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”