I was struck the other day when reading one of those “10 Best…10 Most…” list , you know, 10 Best Restaurants in Nashville, or 10 Most Costly Luxury Autos, or even David Letterman’s 10 List.
And so it happened that I thought about music and found my mind wondering about which 10 pieces of music I would take with me for that proverbial rest-of-my-life-hermitage. Wow. Talk about a hard task.
This self-imposed assignment may have been too difficult a challenge, but I have to tell you, I spent a couple of hours in the most happy of moods while I pleasantly reminisced of my lifetime of musical influences.
Anyway, here’s the results, and of course I have to lead off with the caveat that no list of 10 will ever be adequate. And so, what follows is in no particular order or priority:
Getz and Gilberto Smooth Bosa Nova jazz; The Girl From Ipanima. Timeless enjoyment. Killer Saxophone. Ever since Stan Kenton introduced Laurindo Almeida and the Bosa Nova sometime in the 50’s, my pulse has taken a Brazilian beat.
Elton John/Bernie Taupin. Pick anyone of their albums. This is modern pop artistry at its best. The special flavor of Elton John’s piano vocabulary is distinctive and the music/lyric is symbiotic and masterful.
Simon & Garfunkle. I want to put an exclamation (!) after the name. A major contribution to the American Songbook. A true capturing of the mood of the times that leaves a most delicious aftertaste.
Almond Brothers Band. Master Class Rock energy. Duane’s guitar licks take me to a place of total admiration where I place Eric Clapton and Albert lee. I instantly visualize the bands double drum setup and hear some of the most memorable of drum rifts ever.
Gypsy Kings. Let loose Latin that forces audiences to bust out dancing in the aisles. Spanish, Flamenco, Salsa, jalapeno—love it.
Kool & The Gang. Take a talented group of players, with roots in Soul, mix in some rock and the smooth lead voice of J.T., then bring in the jazz influence of Spyro Gyra and the fusion delivers pure joy. “Celebration” will remain a standard beyond any of our sunsets.
The double DVD edition of The Last Waltz, by The Band. This was the coverage of the last performance of the Band, arguably the finest rock band from the era and clearly a brilliant piece of documentary filmmaking.
O Lucky Man. Music by Alan Price. What a gem of a project. Malcolm McDowell plays a character that caroms through life and the band is a supporting element (Greek Chorus) that punctuates his journey. Filmmaker Lindsay Anderson makes one film per decade and O Lucky Man is truly one of the most creative unsung movie feats and Price’s music, like a favorite sweater, becomes more comfortable with each wearing.
The singers, a compilation: (Allow me this very slight variance of format) I must have tasty selections from the likes of Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Streisand, Ella, Billy Joel, Richie Havens, Nat Cole, Patsy Cline, Willy Nelson, and the song, “We are the World.”
The classical compilation. While I have not been trained in classical music, I must credit some of my most treasured musical experiences to the performance of the classics. Such a compilation would include some Mozart, Beethoven’s 7th (“Ode To Joy”), Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the “Messiah” (with full orchestra and chorus), the aria known as “The Mad Scene” from Donizetti’s opera Lucia De Lammermoor as performed by Joan Sutherland (or my friend Elisabeth Howard) that ends on a high F natural, any of the arias from The Three Tenors album of Pavarotti, Carreras & Domingo, Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli and soprano, Sarah Brightman, singing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, “Time To Say Goodbye.”
After sketching out the above I realized and re-enforced something I know about my musical taste: First, I’m a little eclectic or “cross-genred” if you prefer. I don’t apologize for my undisciplined taste; secondly, I LOVE LYRICS. The enjoyment I have for John & Taupin and Simon & Garfunkle and Billy Joel and Alan Price all boils down to the power of the lyric. I love the ballads because I can hear the lyric. Perhaps I committed a great oversight in not including one specific Broadway score, again because of the importance of the lyric. How about “Westside Story” with such incredible music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and lastly, I recognize that so much of my enjoyment of music is not just the sound, that is, the listening experience, but also the visual that might accompany the experience—let me see the performance, whether live, film, videotape or digital.
O.K. dear reader. The challenge is now turned to you. Send me please your list of your favorite 10. Mind you that I am not too interested in what you think you should have because of its historical importance or its standing among your peer group. Tell me what 10 items have moved you. What 10 pieces or albums or performance you want to imbed in your mind. Or, viewed to the contrary, which musical selections would it pain you to forgo if the item or the experience became erased?
Let me know and I will share your thoughts along with many of our other readers.
Take care. Til next whittlin’ session….es good!
Steve Scott, President
Coalition of Songwriter &
To reach Steve, please email email@example.com