Our top 10 Big Head Todd and the Monsters songs list looks at the body of work of an American outfit known for its endured presence in the blues rock scene. Established in 1986, Big Head Todd and the Monsters has over the years maintained its initial lineup which comprised vocalist/guitarist Todd Park Mohr, drummer Brian Nevin, and bassist Rob Squires. Vocalist Todd cited the lasting friendship of the band members as the key driver towards its solid musicianship. The band’s amity has been compared to that of the founding members of The Grateful Dead, a rock band established in the mid-‘60s.
Origins Of Big Head Todd And the Monsters
Immediately after its establishment, Big Head Todd and the Monsters members started touring the West Coast. A cult following in the Mountain States would motivate the band to issue its debut album, Another Mulberry in 1989. The album was issued through the band’s label Big Records. Unfortunately, the album never made it big only remaining a treasure to the band’s fans in Colorado and other Mountain States. Despite not achieving mainstream success, Another Mulberry still managed to feature musical gems including “I Will Carry,” “Salvation,” and “Flander’s Fields.”
After quite a poor start, Big Head Todd and the Monsters returned in 1990 with its sophomore studio album, Midnight Radio. Midnight Radio featured a collection of live recordings with some of the exceptional hits on the album including “Vincent of Jersey,” “Monument in Green,” and an early version of Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ signature hit “Bittersweet.” The album saw the band work with producer John Burns who is best known for his significant work with John Martyn, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Toots & The Maytals, and Jimmy Cliff.
In 1993, Big Head Todd and the Monsters issued their third studio album, Sister Sweetly. Sister Sweetly is the band’s most momentous album release earning the band both commercial and mainstream success. This platinum-certified album saw the band work with producer David Z, best known for his work with Prince, Buddy Guy, Etta James, and Billy Idol.
“Bittersweet,” “It’s Alright,” “Circle,” and “Broken Hearted Savior” are the best Big Head Todd and the Monsters songs from the album. Sister Sweetly managed to rise to a peak position of number one hundred and seventeen. The album was Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ first release issued through Giant Records.
Strategem, issued in 1994, marked the band’s fourth studio album. While the album never managed to match the commercial feats reached by Sister Sweetly, it featured top musical gems including “In the Morning,” “Kensington Line,” and “Wearing Only Flowers.” Strategem was a mainstream success, rising to position thirty on the Billboard 200. Three years later, Big Head Todd and the Monsters were back with their fifth studio album, Beautiful World. Beautiful World is home to some of the best Big Head Todd and the Monsters songs including “Please Don’t Tell Her,” “Resignation Superman,” and a cover of John Lee Hooker’s 1962 hit “Boom Boom.”
Five years after the release of Beautiful World, Big Head Todd and the Monsters returned with their sixth studio album, Riviera. Riviera is home to notable musical gems including “Runaway Train,” “Secret Mission,” and “Gary Indiana Blues.” The band’s seventh studio album, Crimes of Passion, and eighth studio album, All the Love You Need, were barely successful but still remain worthwhile recordings that showcase Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ blues rock influences.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ next big moment was marked by the release of the album, Rocksteady in 2010. Amongst songs that stood out from this album include “Beautiful,” a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s 1965 hit “Smokestack Lightning,” and a cover of The Rolling Stones’ 1978 hit “Beast of Burden.” Black Beehive, issued in 2014, marked Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ tenth album. The album featured musical gems including “Seven State Lines,” “We Won’t Go Back,” “Travelin’ Light,” and I Get Smooth.” In 2017, the band issued its most recent studio album, New World Arisin’, home to some of the best Big Head Todd and the Monsters songs including “Wipeout Turn.”
Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ Legacy
Big Head Todd and the Monsters remains one of the most persistent blues rock outfits with its career spanning over three and a half decades. While blues rock has been the band’s main sound, some of its songs deliver a taste of the band’s jam roots, jazz-fusion, and alternative rock sounds. Over the years, Big Head Todd and the Monsters have shared the stage with/collaborated with reputable artists including John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, The Allman Brothers, James Cotton, Neil Young, Albert Collins, and John Prine among others. Here we present the ten best Big Head Todd and the Monsters songs of all time.
Top 10 Big Head Todd And The Monsters Songs
#10 – Runaway Train
Ushering us to the top 10 Big Head Todd and the Monsters songs list is the tremendous hit “Runaway Train.” The song is the most remarkable hit on the band’s sixth studio album, Riviera. “Runaway Train” is among the band’s first songs ever released after its departure from Giant Records. We have cited earlier that Big Head Todd and the Monsters was more of a blues rock band. However, listening to “Runaway Train” it is without a doubt that the band was a tad bit far from its signature sound.
The song blends the band’s jam roots sound with some alternative rock influences. Nevertheless, “Runaway Train” manages to rise into the ten best Big Head Todd and the Monsters songs list, thanks to the solid musicianship showcased in its performance. Todd Park Morh’s enthusiasm and power behind the guitar work and vocals are just remarkable. The song is one of the band’s concert staples proving its spot as a fan favorite track.
#9 – Beast Of Burden
While Big Head Todd and The Monsters have quite a catalog of impressive original tracks, we cannot deny that the band has excelled at delivering magical cover hits. “Beast of Burden” is one of the best cover songs by the band featured on the 2010 album, Rocksteady. Originally, the song “Beast of Burden” was issued by the English band The Rolling Stones in 1978.
Big Head Todd and The Monsters’ version brings back a blues rock feel almost similar to that of the original version. We ought to give credit to Todd Park Mohr’s amazing vocal delivery on the band’s cover version. Other outstanding cover versions of this song have been issued by Bette Midler, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Billy Valentine.
#8 – Please Don’t Tell Her
Coming in at number eight on our ten best Big Head Todd and The Monsters songs list is the phenomenal hit “Please Don’t Tell Her.” The song is among the top musical gems issued by the band on its 1997 album, Beautiful World. “Please Don’t Tell Her” finds the band regaining its musical strength after a dismal 1994 album Strategem.
The song is a mesmerizing lyrical delight clothed with the glamour of impassioned guitar efforts by Park Mohr. “Please Don’t Tell Her” features a slightly funky tune with some reggae sound inflections. Jerry Harrison, formerly a member of Talking Heads, had his production skills on this track give it a magical touch making it a fan favorite.
#7 – Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)
When Big Head Todd and the Monsters launched the Monster’s Monthly Music series this might have sounded like just any other band initiative to keep its fans entertained. However, the band’s monthly music series turned out to be a success, proof being our number nine song on the list “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).” Issued just two years ago, the song has risen to become one of the band’s most revered cover tracks. Initially, “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” was issued by the American soft rock/pop rock outfit Looking Glass in 1972.
Upon its release, the song catapulted Looking Glass to stardom, albeit short-lived, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and earning gold certification. Backed up by extraordinary vocalists, Ted leads his fellow band members in making a mystical and beautiful cover of this track! Other artists who have performed/covered this hit include Kenny Chesney, Mick Thomas, Look Mexico, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
#6 – Circle
Number six on our ten best Big Head Todd and The Monsters songs list is the remarkable hit “Circle.” The song is among the mainstream successful hits from the band’s album, Sister Sweetly. “Circle” brings to us Todd’s smoky and inviting vocals which complement the song’s steady mid-tempo. Among the great takeaways from this hit is its radio-ready alternative rock sound which without a doubt catapulted it to mainstream success. “Circle” made it to number twenty-one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.
#5 – Resignation Superman
Beautiful World, the band’s fifth studio album is home to the fifth pick of our ten best Big Head Todd and The Monsters songs, “Resignation Superman.” The song was penned by the band’s vocalist Todd Park Mohr with the lyrics alluding to a hero who forsakes the world and all its predicaments just to take time and live a life of his own. We can’t get enough of Todd’s crisp vocals on this hit.
An inspirational guitar solo by Todd adds to the reason this song is among the most revered tracks by Big Head Todd and The Monsters. “Resignation Superman” has since its release become a fan-favorite, played almost every time the band holds a concert. The song was a mainstream success, rising to number thirteen on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. “Resignation Superman” also made it to the Billboard Alternative Airplay, peaking at number thirty-eight.
#4- It’s Alright
“It’s Alright” is one of Big Head Todd and The Monsters’ blues rock ballads filled with a slow-dancing vibe. Every bit of this song oozes the best of blues rock elements by the band from the prodigious instrumentation to the awe-inspiring vocal delivery. Todd makes his mark as a reputable blues-rock guitarist with his impressive skills on guitar. Sadly, “It’s Alright” never made it to the mainstream charts despite being quite a remarkable blues rock track.
However, the song has cemented its place as one of the most revered fan-favorite tracks by Big Head Todd and The Monsters performed almost in all concerts. Amongst the most sought-after live performances of this song is the 2008 version at Red Rocks where the band featured Hazel Miller. Hazel’s stunning and incredible vocals on that live performance feel too magical — There’s no doubt, an official release of this version would have made it big in the market.
#3- Boom Boom ft. John Lee Hooker
Our number three spot goes to the band’s most impressive cover hit, “Boom Boom.” “Boom Boom” is a hit by the legendary John Lee Hooker (one of his most identifiable tracks on Burnin’). The song set the standards for other blues songs that came after it, earning induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the hits that shaped the rock and roll scene. Daring and bold were Big Head Todd and The Monsters to have attempted to cover this mega-hit and its not a surprise that the cover was outstanding!
Having John Lee Hooker in the studio to record this cover version was intimidating to the band members as revealed by bassist Rob. However, this didn’t put the recording in jeopardy but motivated the band member to deliver their ultimate best. Other noteworthy cover versions of this song have been issued by The Animals, Donald Byrd, Rufus Thomas, and The Yardbirds. Big Head Todd and The Monsters’ cover version was a mainstream success rising to position twenty-nine on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.
#2- Broken Hearted Savior
“Broken Hearted Savior” is among the most definitive songs by the band from its Platinum-certified studio album, Sister Sweetly. Like most of the songs on the album, “Broken Hearted Savior” oozes excellence credit to the impressive laid-back delivery that says speak volumes about the band’s blues rock sound.
The song’s poignant lyrics and Mohr’s phenomenal vocal delivery marks this track with a stamp of distinction. Mohr’s guitar solo as the song approaches the end is just remarkable. “Broken Hearted Savior” was a mainstream success, rising to position nine on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.
Number one on our ten best Big Head Todd and The Monsters songs list is the impressive hit “Bittersweet.” The song is the most sought-after blues rock ballad from the band’s third studio album Sister Sweetly. An earlier version of this song had made its way to the band’s sophomore outing Midnight Radio. Lead vocalist Todd Mohr revealed that it was Giant Records’ idea to feature the song on the band’s third studio album.
Todd admits to having denied taking part in the release of a music video for this song. This was at the time when outfits such as Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Nirvana had their music video regularly played on MTV, earning them fame and mainstream success. Nevertheless, “Bittersweet” remains the band’s best shot at commercial success and Big Head Todd, rising to signature hit status almost imminently after its release. The song peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. “Bittersweet” missed entry to the Billboard Hot 100 by four spots.
Top 10 Big Head Todd And The Monsters Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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