Build Your Own Best Of – Paul McCartney

So, how do you even do a BYOBO for this guy – one of my favorite songwriters and really prolific at that. I decided to include solo / Wings etc all on this list for the sake of ease, even though that did make the process more difficult.

So anyway… once again inspired by Nat at Mini-Obs, the idea is the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

Continue reading “Build Your Own Best Of – Paul McCartney”

Build Your Own Best Of – Fleetwood Mac

When faced with doing a BYOBO for Fleetwood Mac, my first thought was that I wanted to dig a bit deep, acknowledge the various lineups that existed before the Lindsey / Stevie era that catapulted them to super-stardom. It would be pretty easy to just post the listing of Rumours and be done with it but this is a band with great history, I wanted to feature the work of Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch. I wanted to see the genesis of this band from it’s blues based roots to the impeccably produced pop machine that they evolved in to.

Many are concerned about the future of Fleetwood Mac without Lindsey Buckingham but I’m kind of excited about the possibilities. Neil Finn is one of my favorite songwriters and no one can deny the guitar chops of former Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. Fleetwood Mac has endured and flourished through personnel changes over the course of their career, I think these kids will do just fine.

So anyway… once again inspired by Nat at Mini-Obs, the idea is the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

Here are some favorite songs that I think collectively represent the long and fascinating career of Fleetwood Mac.

“Albatross” –
“Bare Trees” – Bare Trees
“Caroline” – Tango In The Night
“The Green Manalishi”
“I’m So Afraid” – Fleetwood Mac
“Jewel Eyed Judy” – Kiln House
“Love In Store” – Mirage
“Never Going Back Again” – Rumours
“Not That Funny” – Live
“Oh Well (1 & 2)” – Then Play On
“Sara” – Tusk
“Station Man” – Kiln House
“Tango In The Night” – Tango In the Night
“Tusk” – Tusk
“World Turning” – Fleetwood Mac

I think this is a pretty good mix – what do you think?

Here is a link to the playlist on Spotify

Build Your Own Best Of – The Rolling Stones

I did a Build Your Own Best Of (BYOBO) for The Stones way back for My Thermos but I decided that instead of reposting I am going to redo it with fresh ears. I don’t anticipate it changing drastically but it seems like a good exercise.

The idea – Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

So here goes – The Best of The Rolling Stones as compiled by me:

  • “2000 Light Years From Home” – Their Satanic Majesties Request
  • “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” – Sticky Fingers
  • “Dead Flowers” – Sticky Fingers
  • “Gimme Shelter” – Let It Bleed
  • “Hand of Fate” – Black And Blue
  • “Love In Vain” – Let It Bleed
  • “Loving Cup” – Exile On Main Street
  • “Monkey Man” – Let It Bleed
  • “Moonlight Mile” – Sticky Fingers
  • “No Expectations” – Beggars Banquet
  • “Shine A Light” – Exile On Main Street
  • “Sweet Virginia” – Exile On Main Street
  • “Tops” – Tattoo You
  • “Tumbling Dice” – Exile on Main Street
  • “Worried About You” – Tattoo You

Admittedly some of these go a bit deep and nearly all are from the classic ’69-’72 era which signals the last of Brian Jones and the addition of Mick Taylor. I’m really not much of a fan of the earlier stuff and while I like a bit of Tattoo You I find most of the 80’s and on stuff mostly forgettable. Even a stand out track like “Almost Hear You Sigh” from Steel Wheels pales in comparison for me to the fire of the early Mick Taylor era.

I’m sure a lot of you will find some notable omissions. While you’ll find that nearly all of my choices appear in Rolling Stone Mag’s  100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs as presented over on Cultural Offering but I doubt that if pressed to narrow down to 15 they would choose these as the ones to make the cut.

Agree with me? Think I’m an idiot? Go ahead and share in the comments – we’ll talk.

Build Your Own Best Of – Led Zeppelin

When Cultural Offering posted the Essential Mixes – Led Zeppelin the other day I quickly noticed that there wasn’t a single there was only a single entry from the album Presence which is a favorite of mine. A quick chat with Kurt on Twitter and he suggested I do a BYOBO of my own for the mighty Zep. A quick scan through the archives of my old My Thermos blog verified that I had given the band the treatment back in January of 2008. In fact, it was the first BYOBO I had done. I avoided looking at the songs I had selected back then deciding instead to compile a new list. Here is what I came up with.

  • “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” – Led Zeppelin
  • “Since I’ve Been Loving You” – Led Zeppelin III
  • “When The Levee Breaks” – Led Zeppelin IV
  • “The Rain Song” – Houses of the Holy
  • “No Quarter” – Houses of the Holy
  • “In My Time of Dying” – Physical Graffiti
  • “In The Light” – Physical Graffiti
  • “Ten Years Gone” – Physical Graffiti
  • “Achilles Last Stand” – Presence
  • “For Your Life” – Presence
  • “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – Presence
  • “Hots On For Nowhere” – Presence
  • “Tea For One” – Presence
  • “Fool in the Rain” – In Through the Out Door
  • “I’m Gonna Crawl” – In Through the Out Door

It’s remarkably similar to my original list, adding “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Fool in the Rain” and omitting “Custard Pie” and I’m ok with that.

A bit about the birth of the Build Your Own Best Of from the original post:

The idea – Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

What a fabulous idea really. I’ve never really been a fan of the commercially available best of or greatest hits collections. My tastes tend to run a bit different than the norm and I am always lamenting the exclusion of my particular and often obscure favorites. If I could build my own that wouldn’t be a problem.

I guess I’ve been doing this on mix tapes, CDs and now custom playlists for a long time now. 

So here is a new feature – The Build Your Own Best Of list. Each week (yeah right – more likely whenever I think about it) I’ll choose an artist and then list the songs I feel would make the definitive Best Of Collection. You might be surprised.

I know I’ve probably left off your favorites – feel free to share them in the comments.

Build Your Own Best Of – The Beatles

I used to run a neat feature on my old blog which I called the Build Your Own Best Of. Limited to just 15 songs per artist, I would choose what I would put on a “Best Of” release if I were the one to compile it. Kurt from Cultural Offering does a similar feature that he calls his Essential Mixes. While the BYOBO is limited in scope, his mixes are long and feature far more songs. Different takes on a similar idea. As he just posted his Essential Mixes treatment for The Beatles it made me think of my own Beatles BYOBO which I thought I would revive here.

I did a quick review and my choices still stand.

This post originally appeared on my now defunct My Thermos blog on May 16, 2008 and is being reprinted here with my own permission.

One of my favorite quotes is:

When you have a number of disagreeable duties to perform – always do the most disagreeable first.

Josiah Quincy

I have this printed and hanging in my office.  I try to do this in my work, getting the tasks I dread out of the way so that they stop looming over me and I can get on to other work. It seems to work well for me.

For my BYOBO series, I’ve created a rather lengthy list of artists I want to feature and each week when I go to choose the artist for the week, there is one that I pass over knowing that it is an impossibility to narrow down a list to just 15 tracks. Their name mocks me when I view the list, each time I hear a song of theirs on the radio I cringe at the thought of trying to decide whether to include it. As much as I love The Beatles, they were wearing me down.

Enough is enough – it’s time to bite the bullet and get at this.

So once again inspired by Nat at Mini-Obs, the idea is (almost) the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

This week, I’m changing the rules a bit. I decided that to just pull 15 songs from their collected works was going to be impossible, so instead I’m going to take advantage of the fact that there were 15 original CD releases and choose one song from each release. Considering how much they evolved from the first notes of Please Please Me to the end of Abbey Road, this also seems like a good way to make sure the full evolution is represented.

So here goes – The Best of The Beatles as compiled by me:

  • “I Saw Her Standing There” – Please Please Me
  • “All My Loving” – With The Beatles
  • “I Should Have Known Better” – A Hard Day’s Night
  • “I’ll Follow The Sun” – Beatles For Sale
  • “I Need You” – Help
  • “If I Needed Someone” – Rubber Soul
  • “She Said She Said” – Revolver
  • “A Day in the Life” – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • “All You Need Is Love” – Magical Mystery Tour
  • “Dear Prudence” – The Beatles (White Album)
  • “Only A Northern Song” – Yellow Submarine
  • “Here Comes The Sun” – Abbey Road
  • “I’ve Got A Feeling” – Let It Be
  • “I Want To Hold Your Hand” – Past Masters I
  • “Rain” – Past Masters II

So there you have it – 15 of the greatest songs every written, from arguably the most influential musical act of all time.

This was also insanely difficult to compile but the one per album limitation helped me narrow it down quite a bit more easily than had I been faced with the full discography.

A couple of notes:

  1. I have a lot of George Harrison songs here.
  2. Dear Prudence was the first song I listed.
  3. Revolver is the best fucking album of all time. I used to go back and forth between it and Rubber Soul, but it’s Revolver all the way.

I know I skipped some of your faves – share them in the comments but keep to the one per album limitation. If you add one, it has to drop the one from that same release…

Build Your Own Best Of – Elton John

This post originally appeared on my now defunct My Thermos blog on September 5, 2008 and is being reprinted here with my own permission.

I’ve been a fan of Elton John for a long time. His writing collaboration with Bernie Taupin has created some of the greatest music of my generation. He is an amazing live performer, one I’ve seen countless times over the years. His string of 7 albums from 1971’s Madman Across The Water through 1975’s Captain Fantastic is a staggeringly amazing collection of songs. This amazingly prolific period is surpassed probably only by The Beatles for sheer quantity of quality work in such a short period of time.

But Elton is also one of those artists that I occasionally despise. You see, for every Tumbleweed Connection there was a Leather Jackets. For every “Amoreena” there was a “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” A quick scan of ratings in my library shows a tremendous number of 3 and 4 star entries along with a boatload of “never play this again” – it seems I either love him or hate him.

But when he clicks, it really is magic.

Elton John Charleston - 18

So once again inspired by Nat (now at Another Aging Hipster) the idea is the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

So here goes – The Best of Elton John as compiled by me:

  • “All the Girls Love Alice” – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • “Amoreena” – Tumbleweed Connection
  • “Burn Down The Mission” – Tumbleweed Connection
  • “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” – Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
  • “Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)”
  • “Grey Seal” – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • “Have Mercy on the Criminal” – Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player
  • “Indian Sunset” – Madman Across The Water
  • “Madman Across The Water” – Madman Across The Water
  • “Mellow” – Honky Chateau
  • “Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters” – Honky Chateau
  • “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)” – Honkey Chateau
  • “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” – Blue Moves
  • “Tiny Dancer” – Madman Across The Water
  • “Tower of Babel” – Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

I know many of your favorites are probably missing – what would be on your list?

SB

(Thanks to Stroudm for the photo – what a great shot of the EJ attitude…)

Build Your Own Best Of – Steely Dan

This post originally appeared on my now defunct My Thermos blog on March 26, 2008 and is being reprinted here with my own permission.

Steely Dan - PianoWhen preparing my BYOBOs, I start with the list of songs first (the fun part) and then I write this cursory introductory part. I usually think that I should add a bit of history or a biography of the artist or something to make things more interesting. Ultimately though, I figure that if people are familiar enough with the band to be interested in the list, they don’t need my background factoids – and there is so much information available elsewhere that I feel I’m just reinventing the wheel.

But this week I was determined to write something interesting so I went to the official Steely Dan web site to do some fact gathering. Lo and behold, it’s chock full of history, a timeline, lyrics, and even an open letter to Luke Wilson. I also snagged the very cool photo from there since I couldn’t find anything on wikimedia.

I then decided that it’s actually way more informative than anything I could write here, and it’s straight from the source. So go there, read it, laugh a lot, and then come back here for the list.

Oh yeah – the list. Once again inspired by Nat at Mini-Obs, the idea is the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

So here goes – The Best of Steely Dan as compiled by me:

  • “Aja” – Aja
  • “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” – Pretzel Logic
  • “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” – Katy Lied
  • “Bad Sneakers” – Katy Lied
  • “Bodhisattva” – Countdown To Ecstasy
  • “The Caves of Altimara” – The Royal Scam
  • “Deacon Blues” – Aja
  • “Haitian Divorce” – The Royal Scam
  • “Home At Last” – Aja
  • “My Old School” – Countdown To Ecstasy
  • “Pretzel Logic” – Pretzel Logic
  • “The Royal Scam” – The Royal Scam
  • “Sign In Stranger” – The Royal Scam
  • “Time Out Of Mind” – Gaucho

I really love Steely Dan so this was one of the more enjoyable lists to compile. Great songs, and the musicianship is always top notch – especially the tasty guitar work of Larry Carlton.

You may notice I am one song short of the 15 allowed and that is because I couldn’t choose among the 10 or so possibles I had left over – stuff like “Black Cow”, “Dirty Work”, “FM”, “Barrytown”, “Green Earrings”, “Kid Charlemagne”- any of which are certainly worthy. Ultimately, I figured I would just leave the open slot to represent the rest of the great songs that didn’t quite make the cut.

Build Your Own Best Of – Wilco

This post originally appeard on my now defunct My Thermos blog on April 22, 2008 and is being reprinted here with my own permission.

I’ve been a fan of the band I’ve chosen for this week’s Build Your Own Best Of (BYOBO) since I heard the first single from their first release back in 1995. I’ve written about them here before but they are certainly deserving of a place among the great artists I have already featured in this series.

They are adventurous, creative, passionate, a great live act, and one of my favorite bands. I’ve listened as they constantly experiment and develop their sound, all the while still managing to sound like and be Wilco.

I’m also a big fan of their attitude towards their audience. Not only do they allow taping of their live shows but they are a pioneer in the belief that if you trust your audience they will do the right thing and buy the records. Their Wilco World site also frequently offers live shows and other goodies for streaming and download – very very cool.

So anyway… once again inspired by Nat at Mini-Obs, the idea is the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

Continue reading “Build Your Own Best Of – Wilco”

Build Your Own Best Of – The Who

This post originally appeard on my now defunct My Thermos blog on Feb 20, 2008 and is being reprinted here with my own permission.

The Who DrawingHad a bit of trouble choosing an artist for this week’s episode of BYOBO. The list of possibilities is endless and I’ve been doing some prep work on a couple so have a couple close to complete. Ultimately though I decided to go with The Who.

The Who – Quite possibly the world’s most perfect rock & roll band. They did it all – singles, jingles, anthems, rock operas, and more. In the studio and on stage – they always delivered the goods.

So once again inspired by Nat at Mini-Obs, the idea is the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

Continue reading “Build Your Own Best Of – The Who”