Our Top 10 The Wallflowers Songs list introduces us to a Grammy Award-winning rock band that progressed from roots rock to alternative rock genre over its music career. The band’s inception would start with a thought by childhood friends guitarist Tobi Miller and singer and guitarist Jakob Dylan to start a band. Dylan and Miller had quite a musical past, having them join tons of bands at high school, with Miller forming the 45’s band. However, the band would last less than a year, only to have Miller and Dylan join hands to form the Apples.
The two tagged in The 45’s former bassist Barrie Maguire, drummer Peter Yanowitz, and keyboardist Rami Jaffee to complete the band. After many rehearsals together, the Apples changed their name to The Wallflowers playing music in Los Angeles clubs. During this period, The Wallflowers kept sending their demo tape to record companies only to have one of the tapes get to Andrew Slater. Slater liked their work and immediately brought the band to Virgin Records, where they would sign it. However, The Wallflowers didn’t get to the spotlight immediately, only to return performing in the clubs.
Thanks to Jimmy Iovine and Tom Whalley, who helped The Wallflowers sign with Interscope Records where the band would receive critical acclaim and breakthrough after the release of their second album, Bringing Down the Horse. While the band has had major changes in its lineup, Bob Dylan’s son Jakob Dylan has remained the face of the band all through the rough tides. Here are the top 10 The Wallflowers songs from the band’s seven albums.
#10 – Love is a Country
Ushering us to the top 10 The Wallflowers songs is the ballad “Love is a Country” from the band’s 2012 album, Glad All Over. Dylan pops open some poetic lyrics suggesting the terrain everyone can follow after a spent relationship. The song brings Dylan’s songwriting skills lined with inventive metaphors and outstanding imagery to make quite some emotional impact. “Love is a Country” has its tune delivered along big piano chords to bring a tense feel and a love-struck mood to the song.
#9 – Reboot the Mission
Featured as the first single to The Wallflowers’ album, Glad All Over, the song “Reboot the Mission” has its groove compared to “The Magnificent Seven” by The Clash. The song takes Jakob Dylan to a band that he grew up listening to, inspired by their reggae and hip-hop sounds in their songs. Hence, having this song compare to The Clash’s “The Magnificent” was quite intentional. The song debuted at number 48 on the Billboard 200 Chart on its first week of release.
#8 – Letter from the Wasteland
The song “Letter from the Wasteland,” written by Jakob Dylan, brings on some magnificent lyrics that make him a crucial piece in the band’s career. As if that was not enough, Dylan adds his smooth vocals to bring the best out of this love-themed song for their 2000 album, Breach. The song is about a relationship that seems to have gone south, and the guy seems not to have got over the lady having him still slow dance to the romance on his own.
#7 – The Beautiful Side of Somewhere
“The Beautiful Side of Somewhere” is a rock song that added glamour to The Wallflowers’ album Rebel, Sweetheart. Dylan’s vocals tower over the song’s beautiful tune, making his mark in the song’s greatness. The Wallflowers would make this one of their favorite live performance songs for their fans years after 2005.
#6 – Sleepwalker
Featured in The Wallflowers album, Breach, the song “Sleepwalker” pokes fun at the lead singer Jakob Dylan’s status after the band’s breakthrough second album. Here Dylan alludes to his mixed feelings about his fame and lineage. He addresses the cynics in this catchy rock song, reflecting on how he felt at the height of his success described as a confused character wandering through his life.
#5 – Three Marlenas
Listening to the song “Three Marlena’s,” you can almost feel the chords similar to those of “Sweet Jane” by The Velvet Underground. Featured on the band’s most successful album, Bringing Down the Horse, “Three Marlena’s” lyrics sound true to anyone who has felt like multiple versions of one person. We all can relate to moments in life when we felt like we are different from what we perceive or thought we were. And in some way, the song reflects on three things in our lives, that’s perception, hopes, and choices we make. “Three Marlena’s” performed great on the charts peaking at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay Chart.
#4- The Difference
Nominated for a Grammys for the Best Rock Song in 1998, “The Difference” was one of The Wallflowers’ powerful ballads from their second album. From the opening drum roll to the end of the song, you can feel the awe-inspiring vibe of the song that depicts that the song was destined for greatness! The song’s message seems to be about people who never seem to grow up. “The Difference” would spend eight weeks at number three on the Mainstream Rock Tracks asserting The Wallflowers’ greatness at that moment.
#3 – Heroes
The Wallflowers were not only great in their original songs but also in covers, which made their foundation while starting their music career. “Heroes” is an awe-inspiring cover of David Bowie that brings on some sublime performance by lead artist Jakob Dylan. The song is about a German couple determined to maintain their relationship by meeting daily under a gun turret on The Berlin Wall. Released on the Godzilla soundtrack as a standalone single from the band, the song would also be nominated for a Grammys for the Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
#2 – 6th Avenue Heartache
Written when he was just 18 years of age, the song “6th Avenue Heartache” brings on some sublime songwriting skills from Dylan. Released in the band’s album, Bringing Down the Horse, this song is about Dylan’s time in New York and stuff he witnessed. It features the story of a homeless guy who would sit outside Dylan’s window playing the same song daily. However, one day the man was gone leaving his items there, making people think much about him. Thanks to Counting Crows’ member Adam Duritz for his perfect background vocals for the song.
#1 – One Headlight
“One Headlight” is by far the best song by The Wallflowers, having it win the band a Grammys for the Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1998 and Best Rock Song. The song is about the death of ideas, as depicted by its first verses. While the song failed to chart in the Billboard Hot 100 due to the rule of the time, it made it big on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay peaking ad number two and spending a massive seventy weeks on the chart.
Top 10 Wallflowers Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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