Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Rock Songs With Choir

In December of last year, the Kennedy Center Honors Program paid special tribute to Led Zeppelin as part of its annual show.

And the highlight of that particular segment was the version of Stairway To Heaven led by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.  The Heart thing actually wasn’t so great; what was great was the song’s crescendo, this time brought to even greater heights by a backing gospel choir.

I’d never heard Stairway done that way before, and I must say it brought new life to what had become a tired warhorse of a song.  And it brought tears to Robert Plant’s eyes.  Take a look:

All of which got me thinking: what are the best rock songs ever to feature a choir?

Voila!  My list is below.  (Note: I refuse to include Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, perhaps the best known rock-song-with-a-choir of them all, because it’s just too banal and absurd.)

5.  John Hiatt, Have A Little Faith In Me.   John Hiatt is an underappreciated roots musician with a distinctive voice and gift for lyrical punch.  Have A Little Faith in me is one of his best:

4.  Marc Cohn, Walking In Memphis.  Why is this his only good song?  At least it’s really, really good — and I’ve never even been to Memphis.

3.  The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want.  For sure the only Stones’ song that parents can use as a disciplinary tool.  And so we did.

2.  Led Zeppelin Fans, Stairway To Heaven.  See above.

1.  U2, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Rattle & Hum Version).  The gospel choir is thoroughly in keeping with the gospel feel of the original lyrics.  This track alone makes Rattle & Hum worth the purchase price.