Over the last two years my love for Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" has been put through some extreme tests. Yet after cringing through several American Idol renditions and suffering through the song's sampling on DMX's "No Sunshine," the original has maintained all the qualities that make it a true and timeless rock and roll classic.
That's why the song tops the 2004 version of "The 100 Greatest Singles of the Rock and Roll Era," a list that I compile every other year and is essentially a list of songs I'd take with me if I were stranded on a proverbial desert island for 730 days.
You may notice the number of singles that have fallen off the list this year, but it would be inaccurate to say my love for those songs has gone away. Really, I probably love thousands of songs. These are just the super-elite singles and many of them were given an edge for their influence. Plus, songs dropping out of the list made room for many new entries, including Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By," which is 2004's highest debut.