10 Songs I Wish I'd Written, by Bowling For Soup's Jaret Reddick

A photograph of Jaret Reddick on stage in 2012
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jaret Reddick is the lead singer and main songwriter in Texan pop-punk quartet Bowling For Soup.

Since forming in Witchita Falls in 1994, the band has released 10 studio albums, four compilation albums, three EPs and one live album/DVD. They also just finished recording their eleventh studio album, Drunk Dynasty, which will be released later this year.

Having already sold over three million records worldwide, Jaret certainly knows a thing or two about writing songs.

“I definitely write from the standpoint of the listener,” he explains. “I’m less of an ‘artist’ than probably a lot of songwriters, since I tend to stick to simple structures and songs that are easy to listen to. When you start getting into crazy dissonant chords and odd tunings, you’re going to hit your niche, but the average Joe down the street won’t always get their head around what you’re doing.”

“For me, a perfect song is a song that you can’t get sick of,” he adds.

And what was the criteria for picking 10 songs that he wishes he’d written?

“It’s weird for me to say that I wish I’d written a song that came from somebody’s heart,” Jaret begins. “Frank Turner is one of my favourite songwriters of all time, but picking one of his songs would’ve been weird because they’re all so personal to him. So I just stuck to songs about topics that touch me. A lot of the songs I’ve chosen are outsider of the genres that I listen to on a regular basis, but they’re songs from over the years that I heard and just went, ‘Jesus Christ, this song is perfect.’”

10. fun. – Carry On

“Not only is this song something I can’t get sick of; it’s an entire album that I can’t get sick of. The two main guys in fun. are such great songwriters on their own, and when they came together for that last record they wrote one of those albums that I can put on from start to finish and just lose myself. I was going through quite a lot in my personal life around the time this song came out, and it was nice to have it in my life at that time. So I wish it would’ve come from me, but I’m just glad that it’s out there.”

9. Counting Crows – Mr. Jones

“The reason I’ve picked this song is because it’s infectious, it’s simple, and you can never get sick of it. No matter when it comes on, I just turn it up and go.”

8. John Lennon – Imagine

“Not only is this one of the most perfect songs ever written, it’s also one of the most poignant songs ever written. It was written during a time that wasn’t totally unlike the situation we’re in now, and it’s one of those songs that’s completely timeless. I can’t even imagine someone else remaking it and being serious about it. John Lennon’s version is spot on for what it needed it to be.”

7. Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly

“I don’t actually think of the Foo Fighters as one of my favourite bands in the world, but I do think of Dave Grohl as one of the most important songwriters of his generation. I prefer the more melodic Foo Fighters songs so it would’ve been either Everlong or Learn to Fly, but I think Learn to Fly just has that great feel good vibe. It’s a perfectly written song that you can sing along to, it makes me happy, and I never get sick of it.”

6. Mildred J. Hill & Patty Smith Hill - Happy Birthday To You

“I wish I’d written Happy Birthday To You because it’s still not public domain, which means that somebody’s family is still collecting a shit load of money off the song. It’s literally sung around the world all the time; literally every second of the day somebody is singing that song. I really wish I’d written that simple little ditty. Even if you’re not getting the publishing, you wrote arguably the most popular song in the world.”

5. Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train

“I wish I’d written Crazy Train because I love the overall guitar aspect to it and the way it ties in to what got me into music. It’s the song that got me into music. It’s the reason I asked for a drum set and started listening to metal music. And it’s funny because when I was a kid Ozzy was the Prince of Darkness and the devil, and now you hear Crazy Train at every sporting event and you have kids singing it in commercials on television. It’s a song that draws everybody together worldwide. That’s crazy.”

4. Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta

“This one is a little out of the box. It was a huge phenomenon in the US and you still hear the song all the time but nobody knows the band. It’s just a great song with a simple and infectious chorus. It’s produced really oddly and he’s not even always on pitch, and it’s rare for me to like a song like that, but it’s simple and it’s rocking and I’d definitely love to have it in my catalogue.”

3. Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle

“I loved Guns N’ Roses during their heyday. I was never a crazy fan and I don’t pay attention to what’s going on now, but Welcome To The Jungle happened at such a perfect time and the song was so perfect for that time; hair metal was at its peak and sort of on the downward slope. They came in as kind of a hair metal band, but they took it to the next phase. The next thing everybody’s drum sets started shrinking to match Steven Adler’s and there was less head banging and more grooving. The trashy blues-rock thing was already kind of happening, but Guns N’ Roses stumbled on the magic formula.”

2. Willie Nelson – Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain

“I think Willie Nelson is the greatest songwriter, maybe of all time. I know he’s not a huge phenomenon in the UK, but a lot of people don’t even realise how many songs he wrote, from the ‘50s on. If you go back and look at any of the old country and rock‘n’roll stars, the chances are they all did a Willie Nelson song and Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, for me, is the perfect Willie Nelson song. It’s been covered so many times and every time it delivers because the song is so great. I love his sentiment in everything that he says, but I think this song is his crowning achievement.”

1. Idina Menzel – Let It Go

“You know what: I’m a Disney guy, I was on Phineas And Ferb forever and I play a pizza-selling mouse [Chuck E. Cheese] for a living. And I think one of the greatest songs of the last few years – even though every parent is probably sick of it – is Let It Go from the movie Frozen. That song is so good. I remember sitting in the theatre watching the film with my kids and I looked over at my wife as if to say, ‘Holy shit!’ After hearing it one time I could already sing it. It’s brilliant. I’ve probably now heard it as many times as I’ve heard any song in the world, just in the last three years, but I still can’t say that I’m sick of it. It’s extremely well written and extremely well sung, and you have to hand it to the song for making that movie even bigger than it would’ve been without it. I definitely wish I would’ve had it in me to write that one.”

Bowling For Soup are on tour with Steel Panther now. Pre-order Drunk Dynasty here.

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Matt Stocks

DJ, presenter, writer, photographer and podcaster Matt Stocks was a presenter on Kerrang! Radio before a year’s stint on the breakfast show at Team Rock Radio, where he also hosted a punk show and a talk show called Soundtrack Apocalypse. He then moved over to television, presenting on the Sony-owned UK channel Scuzz TV for three years, whilst writing regular features and reviews for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine. He also wrote, produced and directed a feature-length documentary on Australian hard rock band Airbourne called It’s All For Rock ‘N’ Roll, and in 2017 launched his own podcast: Life in the Stocks. His first book, also called Life In The Stocks, was published in 2020. A second volume was published in April 2022.