Our Top 10 Smithereens Songs list looks back at one of the most passionate and brilliant rock and roll bands to come out of the mid to late 1980s rock period. The sound of The Smithereens was very reflective of the music the groups members who went to high school in the 1970s listened to. Like all fans of classic rock, the members of the Smithereens grew up listening to the music of the British Invasion such as The Beatles, The Who, The Stones and so on. Even more so were the influences of late 70s British New Wave artists such as Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. As all the original band members hailed from New Jersey, one could also hear a Springsteen influence in their music and see it in their stage performances.
The original Smithereens lineup consisted of Pat DiNizio, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros and Dennis Diken. The Smithereens released their first full length album in 1986 intuited Especially for You. The group followed up that release two years later with a very successful rock and roll record called Green Thoughts in 1988. The band’s third album was released in 1989 entitled 11. The group returned in 1990 with the album Blow Up. In 1995, The Smithereens released A Date with The Smithereens. The Smithereens released one more original studio album in 1999 called God Save The Smithereens before they began a stretch of four straight cover albums.
The Smithereens were grand students of rock and roll history. They were huge fans of The Beatles as they released three studio albums dedicated to the music of The Beatles. The first being a cover of the entire Meet The Beatles album entitled Meet The Smithereens!. Their second Beatles based record was an album dedicated to The Smithereens’ versions of the Beatles B-Sides. You don’t get much cooler than doing an album that covers a band’s B-sides. Their third Beatles based album was a recreation of a Beatles live concert entitled The Smithereens Play The Beatles Washington, D.C. February 11, 1964 Concert.
The Beatles were not the only famous band that the Smithereens dedicated an entire album too. In 2009, The Smithereens released the album The Smithereens Play Tommy which focused on the music from The Who’s famous rock opera. In that same late 2000s period, The Smithereens also released a Christmas album Smithereens style. The last Smithereens studio album was released in 2011 entitled 2011. Throughout the years the band also had many songs appear on motion picture soundtracks including the great “While Castle Blues,” song which appeared on the motion picture soundtrack Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
Sadly, the band leader Pat DiNizio passed away in 2017. The Smithereens left behind a legacy of great albums and perfect rock and roll songs that would serve as a collection of music for younger artists trying to learn how to write great rock and roll songs of substance, meaning and most important…. joy.
# 10 – Top Of The Pops
We open up our Top 10 Smithereens Songs with a song that begins with a great rock and roll riff that knocks you right up out of your chair the instant you hear it. Showing off their New Jersey roots in the video, The Smithereens let their audiences know where they came from on all fronts. This is just so good. The Smithereens song “Top Of The Pops,” was released on the album Blow Up n 1991.
# 9 – All My Loving
Continuing with our top 10 Smithereens songs list, we turn to the Smithereens great Beatles cover album of the classic Beatles record Meet The Beatles. The Smithereens stayed pretty true to the Beatles original arrangement of this classic song “All My Loving.” However, its Pat DiNizio’s brilliant vocal performance on the song that makes this such a captivating listen.
# 8 – Too Much Passion
This one has just so much soul it showcases that the group was paying attention to all those great Stax Records featuring Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and so many others. This is 60s soul with a great 90s feel. Love it! The song “Too Much Passion,” was released on the 1991 album Blow Up. “Too Much Passion,” was the band’s highest charting song of their career on the Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked at number 37.
# 7 – Blues Before and After
This one starts out with that classic Smithereens guitar riff sound. A sound that is so identifiable as The Smithereens. The song “Blues Before and After,” was released on the album 11. The song became a top 10 hit on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks peaking at number 7. It also appeared on the U.S. Billboard Modern Rock tracks at number 21.
# 6 – Strangers When We Meet
The sound of the British Invasion hits you instantly in the face on this one. One can also hear the heavy influences of Elvis Costello. Of course blend it all together and you have the grand sound of The Smithereens. The song “Strangers When We Meet,” was released on the band’s debut album entitled Especially for You. The album was released in 1986.
# 5 – Behind The Wall Of Sleep
As we flip into the second half of our top 10 Smithereens songs list we turn to one of the band’s most famous songs. The memorable classic “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” was released in 1986 on the album Especially for You. The track became the band’s first song to enter the U.K. music charts . It was also a hit on the U.S. Mainstream and Modern rock charts.
# 4 – Miles From Nowhere
Oh those guitars just sound so good. The Smithereens were such a great guitar based band that focused on killer minor chord rhythmic riffs that fueled all their great songs. The song “Miles From Nowhere,” appeared on the album A Date with the Smithereens. The album was released in 1994. “Miles From Nowhere,” was the only single released from the album. The song became a top 20 hit on the Billboard U.S Mainstream Rock Charts peaking at number 17.
# 3 – Only a Memory
The next three songs on this top 10 Smithereens songs list are easily the band’s most popular songs. We start at number three with the group’s classic single “Only A Memory.” The song was released in 1988 on the Smithereens second album titled Green Thoughts. The song hit number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks charts making it the band’s only number single of their career.
# 2 – A Girl Like You
The Smithereens only had two songs break the Billboard Top 40 on the U.S. Mainstream Hot 100. They had many songs chart on the Billboard Rock tracks charts but only two to make it onto that money making chart they call the Hot 100. “Too Much Passion,” and this great song “A Girl Like You,” were the two songs to do it.
# 1 – Blood and Roses
We close out our top 10 Smithereens songs list with the band’s most memorable song entitled “Blood and Roses.” This one stands as not just the best Smithereens song but as one of the best modern rock and roll tracks to have ever been released. We could listen to that dark opening bass line over and over again. The song was released on the band’s debut album Especially for You. “Blood and Roses,” was the album’s lead off single. It was the song that introduced the world to The Smithereens.
Top 10 Smithereens Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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