When I’m tired…
and thinking cold…I hide in my music, forget the day…
Oops. Scratch that. My head was tuned into the oldies station there for a minute. Rewind. What I meant to say was:
When I’m tired of thinking or talking about higher ed or marketing/PR/communication, my thoughts often turn to music. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I just love music — good music, that is — and if I could get away with it and get paid for it, I think that I would blog about music all day long. Anyway, I consider myself somewhat of a musical connoisseur, being the child of musical parents who schooled me early on in show tunes and Gershwin, and as the youngest of five growing up in the glory days of rock’n’roll (the ’60s and ’70s), I learned more than my fair share about the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Cream, Hendrix, et. al., before I had even entered grade school. Still, there are a lot of gaps in my pop music knowledge base. For example: The other day I was thinking about how many great albums are out there that I’ve never listened to completely. (There are also albums filled with wretched music that I’ve listened to more than once. But that’s another story for another time.) Among the certifiably great pop/rock albums, here are five that I’ve never listened to in their entirety (or, as the title says, if I ever did, I sure don’t remember it).
- Pet Sounds, by The Beach Boys. Widely regarded as the Beach Boys’ masterpiece, Pet Sounds ranks at No. 2 on Rolling Stone mag’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time (right behind the Beatles’ overrated Sgt. Pepper’s). There are good reasons as to why I’ve never listened to this album in its entirety (or even partially): 1.) I never had the opportunity, as I don’t recall any of my older siblings owning the album; and 2.) even if I had, it’s doubtful I would’ve listened, as I’ve never been a big Beach Boys fan (this despite the fact that sometime in the early ’70s, during my indiscriminate junior high years, when I was just learning to explore pop and rock, I somehow came to possess the 45 for “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” b/w “God Only Knows.” This was one of the singles released from the album. About the only ’60s California surfer music I ever heard when growing up was some Jan and Dean. One of my sisters was a fan. Anyway, I’ve never heard the entire album Pet Sounds.
- What’s Going On, by Marvin Gaye. The title track and “Mercy, Mercy Me” are the only tunes I know from this album. To me, both of those songs define soul. Even if they were the only two tracks on this album, I would listen to it all day long. But I’m certain there’s more great stuff where those came from.
Thinking about this album is what started this little exercise. I was reading a section of Dan Kennedy’s book Rock On, about his experience in marketing for a major record label on the wane, and I laughed out loud when I read these lines:
Most insightful thing a white guy has ever said to me about soul music:
“I never could’ve written anything as good as that Marvin Gaye song, because after I wrote down the word brother once, I’d get stuck, I’d be sitting there going, ‘Let’s see … what else can I say here? I just used the word brother so I can’t use that again.'”
I know exactly what he means.
- Thriller, by Michael Jackson. Please. It was 1982. I was listening to Combat Rock and watching A Flock of Seagulls on MTV. I really have no desire to listen to this, even if “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” is an earworm.
- Music From Big Pink, by The Band. It’s really embarrassing, how little I know about this band. I work with Tom Shipley, for cryin’ out loud, and Levon Helm is like a god to him. I should get this album and listen to the whole thing.
- Axis: Bold As Love, by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. But I listened to Are You Experienced? and Electric Ladyland both more than enough times to make up for this gap in my repertoire. Does that count?
That is all. Rock on.
Now playing: David Byrne – Marching through the wilderness (Charanga)