My Top 25 Songs of All Time

By Russell Slifer
July 3, 2017

Gene asked me to publish my Top 25 songs of all time as part of his annual effort to have IP professionals provide their own top 25 each 4th of July holiday (see 2015 and 2016). We all agree that IP is critically important to the health of the economy and our nation, but this holiday week, as we celebrate our nation’s freedom, we can set aside serious patent and trademark issues for a moment to enjoy the music protected by copyrights.

I took Gene’s request to heart and really tried to capture my top 25 songs. To be honest, however, I had a very difficult time narrowing the list to “all time” top songs. There are no true 25 best songs as proven by the various music Halls of Fame. I even had a hard time listing my top bands/artists. I enjoy many different genres and the list changes as I discover, or re-discover, music.

In a pinch, however, I tend to gravitate to classic rock stations playing songs from the 70’s and 80’s. These are the songs that I grew up with. With that as a preface, here is my list for this July 4th!


1. Samba Pa TiSantana

Translated as “Samba for You”. Carlos Santana said that when he recorded this song he was thinking of nothing, it was pure feeling. I like to listen to this song with my eyes closed and just immerse myself in the feelings.

2. Back In Black — AC/DC

It is hard to choose the top song from this album. This CD is always in my car.

3. Red Barchetta — Rush

I could list a number of Rush songs that I love, like The Trees, Working man, The Spirit of the Radio, Lakeside Park or Closer to the Heart, but this song is a great story about prohibiting the thrill of driving (closer than we think with autonomous cars).

4. Dance the Night Away — Van Halen

One of the first albums that I played so much I wore it out. I also turn up the volume for Van Halen‘s “Runnin With the Devil” and “Eruption.”

5. Walk On The Wild Side — Lou Reed

The subjects of the song are still controversial but how can you not sing along with it?

6. Rock You Like A Hurricane — Scorpions

What can I say; I Wore this cassette out in the 80’s.

7. American Pie (The Day the Music Died) — Don McLean

What other 8 ½ minute song can you sing all the lyrics to?

8. Billie Jean — Michael Jackson

So much great music from the King of Pop but this song stands out for me.

9. Jack & Diane — John Cougar

Just another little ditty that brings back the 80’s for me.

10. Reelin in the Years — Steely Dan

Steely Dan is a favorite band for me and I could spend an evening just listening to them; perhaps with a nice bottle of wine.


I’m not going to explain the remaining songs. Some bring back good memories while others just have great lyrics.


I did not include songs from many great bands (Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Doors, Prince) or too many genres (Country, grunge, rap), but the list is representative of what I consider my top picks. I hope you enjoyed my list and take a few minutes to listen to your top songs this 4th of July.

The Author

Russell Slifer

Russell Slifer is the CEO of Black Hills IP, and a Principal at Schwegman Lundberg & Woesner. Slifer is also the former Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Slifer served as Deputy USPTO Director from March 2015 through January 20, 2017. While Deputy Director, Slifer managed all of the day-to-day operations of the USPTO. Prior to becoming Deputy Director of the USPTO, Mr. Slifer served as the Director of the Rocky Mountain United States Patent and Trademark Office. Prior to his work at the USPTO, Slifer held leadership positions in the intellectual property industry, spending eight years as Chief Patent Counsel for Micron Technology, and serving as a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) and past President of the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel (ACPC).

For more information or to contact Mr. Slifer, please visit his firm bio page.

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 8 Comments comments.

  1. respoding July 3, 2017 3:22 pm

    Good taste. Nice to see important people like this as more or less normal people.

  2. 20th century boy July 4, 2017 3:08 am

    Here are my top 4:

    1. I’m Worth a Million Comprises – Iggy Pop
    2. Palace of Swords Traversed – The Fall
    3. Desolation Beauregard – Sweet / Beauregard of Broken Dreams – Green Day (tie)

  3. Benny July 4, 2017 5:16 am

    Most classic rock stations can’t get through the day without playing The Allman Brothers “Jessica” at least once.

    Most “top 25” lists have Eric Clapton on them somewhere.

    We should all heed the lyrics of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the cradle”, it’s closer to home than many of us would like to think.

  4. Old Examiner July 4, 2017 11:01 am

    At least you included Hotel California. A top 25 list isn’t one w/o The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Stones, more of The Eagles, Tom Petty, CSN&Y & some others.

  5. Anon July 4, 2017 11:11 am

    Keep campaigning Benny – third year in a row for you.


  6. Old Examiner July 4, 2017 12:09 pm

    Benny, I agree with you re Eric Clapton. Layla, Sunshine of Your Love, Let It Rain etc. How can Eric be left off!

  7. Benny July 4, 2017 12:18 pm

    Actually I’m more into Blues, but that isn’t mainstream so I didn’t mention it.

  8. Night Writer July 5, 2017 10:57 am

    Where’s the techno?