Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Hi.  Thanks for coming.  For the last 33 years or so, I've been in love with music in just about every way, and I've been listening to it as actively as I can.  It started early for me-- when I was a baby, I would sit in front of the record player watching it go around and around.   I started playing the piano at five, stared buying records at seven, and I've been at it ever since.  In addition to being an avid collector since 1976, I've also been playing in bands since 1984, with a nightmare major-label contract and tour story to show for it.  I play bass these days for a few terrific artists, am helping to run the San Francisco Songwriters Coalition, and teaching a high school rock history and performance course.

I turned 40 this year, and as a project to stave off a mid-life crisis, I decided to try to build the perfect IPod.  Over the last year, I've gone through every album I own and every "Top" list I could find and revisited albums I hadn't heard or had summarily rejected.  All told, I visited well over 750 Gigs worth of mp3s, and very carefully loaded and edited down a 160GB IPOD with every single song I've ever liked.  Sometimes that meant an entire album by a band; frequently, it meant seven or eight out of ten.  I was careful.  I was thorough.  I was pretty obsessive.  I'm pretty confident that I've given just about every major or minor band a considered listen.

Last month when I finally "finished" the entire project, I found that I had 19,997 songs chosen.  That's when this project came to me.  I've been working on a book on rock music for years, but nothing differentiates it much from so many other "Top 500" books.  But here, I'm going to let fate lead me through what I feel to be the very best music released in the last 100 years, and rather than put up a Top 1000 list and start all the same arguments with folks, I'm going to talk about individual songs and hope conversations grow from there.

There are no hard and fast rules here-- I might talk about one song, maybe ten.  I might do albums from time to time.  I might sometimes talk about sacred cows that I've omitted.  In any case, I hope it's a fun read and a fun journey, and that it leads you back into your collections and to check out some new stuff.  Consider this blog a series of letters from one music lover to another-- you gotta hear this stuff.  And please leave comments-- it'll definitely keep me writing.

Here's to the first of many,

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