Stevie's Wonders So I run into one of my Constant Readers and — everybody's a critic — the guy says, ''Your column's suckin' out lately, Steve. You're losin' your edge.'' My first impulse is to tell him I have a cozy place where he can put my column, but since he looks like a recently retired Hell's Angel, I rethink this option. Instead I ask him what he thinks would make a good piece. ''Best rock songs of all time,'' he says. ''That subject always starts arguments, especially if you don't put 'Stairway' on there.'' I realized he was right. Especially since the idea of putting ''Stairway to Heaven'' on such a list grosses me out. So I decided to take my biker buddy up on his idea. Twenty-four great songs, one for every hour of the day, picked by the Infallible Me. I began by throwing out most of those Internet lists, because they're full of ballads (''Tears in Heaven'' as rock & roll? Oh, really?), soul (''When a Man Loves a Woman'' is a great song but it's not rock), and tunes that have been played to death. There's also an amazing number of draggy songs on the lists, like ''Hotel California.'' When would I like to hear that one again? Uh...how does never work for you? I also eliminated all disco. I love Thelma Houston's ''Don't Leave Me This Way'' (plus everything by KC and the Sunshine Band, sue me), but it ain't rock & roll. The stuff that hasn't stood the test of time went out too. When ''Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds'' or ''Born to Be Wild'' comes on my car radio (which is, by the way, a NO SUPREMES ZONE), I break my fingers switching the station. These songs have nothing new to say to me. The songs on the list that follows always have something new to say. So, with no further introduction, THE 24 GREATEST ROCK SONGS EVER MADE. They really are. Trust your Uncle Stevie on this. 24. ''IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA,'' Iron Butterfly Only the long version counts. Which you can't get on iTunes, curse them. 23. ''DEAD FLOWERS,'' the Rolling Stones Their finest rock-and-country fusion. 22. ''NEEDLES AND PINS,'' the Searchers The epitome of folk rock. 21. ''I GET AROUND,'' the Beach Boys Pretty white-bread, but unlike the odious ''Kokomo,'' it has stood the test of time. 20. ''ON THE DARK SIDE,'' John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band Still smokin' after all these years. Simple and cool. 19. ''YOU NEVER CAN TELL,'' Chuck Berry The father of us all. And whoa! The whole story of true love and happy marriage in two and a half minutes? Can't argue with that. 18. ''I WANT TO HELP YOU ANN,'' the Lyres The best stalker rock song ever. Listen to it once and you'll never bother with ''Every Breath You Take'' again. 17. ''LONG COOL WOMAN IN A BLACK DRESS,'' the Hollies Should get old, but somehow never does. 16. ''DON'T BE CRUEL,'' Elvis Presley Total bebop testifying. Brian Setzer would sell his soul to do this. 15. ''AIN'T NO FUN (WAITING ROUND TO BE A MILLIONAIRE),'' AC/DC The quintessential AC/DC hook...played over...and over...and over. 14. ''SIXTY MINUTE MAN,'' the Dominoes Basic dirty boogie boasting, 1950s style. What could be finer? 13. ''MASS. AVE.,'' Willie Alexander Rattle-box guitar and the weirdest male falsetto ever laid down; it's Boston punk at its best. 12. ''THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT,'' Little Richard Can you imagine this guy on American Idol? The mind boggles. 11. ''SHE LOVES YOU,'' The Beatles I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's the best Beatles track because it gets in, does its business, and gets back out again. 10. ''A BIG HUNK O' LOVE,'' Elvis Presley Almost eclipsed by Elvis' screaming vocal is the rock era's best barrelhouse piano. 9. ''BIP BOP BOOM,'' Mickey Hawks Under two minutes and still the greatest rockabilly record ever made. 8. ''LET'S HAVE A PARTY,'' Wanda Jackson That raspy, frantic vocal has never been equaled. Ms. Jackson makes Beyoncé look like Britney. 7. ''NEW ORLEANS,'' Gary U.S. Bonds Terrific recorded-in-a-bathroom reverb, insanely danceable backbeat. Earl Swanson's sax is the Special Bonus Feature. 6. ''RAMROD,'' Bruce Springsteen His cleanest, coolest, purest track. To quote Mr. Berry, his guitar rings like a bell. 5. ''C'MON EVERYBODY,'' Eddie Cochran The apocalyptic call of the teenage male: Dude, let's party. And screw the consequences. 4. ''STUPID CUPID,'' Connie Francis Don't argue; the vocal is hotter than a pistol, and it's the best clap track ever. Stupid cupid, stop pickin' on me: Ay-men. 3. ''MYSTERY DANCE,'' Elvis Costello It's 1:35, but how much angry, frustrated sex can you take? 2. ''BURNING LOVE,'' Elvis Presley He saved the best for last. Lawd-a-mighty, I feel my temperature rising. 1. ''ANARCHY IN THE U.K.,'' The Sex Pistols This song still sums up what I love about rock & roll: anger and joy and urgency, all compressed into three and a half minutes of drums and buzz-saw guitar. By God, even the name of the group sweats rock & roll.