Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Desert Island Meme


I've come up with a Meme. It started with a book. The book was "Stranded" and edited by Greil Marcus. The premise was simple: Twenty rock and roll writers pick the one album they would take with them if they were stranded on a Desert Island. So the purpose of this meme is also fairly simple: pick one album that you would take with you if you were stranded on a Desert Island.

I've given this a lot of thought. After I read the book twenty some years ago I tried to think of what one album I couldn't live without. What one album would I want to have with me and to be the only album I would be able to listen to.

Immediately I thought of the albums of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and the Beatles. These three I always go back to. They are my Holy Trinity. Pretty much any of their albums I could listen to over and over. But which one of theirs do I pick?

Or do I decide to go with a newer choice? Newer musicians that have come to mean so much to me like Wilco or Lucinda Williams. Is there a way to pick just one to listen to for the rest of my life? Or do I chose something from a more obscure artist like Theresa Anderson or Shannon McNally.

In the end I went with my first love and something that I never grow tired of listening to.

When I was a kid the first music I remember listening to and making an impression on me was the Beatles. My cousin Debbie was about a decade older than me and was a teenager during the years of the Beatles' popularity and I always remember thinking how cool that would have been. I really didn't get into music until the end of their career. I was eleven when they broke up.

The first piece of music I ever owned was the 45 single of the Beatles' "Eight Days A Week" with the B-Side "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party." Later the first album I purchased was Beatles VI with those two songs on it. At first all I bought was Beatles music. I had a friend at the time that was a big fan of the Monkees and I remember how we'd call each other up whenever we'd buy a new album of our favorites. Of course I was buying older albums of the Beatles since they had already came out.

I remember finding out that there was a Beatles song that wasn't on any of their American albums and calling the radio station constantly asking for the song. They never played it. I also discovered that the American versions of their albums were different from the ones they released in England. It wasn't until the release of "Rubber Soul" that the two sides of the Atlantic started releasing the same versions. The American versions were stripped down affairs of what they originally released.

As a kid I championed the Beatles music while to most of the kids my age they were yesterday's news. I grew up out of step with my generation, they were listening to Grand Funk Railroad while I was listening to John, Paul, George and Ringo.

I can go months without listening to a Beatles song, but whenever I hear one I am entranced by their voices and their music. I'm not one that thinks their childhood as the best time of their life and want to hold onto and cherish their memories from that age, my love of the Beatles isn't nostalgia. I still think they created some of the greatest and freshest music of the last forty years. Their music still holds up today.

But what album would I bring? That's when I realized the album was "1" the greatest hits that was released in 2000. The track list is:


  1. "Love Me Do" – 2:20
  2. "From Me to You" – 1:56
    • Released on April 11, 1963 in the UK and reached #1 on May 2, where it stayed for 7 weeks.
  3. "She Loves You" – 2:21
  4. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" – 2:24
  5. "Can't Buy Me Love" – 2:11
  6. "A Hard Day's Night" – 2:33
  7. "I Feel Fine" – 2:18
  8. "Eight Days a Week" – 2:44
  9. "Ticket to Ride" – 3:10
  10. "Help!" – 2:18
  11. "Yesterday" – 2:05
  12. "Day Tripper" – 2:48
    • Released on December 3 in the UK, reaching #1 for 5 weeks on December 16, 1965. A tape drop-out that appears in previous stereo releases of this song has been corrected here.
  13. "We Can Work It Out" – 2:15
  14. "Paperback Writer" – 2:18
  15. "Yellow Submarine" – 2:38
  16. "Eleanor Rigby" – 2:06
  17. "Penny Lane" – 2:59
  18. "All You Need Is Love" – 3:47
  19. "Hello, Goodbye" – 3:27
  20. "Lady Madonna" – 2:16
  21. "Hey Jude" – 7:04
  22. "Get Back" – 3:12
  23. "The Ballad of John and Yoko" – 2:59
  24. "Something" (George Harrison) – 3:01
  25. "Come Together" – 4:18
  26. "Let It Be" – 3:50
  27. "The Long and Winding Road" – 3:37
It covers their entire career and has songs I could listen to over and over. It has the pop songs of their beginning like "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and than their more adventurous music such as "Hey Jude" and "Revolution." To me it's like a brief history of pop music on one album.

I know the tradition of a meme is to tag someone but I never know who to tag, so I'll tag anyone reading this that would like to take their try at picking one album. I'm hoping Travis, Bond, Malcom and Starrlight give it a go because I am very curious to see what their pick would be.

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6 comments:

Starrlight said...

Can I just say that I broke out in a cold sweat at the thought of JUST ONE ALBUM!!!

Holy moly. Of course I know what mine would be. The Joshua Tree by U2 =)

JohnH985 said...

I know what you mean, just the idea of only having one album makes me nervous. But you're choice was a great one and one that would be in my top ten...somehow I forgot U2 when I was talking about who to pick. But U2 is one of my favorites and would definitely be up there. All That You Can't Leave Behind is another one, it doesn't seem to get as much notice but the more I listen to it the more I really like it.

Starrlight said...

Hah! I just said on another friends blog that All That You Can't Leave Behind is in my top 4 albums. Because I have to have Rattle and Hum for All I Want Is You which is easily in my top 5 U2 songs.

Speaking of U2, I got the official announcement from them yesterday that the new album comes out on March 2/3 and will indeed be called No Line On The Horizon.

Oh and stop by and see this weeks Thursday Thirteen. I recap my favorite songs/bands of the year. I cheated. There are 13 artists but more than 13 songs. Mute Math made the list again. Your local boys are awesome!

Marvalus said...

I could never pick just one...can I choose 5? hee hee...

I think I'll give this a try...I love a good meme...

Travis said...

Sorry I saw this so late. I'm sitting here trying to think of what album...I don't even know if I can narrow it down.

I love your choice. Can I just pick my Ipod with an eternal source of power? HAH!

I know which book I'd choose. That would be Lord of the Rings.

Can I cheat on the music? I love so much that I'll choose the Oldies But Goodies collection from Time Life Music! I know it's 10 CDs, but it's all in one box set so does that count as one album?

JohnH985 said...

Marvalus I look forward to your pick, it's hard to pick just one. Even after picking one I keep thinking of others.

Travis, I would love to pick my Ipod too, that would be the best choice. At least you can pick a book, I'm not sure which book I would pick either. The Time/Life series is pretty good, I have most of them.

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