The best and the worst of music: A list made with friends
Let’s get this straight right up front – what follows is in no way a definitive list of music. These are not the songs of all-time. It’s not a list of greatest hits. It’s not something you’ll see being peddled late at night by former Monkee Davy Jones. It’s just a list of good tunes … and bad ones.It was not compiled by anyone special. Wait a minute. Let me rephrase that. It wasn’t compiled by anyone with special musical talent or insight. That my wife and several friends helped compile it means that indeed it was compiled by folks who are special. (How’s that for a quick recovery of a potential faux pas!)Over wine and after-dinner drinks last week we spent the better part of two hours debating what songs to include on a top-50 list. The only thing that gives us some credibility is we’re all consumers of music – we listen to music, buy CDs and even occasionally watch a music video. In other words, we know what we like.Years ago, the BBC aired a radio show called “Desert Island Disks.” The premise was, what 10 songs would you take with you knowing you were going to be marooned on a desert island. That concept morphed into the after-dinner game. My notes were scrawled on a pair of napkins. My penmanship waned as the evening went on, but I think I have it all right.
The rules were simple. In turn, each of us could offer a song for the list. Four had to agree to it being included. Each of us got one veto, meaning even if the other four wanted the song on the list you could use your one veto to remove it. And in no way was any song performed by Barry Manilow to be allowed on the list.It helped that we’re all pretty much old farts from the same generation, which meant it’s heavily weighted to the 1960s and 1970s, and anything recorded after 1990 had little or no chance of being included. Still, the debate was lively.Here’s a cross section from the best-of list in no particular order: “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, “The Girl from Ipanema” by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles and “In My Life” by the Beatles.”All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix, “Symphony for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Autumn” by the Moody Blues and “Gates of Delirium” by Yes.”Crazy” by Patsy Cline, “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane, “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley, “Canon in D Major” by Pachelbel, “At Last” by Etta James and “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis (yes, we know it’s an album).
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the Who, “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega, “Laura’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago, “Knights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues, “Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young, “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.”Scarborough Fair” by Simon and Garfunkel and “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel, “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon, “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Help Me Make it Through the Night” by Kris Kristofferson, “Taxi” by Harry Chapin and “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell.”Moon River” by Andy Williams, “The House of the Rising Sun” by Eric Burton and the Animals, “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart and the Faces, “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck, “Both Sides Now” by Judy Collins and “Take the A Train” by Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.Having compiled the songs we liked, it seemed only natural to list the songs we wouldn’t want to hear at any time, let alone if we were stranded on a desert island the rest of our lives.That list in its entirety is:
“Hey Paula,” a top-40 hit from 1963, the nauseating bubblegum tune, “Yummie, Yummie, Yummie I Got Love in My Tummy,” “Muskrat Love” by the Captain and Tennille, “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher, and Michael Jackson’s love song to a rat, “Ben.””Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro, “Do you Really Want to Hurt Me” by Boy George and Culture Club (… the answer by the way is “yes”) “Wake me up before you Go Go” by George Michael and Wham and “any song with a do-do, a la-la or an, ‘Oh yeah.'”And, of course, anything by Barry Manilow.I’m betting there are a lot of you who’ll disagree with what’s listed here. That’s fine. Like I said, this is our list. Create your own. It’s a great way to spend an evening with friends.Publisher Jim Morgan writes a Tuesday column. He can be reached at (970)668-3998, ext. 240, or at email@example.com.
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