Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I decided a long time ago that every person needed at least one hobby in life, something to occupy spare moments, something to pursue, something to give you a break from the hustle and bustle of the real world. My dad being in the radio profession, I grew up with what I considered to be a healthy appreciation for all types of music. So around my sophomore year in high school, I began making mix tapes and trying to put together the definitive collection of 80's music.

That soon transitioned to CD's, which were a lot more expensive but also sounded better. And I expanded my trove to all popular music starting in 1955 (the birth of the rock era)...anything that had cracked the Top 40. It was a sizeable collection, filling almost three full CD cases with upwards of 300 discs. And life was good.

Then came two big jumps forward. Records Research started putting out a book which listed not just the Top 40 hits off all-time, but expanded it to any song that made the Top 100. The newest edition also includes classic cuts, songs that have entered the public consciousness but never were released as singles ("Stairway To Heaven" being the most obvious example).

The second was the advent of the iPod and iTunes. Holy crap. As someone e-mailed me, iTunes for me "is like a heroin addict having a poppy field in the backyard." What was a harmless hobby turned into a full-blown obsession.

There aren't many criteria for what I collect. If it has charted in the Top 100 between the start of 1955 and on through today, I'm game. If it's one of those classic cuts that you hear on the radio but was never released, I'm on it. In many cases, if it was a B-side that was released with the bigger A-side, I'll include it.

Additionally, if an album was listed in Rolling Stone's most recent countdown of the 500 greatest albums of all-time, I'll upload the entire album. Finally, I'm looking to have every album and every cut for the following artists: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2, Prince, John Mellencamp, The Police, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Run DMC, and Oingo Boingo (just kidding). I'm debating whether to put Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder in that list.

If you're interested in seeing what I've got at my disposal, you can check these two spreadsheets:

Brian's obsession, part 1
Brian's obsession, the next 5000 songs

If anyone cares to help me add to this growing illness of mine, I'd be happy to send off blank CDs for you to burn songs for me and make your own contributions!

Monday, May 05, 2008


And I mean random...I just added the song "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do" by Aretha Franklin to my iPod collection. As I went to my book to mark it off, here's the liner note below it:

Aretha was the first artist to have a hit at each peak position from #1-10 (the others were Marvin Gaye and Madonna).

In case you're wondering what those ten songs were...

#1 - Respect (debuted on charts 4/29/67)
#2 - Chain Of Fools (12/9/67)
#3 - Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do) (11/24/73)
#4 - Baby I Love You (7/22/67)
#5 - (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone (3/2/68)
#6 - The House That Jack Built (8/17/68)
#7 - Think (5/18/68)
#8 - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (9/30/67)
#9 - I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (3/4/67)
#10 - I Say A Little Prayer (8/17/68)

Hey, for good measure:

#11 - Don't Play That Song (8/8/70)

Other random little know music facts:

Minor 1980's group New Order was originally the influential late 70's band Joy Division. When lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980, the band found a new lead singer and had their greatest commercial success under a different name.

The actor who played Johnny Fontane in the Godfather series was an actual singer, Al Martino. He had eleven Top 40 hits and ranks as the 138th most successful artist in Billboard history, ahead of Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, Van Halen, John Lennon, The Righteous Brothers, Beyonce, Al Green, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and a host of other notables.

Dan Aykroyd was a backup vocalist for USA For Africa on their "We Are The World" track, presumably because of his time with the Blues Brothers.

David Lee Roth is from Bloomington, Axl Rose in Lafayette. Henry Lee Summer was from Brazil, but a special nod goes to LaPorte's Rich Hardesty. Sorry, no link for Hardesty, because my favorite song of his breaks every obscenity law there should be on this site.

Jerome Geils wasn't the lead singer of his band (that was Peter Wolf). Mike Rutherford of Mike + The Mechanics wasn't the lead singer (that was Paul Carrack). Robert "Kool" Bell wasn't the lead singer of Kool & The Gang (that was James "J.T." Taylor). However, Harry Wayne Casey, better known as KC, was the lead singer of the Sunshine Band.

Now you know...