Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Desert Island mix CD
If I could pick 17 songs, here would be the choices.

1. Caravan-Van Morrison
Why: Everything in this works for me. A positive song about listening to music, performed by one of the best songwriters ever. This would be a good pick-me-up as I wondered if I'd return to civilization.

2. Whiter Shade of Pale-Procol Harum
Why: One of the most interesting pieces of music I've ever heard. I listen to it, and am almost drawn in, as if I'm watching a mystery. The song's organ just breaks open a gate to possibilities like few songs can.

3. A Day in the Life-The Beatles
Why: The best song from the best rock album ever. Lennon's vocal is haunting, beautiful, and honest. This is, at this moment, my favorite Beatles song.

4. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down-The Band
Why: This might be the most American song ever written, and it was composed by a Canadian. It hits on the pride and pain of the most stunning conflict in our nation's history, and does so with a killer vocal by Levon Helm.

5. The Way You Look Tonight -Frank Sinatra
Why: Just listen to it and you'll know why.

6. I Fall to Pieces -Patsy Cline
Why: Perhaps the best country recording ever. Cline has been dead for more than half a century, and I still don't think she has ever been touched by any female recording artist since. Maybe Aretha.

7. Satisfaction-Rolling Stones
Why: What a rock record is supposed to be.

8. Brown Sugar-Rolling Stones
Why: Favorite Stones song.

9. When a Man Loves a Woman- Percy Sledge
Why: Few singers have been able to achieve this much passion in a career. Sledge does it in three minutes. How many people were conceived to this song? God only knows. Speaking of which ...

10. God Only Knows- Beach Boys
Why: Carl Wilson's vocal is outstanding, the music is beautiful, and America's greatest rock songwriter hits his peak. Plus, it was my brother and sister-in-law's first dance, so I'm partial.

11. Sail Away- Randy Newman
Why: The first track from one of the greatest albums of the 1970s, this song is another history lesson of sorts, presented in a jingle. It actually is a beautiful song with a somewhat depressing subject matter, which in some ways is Newman's trademark.

12. Like a Rolling Stone-Bob Dylan
Why: This one shouldn't need explanation.

13. Tangled up in Blue-Bob Dylan
Why: There's just something about the song -- its performance, its lyric, its story-- that I would want to have.

14. Imagine-John Lennon
Why: Never a socialist, and this is socialism in a Trojan Horse. But it's still beautiful.

15. Hungry Heart-Bruce Springsteen
Why: It's just too good to pass up.

16. Walls- Tom Petty
Why: A special song for me for a number of reasons.

17. Lover's Cross- Jim Croce
Why: You need Jim Croce at least once a day.



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