The Modern Rock 500 Top 500!


I’m a sucker for a good list. One of my favorites from back in the day was the annual 97x Modern Rock 500. For those who don’t know, 97x was a fantastic and influential radio station out of Oxford, Ohio. They played modern rock and were kind of a big deal. Almost every year between 1989 and 2009, the station ran a Memorial Day marathon counting down their 500 favorite Modern Rock tracks. Recently, I came across a set of most of the lists for the Modern Rock 500 on Craig Froehle’s website.  And, of course, loving the idea of a Top 500 culled from all of those 500s I crunched some numbers, assigning the number 1 song for each year 500 points, the number 500 song 1 point, and following suit for all of the songs between. Then I had excel add it all up, arrange it in order from highest to lowest, and then I copy-and-pasted it here.

A couple of caveats–there are no lists for 1994 and 1998. Froehle’s website has lists for those years, but they appear to just be the 1995 list repeated. As such, I’ve left those lists out of the math. If the real 1994 and 1998 lists ever surface, I’ll re-do this whole thing. If you have either of those lists, send them my way! Also, I should note that there wasn’t a Modern Rock 500 in 2004.

Before we get to the list, you can check out a Spotify playlist with most of the songs here (a few of the songs aren’t streaming, and for a couple I could find only live versions. The missing songs are marked with asterisks on the list below).

Finally, I’m not sure there’s anything particularly revelatory here. If you listened to 97x and the Modern Rock 500…the songs you expect to be here are here. Still, it’s kind of cool to see a top 500 from all those years of marathons.

Oh, and if you want to see the raw data, you can find it here.

Ok, finally for real this time–band names and song titles are from various spreadsheets and the ways they were combined. I fixed a lot of them as I worked through the lists, but some of them did not get fixed, and I’ve got other projects to be working on instead of proofing the below list…so…apologies for any typos.

Artist Song
1. The Smiths How Soon is Now?
2. R.E.M. Radio Free Europe
3. Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated
4. Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun
5. Sex Pistols Anarchy in the U.K.
6. Talking Heads Psycho Killer
7. U2 Sunday Bloody Sunday
8. The B-52’s Rock Lobster
9. Joy Division Love Will Tear Us Apart
10. The Cure Boys Don’t Cry
11. The Police Roxanne
12. New Order Bizarre Love Triangle
13. The Cure Just Like Heaven
14. XTC Dear God
15. R.E.M. It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
16. Elvis Costello Alison
17. Elvis Costello (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding
18. Bauhaus Bela Lugosi’s Dead
19. Dead Milkmen Bitchin’ Camero
20. The Clash Rock the Casbah
21. The Clash Train in Vain
22. Modern English I Melt With You
23. Camper Van Beethoven Take the Skinheads Bowling
24. Siouxsie and the Banshees Cities in Dust
25. Kate Bush Running Up That Hill
26. New Order Blue Monday
27. Depeche Mode People Are People
28. Squeeze Tempted
29. Jane’s Addiction Been Caught Stealing
30. The Psychedelic Furs Pretty In Pink
31. The Clash Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
32.The Jim Carroll Band People Who Died
33. Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit
34. Devo Whip It
35. Sex Pistols God Save the Queen
36. The Clash London Calling
37. Hüsker Dü Makes No Sense At All
38. Lou Reed Walk on the Wild Side
39. Elvis Costello Pump It Up
40. Midnight Oil Beds are Burning
41. Joe Jackson Is She Really Going Out With Him?
42. The Replacements Alex Chilton
43. Talking Heads Burning Down the House
44. U2 Pride (In the Name of Love)
45. R.E.M. Losing My Religion
46. The Psychedelic Furs Love My Way
47. Blondie Rapture
48. Pixies Monkey Gone to Heaven
49. Eurythmics Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
50. Depeche Mode Route 66
51. Ministry Everyday is Halloween
52. U2 New Year’s Day
53. Oingo Boingo Dead Man’s Party
54. Jane’s Addiction Jane Says
55. Nine Inch Nails Head Like a Hole
56. The Replacements I Will Dare
57. Bob Marley Jamming
58. Red Hot Chili Peppers Under the Bridge
59. Depeche Mode Personal Jesus
60. Royal Crescent Mob Get On The Bus
61. Wall of Voodoo Mexican Radio
62. The Boomtown Rats I Don’t Like Mondays
63. The Beat Save It For Later
64. Romeo Void Never Say Never
65. The Velvet Underground Pale Blue Eyes
66. Elvis Costello Radio Radio
67. Gary Numan Cars
68. Pearl Jam Jeremy
69. The Sugarcubes Birthday
70. Devo (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
71. Frankie Goes to Hollywood Relax
72. Talking Heads Life During Wartime
73. Beck Loser
74. XTC Senses Working Overtime
75. The Nails 88 Lines About 44 Women
76. Pearl Jam Alive
77. Red Hot Chili Peppers Give It Away
78. Public Image Ltd. Rise
79. The Breeders Cannonball
80. Radiohead Creep
81. Smashing Pumpkins Today
82. U2 With or Without You
83. Cracker Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)
84. U2 I Will Follow
85. Roxy Music Love Is The Drug
86. The Police Message in a Bottle
87. Nirvana Come As You Are
88. The B-52’s Private Idaho
89. The Church Under the Milky Way
90. R.E.M. Orange Crush
91. Talking Heads Take Me to the River
92. Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime
93. Love & Rockets So Alive
94. The Jam Town Called Malice
95. Patti Smith Gloria
96. XTC Making Plans for Nigel
97. The Beat Mirror in the Bathroom
98. Peter Gabriel In Your Eyes
99. The Afghan Whigs Rebirth of the Cool
100. Social Distortion Ball and Chain
101. The Vapors Turning Japanese
102. Matthew Sweet Girlfriend
103. R.E.M. Pretty Persuasion
104. U2 One
105. The Charlatans The Only One I Know
106. Killing Joke Eighties
107. James Laid
108. The Jesus and Mary Chain Head On
109. Simple Minds Don’t You (Forget About Me)
110. Pearl Jam Even Flow
111. Yaz Situation
112. Peter Murphy Cuts You Up
113. The Godfathers Birth, School, Work, Death
114. Sinéad O’Connor Mandinka
115. They Might Be Giants Don’t Let’s Start
116. The Velvet Underground Rock & Roll
117. New Order Love Vigilantes
118. The Smiths Girlfriend in a Coma
119. Tori Amos Silent All These Years
120. Patti Smith Dancing Barefoot
121. Thomas Dolby She Blinded Me With Science*
122. Cracker Low
123. Echo & The Bunnymen Lips Like Sugar
124. The Cure Close To Me
125. The Velvet Underground Sweet Jane
126. Lenny Kravitz Are You Gonna Go My Way?
127. Smashing Pumpkins Disarm
128. Pretenders Message of Love
129. Shriekback Nemesis
130. Beck Where It’s At
131. Pretenders My City Was Gone
132. The Cult She Sells Sanctuary
133. The Clash Lost in the Supermarket
134. Beastie Boys (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)
135. David Bowie Changes
136. Blondie Heart of Glass
137. The B-52’s Love Shack
138. Pixies Here Comes Your Man
139. Blur Song 2
140. Beastie Boys Sabotage
141. R.E.M. The One I Love
142. R.E.M. (Don’t Go Back to) Rockville
143. R.E.M. Stand
144. New Order True Faith
145. Living Colour Cult of Personality
146. Tears for Fears Shout
147. Tears for Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World
148. R.E.M. Superman
149. Nirvana Heart-Shaped Box
150. Green Day Longview
151. Iggy Pop Lust for Life
152. Depeche Mode Blasphemous Rumors
153. Nirvana All Apologies
154. Oasis Wonderwall
155. David Bowie Space Oddity
156. Squeeze Black Coffee in Bed
157. Talking Heads And She Was
158. Icicle Works Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly)
159. The Smithereens Blood and Roses
160. Time Zone World Destruction
161. Red Hot Chili Peppers Higher Ground
162. Television Marquee Moon
163. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers Dodge Veg-O-Matic
164. Faith No More Epic
165.The Stone Roses I Wanna Be Adored
166. Screaming Trees Nearly Lost You
167. The The Uncertain Smile
168. Love & Rockets No New Tale To Tell
169. The Cure In Between Days
170. Pavement Cut Your Hair
171. The Plimsouls A Million Miles Away
172. The Smiths Bigmouth Strikes Again
173. Soft Cell Tainted Love
174. Concrete Blonde Joey
175. Echo & The Bunnymen Bring On The Dancing Horses
176. Ramones Do You Remember Rock ‘n Roll Radio?
177. The Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog
178. Björk Human Behaviour
179. The Cure Let’s Go To Bed
180. The Verve Bittersweet Symphony
181. Belly Feed the Tree
182. Pretenders Brass In Pocket
183. Happy Mondays Step On
184. The The This is the Day
185. Fugazi Waiting Room
186. The Cure Why Can’t I Be You?
187. Nine Inch Nails Closer
188. Talking Heads Crosseyed and Painless
189. The Police Can’t Stand Losing You
190. Depeche Mode Never Let Me Down Again
191. Midnight Oil Blue Sky Mine
192. Ramones Blitzkrieg Bop
193. Peter Gabriel Shock the Monkey
194. Siouxsie and the Banshees Peek-a-Boo
195. Blind Melon No Rain
196. The Afghan Whigs Gentlemen
197. Dead Kennedys Holiday In Cambodia
198. The Stone Roses Fool’s Gold
199. The Jam That’s Entertainment
200. Adam Ant Goody Two Shoes
201. David Bowie Ziggy Stardust
202. The Waterboys The Whole of the Moon
203. The Cult Love Removal Machine
204. Counting Crows Mr. Jones
205. Beastie Boys So What’cha Want
206. Tones on Tail Go!
207. Depeche Mode Policy of Truth
208. Radiohead Fake Plastic Trees
209. Talk Talk Talk Talk
210. Dada Dizz Knee Land
211. XTC Mayor of Simpleton
212. Porno for Pyros Pets
213. The Cure The Love Cats
214. Depeche Mode Strangelove
215. Pretenders Middle of the Road
216. Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper Elvis is Everywhere
217. Dexy’s Midnight Runners Come On Eileen
218. Soul Asylum Runaway Train
219. The Folk Implosion Natural One*
220. Urge Overkill Sister Havana
221. Joy Division She’s Lost Control
222. DNA/Suzanne Vega Tom’s Diner
223. The Alarm 68 Guns
224. Cake The Distance
225. The Smiths Panic
226. Duran Duran Girls on Film
227. Talk Talk It’s My Life
228. Eurythmics Would I Lie to You?
229. Sonic Youth Teen Age Riot
230. The The Infected
231. Echo & The Bunnymen The Killing Moon
232. Berlin Sex (I’m A…)
233. R.E.M. Can’t Get There from Here
234. 10,000 Maniacs What’s The Matter Here?
235. The La’s There She Goes
236. The Afghan Whigs Debonair
237. Radiohead Paranoid Android
238. Concrete Blonde God is a Bullet
239. Violent Femmes Kiss Off
240. Green Day Welcome To Paradise
241. Ministry Stigmata
242. Sonic Youth Kool Thing
243. Dead Milkmen Punk Rock Girl
244. They Might Be Giants Birdhouse in Your Soul
245. Guided by Voices Teenage FBI
246. The Call The Walls Came Down
247. Oasis Supersonic
248. The Flaming Lips She Don’t Use Jelly
249. The Replacements I’ll Be You
250. INXS Don’t Change
251. Love & Rockets Ball of Confusion
252. The Cure Pictures of You
253. Juliana Hatfield 3 My Sister
254. The Housemartins Happy Hour
255. Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer
256. Primus Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
257. PJ Harvey Down by the Water
258. Sinéad O’Connor I Want Your (Hands On Me)
259. Soul Asylum Somebody To Shove
260. Pearl Jam Daughter
261. Dramarama Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)
262. Pixies Where Is My Mind?
263. Toad the Wet Sprocket All I Want
264. Madness Our House
265. U2 Bad (Live)
266. The Cure Lovesong
267. Simple Minds Alive and Kicking
268. The Smiths The Queen is Dead
269. Love & Rockets Kundalini Express
270. Elvis Costello Watching the Detectives
271. Dave Matthews Band What Would You Say
272. The Sundays Here’s Where the Story Ends
273. Veruca Salt Seether
274. The Replacements Bastards of Young
275. Violent Femmes American Music
276. Squeeze Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)
277. David Bowie Suffragette City
278. Jesus Jones Right Here, Right Now
279. Big Country In A Big Country
280. Adrian Belew Oh Daddy
281. Joe Jackson Sunday Papers
282. Blondie Call Me
283. Suicidal Tendencies Institutionalized
284. The Smiths Ask
285. Gang of Four I Love a Man in Uniform
286. U2 Mysterious Ways
287. Bob Marley Get Up, Stand Up
288. UB40 Red Red Wine
289. Beastie Boys Intergalactic
290. Depeche Mode Just Can’t Get Enough
291. Weezer Undone – The Sweater Song
292. My Bloody Valentine Only Shallow
293. The Dandy Warhols Bohemian Like You
294. Jeff Buckley Last Goodbye
295. The Alarm Strength
296. Nirvana In Bloom
297. Sisters of Mercy This Corrosion
298. The Psychedelic Furs Heaven
299. Buzzcocks Ever Fallen In Love?
300. Split Enz I Got You*
301. Urban Dance Squad Deeper Shade of Soul
302. Dinosaur Jr. Start Choppin’
303. The Jesus and Mary Chain Just Like Honey
304. Depeche Mode Enjoy The Silence
305. Tracy Chapman Fast Car
306. Smashing Pumpkins Bullet With Butterfly Wings
307. L7 Pretend We’re Dead
308. The Smithereens A Girl Like You
309. The White Stripes Seven Nation Army
310. The Chemical Brothers Block Rockin’ Beats
311. Tears for Fears Change
312. The Smiths There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
313. INXS The One Thing
314. Bob Mould Sunspots/Wishing Well
315. U2 Gloria
316. Lou Reed Dirty Blvd.
317. The Clash Police & Thieves
318. Violent Femmes Prove My Love
319. Radiohead Karma Police
320. Soul Coughing Super Bon Bon
321. Liz Phair Supernova
322. Tori Amos Cornflake Girl
323. The Bears Fear Is Never Boring
324. Bow Wow Wow I Want Candy
325. Human League Don’t You Want Me?
326. Elliott Smith Miss Misery
327. MC 900 Ft. Jesus The City Sleeps
328. INXS Original Sin
329. David Bowie Let’s Dance
330. Iggy Pop Real Wild Child (Wild One)
331. The Offspring Gotta Get Away
332. Pixies Gigantic
333. Ramones Sheena is a Punk Rocker
334. The Nails Things You Left Behind
335. Peter Gabriel Red Rain
336. Talking Heads Stay Up Late
337. Pretenders Stop Your Sobbing
338. Portishead Sour Times
339. Soul Coughing Screenwriter’s Blues
340. The Specials A Message to You Rudy
341. Lo-Fidelity Allstars Battle Flag
342. Massive Attack Safe From Harm
343. Tori Amos God
344. The Offspring Come Out And Play
345. The Buggles Video Killed the Radio Star
346. Bob Marley & The Wailers I Shot the Sheriff
347. The Flaming Lips Do You Realize??
348. Midnight Oil Power and the Passion
349. Kate Bush Wuthering Heights
350. Public Image Ltd. Public Image
351. 10,000 Maniacs Candy Everybody Wants
352. Everclear Santa Monica
353. The Psychedelic Furs The Ghost In You
354. Stereo MC’s Connected
355. Roxy Music More Than This
356. Fine Young Cannibals She Drives Me Crazy
357. Erasure A Little Respect
358. Ministry Work for Love
359. Fatboy Slim The Rockafeller Skank
360. The White Stripes Fell In Love With A Girl
361. Radiohead Just
362. The Replacements The Ledge
363. Smashing Pumpkins Tonight, Tonight
364. The Cure Hot Hot Hot!!!
365. INXS What You Need
366. David Bowie Fashion
367. The Special AKA Free Nelson Mandela
368. Eurythmics Love is a Stranger
369. Modest Mouse Float On
370. Robyn Hitchcock Balloon Man
371. Crowded House Chocolate Cake
372. Suzanne Vega Luka
373. Robyn Hitchcock My Wife And My Dead Wife
374. Soup Dragons I’m Free
375. Oasis Live Forever
376. Weezer Buddy Holly
377. R.E.M. Man on the Moon
378. Primus Tommy The Cat
379. The Police So Lonely
380. Bob Mould See A Little Light
381. Timbuk 3 The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
382. The Postal Service Such Great Heights
383. Franz Ferdinand Take Me Out
384. Interpol PDA
385. Cake Never There
386. Iggy Pop Candy
387. Morrissey Tomorrow
388. Butthole Surfers Pepper
389. The Proclaimers I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
390. Paul Westerberg Dyslexic Heart
391. Gorillaz Clint Eastwood
392. Toad the Wet Sprocket Hold Her Down
393. Pulp Common People
394. Tom Tom Club Genius Of Love
395. Too Much Joy Crush Story
396. Billy Bragg Sexuality
397. Radiohead Optimistic
398. Elastica Connection
399. 10,000 Maniacs Trouble Me
400. Guadalcanal Diary Always Saturday
401. The Police Don’t Stand So Close To Me
402. Duran Duran Hungry Like the Wolf
403. 10,000 Maniacs These Are Days
404. Trio Da Da Da
405. Coldplay Yellow
406. Wilco Heavy Metal Drummer
407. R.E.M. Driver 8
408. Guadalcanal Diary Watusi Rodeo
409. The Shins New Slang
410. Live I Alone
411. Meat Puppets Backwater
412. Gin Blossoms Hey Jealousy
413. Missing Persons Words
414. Aztec Camera Oblivious
415. Fishbone Party at Ground Zero
416. INXS New Sensation
417. The Police Every Breath You Take
418. The Cranberries Dreams
419. The Smithereens Behind the Wall of Sleep
420. Hoodoo Gurus Miss Freelove ’69
421. Catherine Wheel Black Metallic
422. Peter Gabriel Steam
423. Go-Go’s We Got The Beat
424. Blondie One Way Or Another
425. The Mighty Lemon Drops Inside Out*
426. Pretenders Talk of the Town
427. Morrissey November Spawned a Monster
428. Sonic Youth 100%
429. Blur Girls and Boys
430. Julian Cope World Shut Your Mouth
431. The Chemical Brothers Let Forever Be
432. Erasure Chorus
433. David Bowie Heroes
434. Joe Jackson I’m the Man
435. Alice In Chains Would?
436. Men Without Hats Safety Dance
437. Prodigy Firestarter
438. Pixies Debaser
439. The B-52’s Planet Claire
440. Modest Mouse Polar Opposites
441. Peter Gabriel Biko
442. Buffalo Tom Taillights Fade
443. Dinosaur Jr. Feel The Pain
444. The Smiths Is It Really So Strange?
445. The Cure Friday I’m In Love
446. Live Pain Lies On the Riverside
447. Interpol Obstacle 1
448. Sting All This Time
449. The Offspring Self-Esteem
450. The Cranberries Zombie
451. EMF Unbelievable
452. Spoon Everything Hits At Once
453. Peter Gabriel Games Without Frontiers
454. Devo Through Being Cool
455. Devo Jocko Homo
456. Big Audio Dynamite Medicine Show
457. Fine Young Cannibals Johnny Come Home
458. They Might Be Giants Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
459. General Public Tenderness
460. The Alarm Rain in The Summertime
461. Barenaked Ladies Be My Yoko Ono
462. Camper Van Beethoven Good Guys & Bad Guys
463. Nirvana Lithium
464. 10,000 Maniacs Like The Weather
465. The Jam Going Underground
466. Mazzy Star Fade Into You
467. Adam Ant Desperate, But Not Serious
468. Suede Metal Mickey
469. The Shins So Says I
470. Violent Femmes Gone Daddy Gone
471. The Strokes Last Nite
472. BoDeans Dreams
473. Tricky Black Steel
474. Social Distortion Bad Luck
475. Garbage I Think I’m Paranoid
476. U2 Where The Streets Have No Name
477. Material Issue Valerie Loves Me
478. Mission Of Burma That’s When I Reach For My Revolver
479. Stan Ridgway I Wanna Be a Boss
480. Erasure Oh L’Amour
481. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Maps
482. Sisters of Mercy Lucretia My Reflection
483. Pet Shop Boys West End Girls
484. G. Love & Special Sauce Rodeo Clowns
485. Adam & The Ants Antmusic
486. Ben Folds Five Underground
487. Nine Inch Nails Down In It
488. Red Hot Chili Peppers Show Me Your Soul
489. The Cure Never Enough
490. Wilco Monday
491. Pavement Stereo
492. Midnight Oil Forgotten Years
493. R.E.M. What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?
494. Nirvana About A Girl
495.The Clash The Magnificent Seven
496. Arcade Fire Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
497. The Replacements Here Comes a Regular
498. Guadalcanal Diary Litany (Life Goes On)
499. Smashing Pumpkins Drown
500. Seal Crazy