When they broke into the scene, the Atlanta-based rock band, Collective Soul, was labeled tons of names from southern blues-rock stars to neo-60’s rock stars. While the media and record industry saw the band was seen as an ‘overnight, lead singer and guitarist Ed Roland confessed that this was a result of twelve years in making. Notably, Ed and his brother Dean Roland grew up in a strict home where their dad, Eddie Roland, was a southern Baptist minister. All they had for rock and roll was Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis records until they got to their teenage years. Their love and interest for the guitar would develop from seeing their father minister to the church using music.
After high school, Ed Roland would enroll at the Berklee School of Music where he gained quite some skills which he used to record his own music during studio off-hours. Later in the 1980s, Ed Roland, ross Childress and Shane Evan would play in the band, Marching Two Step. They would later leave the band to form Collective Soul, named after a concept from Ayn Rand’s classic novel Fountainhead. What followed is hit songs from the band and a warm welcome to the rock nation. Here are the top 10 Collective Soul songs you might need to listen to for some thrilling rock vibe.
# 10 – Gel
Released back in January 1995, “Gel” is among the greatest songs the Collective Soul band has ever made. The three minutes song starts off with some unique guitar skills from the band which is followed right with some powerful lyrics. Collective Soul brings back the great energy that some of the rock artists fail to showcase. Featured in the album The Jerky Boys, the song is all about how a band comes together, how they attain fame, and how at the end we tell our war stories about times on stage together.
# 9 – Breathe
Following their success after getting their band formed, Collective Soul released their second single “Breathe” to keep their new community of followers engaged with their talent. And you can bet that the song did well having its peak at number 12 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. With the band previously engaged in too much guitar skills in their previous group, you can guess that they are quite ‘perfect’ in the art. And it is their guitar instrumentals that hook you from the beginning to end of the song making it their trademark for nearly all songs.
# 8 – Listen
Coming from their album Disciplined Breakdown, “Listen” is a ballad dripping with a great message. Written and produced by Ed Roland, the lead artist of the band, the song is all about standing up despite the burdens of your life or problems bogging you down. And true to the word, we all need a breather from our life’s hectic moments to ponder where we are headed. While some might find fun in how the band gets the message to the world in a catchy way, others might love the message more. But the end result is a hit song that soared high in the music charts making the Collective Soul even more popular.
# 7 – Why, Part 2
As earlier mentioned the Collective Soul band is all about some great guitar rock that will leave you more than amused. “Why, Part 2” is among the band’s great guitar ballads from their 2000 album Blender. While the song did not chart in the Billboard Hot 100 charts, it was a definite banger having it reach number two on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It was probably not the best year for rock music but even years after, we are still hooked to this great jam written by Ed Roland having him produce it alongside Anthony J. Resta.
# 6 – Where the River Flows
Introducing quite a rare vibe by the Collective Soul band is their song “Where the River Flows” which brings in some poetic feeling. Quite great to listen to but still not enough to hook us off the great guitar skills of this rock band. You ought to love the guitar riff in the song making it quite a great rock song to get lost in. For many, it is definitely rock and roll time when the instrumentals play making you feel the inner thrill in the perfect beats by the gifted Collective Soul band.
# 5 – Precious Declaration
Ushering us to the top 5 Collective Soul is their lead single in their third studio album Disciplined Breakdown. Written by lead singer Ed Roland, “Precious Declaration” was a definite banger owing to its performance in the charts. The song managed to attain the number one position in both U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and Canadian RPM Alternate 30. Explaining the inspiration behind this ballad, Ed revealed that ‘precious declaration’ is when they got to sign the release that they would continue being a band making their music career a reality.
# 4 – Heavy
Coming in at number four is “Heavy” the second single from their alum Dosage. The song was among the band’s few number ones in the Billboards Hot Mainstream Tracks. “Heavy” would go-ahead to stay on the top of the charts for fifteen weeks. Making history as the last song by the band to chart in the Billboard Hot 100, the song was featured in tons of events including NHL 2001. To Ed, the song was inspired by the fact that he felt taken advantage of, having him discover the word ‘heavy’ as the perfect word to fit what he was describing.
# 3 – December
Written still by Ed Roland, the song “December” was released back in 1995 for their eponymous album. The success of the hit song cannot be told better than having it reach number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Album Rock Tracks chart for nine straight weeks. Expressing how he feels is not something Ed would feel quite worried about having this song also inspired by the need to talk about how he felt being used with whatever he did not feel good enough. And the Burmese rock band Iron Cross put a stamp on this song as great having them copy it live in concert.
# 2 – The World I Know
Written on the road, the song “The World I Know” was composed by Ed Roland when he went on a walk on a rare day off in New York. Representing what they know best, the Collective Soul band makes the guitar look like their toy thanks to the sublime performance they showcase for this 1995 ballad. The success of the song was imminent having it become the number one song on Billboard Mainstream Rock, RPM Top Singles, and Billboard Adult Alternative Songs. Ross Childress’s input in the song cannot be understated having him co-write the song and developing an instrumental piece for the ballad.
# 1 – Shine
And now to the number one jam is the Collective band’s debut single “Shine” from their debut album Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid. First, we have to agree that the first time you listen to the song, you might be tempted to think that Collective Soul is a Christian rock band. The chorus itself feels like a prayer and we cannot blame the not since Roland himself grew in a highly religious background. Notably, the song remained to be a symbol of 1990s alternative rock having it included on various era-themed compilation albums.
Top 10 Collective Soul Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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