Sunday, October 23, 2005

The big hit parade

I have had my iPod for approximately a year now and that means I have a year's worth of listening history to analyze. What I present today is a list of the musicians (or composers) whose have placed five or more songs in my "Ten or more" playlist; I have listened to at least five songs from each act listed here at least ten times each over the past year. The musicians are listed in order of how many of their songs placed in this "Ten or more" list.



  • Sarah McLachlan: 37 songs
    This has been a year of Sarah McLachlan.

  • The Beatles: 34 songs
    The favorites of my youth still rate highly. They were the best rock band of the 1960s, and their music will probably always have more meaning for me than any other music.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach: 24 songs
    These “songs” are actually individual movements and pieces within the Schubler Chorales and the Brandenburg Concertos

  • Paul Simon: 21 songs
    Another favorite from my youth whom I still enjoy.

  • Shawn Colvin: 20 songs
    A favorite of my adult life. There are few better songwriters working today, and her covers are great as well. I've seen her in concert twice.

  • R.E.M.: 20 songs
    The best American band of the 1980s and 1990s (the best rock band of the 1980s and 1990s was U2).

  • Georg Friedrich Handel: 17 songs
    These “songs” are individual pieces within Water Music.

  • Led Zeppelin: 16 songs
    The movie School of Rock inspired me to revisit Led Zeppelin a couple of years ago and I must say that their music has held up well (which is more than I can say for The Who, unfortunately, who were favorites of mine when I was a teenager). The best rock band of the 1970s.

  • Billy Bragg: 15 songs
    Cockney folk-punk's poet laureate.

  • Jonatha Brooke: 14 songs
    She is a brilliant songwriter as well as a sensitive interpreter of the songs of others.

  • Miles Davis: 13 songs
    Another long-time favorite of mine. Some of his music (e.g. Kind of Blue) is ageless.

  • Stevie Wonder: 13 songs
    If Led Zeppelin was the best rock band of the 1970s, Stevie Wonder was the best musical artist of that decade in any genre.

  • The Beach Boys: 12 songs
    Pet Sounds is one of the great pop albums.

  • Patsy Cline: 12 songs
    No one could sing about heartbreak and loneliness like Patsy.

  • Celia Cruz: 12 songs
    The queen of Cuban singers.

  • David Bowie: 11 songs
    As long as I am promoting my choices of the greatest acts of various decades in various genres, I'll put up David Bowie as best male solo performer in rock in the 1970s.

  • The Cars: 11 songs
    Great pop-rock from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Nothing pretentious, just solid music.

  • Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young): 11 songs
    The best harmonies of the rock era until their voices started to fade.

  • Warren Zevon: 11 songs
    Mr. Bad Example was a great songwriter. His songs had more edge than a dozen punk rock bands combined.

  • Tony Bennett: 10 songs
    I saw him in concert about two years ago. His voice is still magnificent. He has almost as much talent as Frank Sinatra had, with none of the malice Sinatra had.

  • The Clash: 10 songs
    The definitive band of my late adolescence. I had the good fortune to see them live when they played at Bond's on Broadway. Joe Strummer continued to be a vital, committed performer right up until his death.

  • John Coltrane: 10 songs
    His songs just take you somewhere no one else's can.

  • Bob Dylan: 10 songs
    The greatest songwriter of the second-half of the twentieth century.

  • Norah Jones: 10 songs
    A fine songwriter and an inspired interpreter of the work of other songwriters.

  • Santana: 10 songs
    Although I am a fan of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, I must say that Carlos Santana has always had perhaps the most distinctive guitar style in rock music.

  • Barry White: 10 songs
    The disco era did not produce many geniuses, but Barry White was one of them.

  • Electric Light Orchestra: 9 songs
    John Lennon described them as “Son of Beatles”. The first time I heard Telephone Line I thought it was The Beatles. Along with Fleetwood Mac they formed the core of the soundtrack of junior high school for me.

  • The Allman Brothers Band: 8 songs
    They could play the blues like few rock acts.

  • Ray Charles: 8 songs
    He was called a genius so often people forgot that he actually was one.

  • John Gorka: 8 songs
    Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi notwithstanding, John Gorka is what New Jersey sounds like to me.

  • Carmen McRae: 8 songs
    Perhaps my favorite jazz singer. Her phrasing was remarkable.

  • Chet Baker: 7 songs
    As much as Miles resented him, he was an elegant singer and trumpeter.

  • Jackson Browne: 7 songs
    I first became acquainted with Jackson Browne’s music when Running on Empty was released in 1977. Few performers have spoken to me quite so personally.

  • Enya: 7 songs
    Ethereal Celtic music that is great for unwinding.

  • David Gray: 7 songs
    Contemporary folk-rock that is worthy of comparison to best music of that genre.

  • Paul McCartney & Wings: 7 songs
    The king of silly love songs.

  • Loreena McKennitt: 7 songs
    More ethereal Celtic music, this time from Canada.

  • Joni Mitchell: 7 songs
    There have been times over the years when I have listened to Court and Spark, for example, repeatedly for day after day.

  • The Police: 7 songs
    One of the best concerts I have seen was The Police at Madison Square Garden in late 1981 or early 1982. The Go-Gos opened for them. Every song The Police played was great.

  • Bonnie Raitt: 7 songs
    I started listening to Bonnie Raitt in earnest in the early 1990s. It wasn't Nick of Time that did it; it was a friend of mine who played blues guitar and had several of her albums. Once I started listening to those albums I never stopped.

  • Frank Sinatra: 7 songs
    He was a son of a bitch, but he was nevertheless a remarkable singer. And a good actor, too.

  • Darden Smith: 7 songs
    Inspired folk-rock from Austin, Texas.

  • Claude Chalhoub: 6 songs
    Ethereal Middle Eastern music from a talented Lebanese violinist.

  • Ella Fitzgerald: 6 songs
    No one could swing like Ella.

  • Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble: 6 songs
    He almost justifies the existence of Texas.

  • Dar Williams: 6 songs
    A great songwriter who is just now getting the acclaim she deserves.

  • Fabienne Achard & the Ahmet Gülbay Trio: 5 songs
    We saw Ahmet Gülbay perform live at a club in Paris. He is a great improviser who can adapt to his playing to suit almost any style of jazz.

  • The Commodores: 5 songs
    It was schmaltzy pop, but it was well-crafted schmaltzy pop.

  • Peter Gabriel: 5 songs
    So remains one of the greatest rock albums every recorded.

  • Stan Getz & João Gilberto: 5 songs
    None of us would know where Ipanema was were it not for them.

  • Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes: 5 songs
    The great Teddy Pendergrass never sounded as good.

  • Tom Waits: 5 songs
    Few people can sound like they swallowed drain cleaner and yet still sound good. He is also a great songwriter.


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Roberto Iza Valdes said...
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