The 10 Greatest Townes Van Zandt Songs

The 10 Greatest Townes Van Zandt Songs | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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Townes Van Zandt is your typical, underrated artist who wrote several hit songs but still didn’t get enough credit for them. His music is known for its deep lyricism and wistful atmosphere and in his younger years, Van Zandt was admired for his skillful fingerpicking on the guitar. Seen below are the 10 greatest songs in his career enough to consider his proficiency as a musician.


“No Lonesome Tune” (1972)

By the early 1970s, Van Zandt and producer Jack Clement had found a recording style that worked for his music. With this song, the love of a good lady triumphs against the draw of the road.

“Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel” (1969)

The storyteller knows Miss Carousel well enough to recognize her allure and appreciate the dangers of succumbing to it. After all, her very name connotes a whirling, never-ending journey.

“To Live Is To Fly” (1971)

The narrator softly counsels the reader to accept life’s inevitable ups and downs and to adapt to its inevitable adjustments. Townes had a rather wild lifestyle and didn’t always take the song’s moderate advice to heart, but his fans will always be able to reap the benefits of his songs.

“(Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria” (1968)

Townes Van Zandt’s songs occasionally disguised his unparalleled ability to construct a vivid image with words behind an air of country setting.

“Tower Song” (1970)

Townes lays a solid foundation with a sorrowful but beautiful tune before opening his broken heart to a girl whose rigidity would lead to loneliness in the end, something she can’t see now but will realize later.

“Rake” (1970)

With this Delta Momma Blues classic, Townes Van Zandt paints a bleak portrayal of himself. At the end of the song, the “Rake” receives what he deserves for all of his wrongdoing, to the point that even the moonlight, in which he usually indulges in festivity, is intolerable.

“If I Needed You” (1972)

This timeless classic by Van Zandt is a popular choice for cover versions likely because to the universality with which its message of love and loyalty is conveyed. There are certainly more intricate songs by Van Zandt, but we can’t think of many that are as immediately appealing.

Be Here To Love Me” (1969)

This song from Our Mother The Mountain, released in 1969, is catchy because to Van Zandt’s clever wordplay and the underlying tone of good humor.

“For The Sake Of The Song” (1968)

The canonical rendition was redone by Van Zandt on his self-titled 1969 album, as the song was first released in 1968. Although the song’s achingly beautiful melody & lyrics would have succeeded in any of the singer’s albums.

“Pancho And Lefty” (1972)

The song “Pancho and Lefty” was penned by country music legend Townes Van Zandt. Van Zandt initially released it on his 1972 album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, and it has since become his “most lasting and well-known song.” Since Van Zandt’s original performance, the song has been covered by a number of musicians, with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s version being the most successful commercially.