As I type this, Adele’s “Hello” is playing on a radio station or streaming somewhere within 100 or so feet of you unless you’re on a glacier somewhere. Since the singer released the lead track from her third album, 25, there’s been an influx of memes playing on the song’s title. I’m not good at memes, but I am good at ranking stuff. At some point, I got the idea to rank my 10 favorite songs that have the word “hello” in the title. I went through my iTunes library, and quickly realized that I own quite a few decent “hello” songs. Not a difficult task at all.

Also, I HATE that Lionel Richie song. Always have. You won’t see it here. And while I excluded the Adele song (for no particular reason other than the fact that it started this whole thought process and it didn’t feel right to include it), it’s a great song…probably wouldn’t have broken my top five, though.

JUST MISSING THE CUT: “Hello Again” by The Cars, “Hello” by Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and MC Ren, and “Hello” by Oasis.

10) “Hello Stranger” (Barbara Lewis)

Let’s get started way back in 1963, with Barbara Lewis’s easy-listening classic. This song has been covered many times, but the easygoing shuffle of the original version is still the one to beat.

9) “Hello Brooklyn 2.0” (Jay-Z feat. Lil Wayne)

I suppose I could’ve combined #8 and #9, but I didn’t…so whatever.

It takes a lot for me to stomach any song Lil Wayne appears on, so the fact that I not only tolerate but actually like this track speaks volumes to its quality. “Hello Brooklyn 2.0” came out around the time Lil Wayne was being called “the best rapper alive” (by folks who apparently have no concept of what rap skills are), so this track was considered by some to be a summit of the two best emcees around. Truthfully, neither Jay nor Weezy brought their “A” lyrical game to the track, but there’s a lot more to a dope track than mic skills, right?

8) “Hello Brooklyn” (Beastie Boys)

And now for the original…which isn’t really a stand-alone song, but one of many “mini-songs” on Paul’s Boutique‘s album-ending “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” suite. I don’t know what the fuck the Beasties are talking about during the song’s second half, but does it matter what they’re saying when the 808 is kicking so hard? Seriously-the lows on this song were mixed to blow eardrums out. I wonder if Mike D. or Ad-Rock will pay for the hearing aid I’ll need in 10 years.

7) “Hello Darlin'” (K-ci & JoJo)

An album track on the duo’s second post-Jodeci album It’s Real, this mellow ballad finds the Hailey Brothers doing their best Lionel Richie. For what it’s worth, too, it’s leagues better than Lionel’s “Hello”.

I was always a fan of the fellas’ more melodic efforts, which (like this song) were usually written by JoJo.

6) “Hello, Goodbye” (Van Hunt)

Van Hunt is a name that more people should be aware of. The funk/rocker has slid under the public radar despite a Grammy Award win and five (so far) albums of genre-bending music. This sultry kiss-off of a wishy-washy lover was featured on his sterling debut album.

5) “We Said Hello Goodbye” (Phil Collins)

1985’s “We Said Hello Goodbye” was a bonus track on the CD version of No Jacket Required, but I remember the ballad receiving airplay well into the ’90s, more so than some of Phil’s actual singles. The song (occasionally subtitled “Don’t Look Back”) has a bit of a John Lennon “Imagine” vibe to it…lots of echo. According to Wikipedia, “Hello Goodbye” was featured in a film called Playing For Keeps. Never heard of the movie, but apparently it marked a very early screen appearance for future Oscar winner Marisa Tomei.

4) “Say Hello Wave Goodbye” (David Gray)

David Gray’s White Ladder is one of my all-time favorite albums, and “Say Hello Wave Goodbye” is the official closing track (I’m gonna conveniently ignore the fact that a slightly remixed version of breakthrough single “Babylon” actually ends the set.)

MY MIND HAS JUST BEEN BLOWN: did you know that the original version of this song was recorded by Soft Cell? Anyway, as I read the lyrics, the singer comes across as a bit of a dick. Kudos to Gray for being able to give the song a somewhat sympathetic, melancholy (wistful?) feel. When he quotes Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic” (one of the most beautiful love songs in creation) towards the song’s end, my heart breaks into 150 tiny pieces. It’s the rare 9 (!) minute song that feels like it’s ended too soon.

3) “Hello Like Before” (Bill Withers)

Did someone say “wistful”? I don’t think anyone conjures those feelings up like Bill Withers does. If you’ve ever run into an ex long after a breakup and felt this weird mix of conflicting feelings, this song is for you. Ever wished a song had a sequel? The lyrics of “Hello Like Before” make it a bit unclear if this unexpected reunion only happened once, or if it led to a rekindling of the relationship. The melancholy vibe I get while listening makes me lean more towards the former.

2) “Hello Goodbye” (The Beatles)

The lyrics are 1st grade silly, but John and Paul had a way of doing amazing things with the most simple concepts. I’m not a child of the ’60s, and I didn’t grow up around Beatles fans, so nostalgia has nothing to do with my enjoyment of “Hello Goodbye”. It’s just a joyful, fun song.

1) “Hello, It’s Me” (Todd Rundgren, covered by The Isley Brothers, Groove Theory and probably a buncha others, too)

I’m not sure which of the two widely known versions of “Hello, It’s Me” I heard first. I’m gonna lean towards Rundgren’s version, because I grew up in a very Lite-FM friendly house and there’s a little light somewhere in the recesses of my memory that equates this song with that radio station.

Anyway, Todd Rundgren is an ace songwriter and not a bad vocalist. “Hello, It’s Me” is one of his many masterpieces. The Isley Brothers gave the song a slow-burning, romantic makeover, and practically made it their own in the process.

“Hello It’s Me” has been covered many, many, many times over the years. Groove Theory’s 1985 version apes the Isleys rendition, while a more recent remake by Mary J. Blige goes for a little bit of Dap-tone soul, making me wonder what would happen if MJB and Mark Ronson recorded an entire album together.

Update: Add Erykah Badu and Andre 3000 to the list of artists who’ve remade “Hello It’s Me”.

Any “Hello” songs that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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