It's just about impossible to talk about Boston rock without mentioning Aerosmith and the Cars — and the Boston musicians who helped put together the Boston Herald's list of the 101 greatest songs ever to come out of the city would seem to agree.

In fact, those bands both made the upper reaches of the list, with the Cars coming out on top with a trifecta of hits ("Drive," "Just What I Needed" and "My Best Friend's Girl," all honored with individual essays) and Aerosmith hitting the No. 4 position with "Sweet Emotion." Both of those entries were to be expected, but to the Herald's credit, the list also contains quite a few surprises.

Even though you'll find plenty of well-known Boston rock icons among the honorees -- including the J. Geils Band (at No. 6 with "Musta Got Lost"), James Taylor (No. 13 with "Fire and Rain") and, well, Boston (No. 12 with "Long Time") -- respondents also paid their respects to artists whose ties to the area are a little less celebrated, like Joan Baez (No. 18 with "Diamonds and Rust") and Billy Squier (No. 34 with "In the Dark").

All in all, whether you're a Boston native, a more recent transplant or just a fan of classic rock 'n' roll regardless of its area of origin, the Herald's Boston 101 is well worth checking out in full. Read the ground rules for the list, then take a look at the complete countdown.

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