Firecracker 25 – The Best Songs of All Time

By Gene Quinn
July 3, 2015

firecrackersIt is that time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our nation, spend time hanging out with friends and family over a BBQ and a cold beverage of choice. We also watch fireworks, fireworks and more fireworks!

This is also the time of the year when many radio stations put together a list of the best songs of all time. Some might refer to it as a “Firecracker 500,” for example.

Increasingly over the years we have spent more and more time on patent law, technology and innovation policy on But for many the form of intellectual property that has the most direct impact on our daily lives comes from the world of copyright law. Whether it is watching a movie, going to a gallery, or listening to music, these creations by artists using different mediums can bring culture and an enlightened awareness of our surroundings.

Well… an enlightened awareness might not be exactly what I’m going for here in this post, but I do wish to celebrate my own personal Firecracker 25. If I had to vote for the best songs of all time these (and others I’ve certainly forgot at the moment) would be on my list. So without further ado, here is my list. Please feel free to share your list of favorite songs in the comments.

Happy 4th of July everyone!


 1.  Werewolves of London  Warren Zevon
Definitely deserves to be on the list, but this may be a little high. Still, I’m one of those who think it is long past time for Warren Zevon to be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. It is also tragic that he was taken from us at such a young age. The older I get the younger 56 looks. In any event, one of my earliest memories of this song was during law school when a bunch of us were riding in a car, just listening to the song and on cue, without missing a beat, we all chimed in at the right spot with the howl. The song is contagious!
 2.  I Love Rock N’ Roll  Joan Jett
I do love Rock N’ Roll and whenever this song comes on I can’t help but sing along (badly I know). It is currently the most played song on my iPhone.
 3.  Enter Sandman  Metallica
Metallica is an iconic heavy metal band, this is a great song, and it was the New York Yankees played during home games when the greatest closer in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera, would enter the game. Enough said.
 4.  Power of Love  Huey Lewis & the News
I am a HUGE fan of Huey Lewis & the News. I saw them in concert again last summer when they did their 30th anniversary tour for the Sports album. Huey explained that when they wrote this song they didn’t realize they would have to play it every night for the rest of their lives! But that is what you get when you write a classic that people just love. I’m hoping they do a 30th anniversary tour for The Power of Love, an iconic 80s song from an iconic 80s movie — Back to the Future.
 5.  You Shook Me All Night Long  AC/DC
There are going to be a few AC/DC songs on this list, so I might as well get one out early. They are one of my favorite bands and the Back in Black album is, in my humble opinion, one of the best albums ever, if not the best album ever.
 6.  You Really Got Me  Van Halen
Here is another band you will see a few times on this list. While I liked Van Hagar, there is no doubt that David Lee Roth is the better front man. I realize this isn’t one of their original songs, but in this version they took a classic to an entirely different level. This is the perfect example of what coaches/judges mean on the various signing competitions like American Idol or The Voice when they talk about making a song your own without deviating too much and disrespecting the original.
 7.  Good Vibrations  The Beach Boys
I’ve been a Beach Boys fan my entire life. In fact, the first concert I went to as a kid was to see the Beach Boys. This was their last #1 hit before Kokomo. The longest drought in music history between #1 hits. They made a career out of singing about fast cars, pretty girls and the beach. Iconic themes of summer.
 8.   True Colors  Cyndi Lauper
Whenever I say it people laugh, but I think Cyndi Lauper has the most beautiful female rock/pop voice. True Colors and Time After Time (the next song on my list) are tender, thoughtful and fun to sing along with. Call me Crazy, but I think these two Cyndi Lauper classics deserve to be in the top 10!
 9.  Time After Time  Cyndi Lauper
See #9 above.
 10.  Stairway to Heaven  Led Zeppelin
Do I really need to explain? I suppose maybe for having it this low I do. Definitely on the list, probably giving into peer pressure to have it even this high on my list, but certainly an all-time-great song.
 11. See You Again Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth
This is the only current song on my list. I suspect that if you have ever lost someone you truly love  this song will certainly speak to you. So much to tell our loved ones when we see them again. Over time I suspect this will go much higher, but for now it has to be on the list, and here seems about right. Those who know me know how much I miss my mother, and any song that can drive emotion the way this one does represents the very best of what art is supposed to do.
 12.   Panama Van Halen 
As previously mentioned, I love the David Lee Roth version of Van Halen and this is one of the best from the album 1984, which deserves to be mentioned along with the best albums of all time (in my humble opinion).
 13.  Hotel California  The Eagles
The Eagles sure know how to tell a story. There is something about this song that just forces you to sing along even if you are too young to really understand what the words mean.
 14.  Jump  Van Halen
By now you undoubtedly see a 1980s theme, with the David Lee Roth Van Halen making a third appearance. Ah… the memories… of when I was in top shape, getting my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and I could actually jump like Diamond Dave. Those days are long gone I know… no need to remind me!
 15. Good Only Knows  The Beach Boys
According to none other than Sir Paul McCartney this is one of the most beautiful songs every written. I wholeheartedly agree! The Beach Boys at their best!
16.   Thunderstruck  AC/DC
A great hard rock song that just flat out conquers. The musical equivalent of taking names and kicking…
 17.  Rock You Like a Hurricane  Scorpions
A great song, and one that probably shows my age, or at least the era I grew up in.
 18.  Iron Man  Black Sabbath
I’ve loved this song since I was a kid and a huge wrestling fan. I used to love the Road Warriors, and they (Animal and Hawk) would come into the ring to this song. As a youngster who hadn’t really figured out that wrestling probably isn’t best classified as a sport, I was hooked!
 19.  I’m Shipping up to Boston (instrumental)  Dropkick Murphy’s
I love Rock N’Roll, as previously established, and I also really enjoy good, toe tapping Irish Music. The fact that Sam Adams uses this in their beer commercials is just a bonus! But I can only take the instrumental version. I’m not a big fan of shouting lyrics.
 20.  If I Had a Heart  Fever Ray
Based on how often I listen to the song this should be higher on the list. It is currently the second most played song on my iPhone. It is also the theme song from History Channel’s hit show Vikings. Perhaps not an instant classic, but I do love the show Vikings, and when I need a little extra motivation at the gym this is one of the songs I turn on. Only Enter Sandman gets played more at the gym when I’m dragging.
 21.  Hillbilly Bone  Blake Shelton w/ Trace Adkins
The older I get the more I like Country music. A long time ago, during a different lifetime, I was co-owner of an independent record label. We had a couple Country bands and there certainly is something about going to a Country bar, hearing the music and… well… you just can’t help yourself. This song captures that experience perfectly. I know I have a Hillbilly Bone!
 22.  Hot for Teacher  Van Halen
Another classic from the 1984 album.
 23.  Highway to Hell  AC/DC
Another classic from the Back in Black album.
24.   Soak up the Sun Cheryl Crow
Some songs are written to last forever. The first time I heard Soak up the Sun I knew that this was one of those songs that would never go away. It is a quintessential summer song. Who doesn’t like soaking up the sun on a beautiful summer day?
 25.  Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald  Gordon Lightfoot
This is a story tellers song and he tells it well. It harkens back to how information used to be passed from generation to generation.


Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Hey Jude (The Beatles), Rock Me Amadeus (Falco), Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes), Who Are You (The Who), Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N’ Roses), Spirit in the Sky, (Norman Greenbaum), Yellow Submarine (The Beatles), Revolution (The Beatles), Tom Sawyer (Rush), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), Fat Bottom Girls (Queen), and the Peanuts Theme.


The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 18 Comments comments.

  1. Old Examiner July 3, 2015 2:03 pm

    Great list! I particularly have some fond memories of Iron Man while in my dorm room. There are some songs that could easily make the list: Love Her Madly and L.A. Woman – The Doors; Who’s Next and Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who; and Gimme Shelter and Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones.

  2. Gene Quinn July 4, 2015 12:18 pm


    The list certainly could have included more of The Who. I never really got into The Doors much. I can appreciate the music, but not something I have to listen to personally. I’ve also never been a big fan of The Rolling Stones.

    I could have, and probably should have, added Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison). I also thought about a Pink Floyd song or two. I may need to revisit this list next year with an expanded edition!

    Thanks for reading! Happy 4th of July.

  3. Bill Setnor July 4, 2015 2:34 pm

    Great list, Gene; almost as good as most of your articles on patents. However, I recall the Scorpions, rather than Survivor, scoring big with “Rock You Like A Hurricane”.

    One of my fave Survivor songs is “Can’t Hold Back”. Great band.

  4. Benny July 5, 2015 2:01 am

    Give me your list of 25 favourite songs and I can tell you your age. Since your taste in music more or less gels between ages 18-23, and since the majority of this list stems from the mid 80’s, that puts your year of birth between 1963 – 1968. Just guessing.

  5. Anon July 5, 2015 7:47 am

    I recently read a study that reinforces Benny’s “gel” position, albeit it takes a slightly different angle in that the willingness to explore new forms of musics steadily declines after age 26, and precipitously drops after age 30.

    Interesting too this tidbit, given that the “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” crowd is now by and large into their third set of “thirties.”

  6. Gene Quinn July 5, 2015 8:29 pm


    Close, but not quite. I was born in 1970.



  7. Old Examiner July 5, 2015 9:10 pm

    Gene, that was year Iron Man came out and I was repeatedly playing it my dorm room. Obviously, I have a couple of years on you.

  8. Benny July 6, 2015 1:40 am

    Perhaps your relative youth explains how a list of “25 best” compiled by an educated American doesn’t include Creedence Clearwater Revival or The Allman Brothers.

  9. Joe Allen July 6, 2015 10:11 am

    How about Jumpin’ Jack Flash by the world’s greatest rock n roll band the Rolling Stones, Roadhouse Blues by the Doors, House of the Rising Sun by the Animals, Johnny B Good by Chuck Berry, Day Tripper (or perhaps 20 others) by the Beatles? Always a mistake to ignore the classics!

  10. Gene Quinn July 6, 2015 1:30 pm


    I do like CCR quite a lot. I suppose if I had to pick one to put on my list it would have to be Down on the Corner or maybe Fortunate Son. I’m not a huge Allman Brothers fan. Keep the suggestions coming though.


  11. Gene Quinn July 6, 2015 1:32 pm


    You are right to chide me for not including more from the Beatles. I like the Beatles, I do. Maybe we should have an IPWatchdog summit and come up with a collective list!

    I’m not big on the Doors, but House of the Rising Sun and Johnny B Good are worthy choices. Probably need to have at least 1 from Elvis, at least if you start to consider influence.


  12. Bob O July 6, 2015 2:18 pm

    Loved the list if not all the songs. For me the measure is what I would like to knock out of the park on stage and for me that it is Johnny Be Good.

  13. Jack Jeffery July 8, 2015 7:01 am

    Interesting list! How about “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd? “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple? “The Star Spangled Banner,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix? “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush? “Tangled Up In Blue” and “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan? “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Tumbling Dice” by The Rolling Stones? “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zepplin? “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream? “Mystery Train” by Elvis Presley? “Comfortably Numb,” “Money,” and “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd? “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf? “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty? “Candle In the Wind” by Elton John? “Baba O’Reilly” by The Who? “Spirit In the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum? “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” by Queen? “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper? “Wild Thing” by The Troggs? “Louie, Louie” by The Kingsmen? “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds (and Bob Dylan)? “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum? “Layla” by Derek & The Dominoes? “The Weight” by The Band? “The Boxer” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel? John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and virtually anything by The Beatles?

  14. Jim Burton July 8, 2015 9:15 am


    Three words: Born. To. Run.

  15. Gene Quinn July 8, 2015 11:17 am


    Yes, I didn’t include any of The Boss. He and I actually share the same hometown, Freehold, NJ. I’ll have to give him some consideration next time!

    I hope all is well.


  16. Gene Quinn July 8, 2015 11:21 am


    Great list. I did have Spirit in the Sky on my honorable mention list. Layla is a great song. After I published the list I was thinking about Simon and Garfunkel and lamenting that I didn’t include at least one song. For me I think it would be Scarborough Fair or Mrs. Robinson. I should have had at least 1 Pink Floyd as well, for me that song would probably be Another Brick in the Wall.


  17. Benny July 8, 2015 11:26 am

    It’s not that there aren’t any talented artists with us in the 21st century – its’ just obvious that we are trying to recapture our childhood with the sounds of our formative years. Our emotional links to these tunes outweighs the artistic value inherent in them.

  18. Anon July 9, 2015 7:29 am

    The emotional link is intertwined with the artistic value – the very meaning of “artistic value” is not separable from the emotional value.

    This discussion actually serves well the notions of patent law and the separation of the Useful Arts and the humanities. Sadly, only too sadly, this distinction becomes purposefully marred in order to advance agendas that wish to preclude certain arts from rightful protection.