The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue by chipoonette

Funny thing. I alert you to the danger of Lady Barbara. But I’m the only one who is unafraid.

She may have better taste than me. Probably does. But she also knows I know about Glenn Gould. What do you know?

Are you all such licksplinters that you can’t stand up for yourselves? Good God Almighty.

I know I’ve promised to find the good things in your lists. But I’m not going to do it if you can’t be bothered.

The video up top is good. I described the transcendent moment when I first heard it. It needs no other defense. Find your cojones, my friends.

P.S. We’re all dying. Try this on for size:

I Have Dreamed.

Love is always about love.

Brilliance can be subtle.


I suspect Barbara isn’t going to like this. But I think we’ve all just been schooled. Without meaning to, at all, Barbara kinda sorta sucker-punched us, me included.

Easy to get taken in by all the self deprecation. Yet the list and related recollections tell a very different story. This is a woman who actually knows quite a lot about music. And contrary to her account, she hasn’t been living in a vacuum. Look to the list.

Jay Nordlinger of the National Review is an accomplished and highly sophisticated music scholar. Barbara wanted to talk to him about music. So she did. Me? I’d be happy if he let me buy him a drink. Why did she buttonhole him? Not because she’s a ditz. Because she’s an aficionado.

She lists Bach’s Goldberg Variations twice. She recognizes that the Glenn Gould and Daniel Barenboim performances are distinctly different pieces of art. She has an ear. All her classical references are to specific orchestras and recordings. She’s no dilettante.

I get it that she grew up with the big bands, as I did. But did you notice how many of them she saw in person? Imagine having been a witness to Louis Armstrong, let alone all the others, including Benny Goodman, both Dorseys, and Artie Shaw.

Significantly, though, she revealed that she continued to follow jazz after the big band era. She called out Chet Baker and Charlie Parker as well, both superstar icons to the true believers of jazz. It wasn’t a bobby-soxer mentality she was caught up in. It was the music.

Other items on her list likewise suggest that she hasn’t stopped listening. She’s just picky. Nina Simone is there. Patricia Kaas. And Jeff Buckley. Looking at a Rolls Royce ( or should I say Packard?) standard here. In her quiet way she’s letting us know that not much of the music we’ve imprinted on impresses her much. Or she’d remember it.

So here’s a kind of side challenge for everyone. Pick just one song you’d like Barbara to listen to. I’m sure she would. Put in a link she can take. And ask her what she thinks.

I’ll start. She has a fondness for falsettos. Nobody has a bigger library of falsettos than Mick Jagger. So I’m going to offer up this little known gem for Barbara’s delectation.

The Rolling Stones – Heaven from Kinamazing on Vimeo.

Be prepared. She will be invariably nice. But she will also be honest. She will not say she actually likes it if she doesn’t. She’ll just be a bit faint in her praise. How ladies do things.

Do you have the guts to play this delicate game? Bet you do.

P.S. A quick refresher course for those of you whose memory of ladies is phantasm or nonexistent. From my first ever blog:

Some of us… can’t help remembering ladies. They were our mothers and grandmothers, our friends’ mothers and grandmothers, and they had no idea they were prisoners of a vicious sexist culture. They knew how to smile, how to make strangers and shy ones feel welcome, they knew how to dress up for a party, how to dance to ballroom music, how to practice countless skills that made houses into cheery homes, and we loved them. In every possible way they exemplified the essential human virtues and mediated their children’s vulnerability through their own. They were playing a life-and-death role, especially in those first six years, and one that fathers couldn’t play because their role back then was different. Fathers weren’t second-string mommies, always playing catch-up on the sensitivities not born into men. They were, when all was said and done, judges — the ones charged with preparing the children to be strong against the institutional temptations and corruptions that were coming after the time of safe haven was over. Their job was not to be taken in the way mother could be by an artful grin or pleading. Their job was to say no, to describe the consequences, to levy the punishment so that the lesson would be learned in the home, not in the dangerous realms of the outside world.

And the mommies knew that was their role and supported it. They knew what a man was. Do you? Tread with care.

The Lady Barbara comes through

And join me in thanking Barbara. She didn't have to play, but she did because I asked. Class.

And join me in thanking Barbara. She didn’t have to play, but she did because I asked. Class.

I knew she would. Complete with personal recollections that convey the charm of her email correspondence. Do yourselves a favor and listen to as much of her list as you can. In some ways it’s a window on a brighter world than our own.


I feel just as I do when someone (my husband usually, bless his heart) says to our dinner guests “Oh wait until you hear Barbara tell the hilarious story of what happened to her at the supermarket yesterday. You’ll laugh yourself sick. Go ahead and tell, ‘em, Barbara.” And of course I know that the event was only mildly amusing and may bring at best a slight smile to the face of the charitable, but now I must tell it nonetheless because of the build up.

So thanks a whole bunch, RL. Listen, dear readers, Robert is encouraging me because I wrote him a personal note saying I could not participate. I’m a generation or two ahead of most of you here, I don’t have much of an ear for music (to have me sing Happy Birthday to you is no kindness, believe me) and I completely missed the rock and roll era, the heavy metal era, and really am not even sure what those things even mean. I was pregnant or lactating throughout the 60s, raising kids in the 70s, and working and going to school and rushing home to keep a household together on my own after that. If you put a gun to my head I would be unable to name anything by the Rolling Stones, or Pink Floyd, or the Grateful Dead (in fact I’m rather proud that I can recite those three). I’ve read through all of the lists of favorites submitted so far and out of each hundred I may recognize five to 10. If I get lucky.

So basically I have nothing to say, so quit now is my advice. If you read on, know that I didn’t even try to come up with 100 cause I would have had to fake a lot of stuff, and that everything I did choose is entirely pedestrian — exactly what you’d expect from a great grandmother. My apologies, RL. Will you still respect me in the morning?
– – –
Thanks for the Memory – Bob Hope (Wonderful tune that’s been performed better by others, but it will always belong to Bob.) I couldn’t sing then, either, but at seven or so I would recite endlessly for myself all the words to Thanks for the Memory, which I had learned from reading our neighbor’s “Hit Parade” magazine.

Bye-Bye Blackbird – Ella Fitzgerald now, but what I listened to as a child was a scratchy old recording by Gene Austin, who wrote the song, I believe.

It Might as well Be Spring – From the first movie I can remember seeing, probably in 1945. I thought it was the most wonderful music I had ever heard and for months I studied my 10 year old face in the mirror, hoping there was a remote possibility I would grow up to look exactly like Jeanne Crain, who sang it in the film. I didn’t.)

Paper Doll – Mills Brothers. My parents loved the Mills Bros. and whenever the group made an appearance within two states’ distance of us, they’d pile my little sister and me in our ’36 Packard and we’d go to see them and sleep in the car afterward. Oh how my mom and dad loved to dance to Paper Doll — a “jilted” song that nonetheless made them (and now me) feel tremendously happy.

Sentimental Journey – Doris Day and Les Brown

High school and college – You Belong to Me – Jo Stafford; Wheel of Fortune – Kay Starr; How High the Moon – Les Paul and Mary Ford; My Funny Valentine – Anita O’Day; Fever – Peggy Lee; I Get Along Without You Very Well – Chet Baker. . .

And too many other favorites to list (or even remember). Those years (1949 – 1958) were at the end of the Big Band/Swing era and it astounds me now to recall how a carload of us teens (mainly) could drive 30 or 40 miles on a Saturday night to the closest “urban” farmer town in Minnesota, (with a population of about 30,000 or so) and dance to all the big names. Among those I saw were Gene Krupa, Billy May, the Dorseys, Harry James, Les Brown, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. I didn’t think about it at the time, but what a terrible life those musicians must have had on the road in those days, being dragged in a bus from one tiny remote burg to another to play in dance halls for maybe 150 acne-faced, stompin’ farm kids. How lucky I was to be a part of that, facial blemishes, ugly clothes and all.

Later and a sprinkling of miscellaneous favorites. . .

When the World was Young – Frank Sinatra
The Way you Look Tonight – Perry Como
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong, of course (saw him perform at the Brussel’s World’s Fair in 1958, lucky me . Was on my way to India to live for a year, not as a hipster following my guru — I was very conventional even then — but as a bride accompanying her husband who had work there).
Here Comes the Sun – Nina Simone
Stella by Starlight – Charlie Parker
Georgia on My Mind – Ray Charles
But Beautiful – Shirley Horn
MacArthur Park – Richard Harris (go ahead and mock me; I think I can handle it! I was always a little in love with Richard Harris, an attraction beyond explanation).
Cecelia – Simon & Garfunkel (still laugh every time I listen to its lyrics)
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn
Je Voudrais la Connaitre – Patricia Kaas
Where Do you Go, My Lovely – Peter Sarstedt
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Bruddah Iz (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole)
Ku’u Ipo I Ka He’e Pu’e One – Brothers Cazimero I was at the Honolulu Shell the night this recording was made. The falsetto should give you chicken skin! Does me, but then I love Hawaiian falsetto (http://alohayou.com/2009/09/kuu_ipo_i_ka_hee_pue_one/

Orff – Carmina Burana (the recording I have is the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal)
Palestrina – Missa Brevis – The Tallis Scholars
Thomas Tallis – Spem in alium – The Tallis Scholars
*Gyorgy Cziffra plays Chopin and Liszt (from the Great Pianists of the 20th Century series)
Elgar – Violin Concerto – Nigel Kennedy and the London Philharmonic
Bach – Concertos for Harpsichord and Strings – Trevor Pinnock
Bach – Goldberg Variations – Glenn Gould (both early and late recordings)
Bach – Goldberg Variations – Daniel Barenboim
Bach – Concerto for Two Violins – Ann-Sophie Mutter and Salvatore Accardo

* purchased upon a recommendation from Jay Nordlinger. I threw it in just so I could name drop J.N., and let everyone here know I had the bravery to discuss music with him. Okay, it was only for a few minutes on a NR cruise, but still. . .

The Secret Life of Elliott

His Elliottness.

His Elliottness.

When we got him, his foster mother was afraid on two counts. He had a bad leg and might never run normally. But he also had an alpha, i.e., lion personality. He tended to dominate, bully, and otherwise persecute other cats.

I knew what she was talking about, at least literarily. My first orange cat I named Webster, after a feline monster in a P.G. Wodehouse story. Webster belonged to a bishop, lived faultlessly, got put in the guardianship of the bishop’s Bohemian nephew, tasted alcohol, and became the warrior king of the neighborhood. My Webster failed to live up to that promise. He lived indoors and confined his combats to the occasional ambush of a cairn terrier who never once acknowledged his existence.

Why I didn’t take Elliott’s mom too seriously. In a house populated by sighthounds, cats are more prey than predator. The dogs are nice but flit by them too fast and instincts kick in. They are much much faster, even in a living room.

That was our concern. But Elliott settled in. His leg healed nicely. Completely in fact. He’s frigging fast now.

He let's the Bengal, a third his weight, attack every day.

He lets the Bengal, a third his weight, attack him every day. She never wins, but Mickey is the cop. If things get out of hand the 12 year old feral blasts Elliott into the middle of next Tuesday. Simple.

So he has a prosaic indoor life. He caught water fascination from the Bengal Izzie, and now he camps like a fool on the sink.

He loves him some H2O. What can I say?

He loves him some H2O. What can I say?

He lounges with the Big Guy, Mickey. Orange guys aren’t in it with ferals. Much much better to accept your station in life and watch TV with them, eh?

We don't screw wit nobody's friends heah.

We don’t screw wit nobody’s friends heah.

All is good and fine and proper, right?

And then there’s the really Big Guy. The One who’d better like you or else.

Takes one to know one.

Takes one to know one.

Elliott’s done that too. All the reports to foster mom emeritus have been positive. We keep sending nice stories to her.

Except that Elliott has a secret life. He goes outside. At will. We used to think it was an occasional escape. It’s not. He goes outside whenever he wants. He shows up at mealtimes. Always ambling in from the back yard. Beginning to think he’s the Webster of the story.

Exhibit One. His ear today. Izzie didn’t do it. At a third his weight she’s full of sound and fury and has never laid a glove on him. But he swaggered in this morning with an ear looking like this.

Somebody chomped big time. Not sure they're still chomping. Fugeddaboutit.

Somebody chomped big time. Not sure they’re still chomping. Fugeddaboutit.

Nobody likes to be made a fool of. What I’m thinking. Elliott is sparring gently with the little Bengal girl, hanging out with Mickey, snoozing with Raebert, then bursting into the outside world of Elsinboro and kicking every cat ass in the neighborhood. Used to be a white cat who acted like he owned our whole yard. Don’t see him anymore. Whatcha gonna do? He weighs 20 pounds. He clears the dog gate as easily and fluidly as if he’s been practicing for the Olympics. He boxes better than any cat I’ve known and I’ve boxed a lot of cats. He’s an MMA guy. Just doesn’t want Mommy to know. Hence all the offhand strolling back in during dinner time. Hell. She’s even willing to blame the bloody ear on Izzie. Who’s got who fooled here?

Mild as a lamb. But look at the size of those paws. A lion this winter.

Mild as a lamb. But look at the size of those paws. A lion this winter.

Worst thing of all. He seems so full of himself these days. Like he knows something we don’t. Never a good sign in a cat. Never.

Top 100s Discussion


Frankly overwhelmed. As people check in with their lists and stories, I cannot keep up. Just today, Lake came in with his list. Which prompted a lot of questions, comments, and memories.

Thing is, I want to add some new posts. But I don’t want to strand this excellent conversation about Top 100s. This is the new home for all of that. New lists should be posted here. Comments on the lists of others should be posted here. Important point. We’re NOT moving on. We’re going to keep talking about music.

Hence, for example, my questions and comments for the newest list. Lake’s. You’re a teacher. No classical music at all?

Other than that, you’re driving me nuts. Bjork? She can’t sing, honey. And you have a second Icelandic song. What did they do to you up there?

You have a thing for Pink Floyd. Why? Although… the one thing you should have taken from MY list is that the best Pink Floyd cut ever is Van Morrison’s version of Comfortably Numb.

Envy? A lot. A whole bunch. Peter Gabriel. Driving home a point I’ve already lamented.

And something so consistent it almost seems like an affectation. Picking the less famous songs of bands so popular even I know them. So you have to choose something I’ve never heard of by Bush, something I barely remember by Glen Hansard, a (second and therefore superfluous) Sting song no one remembers, and a Metallica song nobody anywhere has ever heard of.

On the other hand, Iona. Had no idea there was any such thing as a true Celtic rock band. The singer is almost as pretty as the guitarist. Such a shame the Irish are running out of pretty people. A discovery worth all of this effort.

Explain yourself.

Back to ErisGuy. Memory is failing me. A song I know I committed to computer. Native American album, haunting cut featuring a digeridoo. Got it from a girl I met who was dying rapidly from cancer. Couldn’t stop listening to it. Now I can’t find the CD or the file. Any of you. Help me out…

Everybody else. Keep talking. Keep posting your lists.

Song Envy II

The ones who have the guts to reveal their hearts.

The ones who have the guts to reveal their hearts.

Yeah. All your lists.

Guy. Struck by so much commonality. Especially with my wife. But I can see exactly how much younger than me you are. The song I had to look up was the Cure’s She Sells Sanctuary. Best of theirs I’ve ever heard. Congratulations.

ErisGuy. You’re in big trouble. Song Envy on a bunch. Ecstasy of Gold. Peter Gabriel. (I have a great story about him.) In the Air Tonight. Jingo. Al Stewart. ZZ Top. Dave Brubeck. Orbison. Like you’ve tapped into the vein of my second hundred. Gah. Not fair.

But. You owe us the story of your relation with Tangerine Dream. Which is outsized. I’m betting it’s monumental. And as for Qntal. I can go for Celtic Cuntal as easily as the next man.

Tim. Damn. I forgot all about Pearl Jam. Also forgot that fathers would love the silent lucidity of Fur Elise. Other than that your list is, uh, surprisingly various. Broadway to classical to hardcore. So you’re not the redneck you pretend? Big surprise. New to me? Looked up your Japanese entry. Is there a story? I just don’t know that world. Then there’s the Trey Parker Matt Stone montage. Closing in on a guess you don’t really have an ear for music, just meaning. Not a bad thing. Just no chance I will ever sell you on Gorecki.

All right. I’ll keep cycling through. Finding your hot spots. But it’s hard. Imagine working through these lists. Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, say something. I’m having a ball. Listening. The saying part, not so much.

Love you all for being here. Best news. Barbara is going to add her list too. Which will be very different from all of ours. But beautiful.

Song Envy

Better than earbuds.

Better than earbuds.

Finally, I’ve had a chance to review people’s Top 100 lists, which you’ll find in the comments here and here.

A few overview thoughts. It’s got to be the world’s most pleasurable Rorschach Test. It’s incredibly revealing to people who are genuinely interested in who you are. Yet it’s also a shot of adrenaline and self esteem for everyone who attempts it. When you look at the music that strikes your emotional chords in just that way, you rediscover memories you thought lost, scenes and times of your life that still matter all these years later, and you realize that your life — regardless of the prosaic patches we all have — has been amazingly rich, emotionally, sensorily, and esthetically. All this music is and has been in your head and heart the whole time. You are a very complicated person of unbelievably diverse interests. And you have more links to people and places and times and shared cultural events than a vine entwined tree in a tropical rainforest. Music memories are, in fact, a kind of time machine, instant transport to the emotional hot spots of our lives.

At first the 100 requirement seems excessive. But when you finish, you’re immediately struck by the fact that it’s hardly enough to convey the whole. You need another hundred or two or more, because this aspect of life we regard as peripheral to the important stuff is not peripheral at all. It’s the often silenced voice of our souls. It’s our connections, the demonstration of the metaphysical concept of the illusion of isolation. We do not exist separately and apart as everyday physics would suggest. When we pick a song we are absolutely, permanently connected in some way to everyone else who has been thrilled or moved by this same sequence of sounds.

I remember, for example, that the advent of iTunes was both a delight and, oddly, an emotional letdown. Everyone knows how much I love the Stones, but having acquired a number of their tracks, I did not play them as much as I thought I would. Not because I didn’t enjoy the music but because in spite of the fine sound quality, it did not pack the punch of a Stones A to Z weekend on “The Radio Station,” WMMR in Philadelphia. That was a communal, celebratory event. Every song that came on the radio in your car or living room was being shared by millions of others who were singing, doing air guitar riffs, and dance moves in concert with you.

It’s related to but distinct from actual attendance at a concert. In the arena you can see who is there. Some of the singing and dancing there is a function of direct contagion, people in proximity feeding off one another, influencing one another. Thoroughly enjoyable. Not gainsaying that. But the communion it represents and embodies is visible. There is something more mystical about the sensation of the invisible, the connections unseen that are nevertheless there.

I think I can illustrate. In 1989 The Rolling Stones released an album called Steel Wheels. The faithful had begun to think the band was broken beyond repair. Jagger and Richards had been publicly feuding for years, released their own solo albums, which generated additional spats between them. But then came Steel Wheels, and the impossible was going to happen, and there was going to be a monster tour. I was living in Dayton, Ohio, at the time, and the news came that the Stones would be doing a concert at Metropolitan Stadium, the home of the Cleveland Browns. Bought tickets, jumped in the car, and drove ecstatically to Cleveland.

Here’s the funny thing. The concert was fabulous, exceeding all expectations, but my keenest memory is not of the concert at all. It’s of the highway journey to the concert. Listening to the Stones on WMMS, Cleveland sister station of Philly’s WMMR, bopping along up the road, and then coming up behind a ratty old Black Dodge that obviously hadn’t been washed in months. As we neared the back bumper, prefatory to passing, we could see that someone had written a word by finger on the dirty trunk lid: STONES.

It was like one of those CGI scenes in the movies where the vast hidden network is suddenly illuminated in a radiant green light. I could instantly feel and see in my mind’s eye the stampeding pilgrimage of Stones fans from all over Ohio rolling toward Cleveland. An epiphany. Like all the lost returning home and being vouchsafed to recognize one another in the process of return. I was one of them and I felt more at home in that moment than I had ever felt during my six years of living in the state.

Contrast that with an image you all have in your heads — the teenage girl sulking in the back seat or walking the sidewalk with ear buds in her ears listening to her private playlist. She can’t hear conversations around her, is deaf to traffic noise, is as alone as it is possible to be. I’m not damning her. I have a set of earbuds too, and I have enjoyed listening to music I’m not likely to hear on the radio. I’m just saying (you know what I’m saying?) I do miss the aspect of sharing that the IPod technology seems to have stolen from us. I don’t know if I should feel sorry for her or not.

A very very long way of explaining why I have been so effusive in my appreciation for the lists people have posted. Every song I know and like on their lists is like an echo of the old radio communion. We have THIS in common, and I can start to imagine where you might have been when I was also listening to this music. Most have songs that are on my wife’s (still not written down) list but not on mine. Those are especially resonant. She has a cute way of dancing in her chair. It makes me imagine you doing the same, wherever you are.

Then there’s the whole other question of songs on your lists I don’t know. That’s what I’ve been digging into. And it’s like getting a letter out of the blue from a friend who’s telling you something you never knew.

For example, there’s************OOPS!

Lady Laird just called and I read her the post thus far. Over the phone I could see her making the cut throat gesture. What she said was, “Long enough already. Stop now. Do Part II later on.”

Sorry. I guess I got carried away. Stay tuned for, uh, Part II.

My Top 100

I should be happy. ErisGuy stepped up and did the full 100, conceding that hundred was a limitation. The bad part is that my list was in my head and now has to be translated to print. But I’m a man of my word. It’s alphabetical, drawn mostly from my iTunes file. Which is not as arbitrary as it seems. What you feel compelled to acquire says it’s important to you.

Adagio for Strings. Samuel Barber.
After the Storm. Mumford and Sons.
All You Zombies. The Hooters
And She Was. The Talking Heads.
And We Danced. The Hooters.
Ave Maria. Perry Como. (Shut up!)
Be My Baby. The Ronettes.
Be My Love. Mario Lanza.
Begin the Beguine. Artie Shaw
Be My Love. Mario Lanza.
Brown Sugar. The Rolling Stones.
C’est L’Amour. Edith Piaf.
C’mon C’mon. The Von Blondies.
Carmina Burana, Empress of the World. Orff.
Cat People, Putting out Fires. David Bowie.
Chimes of Freedom. Youssou N’Dour.
The Cicada. Linda Ronstadt.
The City of New Orleans. Arlo Guthrie.
Cleanin’ Out My Closet. Emine..
Come Dancing. The Kinks.
Comfortably Numb. Van Morrison.
Concerto for Clarinet and Oboe. Mozart.
Crazy. Gnarls Barkley
Don’t change. INXS.
Don’t Close Your Eyes. Keith Whitley.
Dreaming. Blondie.
El Condor Pasa. Simon & Garfunkel.
Elizabeth. Frank Sinatra.
Extreme Ways. Moby.
Gimme Shelter. Rolling Stones.
Glycerine. Bush.
God Save the Queen. Sex Pistols.
Good As I Was to You. Lorrie Morgan.
Groovin’. The Young Rascals.
Hallelujah. Jeff Buckley.
Have You Ever Seen the Rain. Credence Clearwater.
Heroes. David Bowie.
Hurt. Johnny Cash.
I Can’t Get Started. Bunny Berigan.
If You Go Away. Dusty Springfield.
I Wonder. Ronettes.
I Want to Know What Love Is. Foreigner.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Warren Zevon.
I’m No Angel. Allman Brothers.
Into the Storm.
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long. Otis Redding.
I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Frank Sinatra.
Jump. Van Halen.
Jumpin’ Jack Flash. The Rolling Stones.
Just Lose It. Eminem.
Keep Me in Your Heart.. Warren Zevon.
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. GNR.
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Warren Zevon.
Lady Jane. The Rolling Stones.
Lawyers, Guns and Money. Warren Zevon.
Lux Aeterna. Clint Mansell.
The Man I Love. Ella Fitzgerald.
Melissa. Allman Brothers.
Mixed Emotions. The Rolling Stones.
Mockingbird. Eminem.
The Nearness of You. Ted Heath.
Never Tear Us Apart. INXS.
November Rain. GNR.
Numb. Linkin Park.
Only Time. Enya.
Only Women Bleed. Alice Cooper.
Pagliacci, Vesti La Giubba. Leoncavallo. Mario Lanza.
Paint It Black. The Rolling Stones.
Please Stay. Warren Zevon.
Promontory. Soundtrack, Last of the Mohicans.
Rough Justice. The Rolling Stones.
Round & Round. Neil Young.
Seventh Heaven. Peter Wolf.
Sing for the Moment. Eminem.
Sing, Sing, Sing. Benny Goodman.
Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay. Otis Redding.
Sgt McKenzie. Soundtrack, We Were Soldiers.
Something in Red. Lorrie Morgan.
Soliloquy. Frank Sinatra.
Straight to Hell. The Clash.
Street Fighting Man. Rolling Stones.
Suo Gan. George Guest & Company
Suspicious Minds. Fine Young Cannibals.
Sweet Child O’Mine. GNR.
Sympathy for the Devil. Rolling Stones.
Symphony No. 2. Sibelius.
Symphony No. 3, Mvt 1. Gorecki.
Symphony No. 3, Mvt 2. Gorecki.
Symphony No. 3, Mvt 3. Gorecki.
Theme for Harry’s Game. Clannad.
Tom Traubert’s Blues. Tom Waits.
Touch of Grey. Grateful Dead.
Try a Little Tenderness. Frank Sinatra.
Un Bel Di. Puccini.
Unchained Melody. Righteous Brothers.
The Very Thought of You. Nat King Cole.
Waltz for Debby. Bill Evans Trio.
The Way I Am. Eminem.
West End Blues. Louis Armstrong.
What Is Love. Haddaway.
What’s Now is Now. Frank Sinatra.
When I Saw You. The Ronettes.
White Room. Cream.
White Wedding. Billy Idol.
Winter. Rolling Stones.
Worst Day Since Yesterday. Flogging Molly.
You Gotta Fight for the Right to Party. Beastie Boys.
You’ll Never Walk Alone. Frank Sinatra.
1916. Motorhead.

Okay. I know this is more than a hundred. I need another hundred. At least. My head is filled with all the missing. Do you feel the same way? Can you even believe there’s so much music in our heads? The human brain. The mind, all the associations. Staggering.

Does anybody feel like talking about it? I could do this for a week…

Fly Eagles Fly

I know, I know. ErisGuy set the standard on the Top 100. I will keep my bargain.

But in the interim there is great, fantastic, beautiful news. Michael Vick has signed with the New York Jets. Which means our long domestic nightmare is over.

The sigh of relief in this household is like a strong wind. You cannot know. Lady Laird was always the fiercest of Eagles fans. Her blood is Kelly green.

The catastrophe happened on August 14, 2009.

It really did break her heart.

So we’ve been dealing with it for five years. Why this is not a trivial post. She transferred her loyalty to the Baltimore Ravens, whom I had always hated because they were the Cleveland Browns, stolen from a city and a heritage I loved. It has galled me that the Ravens won two Super Bowls which should have belonged to Cleveland, where frauds wearing the uniform of Jimmy Brown stumble around in the home of NFL football.

The Ravens. Named after a poem, for God’s sake.

So we’ve been playing this odd game for, oh, five years now. You guys, pay attention. How you have to dig deep and understand your wife, because what she says and even shouts is not her true heart. So I, who also hated the Vick acquisition, continued to watch the Eagles. So she could too. I deliberately overlooked her cheering, which was a mere vestige of her lost fealty. I pretended I was the sad sack fan who still rooted for the Eagles because he always had. Which, to be honest, I hadn’t. Until they moved into a dome in the post Bud Grant era I was a fan of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC. And I was also a fan of the old Oakland Raiders in the AFC. When the Raiders buried the Eagles in the Super Bowl, I was technically rooting for the Eagles. But in my heart, I was as delighted as when Ali decked Foreman in the boxing upset of the century. Yes!

Ironically, my Eagles allegiance is comparatively new and attributable to my wife. The same one who turned her back on the whole enterprise. So I’ve been carrying this tiny little flickering candle all this time, tolerating the Ravens, alternately dissing and rooting for the Eagles, and now, suddenly, we burst again into the light.

Life is beautiful. Love is even more beautiful. Because it’s not a starburst as so many think. It’s a vulnerable, tiny flame we carry and protect from harm to the best of our ability.

Philadelphia. A city that is both gorgeous and our cultural home. We are Eagles. And we do fly. Lady Laird can come home again. Hallelujah.

Let us close with what should be the National Anthem. (Other versions are here, here, and everywhere else you look.)

Your Top 100

This is a doomed project. There just aren’t enough of us here, and the momentum is swinging toward Instapunk Rules, where all hell is about to break loose. But I’ll proceed nonetheless. Why? Because we all have a Top 100 of songs, soundtracks, anthems, arias, whatever, that constitute the sonic context of our lives. Top Ten doesn’t begin to cover it or make the point.

See, it’s the whole hundred that shows us to ourselves. A number that makes us dig, makes us recognize that we’re more complicated than we seem even to ourselves. Life is rich, people. And so are you. You have lived in all kinds of music, which may even constitute a sort of map of your soul. You might say, for example, I’m a Motown girl, but there’s more to your life than the Supremes and the Temptations. You heard that song from Titanic once, you watched MTV for years you scarcely remember, you were in a jazz club where somebody played the cornet too beautifully for words, you saw a Fred Astaire movie where he stuck your heart like a dart, your parents listened to Neil Diamond or Neil Young, your one time fiancé liked Rachmaninov, and these bits of music are all attached to you, whether you see yourself that way or not. You are the sum total of these musics. That’s why the challenge is not ten but a hundred.

An invitation for you to see who you are.

I’ve already been through the exercise. Eye opening. Facilitated by iTunes. The problem was not reaching 100. It was the amount of time I wound up listening and the limitation to a mere hundred.

Why I’m prepared to strike a bargain. I wouldn’t want my list to spark a me too response. And I frankly believe that people here are mostly too uptight to open themselves to this kind of personal exploration. Hint: If all of your top hundred are growly derivatives of Metallica, you’re probably Brizoni. Which no one wants to learn about himself.

The bargain? Try to be as expansive as you can. Don’t try to show off. If your list is all Broadway show tunes, that’s not bad news. It’s insight for you. Share your list as far you can push it, song/opus title and performer/composer, and however far you get toward 100, that’s how far I’ll go. If someone gets to 30, I’ll do 30. If someone gets to 100, I’ll do 100. Simple enough?

Not a ranked list by the way. Everything is equal in this competition. If 99 Red Balloons is #1 on your list because it’s the first thing you think of we won’t assume you like it better than the third movement of Beethoven’s Ninth you list at #88. The same. All part of your Top 100.

There are no prizes, sad to say. Just an opportunity for you to realize how much depth and diversity there is in your own experience of life. And the opportunity to share it with others.

Lady Laird was giving me a hard time about this. “So there are maybe three, four songs of the hundred that aren’t Stones?”

“Yes,” I told her with some asperity. And I meant it to sting.

Now. What I expect. A few half-assed top ten lists. A lot more silence. Which is okay. But not nearly as much fun as the tangle we could get into by listing our lives in song and hearing each others’ memories. Unless you’re not up for an intimacy more real than hooking up at a college mixer.

That would be up to you.

P.S. Yeah, I used the word doom. Zevon is dead. A decade now. The good news is I didn’t choose the final track of his final album, called The Wind. That would be bad news. But it is on my list.