iTunes might have revolutionized the way you access and listen to your
music, but it also did something else.

Just like getting cable TV made you get lost in the dozens (now hundreds, even thousands) of channels to choose from and gave rise to what was once a brand-new phrase –channel surfing- all of your music being at your fingertips makes you a lot more likely to click ahead to the next song on your playlist or on the shuffle. Plus it buries all of your classic stuff somewhere deep in the library (unless you are smart enough to make a playlist for them and I am not that smart). Great songs just get lost amidst the clutter of all the new songs you buy for your kids because T Swift is perfect for yourself.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with “Let Me Love You”… but it’s not exactly going to stand the test time like “Live Forever” by Oasis or “Alive” by Pearl Jam. Sorry JB.)

I mean really, when you are shuffling your thousands of songs, what the odds that an oldie-but-goody pops up and you stop everything to listen? 1 in 1,000? 1 in 500?

The odds are never in your favor.

Every now and again, though, a classic jumps out of the shuffle, and that wave of eerie melancholy grips you. Maybe you get the chills. Maybe you cry a little. Maybe you sing along. Maybe you just listen. One thing’s for sure- you definitely stop track-surfing and listen to the whole thing.

With that feeling in mind of utter nostalgia and warm memories washing over you, here are four gems, all acoustic, that have bubbled up to the surfaced recently; these songs have aged very well.

  1. “Patience,” Guns n Roses, Appetite for Destruction, 1989

Perhaps the most famous whistling sequence in rock history. Every time it comes on I want to hear it from the beginning so I can whistle along. Don’t you? GNR was nothing short of elemental for me from about 1990-1993 and this song is one of my favorites.

  1. “Staring at the Sun,” U2, live in Rotterdam, 7/18/1997

For those of you who listened to Boston alternative radio in the 1990s you know this version from WBCN’s “Naked Disc” that came out in 1999. I love how the song just builds and builds, and the audience singing along in this version is actually perfect.

  1. “The Man Who Sold The World,” Nirvana, from Nirvana: Unplugged, 1993

For my money, the greatest song in the history of MTV: Unplugged. All of it- the guitar, the growl of Kurt Cobain, the stage, the moment, and the edginess of the whole thing- is nothing short of haunting. The song starts strong and just gets better and even though the entire last minute is just instrumental, it’s perfect. And beyond that, the combination of the performance, the lyrics, and Cobain’s suicide less than 6 months later has made this track so much more than just another song.

I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here/We must have died alone, a long long time ago

This song is every bit as good today as it was 23 years ago.

Honorable mention: “One”, Chris Cornell, live in Reading, PA, 11/22/13

Not a song from my prime grunge years, but amazing nonetheless because it smashed together two absolute classics from my youth. Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden fame, plays the music to “One” by U2 but with the lyrics from the Metallica song with the same name. I can’t get enough of this one.

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