3. Beck – “Loser”
In the spring of 1994, a curious song hit the MTV Buzz Bin — a post-modern blend of hip-hop beats, folk guitar, popcult wordplay, and a chorus to sum up the entire “Slacker Generation.” Now that the Internet has coronated the geek, we tend to forget the age when we were all “losers.” But at the time, this song spoke volumes to the over-educated and under-rewarded. Unfortunately, the jocks and capitalists of the world — bent on preserving an honest appreciation of straight-path social success — buried Beck’s career. He put out his next two albums on tiny imprints Bongload and K and was last seen making frequent appearances as a VH1 guest commentator.
2. Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Weird “Al” Yankovic ushered in the “Grunge” era with his massive hit “Smells Like Nirvana,” and while most had assumed the song title referred to the old British psych group Nirvana, in fact, the music had been completely ripped off the Seattle band Nirvana (US)’s major-debut single. The original blows the Al “Yankovic” version out of the water — like a torpedo — with its guitar and bass unity, bigger than life MIDI-trigger drum sound, and melody line guitar solo. Lead singer Kurt Cobain’s intentionally awful lyrics stick it to the entire Pop System: “A mulatto / an albino / a mosquito / my libido” (Whatever, man. Nevermind…). Trivia: The bassist went on to form top indie band Sweet 75.
1. The Beatles – “Hey Jude”
After Beatlemania (the actual phenomenon, not the revival show) subsided in the mid-’60s, the Beatles put out some drug records and faded into countercultural obscurity. Their fantastic attempt at a comeback single in 1968 — “Hey Jude” — could have been the greatest pop song of all time had their refusal to make Christ their personal savior not made headlines around the world.