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What is the greatest fictional animal companion of all time?

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Gizmo

Mar 20, 2015
Gizmo

Although some may assert that gremlins are not animals, there’s something decidedly pet-like about the pint-sized and huggable Gizmo. Known for his resonant singing abilities, his piano-playing skill, and his odd purring noises, he became the most desirable fictional pet for any children of the 1980s. Despite being a member of the gremlin species, he was also crucial in defeating the mastermind of the “evil” gremlins, since he was clever enough to engineer a pulley system and operate kitchen devices. Gizmo’s charm is perhaps the most memorable thing about the character, transcending his animatronic design to deliver a believable and lovable performance. And if ticket sales aren’t enough to prove the popularity of this mogwai, then one must only look at the sheer volume of plush toys and dolls made in Gizmo’s likeness.

Origin: Gremlins | First Appearance: June 8, 1984 | Physical Description: A small, fur-covered creature with pronounced ears and mammalian features. | Why They Mattered: Saved Billy (and by extension, the nearby town) from the wrath of rogue gremlins. | Human Companion: Billy Peltzer | Fun Fact: Howie Mandel, most recently known for his hosting role on Deal or No Deal, was the voice of Gizmo.

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Pikachu

Mar 20, 2015
Pikachu

Whether you played the Gameboy titles, traded the cards, or watched the animated series, there’s little doubt that you haven’t encountered this yellow ball of static at least once in your life. Pikachu was one of the most adored and sought-after Pokemon in the entire series, likely due to his famous bond with the trainer Ash. Children of the 1990s will have no trouble remembering the squeaks and pips of Pikachu, and as most can tell you, the character’s appeal only grew as Pikachu expanded into other media forms. Video games featured the yellow brawler as their cover, films turned Pikachu into a hero in their own right, and waves of holographic cards cemented the character’s legacy as an adorable but powerful asset in any player’s deck. To this day, no reboots of the Pokemon television series have been bold enough to cut out this fan favorite.

Origin: Pokemon Red and Blue | First Appearance: February 27, 1996 | Physical Description: A vaguely rodent-like creature with yellow skin, rosy cheeks, and a xigzag tail, often wreathed in electrical power. | Why They Mattered: Accompanied the Pokemon trainer Ash throughout his entire career as a duelist, and often served as the trainer's frontline warrior. | Human Companion: Ash Ketchum | Fun Fact: Pikchu's name combines two onomatopoeic Japanese words: "pika," which describes electrical fizzing, and "chu," resembling a mouse's squeaking.

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Kazooie

Mar 20, 2015
Kazooie

It’s easy to see how Kazooie could have been a forgettable tool for Rare Limited’s game developers. Many platform-based N64 titles relied on pets as little more than transportation methods, and a few featured them as even less-involved plot elements without any dialogue or emotion. Banjo Kazooie was one of the first titles to combine the rider and mount into a single entity, expecting the birdlike Kazooie to work in tandem with the bearlike Banjo in every one of its levels. Kazooie was more than an attack and movement partner, however. She was a source of comedic relief, a counter to Banjo’s innocent personality, and a contortionist capable of squeezing into the world’s smallest backpack. Although Kazooie never spoke – not in a human language, anyway – she was one of the most expressive characters in the N64 lineup.

Origin: Banjo Kazooie | First Appearance: June 29, 1998 | Physical Description: A red and yellow bird with long, thin legs, a head crest, and plumage resembling a mythical phoenix. | Why They Mattered: Assisted Banjo in his rescue efforts and enabled him to overcome impossible barriers, often by increasing his companion's speed and jumping abilities. | Human Companion: Banjo | Fun Fact: Despite being named after the kazoo, a real-world instrument, Kazooie is only shown playing an instrument which resembles a bugle.

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Brian

Mar 20, 2015
Brian

In most media depictions, a dog is a loyalty and steadfast companion, eager to provide love and comfort in any situation. In Seth Macfarlane’s animated hit Family Guy, however, the dog is an atheist cynic with relationship and drinking problems. Brian lent the show a sense of realness and witty commentary, even if the rest of the Griffin family was designed to be a panel of oddities and over-the-top humor. His mishaps with Stewie formed some of the show’s most legendary plot arcs, and also created one of the strangest (but most effective) dog-and-human relationships in modern entertainment. Whether it’s his sarcastic delivery, his love of Frank Sinatra, or his closeness to Seth Macfarlane’s true personality, Brian is one of the most beloved and adoption-worthy characters in animated comedy.

Origin: Family Guy | First Appearance: January 31, 1999 | Physical Description: A white-haired, bipedal dog with a red collar and flopping ears. | Why They Mattered: Provided a voice of reason and logic to an otherwise nonsensical family, typically by offering financial or moral advice. | Human Companion: Stewie Griffin | Fun Fact: Brian was the first Family Guy character to make an appearance in Seth Macfarlane's other animated project, American Dad.

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Blood

Mar 20, 2015
Blood

Harlan Ellison’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world is curious and bleak, but most of all, it’s bizarre beyond measure. Blood, a telepathic Australian sheepdog with a constant need for food, was the perfect match for his woman-craving owner, Vic. In A Boy and his Dog, the pair roamed across a devastated world, trading human faculties for canine senses in a bid to survive the wasteland and mutually profit. Blood was a level-headed, rational creature with a critical eye for his master’s habits, and proved instrumental in finding and seeking out an underground utopia. While Blood and Vic’s bond may have seemed like a superficial relationship to outsiders, the depth of connection was later revealed in one of cinema’s most absurdly comedic scenes of cannibalism. Blood’s role as a scavenger and survivor was lauded by both readers of the original stories and viewers of the film, and the fascination can be explained with Vic’s final words in the novella: “A boy loves his dog.”

Origin: A Boy and His Dog | First Appearance: April, 1969 | Physical Description: A long-haired, white Australian sheepdog with barely-visible eyes | Why They Mattered: Possessed the extraordinary gift of telepathy, enabling him to join his human companion in post-apocalyptic scavenging and philosophical debates | Human Companion: Vic | Fun Fact: The dog actor who played Blood entered the film world on The Brady Bunch, where he played the family's dog (Tiger).

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Sam

Mar 20, 2015
Sam

Simply mentioning an animal companion in a film is enough to make a grown man cry, provided they’ve seen I am Legend. Many post-apocalyptic films and novels feature a dog as the protagonist’s sidekick, but few were able to create the bond shared by Will Smith’s character and his canine confidant. For the first half of the film, the audience grew attached to Sam by watching their daily routine, including treadmill exercise alongside Dr. Neville and tinned tomato products. Even without speaking, Sam became an integral part of the story, and Neville’s last connection to a lost family and civilization. Years after the film’s release, most people have probably forgotten the details of the plot – but no dog lover will ever Will Smith singing a final song to Sam.

Origin: I Am Legend | First Appearance: December 14, 2007 | Physical Description: A dark-haired German shepherd with cropped ears and a muscular frame. | Why They Mattered: Served as Dr. Neville's only confidant and fellow living creature after the outbreak of a crippling disease. | Human Companion: Robert Neville | Fun Fact: While Sam is a significant part of I Am Legend's film adaptation, the dog found in Richard Matheson's original novel appears, becomes infected, and dies within the span of a few chapters.

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Cheshire Cat

Mar 20, 2015
Cheshire Cat

In most modern tales, anything with piercing eyes, massive fangs, and a penchant for tree-slinking is likely to be a murderous creature. But for Lewis Carroll, the Cheshire Cat was a fond and riddle-loving introduction to the world of Wonderland, greeting Alice and accompanying her through her strange journey as a sort of ever-present guide. The Cheshire Cat’s trademark stripes and haunting grin have been immortalized in various film interpretations, as well as American McGee’s Alice, a series of video games which take Wonderland in a sinister new direction. As one might imagine, the Cheshire Cat and its devilish smile require little tweaking to exist in such a story. Whether viewed as a light-hearted trickster or a nightmare-inducing predator, the Cheshire Cat is one of the most famous animal characters to ever emerge from British literature.

Origin: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland | First Appearance: November 26, 1865 | Physical Description: A long, striped cat with a wide, toothy grin, commonly paired with expressive (and crazed) eyes. | Why They Mattered: Guided Alice through her various tribulations and riddles in Wonderland, often taunting or seeking to aid the girl. | Human Companion: Alice | Fun Fact: Although Lewis Carroll popularized the Cheshire Cat, there are a large number of cultural references and art pieces predating Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

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Argos

Mar 20, 2015
Argos

Everlasting dedication is one of the traits most commonly desired in a dog, and Argos was the originator of this ideal in literature. His owner, Odysseus, left for a 20 year adventure around the world, which left the dog to a life of neglect and starvation. After Odysseus’ home was filled with suitors for his mother, Argos was further shut away from everyday life, but refused to abandon hope of his master’s return. When Odysseus finally appeared at the palace incognito, he shared a final and heartbreaking moment of recognition with Argos, which allowed the dog to finally die after decades of faithful waiting. An updated homage to Argos marked a rare moment of seriousness on the animated show Futurama, where a dog waited decades – without success – for the return of its master. While these dogs may be fictional, their determination and commitment live on in society’s image of the “ideal companion.”

Origin: The Odyssey | First Appearance: 7th Century BC | Physical Description: Never recorded, aside from basic canine features. | Why They Mattered: Demonstrated exceptional loyalty to his master, remaining alive and vigilant for decades after Odysseus' disappearance. | Human Companion: Odysseus | Fun Fact: While the dog's exact age was never revealed, the length of Odysseus' disappearance makes Argos well over 20 years old.

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Garfield

Mar 20, 2015
Garfield

One does not need to be a cat lover to enjoy the Garfield section in the Sunday paper. In fact, those who despise cats are an equally valid audience for these comic strips. Garfield is one of the most cynical and blunt animal characters in comedy, and his passionless humor – which often stuck out in sharp contrast to his dog companion, Odie – was ultimately what drove his success. Despite the outward appearance of apathy from the lasagna-addicted cat, there were many layers to Garfield’s personality and disposition, and it often came out through a deep love of food. Garfield has another reason to be the centerfold of every cat fan’s calendar: he was one of the progenitors of “intelligent” cats in animation and media. In fact, according to creator Jim Davis, he was conceived to offer competition to a slew of canine counterparts.

Origin: Garfield | First Appearance: June 19, 1978 | Physical Description: An orange-haired tabby cat with a round figure and oversized paws. | Why They Mattered: Brought a sense of cynical and deadpan humor to comic strips and animated TV. | Human Companion: Jon Arbuckle | Fun Fact: Garfield's sardonic personality was modeled after creator Jim Davis' grandfather, James Garfield.

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Lassie

Mar 20, 2015
Lassie

This collie is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known and idolized dogs in fiction. With a legacy spanning books, radio plays, films, and television programs, Lassie was the quintessential rescue dog, and performed so many heroic duties that she practically became a trope. While a great number of children were saved from the bottoms of wells due to this dog’s heroism, several films explored Lassie’s more “eclectic” side, including battlefield forays and experiences with the legal system. Lassie also represented one of the first superstars to emerge from the world of animal companions, proving that readers and viewers were willing to watch an animal-centered show as long as its characters and plots were compelling enough. Lassie’s fame endures in the world of dog naming, where millions of collie owners reach for the name out of tradition alone.

Origin: The Half-brothers (short story) | First Appearance: 1859 | Physical Description: A rough collie with a white mane and similarly-colored paws. | Why They Mattered: Rescued countless children from the bottoms of wells, the freezing cold, and even Nazi-occupied territory. | Human Companion: Varying, most famously Joe Carraclough | Fun Fact: After the death of Lassie's original actor, Pal, new actors were found among the collie's children and grandchildren.

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Epona

Mar 20, 2015
Epona

Although Epona falls into the video game category of “animal companion as transportation,” the Legend of Zelda was clever in how it presented Link’s treasured horse. In her earliest forms, Epona was a simple and often nameless horse. The N64’s Ocarina of Time, however, was quick to change that dynamic. Rather than having the player purchase Epona as a nameless and forgettable method of swift travel, the game forced the player to compete in a series of trials to simply win the horse, creating an automatic bond through the shared gauntlet. Epona came equipped with a rich and detailed backstory, which could be assembled and understood by Zelda fans which had played multiple titles in the series. Epona was also one of the earliest examples of a persistent animal companion in the 3D world of gaming, making her feel more alive and realistic than creatures like Yoshi.

Origin: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time | First Appearance: November 21, 1998 | Physical Description: A chestnut-colored horse with a set of grayish hooves and a white mane, usually depicted with an affixed saddle. | Why They Mattered: Assumed the role of Link's closest friend, and also acted as his trustworthy steed in battle and peacetime. | Human Companion: Link | Fun Fact: Epona, a goddess within the Gaulish pantheon (and found in Roman circles), represented horses, mules, donkeys, and fertility.


GOAT Staff Score - Animal Companion

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Loyalty (25%)Uniqueness (20%)Interactions with Companion (20%)Charisma (20%)Desirability as Real-World Pet (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Gizmo511971143830
Pikachu 810410941815
Kazooie 67391035680
Brian 36811331620
Blood4866731605
Sam10173829590
Cheshire Cat19108129580
Argos11351525530
Garfield24115224480
Lassie9224623475
Epona7512419395

GOAT Verdict:

Gizmo is the greatest fictional animal companion of all time
You can’t feed him after midnight. You can’t offer him water. You can’t expose him to bright light. There were a host of rules accompanying the possession of a mogwai – in this case, Gizmo – but it’s a simple price to pay for owning one of these creatures. Viewers around the world were heartbroken to discover the fictional nature of the mogwai, and despite improvements with the latest science and technology, we’re no closer to creating one of these fur-covered friends than we were in 1984. Gizmo represented the height of filmmaking magic, and was popular enough to spawn a sequel to the original film, turning Gizmo from a potentially gimmicky character into a whimsical and essential ingredient for the series. Some of Gizmo’s greatest attributes were his resourcefulness, his cute factor, and his model’s physical design, which also allowed him to participate in the film’s more chaotic scenes as more than a puppet cowering behind cover. Regardless of all of the rules and impracticalities of ownership, Gizmo is the greatest animal companion of all time.

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What is the greatest war memorial of all time?

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USS Arizona Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
USS Arizona Memorial
Most memorials are either located away from their original battlegrounds, or have been cleaned of any trace of a battle occurring. Hawaii’s USS Arizona Memorial, however, has made its name from the powerful and striking decision to leave the titular battleship’s remains just beneath the water’s surface. Visitors to the above-ground compound, which serves as a place of remembrance for those lost in the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks, are able to look down into Hawaii’s crystal-clear waters and witness a piece of living history. The memorial does not make physical contact with the Arizona’s wreckage, but the sunken battleship serves as the focus point for the building and its observation areas. Although Pearl Harbor has fully recovered from the strike and holds the same beauty as other Hawaiian destinations, the USS Arizona Memorial is a poignant reminder of losses in war.

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA | Faction(s) Memorialized: USS Arizona sailors | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Attack on Pearl Harbor | Date of Unveiling: May 30, 1962

Description: An expansive white structure sitting over the remains of the USS Arizona, fixed over the vessel but not in direct contact | Designer(s): Alfred Preis | Date of Conflict(s): December 7, 1941 | Total Height/Area: 42,492 meters sq.
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Löwendenkmal

Jan 29, 2015
Löwendenkmal
Known more commonly as The Lion Monument, this Swiss carving is one of the most ingenious and tragic memorials ever created. Dedicated to the Swiss Guards killed in the assault on the Tuileries Palace during the French Revolution, the piece was designed to evoke heartbreak and a sense of pain. Its titular lion lies sprawled out in its alcove, fatally wounded by a spear and preparing to die. Above the lion is an inscription dedicated to the loyalty, bravery, and memory of the guardsmen killed during the assault. A stagnant pool of water sits beneath the lion, contrasting sharply with the wounded animal and promoting an atmosphere of serenity and reflection. Mark Twain, in fact, once visited the Swiss memorial and found himself moved by its mournful presentation, later writing extensively about the site and its tranquility.

Location: Lucerne, Switzerland | Faction(s) Memorialized: Swiss guardsmen | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The French Revolution | Date of Unveiling: 1821

Description: A wounded lion, carved from a rock face and designed to evoke sorrow, sitting in an alcove and flanked by an inscription as well as a calm pool of water | Designer(s): Bertel Thorvaldsen | Date of Conflict(s): 1789–1799 | Total Height/Area: 60 meters sq.
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Arc de Triomphe

Jan 29, 2015
Arc de Triomphe
Those who visit Paris are often quick to seek out The Louvre, the various palaces, and the Arc de Trimophe, but many people are unaware of the symbolism behind the latter. Built to commemorate the French losses in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, the arch is richly detailed with images, quotes, and the flawless masonry of France’s best builders. Its grandiose nature does not fully reflect the same sense of sorrow that other monuments hold, but this is one of the arch’s defining traits. Rather than only mourning France’s losses, the Arc de Triomphe serves as an embodiment of victory, national pride, and cultural merit. Indeed, those who visit Paris are often overwhelmed by the arch’s size and stonework, which only serves to accomplish one of the arch’s many aims.

Location: Paris, France | Faction(s) Memorialized: French soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars | Date of Unveiling: July 29, 1836

Description: An enormous stone arch inscribed with images of French adolescents, Germanic warriors, and multiple scenes correlating with historic events in France | Designer(s): Jean Chalgrin | Date of Conflict(s): April 20, 1792 – March 25, 1802 and May 18, 1803 – November 20, 1815 | Total Height/Area: 50 meters
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The Motherland Calls

Jan 29, 2015
The Motherland Calls
After the enormous casualties suffered by both German and Russian troops during the Battle of Stalingrad, the question of a memorial loomed over the Soviet Union and its leaders. Constructing something of adequate size, prominence, and symbolism would prove to be difficult, but not impossible. Years after the horrific fighting, the Soviets unveiled a striking statue depicting the metaphorical leader of the Motherland, her sword outstretched and ready to lead the people into the trials of the coming years. The statue is a towering example of Soviet architecture and knowledge of structural integrity, and despite the best efforts of the Soviet builders and designers, the structure has started to suffer from a pronounced lean in recent times. This Volograd monument is frequented by Russians as well as travelers of all nationalities, and succeeds in capturing the essence of a determined nation.

Location: Mamayev Kurgan, Volograd, Russia | Faction(s) Memorialized: Soviet soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The Battle of Stalingrad | Date of Unveiling: October 15, 1967

Description: A massive concrete facsimile of a woman holding a sword, embodying the spirit and endurance of The Motherland | Designer(s): Yevgeny Vuchetich, Nikolai Nikitin | Date of Conflict(s): August 23, 1942 – February 2, 1943 | Total Height/Area: 87 meters
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Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Jan 29, 2015
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme
When approaching the Thiepval Memorial, it’s difficult to avoid being struck by a sense of awe and somber reflection. The structure itself is a collection of arches, eventually supporting one towering arch at its center, but its most memorable feature is the collection of unmarked tombstones extending out beyond its front steps. The memorial is dedicated to those who fought in World War I’s Battle of the Somme, and specifically honors those who were never located. Considering the bloody and mud-drenched nature of the battle, such a monument was almost mandatory to recognize the massive amount of unidentified and lost soldiers. In modern times, visitors are almost always silent with reverence for the site, and pay their respects to those who – in other circumstances – would not have received any commemoration.

Location: Thiepval, France | Faction(s) Memorialized: British and South African soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Somme Offensive | Date of Unveiling: August 1, 1932

Description: A series of interlocking arches joined by a larger, dominant arch over the entirety of the structure, surrounded by unadorned tombstones | Designer(s): Edwin Lutyens | Date of Conflict(s): July 1 - November 18, 1916 | Total Height/Area: 43 meters
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Marine Corps War Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Marine Corps War Memorial
Unlike many similar memorials, the monument constructed for the United States Marine Corps does not commemorate a specific battle or war. Instead, the memorial seeks to honor all those who have served in the Marine Corps since its founding in 1775, and its breathtaking composition succeeds in showing the Corps’ unfailing spirit. The memorial itself is modeled after the famous picture taken at Iwo Jima, which portrays a group of Marines raising an American flag over the island. The memorial was lovingly recreated using large statues and a solid base, and because of its powerful and symbolic image, it has become one of the most celebrated and visited monuments in America. Its late construction may come as a surprise, considering the long legacy of the Marine Corps, but the memorial’s use of an everlasting reference image will always perfectly represent the Corps.

Location: Arlington, VA, USA | Faction(s) Memorialized: United States Marines | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Multiple, includes any conflict utilizing Marine Corps deployment | Date of Unveiling: November 10, 1954

Description: Six bronze statues raising an enormous flag, designed to evoke the famous photograph taken after the Marine landing at Iwo Jima | Designer(s): Horace W. Pealee, Felix de Weldon | Date of Conflict(s): N/A | Total Height/Area: 23.7 meters
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Saint Julien Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Saint Julien Memorial
Despite the memorial’s dedication to the troops of Canada’s First Division during the Second Battle of Ypres (in World War I), this monument is located far from the birthplace of the First Division personnel. Tucked away in a quiet Belgian village, the memorial is renowned for its expressive and crestfallen soldier, peering down from atop the stone block like a silent guardian. Its placement, in truth, is derived from the committee elected to grant the Canadian government a specific number of international memorial sites, including in Canada, France, and Belgium. This monument was one of many dedicated to the carnage and loss of the war, joining sites such as Passchendaele. The Second Battle of Ypres also marked the first widespread use of poison gas in the war, which lends an even more sobering feel to the memorial. Even today, a century after the war’s outbreak, the Saint Julien Memorial remains an oft-visited and poignant site.

Location: Saint-Julien, Langemark/Sint-Juliaan, Belgium | Faction(s) Memorialized: Canadian First Division soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Second Battle of Ypres | Date of Unveiling: July 8, 1923

Description: A towering rock slab with the upper half of a Canadian soldier ("The Brooding Soldier") emerging from the piece's upper tier | Designer(s): Frederick Chapman Clemesha | Date of Conflict(s): April 21 – May 25, 1915 | Total Height/Area: 11 meters
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Korean War Veterans Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Korean War Veterans Memorial
The Korean War was defined by its occurrence in a still-fragile post-war world and its role as a catalyst for future hostilities, but very few textbooks or political treatises can adequately summarize the war for those who experienced it. Horrendous fighting conditions and an uneasy, uncertain battlefield were only a few of the many terrors plaguing in the conflict. In a bid to depict the solemn and freezing atmosphere of Korea’s battlegrounds, the designers of Washington D.C.’s Korean War Veterans Memorial created statues of soldiers wearing parkas and carrying rifles, each representing a particular branch of the military. The surrounding walls to the memorial are high and reflective, and a decorative walkway weaves between the soldiers to allow visitors a complete view of the statues. The Korean War may have been obscured in contemporary history between World War II and Vietnam, but those who visit this memorial will be inspired to read more about the haggard men on its pathways.

Location: Washington D.C., USA | Faction(s) Memorialized: American soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: The Korean War | Date of Unveiling: July 27, 1995

Description: Tall, black walls form a triangular perimeter to the memorial, while large steel statues in the form of U.S. soldiers decorate the memorial's interior grounds | Designer(s): Cooper-Lecky Architects, Frank Gaylord | Date of Conflict(s): June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953 | Total Height/Area: 8903 meters sq.
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Royal Artillery Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Royal Artillery Memorial
Throughout London, there are a number of well-known and acclaimed sites dedicated to a rich national history. One of these sites, however, remains as awe-inducing as its first unveiling, and makes a dramatic statement with both its aesthetic presentation and backstory. The Royal Artillery Memorial, adorned with multiple statues of artillerymen and a Howitzer gun atop its tiered structure, was commissioned to honor the Royal Artillery Regiment during World War I. A slight patina of vines and overgrowth has started to creep over the memorial, but it only adds to the timeless nature of the structure, and draws more attention from passersby. The memorial’s focal point – its cannon recreation – was specifically chosen to evoke a sense of power and finality in combat. Although the structure commemorates those lost in the war, it also honors the soldiers for their efficient and brave performances as artillerymen in the nation’s service.

Location: London, England | Faction(s) Memorialized: Royal Regiment of Artillery | Conflict(s) Memorialized: World War I | Date of Unveiling: 1925

Description: A multi-tiered structure decorated with statues of English artillerymen, rock inscriptions, and a crowning carving of a Howitzer artillery piece | Designer(s): Charles Sargeant Jagger, Lionel Pearson | Date of Conflict(s): July 28, 1914 – November 11, 1918 | Total Height/Area: 9 meters
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Tannenberg Memorial

Jan 29, 2015
Tannenberg Memorial
This memorial, despite its ambitious design and cultural relevance during World War II, is only an overgrown shadow of its former self. In some ways, however, the memorial speaks to a changing cultural and political climate more than shifting borders. The original compound was a sprawling, castle-like design with soaring towers, dedicated to the German soldiers at the Second Battle of Tannenberg during World War I, and Nazi officials were known to have visited the site on multiple occasions. After the war, however, it was looted of minor treasures and dismantled in several rounds, led by the Polish government after its separation from Nazi Germany. Stones from the original monument were subsequently used to construct new monuments, buildings, and memorials throughout Poland. Although modern-day visitors may not see Tannenberg in its former glory, its symbolic rise and decline are a striking sight for history lover.

Location: Olsztynek, Poland | Faction(s) Memorialized: German soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: Second Battle of Tannenberg | Date of Unveiling: 1924-1927

Description: A now-overgrown and demolished memorial consisting of eight towers and a central courtyard, designed to evoke Teutonic Knight architecture | Designer(s): Johannes Krüger, Walter Krüger | Date of Conflict(s): August 26-30, 1914 | Total Height/Area: 20 meters (tower height)
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Tugu Negara

Jan 29, 2015
Tugu Negara
During World War II, a large amount of atrocities were committed by Hirohito’s Imperial Japanese troops, including extensive campaigns of eugenics research and forced labor throughout Southeast Asia and China. Many countries were too devastated to organize resistance operations, and the few who did – including Malaysia, the site of the Tugu Negara (National Monument) – were met with extreme resistance. This Malaysian memorial commemorates the native soldiers who fought in both the Japanese occupation and the country’s post-war conflict, termed the Malaysian Emergency. It is modeled heavily after the United States Marine Corps Memorial, and enlisted the same designer to produce a stunning finished project. Tugu Negara boasts an impressive set of bronze statues, cast with fearsome poses and expressions, and draws tourists from all corners of the globe. After surviving a bomb blast and subsequently undergoing renovations in the 1960s, it also proved itself to be one of the world’s most enduring memorials.

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Faction(s) Memorialized: Malaysian soldiers | Conflict(s) Memorialized: World War II, the Malaysian Emergency | Date of Unveiling: February 8, 1966

Description: Intentionally modeled after the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, composed of a group of Malaysian soldier statues (formed from bronze) and the Malaysian coat of arms | Designer(s): Felix de Weldon | Date of Conflict(s): September 1, 1939 – September 2, 1945, and June 16, 1948 – July 12, 1960 | Total Height/Area: 15 meters

GOAT Staff Score - War Memorial

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Emotional Resonance (30%)Architectural Achievement (20%)Aesthetics (20%)Uniqueness (15%)Popularity (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
USS Arizona Memorial1091010948965
Loewendenkmal1110911243905
Arc de Triomphe3111151141770
The Motherland Calls68781039750
Thiepval Memorial …9659332670
Marine Corps War Memorial7386832640
Saint Julien Memorial8563527580
Korean War … Memorial5237724460
Royal Artillery Memorial4442620400
Tannenberg Memorial1714114265
Tugu Negara2121410195

GOAT Verdict:

The USS Arizona Memorial is the Greatest War Memorial of All Time
Standing over the sunken remains of the USS Arizona is enough to jar the thoughts of any visitor. The sheer scope and stark presentation of the ship lends itself to a visceral experience, and reminds tourists and locals alike that even the most beautiful locales can be touched by war. Those who walk along the interior of the memorial’s white surface structure, which can only be reached by boat, will be quick to notice the enormity and destruction of the sight below them. Rather than asking visitors to remember a conflict that has been erased from view, it presents warfare in a raw and heartbreaking state, and leaves it unadorned for viewers to draw their own conclusions and reflect in their own way. Visitors can pay their respects by dropping flowers down into the water, and can read the memorial’s marble wall, which lists the names of those who perished during the attack. The USS Arizona Memorial seeks to teach future generations about the cost of war with direct exposure and reflection, and because of this, it’s also the greatest war memorial of all time.

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What is the greatest classic rock album of all time?

1

Cream –Disraeli Gears

Dec 28, 2014
Cream –Disraeli Gears

This second effort by well-known classic rockers Cream often gets a lot of attention for being heavy, catchy, and all around great, but perhaps it still doesn’t quite get the amount of attention that it should. This British group of bluesy rockers, featuring the famed Eric Clapton, were one of the first bands to play really heavy and distorted music that challenged the normal boundaries of what was then known as rock n’ roll – so much so that the famed rock critic Lester Bangs put down Black Sabbath’s first album in his infamous review, saying it was basically just a rip-off of what Cream was already doing. They are also known as one of the formative psych rock bands, and helped to pioneer what today is as varied as psychedelic rock, jam bands, heavy metal, and radio rock. On top of that, this wasn’t just some esoteric album that has to be listened to all at once to be appreciated - there are plenty of hits, like “Strange Brew” and “Sunshine of Your Love,” allowing them to perfect on the concept of the pop hit single while also making music that was subversive and heavy. To boot, the cover is an awesome example of early collaged psychedelia.

Release: 1967 | Label: Reaction, Acto, Polydor | Band’s Xth Album: 2nd

Stand-Out Songs: "Strange Brew," "Sunshine of your Love" | Key Sounds: heavy, bluesy, odd and spacey

2

The Beatles – Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Dec 28, 2014
The Beatles – Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Everyone loves The Beatles, and by the time they released their eighth studio album, Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, they were already an international success, taking the world by storm with a combination of their boyish good looks, devil-may-care attitude, and mixture of charm and debauchery. However, no one was ready for what the group unleashed on this album. The odd psychedelic sounds they borrowed from other groups meshed awesomely with their poppy harmonics, virtually inventing modern music, rock and pop alike. The album featured some sure-fire hits like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “With a Little Help from my Friends,” as well as the sounds of George Harrison’s sitar experimentations on the ethereal “Within Without You.” The cover is also a classic collage of weirdness, and this still lives on as one of the most-played records today.

Release: 1967 | Label: Parlophone | Band’s Xth Album: 8th

Stand-Out Songs: "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "With a Little Help from my Friends," 'Within Without You" | Key Sounds: Psychedelic rock, bizarre, circus-inspired, sitar

3

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Dec 28, 2014
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

OK, so this one has almost become something of a cliché – when you’re stoned, you throw on your black light and listen to Dark Side of the Moon. It’s also became something of a symbol for the esoteric concept album, and there are all kinds of crazy rumors about it, like that it was written as a soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz (something the group swears up and down is not true). Still, that doesn’t stop this seminal record from being one of the very best things the band ever created, and one of the most influential rock records of all time. Before this, selling an album had been all about the singles – basically, when a band had enough radio-ready material, they would write filler around it, or throw their favorite, more experimental tracks on as the B-sides to the hit single. With Darks Side of the Moon, that stifling notion was finally done away with for good. This record might not have been written as the soundtrack to a movie, but it might as well be its own epic story – all the songs fit together with precision, and all of the cover art and imagery goes with the record as well. The album doesn’t have too many stand-out hits, yet despite that, and the fact that this was the band’s eighth studio release, it is hailed as one of their masterpieces even today.

Release: 1973 | Label: Harvest | Band’s Xth Album: 8th

Stand-Out Songs: "Speak to Me," "Money" | Key Sounds: dark, ambient, concept, tracks that flow together

4

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?

Dec 28, 2014
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?

In 1967, people were starting to think that rock n’ roll really was dangerous – a subversive lifestyle that would lead to a complete overthrow of good old American values. The tides of racial harmony were also turning from a reluctant complacency on the part of African Americans without rights to full-on outrage. So, who better to write the soundtrack for this very special time in history than a debut rock group, featuring a black lead singer and guitarist who grew up poor, wasn’t afraid to dress like a freak and speak his mind, and wasn’t shy about referencing sex and drugs in his lyrics. Unfortunately, as we all know now, Jimi Hendrix was ahead of his time and saddled with some serious addiction problems, and died way too young. However, this debut album by his group, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, really captures the sound of what it was like to be alive in 1967 better than most records of the era, and has timeless classic hits like “Foxy Lady” “Hey Joe,” and “Purple Haze,” as well as lesser known but just as epic songs, like the title track. This is an album that not only stands the test of time, it defines the time, and America certainly would not be the same without it.

Release: 1967 | Label: Track | Band’s Xth Album: 1st

Stand-Out Songs: "Purple Haze," "Hey Joe," "Are You Experienced," "Foxy Lady" | Key Sounds: Heavy, distorted, psychedelic, seductive

5

The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet

Dec 28, 2014
The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet

In 1968, all the rock n’ roll hitting the shelves was experimental and psychedelic, each record even more so than the last. There were rock operas, concept albums, and music was getting more varied and textural all the time. Right in the midst of this, The Stones swerved off their previously psychedelic course to release an album that was back-to-basics in terms of classic rock n’ roll sound. While for some groups this may have backfired horribly, Beggar’s Banquet turned out to be one of the most loved and revered album by The Stones, and resulted in their biggest hit to date, “Sympathy for the Devil.” It also showed the world that rock could be about pushing the boundaries of experimentation some times, and just rocking out others, a balance that most rock musicians still strive to cultivate today.

Release: 1968 | Label: Decca, London | Band’s Xth Album: 7th British, 9th American

Stand-Out Songs: "Sympathy for the Devil," "Street Fighting Man" | Key Sounds: Classic, bluesy, back to basics

6

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Dec 28, 2014
Black Sabbath – Paranoid

The pioneers of heavy metal and hard rock established themselves with a self-titled debut in 1969, and were surprised at all the instant success this heavy megalith of an album received. They got picked up by a major label, who wanted them to have another release out by 1970, the following year. The boys balked, as they didn’t have nearly that amount of material written, and rushed into the studio to come up with what they could in the limited time they were given. The tracks that were originally just meant to take up space, “Paranoid” and “Iron Man,” became such classic Sabbath hits that even the most un-metal of us can sing along to most of the lyrics. As a die-hard Sabbath fan, I don’t really think this is their best album, as it is evident that some of it was written on the fly and the concept was flung together last minute. However, as far as establishing themselves and defining a genre, this certainly takes the cake, and there are still some real gems of tracks hidden on this record, such as the infamous “War Pigs” or the trippy “Planet Caravan.”

Release: 1970 | Label: Vertigo | Band’s Xth Album: 8th

Stand-Out Songs: "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "War Pigs," "Planet Caravan" | Key Sounds: dark, brooding, evil, doomy

7

Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow

Dec 28, 2014
Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow

This 1967 rock album is super early, and also extremely influential to both rock and pop. Jefferson Airplane, headed up by the gorgeous Grace Slick, might be the very defining feature of the hippie generation, even if they aren’t as well-known as The Beatles or Jimi Hendrix. To understand this album, you really have to hear it. It is silly, psychedelic, more aggressive and alarming in some parts, and all around the sound of the 60s. Of course, we all know “Somebody to Love” – that’s from this record. So is the infamous drug song “White Rabbit,” and many other greats. No wonder Hunter Thompson made this group his constant soundtrack during his lifetime. While this album may be the absolute epitome of the times, their story is unique in light of those others who burned out too soon – Grace Slick is still alive today, making music and art, and the band actually stayed together through the 80s, eventually changing their name to Jefferson Starship.

Release: 1967 | Label: RCA Vector | Band’s Xth Album: 2nd

Stand-Out Songs: "White Rabbit," "Somebody to Love," "D.C.B.A." | Key Sounds: psychedelic, beautiful, melodic, female vocals

8

Steely Dan – Katy Lied

Dec 28, 2014
Steely Dan – Katy Lied

1975 was all about disco and arena rock – punk hadn’t hit yet, and it was somewhat of a bloated time for rock n’ roll. However, a lot of exciting stuff was actually going on behind the scenes, with the first stirrings of punk, psychedelic rock powerhouses like Hawkwind, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and finally, bands that crossed over and blurred the lines between rock and other genres. One of these awesome groups was Steely Dan, and in 1975 they were just gearing up with their fourth studio album, Katy Lied. The album is usually billed as “jazz rock” and is considered fusion by the jazz genre. However, this release goes much further than just combining two already-established things to make something new. It bridges the realm of the experimental and the bizarre to create a whole new sound, characterized by songs like the hit “Black Friday” and the slightly odder “Dr. Wu.”

Release: 1975 | Label: ABC | Band’s Xth Album: 4th

Stand-Out Songs: "Black Friday," "Bad Sneakers" | Key Sounds: swaggering jazz sound, sounds like the soundtrack to a movie

9

Neil Young – After the Gold Rush

Dec 28, 2014
Neil Young – After the Gold Rush

In a similar vein, Neil Young was new to the scene in 1970, and coined a blend of crossover that was anything but corny. By combining elements of heavy rock with classic and contemporary folk and country, he was able to come up with a sound that was bluesy, sad, heartfelt, and distinctly American. His third record, After the Gold Rush, was popular for songs like “Tell Me Why” and “Southern Man,” and is known today as the formative album in his career.

Release 1970: | Label: Reprise | Band’s Xth Album: 3rd

Stand-Out Songs: "Tell Me Why," "Southern Man" | Key Sounds: folk rock, bluesy rock, sad

10

T. Rex – Electric Warrior

Dec 28, 2014
T. Rex – Electric Warrior

This great record was the sixth by British rock group T. Rex, and the second where they didn’t go by the full moniker of “Tyrannosaurus Rex.” The band’s previous stuff was very odd and spacey sounding, with lilting vocals, very long song and album titles, and esoteric lyrics. While it never reached mainstream status, it was very powerful and unique, credited with influencing both early psych rock and punk, as some of their songs were very raw and heavy. With Electric Warrior, they added some glam elements into their rock act and finally caught the attention of the mainstream. The songs “Cosmic Dancer,” “Jeepster” and “Get it On (Bang a Gong),” pretty much the only hits these guys ever had, are all from this album. This record helped define glam, and also brought their previous strange blend of musical styles to the forefront.

Release: 1971 | Label: Fly, Reprise | Band’s Xth Album: 6th

Stand-Out Songs: "Cosmic Dancer," "Jeepster," "Get it On" | Key Sounds: folky, glamy, psychedelic, hard rock


GOAT Staff Score - Classic Rock Album

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Pioneering Sound (20%)Lasting Influence (20%)Album Strength (20%)Hits (15%)Classic Rock Influence (15%)Cover Art (10%)Raw ScoreGOAT Score
Disraeli Gears1099461048780
Sargent Pepper's 931097947770
Dark Side of the Moon76769641685
Are You Experienced?37688739630
Beggar's Banquet1281010839600
Paranoid810175132570
Surrealistic Pillow48232524405
Katy Lied64413321370
After the Gold Rush55521220365
Electric Warrior21354419295

GOAT Verdict:

Cream Disraeli Gears is The Greatest Classic Rock Album of All Time
Most of the albums on this list are formidable in some way or another, and all have served to be very influential in sometimes more than one prospective genre. Cream’s Disraeli Gears is our pick for the absolute best out of all these classic albums, due to the very great scope of influence it had. Modern pop, rock, psych rock, jam, and metal all would not be the same without this work. The heaviness and experimentation on this album allowed for so much room for variation, there are some great hits, and the music and imagery stand the test of time to this day. Truly, Cream’s second studio albums stands as the greatest classic rock album of all time.

0

What is the greatest Christmas song of all time?

1

Carol of the Bells

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 1262
Carol of the Bells

If this song gives you tingles every time you hear it, despite your claim that you can’t stand Christmas music, there’s a reason. The melody of this song is ancient, and comes from the Ukrainian tradition of the “Shchedryk,” or folk chant. This melody was officially composed into written music and lyrics in 1904 by Mykola Leontovych and Peter J. Wilhousky, and was first recorded in 1946 by the Robert Shaw Choral. It has been covered countless times since then by choral groups, bell groups, and instrumentalists all over the world, and even made into an epic Christmas medley, which we will discuss in a bit. There’s no doubt at all that this song is the absolute essence of Christmas; it is the feeling that you get from the Holiday, and the song is almost as timeless as the celebrations itself.

Year Written: 1904 | Original Artist/s: Written by Mykola Leontovych, lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky | Notable Covers: Many, most famously the Ukrainian National Chorus | Best Version (Date): The Robert Shaw Choral - original recording (1946)

Genre: Folk | Connotation: Ukrainian folk melody, mystery, classic | Popularity: One of the most famous Christmas melodies of all time. | Emotions: Happiness, joy, cheer, excitement | Fun Fact: This type of folk chant is a called a Shchedryk in Ukrainian and it is based on ancient melodies.

2

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 1029
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

Chances are, if you’re an American, you think of this when you think of Christmas. This song is special for so many reasons. First of all, the two writers, Bo Wells and Mel Torme, were not trying to write a Christmas song when they came up with this. They were sitting around snowballing (bad Christmas pun intended) ideas for songs in August, when it was terribly hot out. To try and keep cool, they tried “thinking cool,” throwing out things that made them think of winter:Jack Frost nipping at your nose, folks dressed up like Eskimos, etc. Before they knew it, they realized they had an awesome Christmas classic on their hands, and quickly got it all down. The songs was first and most famously recorded in 1946 by the Nat King Cole Trio, and their version was so good that they recorded it several more times, topping the charts with each recording. Due to the sensual nature of the song (this is actually considered proto-R&B) and the fact that so many listeners accepted a black singer as the vocalist, this is also an important song for Civil Rights. Not only all that, but this song just screams Christmas; you can’t listen to it without being transported to a winter wonderland. For that reason, it is a bit hard to enjoy outside of the Christmas context, unless of course you are trying to do what the writers were doing and “think cool.” But still, this is definitely one of the greatest Christmas classic penned of all time.

Year Written: 1946 | Original Artist/s: Written by Bo Wells and Mel Torme, first recorded by the Nat King Cole trio | Notable Covers: Mel Torme, countless others including Aaliyah, Clay Aiken, Julie Andrews, Jessica Simpson, Garth Brooks, James Brown, Glen Campbell, Chicago, Sheryl Crow, Daffy Duck, The Jackson 5 | Best Version (Date): Original (1946)

Genre: Pop, R&B | Connotation: Coziness, classic Christmas, definition of American Christmas | Popularity: The Nat King Cole version was so popular that he recorded it four different times. | Emotions: Sensuality, friendship, closeness, coziness, safety, warmth | Fun Fact: The song was initially written by the two writers in August as a way to keep cool - they were just throwing around phrases that would help them forget the horrible heat, and ended up writing a Christmas classic.

3

Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 1097
Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)

This rockin’ Christmas medley is very contemporary; it was recorded in 1995 by Christmas-themed symphonic metal band Savatage, and then again in 1996 with their name changed to Trans-Siberian Orchestra. As much as I would have loved to come up with a “greatest Christmas metal band of all time” list, I couldn’t because TSO are the only Christmas metal band of all time, but I think they are holding the title down pretty well. This particular song is a medley of “Carol of the Bells,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and a few other favorites. According to TSO, the song is based on the legend of Sarajevo (hence the subtitle), a famous cello player who returned home to the Ukraine during the Bosnian war in and was devastated to find his city war torn and in ruins during the Holiday season. As an active protest to the violence, he stood in front of both sides as they fought and furiously played all the Christmas songs he knew until they stopped, as the bombs burst and shots were fired behind him. This song really does invoke that imagery, and it is powerful, even if it’s now a staple for beer commercials. When it comes to Christmas songs that really rock out and don’t hold anything back, this is your best bet.

Year Written: 1995 | Original Artist/s: Savatage | Notable Covers: Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Best Version (Date): Trans-Siberian Orchestra (1996)

Genre: progressive rock, symphonic metal | Connotation: metal Christmas, epic Christmas, the ultimate Christmas song, guitar prowess | Popularity: Charted in the top 100 when first released as Savatage; made it into the same bracket the next year when the group changed their name to Trans-Siberian Orchestra; widely considered one of the best and only metal Christmas songs or more extreme and powerful Christmas ballads. | Emotions: Love, intense feelings, excitement, elation, passion | Fun Fact: The song is a combination of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Carol of the Bells" and other well-known classic melodies. The inspiration behind the song is a legend that Sarajevo, a great cello player, played Christmas songs relentlessly in the middle of battle during the height of the Bosnian War to get both sides to cease fire for Christmas.

4

Silver Bells

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 1099
Silver Bells

This tune was originally written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and was first recorded by Bob Hope. This 1951 classic was initially penned for the film The Lemondrop Kid, but has morphed into one of the most covered and most played Holiday anthems of all time. Similar to “Chestnuts Roasting” this is one of those songs you can’t listen to without falling into a stupor of Holiday delight. It also brings to mind those annoying Salvation Army bells, reminding us that while the infernal jolly clanging might be maddening, it is good to drop in a dollar or two and make a difference around the Holidays.

Year Written: 1951 | Original Artist/s: Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, first recorded by Bob Hope | Notable Covers: Terry Wogan, Alan Jones, Bing Crosby, many others | Best Version (Date): Original (1951)

Genre: 50s pop | Connotation: nostalgia, Christmas cheer, old-fashioned American Holidays | Popularity: Did not top the charts until a cover version was released, but today is a very popular and classic Christmas song. | Emotions: Happiness, nostalgia, reflecting on the good and simple things | Fun Fact: Was originally written for the movie The Lemondrop Kid.

5

Blue Christmas

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 1296
Blue Christmas

Everyone thinks of the Elvis version when they hear this song, and rightly so; it’s one of his best and his version is definitely king. However, the song was first penned by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson, and recorded by the lesser-known artist Doyle O'Dell. There have been dozens of versions since, but Elvis’ was the one that inspired his film of the same name, and is still the best played and loved of all of them. Whether you’re blue around Christmas and missing someone or you just like the hidden “blue notes” that make this a hit with musicians, this is always a good one to enjoy during the festive season.

Year Written: 1948 | Original Artist/s: Written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson, recorded by Doyle O'Dell | Notable Covers: Elvis Presley, Ernest Tubb, Hugo Winterhalter, The Beach Boys, Johnny Mathis, The Platters, REO Speedwagon, Misfits, Polkadot Cadaver, Bruce Springsteen, and countless others | Best Version (Date): Elvis (1957)

Genre: Rock, Blues, Country, Rockabilly | Connotation: Rock n' roll era, blues, music fans, sad love song | Popularity: Each recorded version in the 40s and 50s made it onto the charts and was popular, but Elvis' version is by far the most well-known, and it still listened to today around the Holidays. | Emotions: Sadness, loss, missing someone, nostalgia | Fun Fact: The notes in the song are "blue notes," something a listener would only get if they are a musician and familiar with the blues scale.

6

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 967
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Growing up, I took ballet, and my Holiday seasons were defined by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Casting and auditions were my Thanksgiving, meaning the season was just beginning, dress rehearsal was my Christmas Eve of anticipation, and opening night felt like Christmas morning. For any girls whose life revolved around this ballet, the Sugar Plum Fairy’s dance was the ultimate: the most beautiful, the most coveted part, and the catchiest tune to get you in the mood for that special time of year. Even for those who don’t like ballet, the song is immediately recognizable as a tune used in many films and commercials, and one of the staples of the Holiday Season.

Year Written: 1892 | Original Artist/s: Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky for the ballet | Notable Covers: Anyone who has ever performed the ballet | Best Version (Date): The classic playing with no additions (1892)

Genre: ballet, classical music | Connotation: mystery, beauty, ballet | Popularity: One of the best loved ballets of all time; the only well-known Christmas ballet | Emotions: love, mystery, magic, psychedelic | Fun Fact: The ballet was not performed outside of Russia until 1934, and was criticized in its early days for being sloppy or taking too many liberties with the original story.

7

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 975
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

This is such a well-loved Christmas classic that it’s become a bit of an aggravation today; it’s one of the most likely to get stuck in your head at the mall or be covered by a really untalented performer. However, believe it or not, at the time of its inception, this was actually a pretty groundbreaking classic. The song was written by Johnny Marks and recorded by up-and-coming singer Brenda Lee in 1958, at the height of the rock n’ roll craze. Although Lee’s voice sounds very mature on the recording, she was actually on 13 at the time it was released. Initially, the tune was a bit of a flop, but a few years later when her career took off, the song gained widespread success as well. So, next time you hear this blaring through the speakers at the mall, keep in mind that it was once of cultural importance.

Year Written: 1958 | Original Artist/s: Written by Johnny Marks, recorded by Brenda Lee | Notable Covers: Hundreds, notably The Partridge Family, Hanson, Toby Keith, Chicago, Jessica Simpson, Green Day, Alabama | Best Version (Date): Original (1958)

Genre: Rock, Country, Rockabilly | Connotation: Down-home good time, contemporary Christmas, American classic | Popularity: At first it only peaked at 14 on the charts, but when Lee's career took off it got really popular. Today, it is a very widely listened to Christmas song. | Emotions: Fun, good times, carefree, modern attitude towards Christmas | Fun Fact: Lee was only 13 during the recording, despite the way her voice sounds.

8

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 1087
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Competing only with “Blue Christmas” for this title, this may be one of the absolute best sad and sappy Christmas anthems to ever be recorded. The whole song focuses on how Christmas feels empty without a loved one by your side, and does a great job evoking the emotion of loneliness while still managing to have a Christmasy feeling about it. The song was originally written by Ellie Greenwhich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector to be sung by Ronnie Spector, but his delivery was not quite right for the overall feelings, and was instead initially recorded by Darlene Love instead. Her vocals are flawless on this masterpiece, and she inspired a generation of other singers, mostly female, to try their own hand at interpreting this classic work.

Year Written: 1963 | Original Artist/s: Written by Ellie Greenwhich and Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector, originally recorded by Darlene Love | Notable Covers: Tons, including Hanson, R.E.M., Smash Mouth, Mariah Carey, and more | Best Version (Date): Original (1963)

Genre: Rock, Classic Rock, Pop | Connotation: Sadness, loss, loneliness, rock n' roll, classic Christmas | Popularity: Was nominated by Rolling Stone as one of the best Christmas rock songs ever | Emotions: Sadness, loss, missing someone, nostalgia | Fun Fact: Was originally written to be sung by Ronnie Spector, but his delivery left something to be desired.

9

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 949
Happy Xmas (War is Over)

This rock classic by Yoko Ono and John Lennon may be one of the only Christmas protest songs to ever be written. The song focuses on feeing love and acceptance around the Holidays, and is one part sincere reflection and cheer, one part sarcasm about the selfishness of celebrating the season during tough times. The song is very moving, and features an entire chorus of singing children, in typical British fashion. This one is pretty good any time of the year, and packs an especially meaningful punch around Christmas time.

Year Written: 1971 | Original Artist/s: John Lennon and Yoko Ono | Notable Covers: Sarah McLachlan, The Fray, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross, Jimmy Buffett, Celine Dion, Johnny Logan, Carly Simon, Sarah Brightman, Jessica Simpson, Vanessa Carlton, The Alarm, Melissa Etheridge, Maroon 5, various Holiday compilations , Harlem Gospel Choir | Best Version (Date): Original (1971)

Genre: Rock | Connotation: Anti-war, protest song, alternative Christmas, peace and love, some sarcasm | Popularity: Came out and was number two on the charts in the U.S. and U.K.; still popular as an alternative Christmas ballad today with many covers | Emotions: Love and harmony for your fellow man, gratitude and joy for the Holiday season, sympathy for those touched by war and other hard times. | Fun Fact: The melodic structure of the song is identical to the song "Skewball," an old English ballad that was popularized by Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul and Mary covers.

10

12 Pains of Christmas

Dec 15, 2014 - youtube.com - 1016
12 Pains of Christmas

Probably one of the most annoying songs to hear around Christmas, this Bob Rivers comedy classic pokes fun at the 12 Days of Christmas by instead pointing out all of the hassles and hated parts of the Holiday. I’m not sure that anyone really likes this song; it’s pretty grating on the ears, but it is funny, and a good lighthearted break from all the serious Christmas propaganda. I always thought this was a one-off, but it turns out that Rivers has actually recorded not one but five Christmas albums, total. They are all cheesy, and they all make fun of Christmas in a slightly dark and sardonic way. Well, someone had to do it!

Year Written: 1987 | Original Artist/s: Bob Rivers | Notable Covers: None | Best Version (Date): Original (1987)

Genre: Comedy | Connotation: Comedy, jovial anti-holiday sentiment | Popularity: The song did well as a comedy classic, and is loved today as a humorous and lighthearted Christmas song | Emotions: Humor, tongue-in-cheek, parody | Fun Fact: This is not a one-off; Bob Rivers released a whole album of this stuff called Twisted Christmas, and then followed it up with not one but four other albums, I Am Santa Clause, More Twisted Christmas, Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire, and White Trash Christmas.


GOAT Staff Score - Christmas Song

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Popularity Today (20%)Classic Status (20%)Essential to X-Mas (20%)Enjoyable Off-season (15%)Musical Quality (15%)Interesting History (10%)Raw ScoreGOAT Score
Carol of the Bells5109491047775
Chestnuts Roasting 838910644725
X-Mas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)1091022841720
Silver Bells68667336625
Blue Christmas76586436610
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy27358934525
Rockin' Around X-Mas Tree94733228510
Baby Please Come Home35475529470
Happy Xmas (War is Over)422104729440
12 Pains of Christmas1111116100

GOAT Verdict:

Carol of the Bells is the Greatest Christmas Song of All Time
There have been a plethora of meaningful and not-so-meaningful Christmas songs written over the years, but out pick for the Greatest Christmas Song of All Time is without a doubt “Carol of the Bells.” This melody is ancient and haunting, calling up the true meaning of Christmas and the mystery behind the winter season. It has been transformed today into everything from a heavy metal medley to a choral masterpiece. When it comes to invoking the Holiday spirit, this song is still the best at it even after all these years.

0

What is the greatest cathedral of all time?

1

Santa Maria del Fiore

Dec 02, 2014
Santa Maria del Fiore

In some cases, a single feature can define an entire structure. For the Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Florence Cathedral, the Duomo is this feature. This prominent dome was the result of numerous engineers and architectural proposals, but the driving force behind its construction was Filippo Brunelleschi. This Florentine architect devised a method of octagonal ring support for the dome, capable of supporting several tons of material and providing the cathedral with its much-needed uppermost covering. Favoring a sleek and clean variation on Gothic architecture, the Renaissance builders managed to create a dome that stood (ostensibly) without any exterior support. Within the cathedral, an extensive crypt system and gorgeous Renaissance artwork, including The Last Judgment, provide a breathtaking counter to the structure’s outer appearance. As a true gem of Florence and its cultural history, the Santa Maria del Fiore is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.

Year of Completion: 1436 | Location: Florence, Italy | Style: Gothic-Renaissance | Height: 114.5 m | Width: 38 m

Historical Fact: Site of an assassination attempt on two of the famed Medici family members, succeeding in killing Giuliano de' Medici but merely injured Lorenzo.

2

Notre Dame de Paris

Dec 02, 2014
Notre Dame de Paris

With nearly 13 million visitors per year, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris stands a head above its regional competition in both presentation and popularity. This iconic cathedral has been immortalized in literature, cinema, and music, and has captured the imagination of both pilgrims and artists since its completion. Although its style may have been elegant and stable in the original 1163 blueprints, which were approved under Louis VII, the truly defining feature of Notre Dame – its flying buttresses – were not proposed and added until a later date. Much like the other monumental cathedrals of Europe, Notre Dame stood as a symbol of achievement and strength. This magnificence, however, was often the cause of its targeting in events such as the French Revolution, where biblically-themed statues were beheaded and altars were vandalized or looted. Regardless of its dark moments, the modern Notre Dame is every bit as spectacular as its nascent form, and stands as a marvel of engineering and art alike.

Year of Completion: 1345 | Location: Paris, France | Style: French Gothic | Height: 96 m | Width: 69 m

Historical Fact: Temporarily dedicated to the Cult of Reason and the Cult of the Supreme Being during the 1793 French Revolution.

3

Cathedral of Our Lady

Dec 02, 2014
Cathedral of Our Lady

As the patron and breeding ground for a tremendous amount of Renaissance composers, the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp has always been considered a significant institution for its artistic endeavors as well as its bold features. The cathedral’s main spire looms over the rest of the building, and a massive assortment of bells (49 in total) rest within its towers. It isn’t difficult to see why the Cathedral of Our Lady served as one of the most significant historical flashpoints between Catholicism and Protestantism in Antwerp, where its unchallenged architecture and command over the city drew as many looters as it did pilgrims. In modern times, this cathedral attracts more visitors than ever before, and the Belgian government’s repair and restoration program ensures that this monument will survive the ages.

Year of Completion: 1521 | Location: Antwerp, Belgium | Style: Gothic | Height: 123 m | Width: 75 m

Historical Fact: Fell into Protestant hands and suffered widespread looting during the Eighty Years' War.

4

Hagia Sophia

Dec 02, 2014
Hagia Sophia

One of the oldest and most stunning cathedrals in history is Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Latin. Constructed during Justinian’s reign in the Byzantine Empire, this domed structure and its flanking spires has endured the ages in various iterations, beginning its service as an Eastern Orthodox church before becoming an Ottoman-controlled mosque, and finally being converted to a secular museum in the early 20th century. Despite the Ottoman covering of its various mosaics and paintings with new imagery, the Hagia Sophia remains as a poignant display of intersecting faiths and cultural shifts within Anatolia. War, fire, earthquakes, and extensive looting were not enough to cripple the Hagia Sophia in the eyes of Islam, Christendom, or the secular community, and today it stands as a cultural relic in Turkey’s largest city.

Year of Completion: 537 | Location: Istanbul, Turkey | Style: Byzantine | Height: 55 m | Width: 73 m

Historical Fact: Converted to an Islamic Mosque by the Ottomans in 1453.

5

Cologne Cathedral

Dec 02, 2014
Cologne Cathedral

This German cathedral is not remarkable because of its deviation from form, but rather because of its adherence to form, and subsequent perfection of the Gothic style. The Cologne Cathedral took nearly 630 years to reach full completion, but the time was well-spent, judging by the structure’s soaring spires and immaculate Latin cross layout. Of course, the structure’s extensive history and urban placement also made it a centerpiece for conflict. Numerous bombs struck the cathedral during World War Two, and a number of infantry engagements took place directly around its walls, but a series of 1956 repairs managed to restore the cathedral to its former glory. Today, the Cologne Cathedral and its twin spires, flying buttresses, and interior arches remain as endurant as ever, and the cathedral stands as a Gothic masterpiece on the banks of the Rhine.

Year of Completion: 1880 | Location: Cologne, Germany | Style: Gothic | Height: 157 m | Width: 86.5 m

Historical Fact: Damaged by 14 Allied bombs during World War Two, but remained intact.

6

Chartres Cathedral

Dec 02, 2014
Chartres Cathedral

One of the most visually arresting cathedrals in France, the Chartres Cathedral, is also the cathedral which came closest to obliteration. Targeted by the Allies during World War Two as a tactic of denying the Germans a forward observation post, it was spared only by an officer who personally refuted the reconnaissance reports and halted the bombings. The Chartres Cathedral was also saved from destruction during the French revolution, when its statues were desecrated and it was considered for demolition. In spite of numerous fires and brushes with ruin, the cathedral stands as a precise and aesthetically-pleasing monument to a turbulent history. The extensive use of flying buttresses, an inlaid labyrinth design, and three-story nave have given the Chartres Cathedral its rightful place as one of the most impeccable medieval cathedrals in existence.

Year of Completion: 1220 | Location: Chartres, France | Style: French Gothic | Height: 113 m | Width: 32 (nave) / 46 m

Historical Fact: Had its glass removed before the Nazi invasion of France to prevent damage.

7

St. Basil’s Cathedral

Dec 02, 2014
St. Basil’s Cathedral

Upon first glance, St. Basil’s Cathedral may seem to owe more of its exterior to the Taj Mahal than conventional European cathedrals. This colorful and inspired cathedral, located in Moscow’s Red Square, is the melding of ambiguously Byzantine architecture, and a divergence from almost every other style in both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox structures. St. Basil’s Cathedral may not be the largest building of its kind, but its design, which mirrors the rising tendrils of a bonfire, is both unprecedented and beyond imitation. In 1928, the cathedral was seized from Eastern Orthodox ownership and converted to a museum as part of the state’s campaign against theism, and it currently stands as a museum. Even without its religious component, the cathedral is a beautiful and complex testament to unconventional architecture.

Year of Completion: 1929 | Location: Moscow, Russia | Style: Byzantine-inspired | Height: 47.5 m | Width: 40 m

Historical Fact: Forcibly seized from the Church and converted to a state-held property in 1929.

8

Milan Cathedral

Dec 02, 2014
Milan Cathedral

Six centuries after its original commissioning, the Milan Cathedral was officially completed and recognized as the most massive cathedral in Italy. Size is not the cathedral’s only strength, though. During its long and eventful construction (which included the patronage of Spanish conquerors and Napoleon, among others), the Milan Cathedral was still a sight to behold, and reflected the combined inspiration of dozens of architects, designers, and outside influences. A gilded Madonna statue stands triumphantly atop the cathedral, and its front façade is a sweeping, commanding, and ultimately awe-inspiring usage of pillars and spires. The Italian Gothic influences are present throughout the structure, but its most striking feature is the boldness in its design, which capitalizes on the beauty of several styles but revels in its uniqueness.

Year of Completion: 1965 | Location: Milan, Italy | Style: Italian Gothic | Height: 108 m | Width: 92 m

Historical Fact: Required nearly 600 years to be completed, in spite of numerous funding attempts (some of which were carried out by Napoleon).

9

Westminster Abbey

Dec 02, 2014
Westminster Abbey

For England alone, there is no dispute regarding the supreme church structure. Westminster Abbey, which has been the central stage for everything from royal coronations to the Anglo-Saxon abdication of power, is a fundamental thread running through English history, religion, and society. With a completion dated before the 10th century, Westminster Abbey is also one of the oldest cathedrals in the country. A set of towers guard the front façade, and within its walls, soaring arches and rows of windows allow a wealth of light into the nave. Centuries of political coups and renaming have removed the structure’s distinction as a cathedral, converting Westminster Abbey into a church. This is a semantic shift, however, and Westminster Abbey’s flawless Gothic style and ambitious construction make it a top contender as a cathedral.

Year of Completion: 1090 | Location: Westminster, London, England | Style: Gothic | Height: 69 m | Width: 47 m

Historical Fact: Housed Oliver Cromwell's body until the corpse was removed, decapitated, and placed in a gibbet.

10

Reims Cathedral

Dec 02, 2014
Reims Cathedral

France is dotted with an array of impressive cathedrals, but the cathedral at Reims manages to stand out with its front façade alone. Its dual towers stand over 80 meters tall, and a set of rose window arrangements gaze down above the cathedral’s doorways. The Reims Cathedral makes use of expertly-implemented arch and pillar motifs, inviting visitors to view the interior and its collection of tapestries and relics, as well as the remains of a labyrinth within the nave. However, because of the cathedral’s proximity to the frontlines during the First World War, it suffered greatly from enemy artillery and subsequent fires. Restoration efforts were launched after the war. Regardless of some remaining damage and ongoing repairs, the Reims Cathedral is one of the most polished and tenacious churches in modern France.

Year of Completion: 1275 | Location: Reims, France | Style: French Gothic | Height: 81 m | Width: 34 m

Historical Fact: Home to a now-destroyed labyrinth, which housed the names of the structure's architects.

11

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Dec 02, 2014
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Although Ireland may not have been the economic powerhouse of Europe during the Renaissance or its preceding years, it possessed a rich cultural legacy which manifested in structures such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This Dublin landmark, which is also the largest cathedral in Ireland due to its spire, was completed at the end the 12th century. Throughout its history it served a variety of worshipers, including Anglicans and groups of emigrating Huguenots. The cathedral never suffered major assaults from war or raiding, but shifting political regimes, endless religious contention, and fires threatened to destroy the structure from within, often literally. St. Patrick’s Cathedral continues to serve as a place of worship, as well as a national heritage site with special importance to government functions such as funerals and holidays.

Year of Completion: 1191 | Location: Dublin, Ireland | Style: Gothic | Height: 103 m | Width: 56.4 m

Historical Fact: Jonathan Swift, famed satirist and author, served as the Cathedral's Dean for 32 years.


GOAT Staff Score - Cathedral

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Architectural Merit (30%)Height (20%)Historical Significance (20%)Modern Reception (15%)Aesthetic Value (15%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Santa Maria del Fiore11987742880
Notre Dame de Paris105711841825
Cathedral of Our Lady21022420775
Hagia Sophia821181039770
Cologne Cathedral71155937740
Chartres Cathedral9849636735
St. Basil’s Cathedral5110101137685
Milan Cathedral6766530605
Westminster Abbey4394323465
Reims Cathedral3431213275
St. Patrick’s Cathedral1613112230

GOAT Verdict:

The Santa Maria del Fiore is the Greatest Cathedral of All Time
The Santa Maria del Fiore may exist within Italy’s borders, but finding distinct forerunners to this masterpiece anywhere in Italy (or Europe in general) is a challenge. Finding better examples of its smooth and effortless façade are nearly impossible. The Florentine basilica is an exemplary model for engineering with domes and structures that lack visible exterior supports, and Brunelleschi’s design has endured as one of the most inventive and advanced solutions ever produced in architecture. The vibrant colors, tiling, and accents of the Duomo and its surrounding walls help to lure the eye around and reveal the intricate nature of the façade, which is comprised of decorative statues, arches, ledges, and portals. Regardless of contemporary innovation and the modifications to cathedral design which came after the Santa Maria del Fiore, there is no comparison to the brilliance and stylistic commitment involved in its construction. Brunelleschi’s vision of a neat and “weightless” dome design continues to marvel and amaze its modern viewers, especially when matched with the perfection its brickwork and mortar application. The Santa Maria del Fiore is a hallmark of Renaissance progression, a tribute to practical engineering, and the greatest cathedral ever built.

0

What is the greatest television credits sequence of all time?

1

Game of Thrones

Nov 17, 2014 - youtube.com - 53
Game of Thrones

Quite possibly the one sequence to spawn more imitations, spoofs and remakes than any other on our list is the Emmy award-winning opening to Game Of Thrones. Implementing a small-scale version of George RR Martin’s endlessly rich world, the camera adopts a bird’s eye view to showcase what’s in store for the viewer. It sweeps across the vast sun-dappled topography this Middle Age-esque fantasy inhabits, every majestic turn and pause accented by Ramin Djawadi’s beautiful score that’s impossible to stop humming. Perhaps the reason die-hard Thrones fans never miss the segment, is because it is riddled with clues pertaining to the next hour’s entertainment. The determination and breadth of challenge taken on by the team at Elastic, who crafted the journey through the seven kingdoms, meant every single episode’s titles varied. As the series of cogs and pulleys cause cities, towns and castles to rise and fall, who knows where the next stop on the map will be as the story focus shifts from one episode to the next.

Running Years: 2011-? | Credits Designer: Angus Wall | Soundtrack: Ramin Djawadi "Main Title" | Sequence Length: 1:40

Genre: Fantasy | Style: Table-top modeling, animation | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2011) | Youtube Views: 12,344,670

2

Dexter

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Dexter

The sloppy push of a knife as it skewers a soggy fried egg. A dull razor scraping against a bristled cheek. Pink bacon slathers as it’s devoured by a hungry mouth. The stark visual montage of Dexter is chiefly why it remains memorable to audiences - but it’s the attention to crisp, clear sound design that amps up the morning routine of the Miami serial killer. Tight close-ups of Dexter preparing for the day evoke sickening sensations, as even the most pedestrian of activities - like pulling a sweater over his head - draws comparisons to the macabre nature of his ‘dark passenger.’ It’s a very cleverly composed sequence, with every step taunting the viewer even more due to the carnival-theme musical score. A jittery, happy-go-lucky ditty that only creates anxiety and fear. The colour palette of these credits might be bright, bold and striking - but the heart of the piece beats as black as night.

Running Years: 2006-2013 | Credits Designer: Eric Anderson | Soundtrack: Rolfe Kent "Dexter Main Title" | Sequence Length: 1:56

Genre: Drama | Style: Live-action | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2007), Nominated - Primtime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music (2007), Won - BMI Cable | Youtube Views: 4,062,828

3

The X-Files

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The X-Files

Dare you quest into the realm of lurking terror that awaits every man? From the opening strains of Mark Snow’s theme, an eerie whistle of a tune now synonymous with the show, the matter of whether or not the truth is out there has never seemed more ambiguous. The 40-second title sequence encourages audiences to question the impossible through a simplistic bricolage of live-action footage and static imagery. A lurking shadowy figure hovers in a hallway, a screaming man’s face is distorted by an unknown force, grainy hand-held footage depicts a flying saucer hovering in the sky amidst flashes of barely-visible monstrous shapes. Partly to establish tone, and introduce us to the premise, it ultimately makes you wonder; if that elusive truth is “out there” - who would want to come face-to-face with its inextricable horror?

Running Years: 1993-2002 | Credits Designer: James Castle, Carol Johnsen, Bruce Bryant | Soundtrack: Mark Snow "Materia Primoris" | Sequence Length: 0:42

Genre: Sci-fi | Style: Still photography, live-action | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences (1994), Nominated - Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual | Youtube Views: 768, 467

4

True Detective

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True Detective

A simmering struggle between images of light and dark, the seedy gothic underbelly of the Deep South is exposed to astonishing effect during the opening moments of True Detective. The implied ‘truth’ behind the show’s two leads is introduced via a montage of juxtaposed stills, depicting the industrial wastelands of Louisiana. Serving as a reflection of the characters’ complex personal issues, the sequence focuses on the fragmented nature of humanity and how people are defined by their environments. Double-exposure photography chillingly fuses together images to form new, terrifying icons of horror. Head shots of its two stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, devolve from what you’d expect from HBO. Signalling their strife in uniquely unsettling methods, there’s no finer example of a mood-setting TV opener than this.

Running Years: 2014-? | Credits Designer: Raoul Marks | Soundtrack: The Handsome Family "Far From Any Road" | Sequence Length: 1:37

Genre: Drama | Style: Still photography, live-action | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2014) | Youtube Views: 1,025,284

5

American Horror Story

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American Horror Story

An anthology horror show that’s in a league of its own, American Horror Story’s opening credits are arguably the greatest in terms of atmospherics. The work of design house Prologue, chief designer Kyle Cooper cut his teeth on David Fincher’s Seven and has matured further into the darkest recesses of human nature. The disturbing imagery - broken dolls, fetuses floating in jars, corpses trapped beneath plastic wrap - roll out like a scene from a fractured mind unable to untangle this jumble of horrors. For each subsequent season the specific footage has been tweaked to include clues to the season’s narrative arc, but all remain twinned to one constantly pulsating terror - the soundtrack. A bloodcurdling disjointed jam, perfectly timed to the changing onscreen icons, there’s no chance you’ll doze off before the real fright begins.

Running Years: 2011-? | Credits Designer: Kyle Cooper | Soundtrack: Cesar Davila-Irizarry "American Horror Story" | Sequence Length: Still photography, live-action

Genre: Horror | Style: Still photography, live-action | Awards: Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2011, 2012), Won - BMI Cable Award For Music Composition (2012), Won - OFTA Television Awards for Best New Theme Song In A Series, Best New Titles Sequence (2012, 2013) | Youtube Views: 274,579

6

The United States of Tara

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The United States of Tara

Sometimes, a simple stream of head shots with captioned names serves a TV show that might not harbour the most unique premise. A wholly brilliant dramedy from the sprawling creative mind of Diablo Cody? It had to have the perfect title sequence. Part exposition device, part creative jamboree, the stop motion cut-out figures that introduce us to the world of split-personality Tara paint her three “alters” to utter perfection. Each pop-up lures us into a triptych of seemingly different worlds, each inhabited by their respective alter. Springing up out of nowhere, the seamless blend between the trio of larger-than-life personas hosted inside the regular mom are brought to life by award-winning designer Jamie Caliri. The most telling element - the cherry on top of the sundae - is Tim DeLaughter’s catchy theme song, a riff on Tara’s mission to take control of her fate.

Running Years: 2009-2011 | Credits Designer: Jamie Caliri | Soundtrack: Tim DeLaughter "Learn To Love The Ride" | Sequence Length: 1:05

Genre: Comedy drama | Style: Stop-motion animation | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2009) | Youtube Views: 811,232

7

The Simpsons

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The Simpsons

Fox’s premier family comedy is renowned for the attention to detail creator Matt Groening and co. cram into every single title sequence. As puffy cumulus clouds part to reveal the title breathlessly worded out in song - BAM! - the fast-paced race home for The Simpsons through the town of Springfield begins to Danny Elfman’s legendary orchestral theme. Now in its second update since the series began in 1989, the creators kept two of its defining gags in tact. When the camera peers in on Bart’s detention, his chalkboard punishment changes from week to week; ranging from amusing childish quips to cutting social commentary. However, ask anyone about The Simpsons title as the unanimous verdict on their brilliance will be in the mere mention of the couch. Moments before the episode starts proper, the family scramble into the living room to retire on the sofa - and each week are confronted by a new challenge preventing them from doing so. It’s really an impressive addition to the show - which has seen guest directors Guillermo Del Toro and graffiti artist Banksy brought on to helm sequences - proving that this is one classic comedy that’s still got what it takes.

Running Years: 1989-? | Credits Designer: Matt Groening | Soundtrack: Danny Elfman "The Simpsons Theme" | Sequence Length: 1:30

Genre: Comedy | Style: Animation | Awards: Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music (1990), Won - BMI TV Music Award (1996, 1998, 2003), Won - National Music Awards UK Favourite TV Theme (2002) | Youtube Views: 15 million+

8

The Sopranos

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The Sopranos

The gangster genre of 70s, 80s and 90s cinema brought the intimate lifestyles of wiseguys into the public consciousness. HBO took that notion a step further with The Sopranos. Delivering a black comedy drama via mob patriarch, Tony Soprano, the show capitalised on his continued struggle between his familial obligations and his life as the leader of David Chase, the show’s creator, forged a simple opening sequence that introduces us to Tony’s daily route from New York City back to his New Jersey homestead. It’s an engaging minute that sheds light on a routine activity that even mobsters undertake on a day-to-day basis. To top it off, Alabama 3’s sultry song accompaniment further showcases the inner turmoil of the show’s loveable antihero.

Running Years: 1999-2007 | Credits Designer: David Chase | Soundtrack: Alabama 3 "Woke Up This Morning" | Sequence Length: 1:37

Genre: Drama | Style: Live-action | Awards: None | Youtube Views: 160,431

9

Mad Men

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Mad Men

The shortest entry on this list by far, Mad Men’s simple graphical sequence begins with the cut-out figure of a man entering his office. It harks back to the pioneering work of film credit designer Saul Bass, which is a clever touch as his finest achievements in this particular artform were at their best during the 50s and 60s - the very era Mad Men depicts. To the tune of RJD2’s string theme - again a nod to theme composer Bernard Hermann - the shady man plummets from the great height of a skyscraper. His descent is glorified as his tumbling body whizzes past gigantic advertisements. Moments before he splatters to his death, he is scooped up by an impossibly large woman’s foot. Thematically it addresses the show’s dark streak running throughout each season; everything might look peachy keen but even the suave Don Draper can fall from grace.

Running Years: 2007- | Credits Designer: Mark Gardner | Soundtrack: RJD2 “A Beautiful Mine” | Sequence Length: 0:36

Genre: Drama | Style: Animation | Awards: Won - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design (2008) | Youtube Views: 1,497,964

10

The Outer Limits

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The Outer Limits

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. As a series of waves oscillate across the screen, the monotone “control voice” narrated by Vic Perrin immediately confronts viewers with the possibility that they are subject to a shady government experiment. While this spooky anthology series draws inevitable comparisons to The Twilight Zone, its opening credits evoke a far more sinister work at play. Much like the hysteria derived from Orson Welles’ War Of The Worlds radio broadcast, the clever wraparound credits serve as a quasi-cautionary warning. At the time of release, breaking the fourth wall was not a common occurrence, making this one of the most chilling opening titles ever seen on the small screen.

Running Years: 1963-1965 | Credits Designer: Project Unlimited, Inc. | Soundtrack: Dominic Frontiere "Outer Limits Theme" | Sequence Length: 1:08

Genre: Sci-fi | Style: Animation | Awards: None | Youtube Views: 41,580


GOAT Staff Score - TV Credits Sequence

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Originality (25%)Visual Style (20%)Soundtrack (20%)Atmosphere (15%)Critical Reception (10%)Influence (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
United States Of Tara85625127510
The Outer Limits11261819265
The X-Files269981044665
American Horror Story743109740625
The Sopranos33734626420
True Detective47886538630
Dexter910547439695
Game Of Thrones10910710248855
The Simpsons62452928455
Mad Men58113321380

GOAT Verdict:

Games of Thrones The Greatest Television Credits Sequence of All Time
One of the most popular TV shows currently on the air, Game Of Thrones’ also lays claim to possessing the Greatest TV Credit Sequence Of All Time. Ranking far higher than every other entry on the shortlist by a landslide, it snags the title with ease. For such an intricately-woven storyline that continues to tangle itself with each passing season, the only way to present such a masterclass in television is via its breathtaking introduction. The sprawling map of the seven kingdoms rendered in painstaking 3D models demonstrates the vast universe the show’s beloved characters inhabit to stunning effect. A web of machinations – cogs, pulleys, levers – all sync together to orchestrate the rise and fall of empires; a truly informative introduction that incites genuine excitement for the episode to come. It’s no surprise that it won the Emmy for Outstanding Main Title – but it’s still a shock that Ramin Djawadi’s achingly-beautiful score went unnoticed.

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