Best-Ever Lines or Phrases from Rock Music

by Dom Nozzi

The following is my personal ranking of the best ever lines or phrases used in songs. They are comments that have become commonly used in our culture – often to express important ideas – or are otherwise memorable or entertaining.

Each of these have become an important part of our cultural lexicon. They are therefore endless repeated by others.

Note that some of the sources I cite are not original sources. If you know of the original source, I would appreciate your letting me know.

I acknowledge that there are many wonderful lines or phrases that are not on this list. This is because only those lines or phrases that are important to me, personally, are found on this list. In addition, some of the phrases are not so much profound in and of themselves, but when combined with the music used becomes, in my mind, an unforgettable line.

“Momma always told me not to look into the sun. But momma, that’s where the fun is!!” (Blinded by the Light, Manfred Mann – written by Bruce Springsteen)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcWVL4B-4pI

“I’m so glad that she’s my little girl. She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world. I’m in love with her and I feel fine.” (Beatles)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zQ9KLNayKM

“Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.” (Beatles)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONXp-vpE9eU

“I’ve just seen a face, I can’t forget the time or place that we’d just met, she’s just the girl for me, and I want all the world to see we’ve met…Had it been another day, I might have looked the other way, but I had never been aware, and as it is I dream of her tonight…” (Beatles)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbKGsEK_T9g

Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today.

Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace.

You, you may say. I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLgYAHHkPFs

“I can’t believe the news today. Oh, I can’t close my eyes. And make it go away. How long…How long must we sing this song. How long, how long…” (U2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NAgCL0_oqM (the American breakthrough show for U2 at Red Rocks in Denver – I’ll never forget when I first saw this video in the 80s)

“Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you’re always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. We better stop, hey, what’s that sound. Everybody look what’s going down…” (Buffalo Springfield)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuGcwa03SQw

“I’m gonna win…in Sin City!! Where the lights are bright. Do the town tonight.” (Bonn Scott, AC/DC)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjIpaAnWUCU

“The kid is hot tonight!!” (Loverboy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS8YD7Tld6A

“She’s just a devil woman with evil on her mind.” (Cliff Richard)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yosCYE4vwlY

“The minstrel in the gallery looked down upon the smiling faces.” (Jethro Tull)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_lQ0H4zZEA

When you’re stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties, you’ll laugh when I tell you to take a running jump. You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making; that Christmas spirit is not what you drink. So how can you laugh when your own mother’s hungry and how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong? And if I messed up your thoughtless pleasures, remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas song. Hey, Santa… pass us that bottle, will you?” (Jethro Tull)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdalBvgNAxI

“I got my first real six-string. Bought it at the five-and-dime. Played it till my fingers bled. Was the summer of ’69. Me and some guys from school. Had a band and we tried real hard. Jimmy quit, Jody got married. Shoulda known, we’d never get far. Oh when I look back now. That summer seemed to last forever. And if I had the choice. Yeah, I’d always want to be there. Those were the best days of my life. Ain’t no use in complainin’. When you got a job to do. Spent my evenings down at the drive-in. And that’s when I met you. Standin’ on your mama’s porch. You told me that you’d wait forever. Oh and when you held my hand. I knew that it was now or never.

Those were the best days of my life.” (Bryan Adams)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f06QZCVUHg

“Barkeep give me a drink. That’s when she caught my eye. She turned to give me a wink that’d make a grown man cry…I’m callin’ all the shots tonight I’m like a loaded gun.” (Aerosmith)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDKxUt9UkmU

“We can’t salute ya.’ Can’t find a flag. If that don’t suit ya,’ that’s a drag…Well we got no class and we got no principles. And we got no innocence. We can’t even think of a word that rhymes!! School’s out for summer! School’s out forever!” (Alice Cooper)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_I4ylzbrTE

“Well I’ll take whatever I want and baby I want you. You give me something I need…I can’t get enough of your love.” (Bad Company)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAPUxvjbdcU

“Music is my aeroplane.” (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV8IAOojoAA&ob=av2n

“I want to get away…I want to fly away.” (Lenny Kravitz)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvuL5jyCHOw

“Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again. Because a vision softly creeping. Left its seeds while I was sleeping. And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains. Within the sound of silence. In restless dreams I walked alone. Narrow streets of cobblestone. ‘Neath the halo of a street lamp. I turn my collar to the cold and damp. When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light. That split the night. And touched the sound of silence. And in the naked light I saw. Ten thousand people maybe more. People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. People writing songs that voices never shared

No one dared. Disturb the sound of silence.” (Simon & Garfunkel)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZGWQauQOAQ

“When you’re weary, feeling small. When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all. I’m on your side. When times get rough. And friends just can’t be found. Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down…When you’re down and out. When you’re on the street. When evening falls so hard. I will comfort you. I’ll take your part. When darkness comes. And pain is all around. Like a bridge over troubled water. I will lay me down.” (Simon & Garfunkel)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-XCmb6t6Zw

“We’re on the road to nowhere.” (Talking Heads)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWtCittJyr0

“Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it – New York, New York.

I want to wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep, to find I’m king of the hill…

Top of the heap.” (Frank Sinatra)(not a rock song, but too good not to include)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W40y9W2PQxA

“So you think you have him all figured out. He’s a sweet talking stud…He’s the kind of lover that ladies dream about…He drives women wild…He’s HOT. But don’t let him go. Just give him a chance to grow.” (REO Speedwagon)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32EYnlhA-1Q

“You ever have one of those days when everyone seems to get on your case all the way from your teacher to your best girlfriend?…Now teacher don’t you fill me up with your rules. Everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school.” (Brownsville Station)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9zWw0Ru28w

“I can tell my sister by the flowers in her eyes, on the road to Shambala.” (Three Dog Night)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmTx9y7ePTg

“If you wanna get down, Down on the ground, Cocaine…If you got bad news

You wanna kick them blues, Cocaine. When your day is done, And you wanna run

Cocaine.” (Eric Clapton)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdDhV45lYHU&ob=av2n

Step right up and don’t be shy, because you will not believe your eyes. She’s right here behind the glass and you’re gonna like her, ’cause she’s got class. You can look inside another world.

You get to talk to a pretty girl. She’s everything you dream about… but don’t fall in love…

She’s a beauty —one in a million girls, she’s a beauty.” (The Tubes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYBfpsV5dKA

“I took her home to my place, watching every move on her face. She said look whats your name, baby, are you trying to put me in shame. I said slow, don’t go so fast! Don’t you think our love could last. she said love, lord above, now you try to trick me in love. All right now, baby, its all right now.” (Free)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siMFORx8uO8

On the road for forty days, last night in Little Rock put me in a haze. …Feelin’ good, feelin’ right, it’s Saturday night. The hotel detective — he was out-a-sight. Now, these fine ladies, they had a plan. They was out to meet the boys in the band. They said, “Come on, dudes, let’s get it on,” And we proceeded to tear that hotel down…We’re an American band.” (Grand Funk Railroad)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMsIrKjSM6Y

“I’ve got two tickets to paradise. Won’t you pack your bags, we’ll leave tonight.” (Eddie Money)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLf8_wSq4Is

“You better shape up, because I need a man. And my heart is set on you…You’re the one that I want.” (John Farrar)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKX9J2ENXTs

“I’ve been driving all night. My hands wet on the wheel…My baby’s calling saying I need you here. And it’s a half past four and I’m shifting gears.” (Golden Earring)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw9CzSSk218

“People say a love like ours will surely pass. But I know a love like ours will last and last.” (John Waite)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvvGgqV6SGo

“The talk on the streets says you might go solo…I need to know. I need to know. If you think you’re gonna leave then you better say so.” (Tom Petty)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uroKI4lWuT8

“Run to the hills. Run for your life.” (Iron Maiden)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8Qrj0VV_VY

“Bombs away, but we’re okay.” (The Police)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6wiWXw3voY

“…Lookin’ for adventure. And whatever comes our way…I like smoke and lightning. Heavy metal thunder. Racin’ with the wind. And the feelin’ that I’m under…We were born, born to be wild. We can climb so high. I never want to die. Born to be wild.” (Steppenwolf)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMbATaj7Il8

“Spread the word around. Guess who’s back in town…It won’t be long until summer’s here. Now that the boys are back in town. The boys are back in town.” (Thin Lizzy)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQo1HIcSVtg

__________________________________________

I urge you to email me (dom@walkablestreets.com) or leave a comment if you have a suggested addition or subtraction from this list. Or if you have any other thoughts about this list.

About

Each list in this blog contains my own personal opinions based on my personal experiences. I acknowledge that there may be a need to add or subtract from these lists (or to create a new subject list), and I welcome such suggestions. The lists are not ordered from higher to lower quality. Each list is a work in progress.

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here:

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About Dom Nozzi

Urban designer, Complete Streets instructor, smart growth specialist, town planner, walkable & bikeable streets & trails specialist, writer, editor, speaker, world adventurer, skier, kayaker, SCUBA diver, bicyclist, hiker, dancer, book reader, urbanist. Make my own beer, wine, pasta, bread. Live by the motto that it is the things we do NOT do that we later regret. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest.
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