You knew it was coming, right? After all, we couldn't very well do a "Heaven" mix disc without offering up the opposing final destination. Sadly, there just aren't enough songs with the word "purgatory" in their title to make it a nice, tidy trifecta, but don't be surprised if we work up an "Earth" one sooner than later.
"Highway to Hell," AC/DC (Highway to Hell)
Sometimes, you just have to go with an obvious pick, especially when it's as classic as this one. I saw these guys on their "Fly on the Wall" tour, and although I couldn't tell you a thing about the show (aside from the fact that it was where I smoked my first cigarette and, in the process, coughed up approximately a third of a lung), I can tell you that it made enough of an impression on me that my kid has an AC/DC onesie. Rock on, baby!
"Hell," Squirrel Nut Zippers (Hot)
Thanks to David Medsker, I can no longer hear this song with expecting random "Simpsons" sound effects to pop up. If there's any justice in the world, in 10 years time there will be a Vegas revue starring Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and these guys. And if there is, I will totally go see it.
"Hell Hole," Spinal Tap (This Is Spinal Tap)
Is there any fictional band that's had near as much effect on popular culture? And I'm not talking about prefabricated bands like the Monkees – I'm talking about bands that were created as a joke but took on a life of their own. I'm sure there must be competition in this field, but it can't possibly be a close race.
"Hell Is for Children," Pat Benatar (Crimes of Passion)
Hell might be for children, but ironically, I'm pretty sure my parents always turned off this song whenever it came on the radio, thereby preventing me from ever hearing it in its entirety until I finally bought it on CD. Thanks for trying, though, Pat.
"Straight to Hell," Drivin' ‘n' Cryin' (Mystery Road)
I know, you wanted to see the Clash's song of this title. Instead, you're getting Drivin' ‘N' Cryin'. Sometimes life isn't fair. If it was, then these guys would've taken over the world with Fly Me Courageous.
"Nature Trail to Hell," "Weird Al" Yankovic, (In 3D)
I'll just take any excuse to break out a "Weird Al" original. Not that I blame his label for always taking the easy way out by pushing a parody as the single, but his originals just don't get near the love they deserve. I remember this song, which mercilessly mocks crappy horror movies, ended with the sound of a beating heart that went on forever. Or maybe it just seemed like forever when I was lying in bed, trying to go to sleep.
"Right Next Door to Hell," Guns ‘N' Roses (Use Your Illusion I)
I was in Danville, VA, attending good ol' Averett College, when the two Use Your Illusion albums came out, and even as excited as I was to hear them, I still walked away thinking there was probably one really, really good album that could be culled from them. The rest I could've done without. This definitely would've made the final cut, though.
"Hell, Yeah!," American Hi-Fi (Hearts on Parade)
Yet another band that saw the love on its debut, lost steam on the second, and found itself forced to get indie with it for album #3. This comes from that third album, and these guys were still full-fledged power pop powerhouses, so there's really no justice that it did precious little for them sales-wise.
"Love Is Hell," Ryan Adams (Love Is Hell)
As much as I want to dismiss as insubstantial the work of someone as prolific as Ryan Adams, I can't. The guy writes fast, records fast, and the quality of the material continues to be pretty damned strong. Of course, I'm sure I'm not the only one who bought this EP just so I could get my hands of his version of Oasis's "Wonderwall," but thankfully, the rest of the tracks are solid, too.
"Hell No," the Dylans (Spirit Finger)
Yet another British band from the early ‘90s to whom I felt like no American was listening but me. Their first album featured a song called "Planet Love" which remains their greatest moment, but this second album has its charms as well, including this track.
"Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell,"
The Flaming Lips (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots)
Okay, forget the album version. What you really need to do is head over to the EP the band released for the song, which features new remixes of the track. My favorite is the Jason Bentley remix, which is subtitled, "Ego in Acceleration." I don't know what it means, but I love what Mr. Bentley's done with it, anyway.
"What the Hell," Adam Marsland (You Don't Know Me)
He used to be the lead singer of Cockeyed Ghost, but it seemed to me that he made a whole lot more fans by hauling himself around the country and playing a seemingly endless number of solo gigs. (I myself caught his show in Norfolk, which was sparsely attended but enthusiastically performed nonetheless.) This was Marsland's first proper solo album, and if it's not entirely up to Cockeyed Ghost's levels of greatness, it's only a matter of time before he gets there.
"Love Is A Mutt From Hell," Wheatus (Wheatus)
Yes, they really did have another song besides "Teenage Dirtbag." Granted, Brendan B. Brown has one of those definitively love-it-or-can't-fucking-stand-it voices, but, man, those hooks are just so damned catchy.
"Bat Out of Hell," Meatloaf (Bat Out of Hell)
If I'm gonna start predictably, I might as well finish predictably, right? Mind you, I almost changed my mind, but a little voice said, "Let me sleep on it." When I woke up, I realized that I'd actually been thinking of a lyric from "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" rather than from "Bat Out of Hell," but, by then, it was too late: my mind was already made up to use this as the grand finale, come Hell or high water.