Top 10 ‘Two’ Songs
We’re proudly celebrating our second anniversary here at Ultimate Classic Rock, and we’re marking the occasion with the Top 10 “Two” Songs. We know that one is the loneliest number, but two opens up all sorts of possibilities: love, heartbreak, companionship, confusion and more. So get ready to double up.
The Who frontman must have thought a lot of “face dances”: He not only used it as the title of the band’s 1981 album, it was also the name of the first single from his 1982 solo album. (The song’s full title includes a ‘Pt. 2′ addendum, making it eligible for our list of the Top 10 “Two” Songs.) Although mostly forgotten among other ‘Cowboys’ highlights like ‘Slit Skirts’ and ‘The Sea Refuses No River,’ this sprightly bit of synth-spiked pop finds Townshend looking for meaning in brows, eyes and lips.
Long before there was the Silver Bullet Band’s heartland rock, there was the Bob Seger System’s garage rock. Seger released this incendiary antiwar anthem with his ’60s band after signing to Capitol Records (instead of Motown!) in 1968. Seger’s gruff delivery recalls Eric Burdon, while the stinging guitar sounds like it was ripped from another 1968 hit, the Balloon Farm’s ‘A Question of Temperature.’
‘Two Hearts Beat As One’ takes a different stance than most of the other songs on ‘War.’ Where most of the tracks focus on political and worldly issues, this one is squarely falls into the “love song” category. But Adam Clayton’s pedal-to-the-metal bass and Larry Mullen Jr.’s drums split the difference between militant march and dance-club jam. Plus, Bono‘s angry and confused feelings about a lover who resists him aren’t all that different from his angry and confused feelings about nations that resist peace.
Yes, songs with Roman numerals are eligible for our list of the Top 10 “Two” Songs. And this charging Police hit finds Sting relating Carl Jung’s theory of synchronicity by telling parallel stories about a dysfunctional family and the awakening of the Loch Ness Monster. It’s a pretty depressing vision of the world, made all the more ferocious by Andy Summer’s howling and growling guitar.
This Cold War-era classic references the so-called Doomsday Clock, which was used by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to show just how close the world was to nuclear annihilation. The latest it ever got was to 23:58 (two minutes to midnight) in 1953, when the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested H-bombs within months of each other. In typical Iron Maiden fashion, the metal legends take this ugliness and turn it into something worth shouting about. The explosive guitar solos by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith certainly don’t hurt.
This ‘River’ gem serves as a universal credo that informs much of Springsteen’s work: Even though love can obliterate you and make you feel like walking the world alone, you should never stop searching for that special one. “Two hearts are better than one“ — What else do you need to know? Springsteen has been known to add a special coda of another “two” song, Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s ‘It Takes Two,’ when he performs ‘Two Hearts’ in concert.
The nastiest song on our list of the Top 10 “Two” Songs was written by Freddie Mercury as a kiss-off to Queen’s former manager Norman Sheffield. Even though he’s never mentioned by name, Sheffield revealed himself as the subject when he sued the rockers for defamation. Mercury never apologized for the operatic tune, which he would sometimes dedicate to a “real motherf—er of a gentleman” onstage.
Eddie Money wrote ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ for his girlfriend, whose mother would have rather seen her with a doctor or lawyer than with a scruffy rock ‘n’ roll singer. A bit of trivia: The single version of the song that reached No. 22 in 1978 features a rerecorded vocal, new guitar overdubs and a shorter length. You usually hear the album track on classic-rock radio these days.
It wasn’t Jim Morrison but guitarist Robby Krieger who wrote the lyrics to this Doors hit. He wrote it about an young man requesting a bit of extra pleasure from his honey the day before he shipped out for Vietnam. Krieger is also responsible for the song’s bouncy, twangy riff. ‘Love Me Two Times’ was recorded for the Doors’ debut album but didn’t make the final cut. It ended up on their second album instead.
Even though most fans assumed ‘Two of Us’ was about Paul McCartney‘s relationship with John Lennon — “Two of us … standing solo in the sun,” “You and me chasing paper, getting nowhere” — McCartney actually wrote it about his future wife Linda. Either way, the folksy tune provides a fleeting moment of harmony (literally and figuratively) between the two Beatles, who sing everything but the bridge in unison.