20 Most Underrated Songs

20 Most Underrated Songs

This is a list of great songs by well-known artists that aren't so well loved. Hell, some of them weren’t even singles so far as I am aware. As you’ll see, I have a pretty eclectic music taste, too (And that’s without admitting my fondness for ABBA and the Village People...oops. Let’s just pretend that never happened, OK?)

20. "Lady Strange"- Def Leppard

A melodic hard rocker from the "High 'n' Dry" album, it's probably my favourite song from the album, actually. It's easily the most typically Def Leppard-sounding song off the album at any rate. The chorus is almost impossible to get out of your head.

19. "I'm in Love With My Car"- Queen

A rare Roger Taylor lead vocal, and...let's just say it's not really about cars. Pretty hilarious, actually, but a cool song as well. Definitely one for the petrol-heads.

18. "The Downeaster Alexa"- Billy Joel

Billy's ode to struggling Long Island fishermen, this is easily his most underrated song. Quite powerful, actually and has a different vibe to it, as though you are out there on the boat yourself trying to make a living doing all that you know and love.

17. "Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)"- Queen

With scorching Brian May guitar and scathing lyrics, this is one of the best songs from A Night at the Opera, but you won't find it on their Greatest Hits albums, God knows why, it's terrific.

16. "Should've Known Better"- The Beatles

Most Beatles songs are pretty well-known, but this song from the film "A Hard Day's Night" is probably considered a lesser song from this period in their career. I love it just as much as the bigger hits like “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Ticket to Ride”.

15. "I'm Jealous"- The Divinyls

A rare ballad from the Aussie rockers, but true to form, Chrissie Amphlett still threatens violence towards the new object of her ex-lover's affections. Chrissie wasn’t one to be messed with, folks. It did reasonably well on the Aussie charts at the time, but it isn't all that well-remembered today.

14. "Down and Out in New York City"- James Brown

The theme from the blaxploitation classic "Black Caesar" is easily James Brown's best work. Yes, better than "I Got You (I Feel Good)", better than "Living in America", and even better than "Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)". Sing it with me if you know the words...Fat Cats in their bad hats...

13. "Cool to Hate"- The Offspring

I loved this heavy, profane song even before I realised they were actually kidding. The lyrics are all about hating everything, but at the end of the day, these guys, true to form, are actually making fun of people who hate everything. Do they ever take anything seriously? Great song, no matter how you interpret it, though obviously too profane to work as a radio-friendly single.

12. "Forgiven"- Alanis Morrisette

A good album, but aside from "You Oughtta Know" and "Head Over Feet" (the other singles were the weak links on the album if you ask me, including the unintentionally ironic "Ironic"), this exploration into Alanis' disillusionment with her (presumably Catholic) faith was the best song on the whole album.

11. "Give in to Me"- Michael Jackson Feat. Slash

A largely forgotten 1990s excursion into hard rock for MJ, and like the earlier "Dirty Diana", it's a cracker. But everyone remembers "Black or White", etc. from this period, so this song ends up largely neglected. Slash's guitar work is sensational here as always.

10. "I Used to Love Her"- Guns 'n' Roses

Another hopefully tongue-in-cheek number about killing your girlfriend ‘coz she’s a pain in the arse. I'm a really nice guy, I swear. The lyrics are hilarious. What? I’m perfectly sane, thank you very much.

9. "Valley of Lost Souls"- Poison

Poison's best song, and of course, it wasn't a single. It's basically about going to drug/alcoholic hell. Or as I like to call it, The CC Deville Story. One of their heaviest songs since the title song off their debut album "Look What the Cat Dragged In".

8. "You're All I Need"- Motley Crue

Forget the treacly “Home Sweet Home”, this is what a real Motley Crue ballad should be; a song about a guy who kills his girlfriend to keep her around. Controversial video clip (and often banned at the time), but it's really the hopefully tongue-in-cheek lyrics that are controversial. At least I think it’s tongue-in-cheek. Sold with absolute conviction as a straight ballad, it's bizarrely brilliant.

7. "Planet of Women"- ZZ Top

A ZZ Top ode to hot chicks. Yes, that encompasses most ZZ Top songs, but this the ultimate one, a hopefully tongue-in-cheek tale about well...look at the title. One of their heavier songs too.

6. "Off the Wall"- Michael Jackson

One of my favourite MJ songs from my absolute favourite MJ album. If this disco-ish song doesn't put you in a good mood, you need to consider seeking professional help. Now straighten up your act and boogie down!

5. "Unholy"- KISS

Arguably KISS' heaviest song, with Gene Simmons best-ever vocal work, this is the best song by far off their Revenge album, though it's nowhere near as well-known as the anthemic "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You Too".

4. "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?"- Def Leppard

Not one of Def Leppard's better-known ballads, coming off their "Adrenalize" album that most people tend to forget about (It's actually a pretty good album, if too radio friendly for some). I've always loved this, it ain't "Love Bites", but it's definitely their next best ballad (unless "Animal" and "Photograph" count, which to me they don't).

3. "As"- Stevie Wonder

Oprah's favourite Stevie song, but don't let that turn you off because it’s also my favourite Stevie song (Which means something, right?). This is an almost spiritual love song, and quite possibly the ultimate love song. Lyrically, musically, vocally brilliant. And yet most people only know the Mary J/George Michael re-jig from the 90s. Forget that, just stick with the original.

2. "Of Wolf and Man"- Metallica

It was never released as a single (to my knowledge anyway) and featuring on an album with hits like "Enter Sandman" and "Unforgiven", no one else lists this thumping hard rock/heavy metal classic about shape-shifting as one of their faves. For me, it's second only to "Creeping Death" as Metallica's finest effort to date.

1. "The Last Song"- Elton John

In the late 80s and into the 90s, with all of the "Lion King" stuff and songs like Sacrifice, this profoundly moving song about a man dying of AIDS and finally reconnecting with his estranged father seems to have been forgotten. I have no idea why, considering it's the best thing Elton has done to date (and I'm a fan). Anyone not moved to tears by this has no heart.


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