Apart” (Bruce Springsteen) – 2002

89. If you punish a person for dreaming his dream

Don’t expect him to thank or forgive you

“The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton” (John Darnielle) – 2002

90. The full moon is looking for friends at high tide

“I Am Mine” (Eddie Vedder) – 2002

91. Burnside will be our street / Where the kids and the hookers meet

“Light Rail Coyote” (Brownstein / Weiss / Tucker) – 2002

92. Sure all men are created equal / Here’s the church, here’s the steeple

“Bad Day” (Buck / Mills / Stipe) – 2003

93. You know all my light / And you love my dark

“Everything” (Alanis Morissette) – 2004

94. My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me

So won’t you kill me / So I die happy

“Hands Down”  (Chris Carrabba) – 2004

95. Boston’s tenth man could not be wrong

Up from third base to Huntington

They’d sing another victory song

“Tessie”  (Dropkick Murphys) – 2004

96. No one ever plans to sleep out in the gutters

Sometimes that’s just the most comfortable place

“Road to Joy” (Connor Oberst) – 2005

97. I’m short on time / Long on moments to rewind

“Goodnight L.A.” (Alison Wood) – 2006

98. If the answer is infinite light / Why do we sleep in the dark

“How Can You Live in the Northeast” (Paul Simon) – 2006

99. I’m not ready to make nice / I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go round and round

“Not Ready to Make Nice”  (Maines / Maguire / Robinson / Wilson) – 2006

100. I don’t know you but I want you

“Falling Slowly” (Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova) – 2007

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