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Fifteen Songs That Literally Start Out "Great"

Updated on April 24, 2019

Freddie Mercury was great, but his version of a classic did not crack this list.


Most of the songs are rock, but the list does include an all-time country standard

There are many great songs, as even the most casual music fan would readily admit. It would be impossible to compile a list of even a hundred that everyone would agree with, even if you limited it to just the rock genre.

Much rarer is the song that has the word "great" in its title, and even rarer to use that adjective as its first word. Here are fifteen of the best of the songs that start out "Great."

1. Great Pretender by the Platters
Freddie Mercury did a hugely popular version of this for one of his last hits, but not even he could outdo the Platters.

2. Great Escape by Guster
This catchy track leads off the alternative rock band's second album, called Goldfly, which gave fans a glimpse of all the power pop to follow.

3. Great Scott by Fountains of Wayne
Speaking of power pop, Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlessinger made some gorgeous examples of that genre. This cut comes from the excellent compilation CD, Out of States Plates.

4. Great Big Man by Don McLean
Homeless Brother, the album from whence this track comes, was mainly his return to his folk roots after the success of American Pie.

5. Great White Wail by Mott
The play on words would have suited Ian Hunter very well, only he had just departed the group who also lost the Hoople in its name.

6. Great Divide by Neil Young
After a foray into grunge and political rock, Young returned to his folk persona for this track as well as the rest of the Silver And Gold record.

7. Great Divide by Semisonic
Famous for the ubiquitous Nineties hit "Closing Time", Dan Wilson and his group's discography has a dozen other quality songs like this one from Do Not Disturb.

8. Great Compromise by John Prine
Is it anti-war sing about Vietnam? Is it merely a ballad about a guy being two-timed? The interpretation remains a mystery, thereby adding to the attraction of this highlight from Diamonds In The Rough.

9. Great Curve by Talking Heads
Remain In Light is mostly remembered for the huge hit "Once In a Lifetime" but there are several other treats on that record, including this one.

10. Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
Goodness Gracious! This song still has as much energy now as it did when it hit the charts over fifty years ago.

11. Great Expectations by Kiss
Like its counterpart "Beth" from side one of Destroyer, this orchestral tune complements the hard rock of hits such as "Shout It Out Loud", "Detroit Rock City" and "Flaming Youth."

12. Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd
This standard from Dark Side of the Moon reportedly pays homage to troubled co-founder Syd Barrett, who had just left the band.

13. Great King Rat by Queen
This track from the self-titled debut represents that unique mythical rock the quartet created at its onset, a few years before they found repeated chart success.

14. Great Speckled Bird by Roy Acuff
The country legend is most known for this religious metaphor and, in spite of hundred of cover versions, no one has topped it.

15. Great Beyond by REM
This song was written exclusively for the film Man In The Moon, whose title track was inspired by the late comedian Andy Kaufman.


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