(Getty Images)

The rapper Jay-Z says when you hear a great song, “you can think of where you were when you first heard it, the sounds, the smells. It takes the emotions of a moment and holds it for years to come. It transcends time.” What songs transcend time for you? What songs do you keep coming back to, over and over again, at different stages of your life? If you were in charge of someone’s music education, what songs would you insist on? Music critic Tom Moon guides us through some of the selections found in his book, “1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die: A Listener’s Life List.”

The Forum Team's Picks

Producer Irene Noguchi:
Calexico, "Over Your Shoulder"
Sam Cooke, "Bring It On Home To Me/Sentimental Feeling"
Jeff Buckley, "Lover, You Should Have Come Over"

Producer Judy Campbell:
T. Rex, "The Slider"
Sly and the Family Stone, "Fresh"
Cat Power, "Moon Pix"

Producer Tina Laurberg:
Mozart, "Overture of Don Giovanni"
The Police, "Every Little Thing"
Kim Larsen, "Hvad Goer Vi Nu, Lille Du"

Senior Editor Dan Zoll:
Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue"
Talking Heads, "Speaking in Tongues"
REM, "Murmur"

Online producer David Marks:
CAN "Tago Mago"
The Congos "Heart of the Congos"
Fairuz "Andaloussiyat"

 

Listeners’ Picks

 

CLASSICAL COMPOSITIONS

Handel’s Messiah

Clair de Lune, Claude Debussy

Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin

John Philip Sousa

Quatuor à cordes, Claude Debussy

 

SONGS

I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag, Country Joe and the Fish

Get Together, The Youngbloods

Summer in the City, Lovin Spoonful

Sunny, Bobby Hebb

Ode to Billie Joe, Bobbie Gentry  

For Your Love, The Yardbirds

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore, The Walker Bros

Hey Jude, The Beatles

Casey Jones, Grateful Dead

Ripple, Grateful Dead

Your Song, Elton John

Levon, Elton John

Redneck Friend, Jackson Browne

Rosalita, Bruce Springsteen   

Blue Sky, The Allman Brothers Band

Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac

Sail on Sailor, The Beach Boys

Birdland, Weather Report

Waterloo Sunset, The Kinks

O.P.P., Naughty By Nature

I Wish, Skee-Lo

This Is How We Do It,  Montell Jordan

Jump, Kris Kross

Ain't Hard to Tell, Nas   

All Along the Watchtower, Bob Dylan (Jimi Hendrix version)

Layla, Derek and the Dominos

Marquee Moon, Television

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, The Temptations

I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye

Function at the Junction, Shorty Long

Someone In A Tree, Stephen Sondheim ( from Pacific Overtures)

You Light Up My LIfe, Debby Boone  

De Do Do Do De Da Da Da, The Police

Blue Rondo  à la Turk, Dave Brubeck

Come Sunday, Mahalia Jackson & Duke Ellington

In the Mood, Glenn Miller

Begin the Beguine, Artie Shaw

In the Aeroplane over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel

Don’t You Forget About Me, Simple Minds

Here’s To Life, Joe Williams

My Dear Acquaintance, Regina Spektor

After the Storm, Mumford & Sons

Inch of Dust, Future Islands

Sick Talk, Wye Oak

Ohia, Farewell Transmission

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Eurythmics

Dancing in the Dark, Bruce Springsteen

If This is It, Huey Lewis and the News

Uncatena, Sylvan Esso

Nick of Time, Bonnie Raitt

Aja, Steely Dan

Georgia, Boz Scaggs

Rawhide (Theme Song), Frankie Lane

Dazed and Confused, Led Zeppelin   

The Wall, Quicksilver Messenger Service

Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Kingston Trio

San Franciscan Nights, Eric Burdon & The Animals

Cat’s In the Cradle, Harry Chapin

OK Computer, Radiohead

Surf’s Up, The Beach Boys

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, The Allman Brothers Band

Águas de Março, Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina

A Sunday Kind of Love, Etta James  

Besame Mucho, (Multiple Versions)

Song of the Wind, Carlos Santana

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding  

Hound Dog, Elvis Presley

Blowing in the Wind, Peter, Paul and Mary

I Want to Hold Your Hand, The Beatles

In My LIfe, The Beatles

Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles

Light My FIre, The Doors

Lovely Day, Bill Withers

So Many Stars, Sergio Mendes & Brasil

The Idiot Kings, Soul Coughing

 

ALBUMS/MUSICIANS

Like I Said, Ani DiFranco

Modern Times, Al Stewart

Jack White

Hank Williams

Johnny Cash

Summer Sun, Yo La Tengo

The War on Drugs

St. Vincent

Thembi, Pharoah Sanders (Album)

Forest Flower, Charles Lloyd (Album)

Liquid Swords, GZA

Let it Bleed, The Rolling Stones

Arctic Monkeys

Louis Armstrong

Ella Fitzgerald

Frank Sinatra

Diana Krall

Chuck Berry

Wilma Cozart Fine

Bert Whyte

Talking Book, Stevie Wonder

Kind of Blue, Miles Davis

Avalon, Roxy Music

Joni Mitchell

Bjork                           

Fleet Foxes

Jose Gonzalez

Otis Redding

Graceland, Paul Simon

Fleetwood Mac

Jefferson Airplane

The Doors

Quicksilver Messenger Service

Big Brother and the Holding Company

Country Joe and the Fish

Grateful Dead

Dele Sosimi

Fela Kuti

Outkast

1984, Van Halen

Jar of Flies, Alice in Chains

Paul's Boutique, Beastie Boys

Getz/Gilberto, Stan Getz/João Giberto and featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim

The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks, Ella Fitzgerald

Eat a Peach, Allman Brothers

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

Hunky Dory, David Bowie

Taking Tiger Mountain, Brian Eno

My Aim is True, Elvis Costello

The Clash, The Clash

Lani Hall

Peter Gabriel

Paul Simon

Daft Punk

James Brown

Yes, Morphine

Carole King

Tapestry

Star Wars soundtracks

Indiana Jones soundtracks

Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ, Peter Gabriel

Voodoo, D'angelo

Lust for life, Iggy Pops

Live at the Harlem Square Club, Sam Cooke

Stan Kenton

Benny Goodman  

Ali Akbar Khan

Rajeev Taranath

Peter and the Wolf, Sergei Prokofiev

Tom Lehrer

Rubber Soul, The Beatles

Live Dead, Grateful Dead

Rehearsals for Retirement, Phil Ochs

The Compleat Tom Paxton, Tom Paxton

Days of Future Passed, Moody Blues

Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan

Fifth Album, Judy Collins

Greatest Hits, Linda Ronstadt

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, Simon Garfunkel

Ingénue, K.D. Lang

Hejira, Joni Mitchell

License to Ill, Beastie Boys

Appetite for Destructions, Guns 'N Roses

The Real Thing, Faith No More

Liege and Lief, Fairport Convention

Asha Bhosle

Rust Never Sleeps, Neil Young

My Life in The Bush of Ghosts, Brian Eno/David Byrne

Gil Evans

Every Grain of Sand, Barb Jungr

Days of Future Passed, The Moody Blues

Be Yourself Tonight, Eurythmics

Jesus Christ Superstar

Chess

Monk Suite: Kronos Quartet Plays Music of Thelonious Monk

The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell

Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Joni Mitchell.

Sweetnighter, Weather Report

Grievous Angel

Graham Parsons

East-West, The Butterfield Blues Band

Guests:
Tom Moon, music reviewer for NPR and author of "1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List"

  • Jesse Hammer

    Paul’s Boutique, the Beastie Boys second album, is a record I find new ways to get lost in every time I hear it, which is very often. One of the pinnacles of Hip-Hop’s golden age before sampling was outlawed and creativity ran rampant. It is truly a modern masterpiece.

  • dfordscriba

    (NB: Songs are not necessarily on chosend albums.)
    Beatles. Song: Hey Jude. Album(s): The White Album & Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
    Band: Grateful Dead. Song(s): Casey Jones & Ripple. Album(s): Workingman’s Dead & American Beauty.
    Band: Elton John. Song(s): Your Song & Levon. Album: Madman Across the Water.
    Band: Jackson Browne. Song(s): Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard & Redneck Friend. Album: For Everyman.
    Band: Bruce Springsteen. Song: Rosalita. Album: Greetings from Asbury Park.
    Band: Allman Brothers. Song: Blue Sky. Album: Eat a Peach.
    Band: Fleetwood Mac. Song: Rhiannon. Album: Fleetwood Mac.
    Band: The Beach Boys. Song: Sail On Sailor. Album: Pet Sounds.
    Band: Weather Report. Song: Birdland. Album: Heavy Weather.
    Band: The Band. Song: The Weight. Album: Music from Big Pink.

    • L A

      Do you mean Paul Simon for Me and Julio?

      • dfordscriba

        Of course I do. It was the first 45 I ever purchased. See how old I am? Thank you!

  • dorothy

    I always gravitate to songs from the mid ’60s as that takes me back to my teen years, growing up in SF, hanging out at Haight-Ashbury/Avalon Ballroom. Music from Jefferson Airplane, Doors, Quicksilver Messenger, Big Brother, Country Joe, GD, etc. Too many to name! Was so lucky to grow up here!

    • Ehkzu

      I wasn’t a teen then but I was there then, listening to all that and watching 2001 a dozen times in Cinerama…

      What has stuck with me the most from that era’s music was Quicksilver Messenger Service’s 12 minute long mostly instrumental track “The Fool” with amazingly lyrical guitar work by John Cippolino (RIP):

  • Ginny Bahr

    anything by Fela Kuti- his amalgamation of all my favorite rhythms always stops me in my tracks every time and makes me spontaneously dance. His protege Dele Sosimi does the same.

  • RajK

    Paul’s Boutique! Excellent call! I’ll add License to Ill by Beastie Boys too. Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite for Destruction is an incredible album. Alice in Chains – Jar of Flies is a masterpiece that most don’t recognize. Van Halen’s – 1984. Early albums by Outkast too…..

    • Jesse Hammer

      I completely agree with everything you wrote 100%.

  • dorothy

    Mid-’60s: I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die (Country Joe), Get Together (Youngbloods), Summer in the City (Loving Spoonful), Sunny (Bobby Hebb), Ode to Billie Joe (Bobbie Gentry), For Your Love (Yardbirds),The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (Walker Bros). All the “English Beat”. It’s a long list!

    • Robert Thomas

      A list that’s both concise and excellent.

      Mark Sebastian wrote the words and music for “Summer in the City” when he was fifteen. His brother John re-wrote and added verses gradually during performances, before it was recorded.

  • Getz Gilberto is the greatest album in the world!

  • Eric Jaeger

    Fabulous point about “listening style”. Critical listening vs. “grazing” is like the difference between “long form” writing and twitter. Hard to imagine “grazing” Bob Dylan, rather like “grazing” Moby Dick.

  • Bob

    A huge “thank you” and a question. I have been fortunate to work from home for the last few years and thanks to Tom, and Spotify, I have listened to every selection in the book chronologically. I’m up to Handel’s Messiah this morning, a great journey, blame Forum for taking me off track occasionally. The question: Why the dearth of work out of the Asian cultures?

  • trite

    Almost anything from the Ella Fitzgerald Songbook series; Sketches From Spain by Miles Davis; Elvis–Heartbreak Hotel

  • Chris OConnell

    Good to see Stephen Malkmus on the list with Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. I think the uninitiated could appreciate both the funny, strange but interesting lyrics as well as the music in songs like “Range Life” and “Stop Breathing.”

  • Steve

    So many seminal albums, but I’ll choose just one: Allman Brothers, Eat a Peach.

  • Tom Moon’s comment about what’s being lost with the hit single-driven instant gratification of internet delivery really hit home. When you sit down with a vinyl album and commit to listening to it all the way through, you’re taking in that artist’s music on so many more levels than simply grabbing a track off of a playlist. Artists used to pay so much attention to the album as a complete and integral work of art, and the track ordering; even that point when side one broke so that you’d have to flip it over–was so important to the complete listening experience.

    With that in mind, there are two albums that have always reigned for me as totally amazing individual masterpieces–and both of the bands/artists behind them are not necessarily my #1 favorites–they just succeeded in putting together two albums that I can listen to over and over for years and years, never tiring of their brilliance.

    The Stone Roses: “The Stone Roses”
    David Bowie: “Hunky Dory”
    and almost in that league: Brian Eno: “Taking Tiger Mountain”

    And my favorite song–for this week or month or so–is one that I first heard in 1978 when I was in grade school, and it’s haunted me ever since: Blind Faith: “Can’t Find My Way Home”.

  • Sheree Wright

    One of my all time favorites Donny Hathaway’s A Song For You and also by Donny Hathaway Love Love Love. Quintessential Soul Music the hits to the core!
    Sheree Wright
    Oakland, CA

  • jumbeli

    The recording of the legendary Indian classical sarod player Ali Akbar Khan in the 50’s and 60’s initiated an interest in that tradition. The incredible musicianship was so inspiring that those from all music backgrounds immediately became magnetized to this beautiful tradition. That initial spark began with the album released in the U.S. in 1954 of Ragas Pilu and Bhairavi. Many great musicians have continued to keep us moved by the music. Ali Akbar Khan’s disciple Rajeev Taranath is one of my favorite artists and
    sarod players currently touring and performing.

    • Ehkzu

      The Indian singing tradition is equally vibrant. One singer from the era you cite, the beloved Asha Bhosle, is still working in Bollywood.

      I’d nominate her rendition of Yun na thi (“My love and I were not destined to be together in this life”):

      • jumbeli

        great point. She is wonderful. I have studied the vocal music (Indian classical) and also appreciate the film songs. The Indian music traditions have tremendous scope and depth. One of my favorite youtube’s of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s disciple Rajeev Taranath:

  • Ben Rawner

    Does Tom Moon host a radio station? Or at least have a favorite one?

  • Robert

    New frontier , Donald Fagan

    • Robert Thomas

      I love The Nightfly.

      “The Goodbye Look” sums up the first world’s involvement in the developing world more precisely than Graham Greene was ever able.

  • Jack Stewart

    Classical – I prefer early modern
    Stravinsky – Rite of Spring, Les Noce
    Bartok – 4th String Quartet
    Beethoven – op. 110 piano sonata #31, grosse fuga string quartet
    others: Bach esp. solo works, Christopher Rouse, Maurice Ohana

    Rock – I am kinda stuck in the late ’60’s
    Hendrix – 1st 2 albums
    Cream – Fresh Cream
    The band – 1st 2 albums
    Tom Waits – Small Change, more recent albuims
    others: Jeff Beck – Blow by Blow, Yardbirds – Rave up, Over Under

    I am too distracted to think of more right now.

    • Ehkzu

      I’d second that emotion regarding Rite of Spring. And neither Stravinsky nor any other composer has really followed up on that piece. I saw a clip of the Diaghilev ballet it was composed to accompany, and the ballet is a dated period piece, while the music is just as wildly alive today as it was in 1913.

      For me the closest to a follow-up is actually Led Zepplin, with spookily intense numbers like Daze and Confused.

      • Eric Malone

        I must add that “The Firebird” for Stravinsky holds up as well as “Le Sacre du Printemps.” I find it infinitely fascinating and keep finding new things to admire about it, as well as “The Rite.”

  • J. Harris

    Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody…that song sent me back to college when I had quit and lost direction and drive in my young life.

  • Eric Malone

    I have numerous rock albums I keep returning to, but for me, the indelible perennial is “La Mer” by Debussy as performed by Pierre Boulez and the New Philharmonia Orchestra. Eric Malone

    • Ehkzu

      Love La Mer, and I agree that it never gets old. It has extra meaning for me because my spouse & I are scuba divers who have spent a lot of time out on the rolling sea in smallish boats–most recently on Looe Key in the Florida Keys a few weeks ago, along with a few whale watching trips out past the Farallon Islands, and Debussy really captured the feeling of the sea, at once both serene and restless.

    • Robert Thomas

      Twenty-five years ago, I had to quickly program some music for my father’s funeral. Ultimately, I decided on Cleo Laine’s 1980 rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s and Johnny Mercer’s “Skylark” and “La Mer” performed by Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for Mercury Living Presence. My dad was a sailor; Laine was his favorite singer and Debussy was his favorite composer. After twenty-five years, I still find the juxtaposition of Carmichael and Debussy to be very satisfying.

      • Eric Malone

        I’m going to have to check out that version of “Skylark.” Thanks for the recommendation!

        • Robert Thomas

          It was recorded on an album of duets with James Galway. Galway’s flute provides a romantic and orchestral counterpoint while emphasizing the air around Laine’s voice.

          Cleo Laine & James Galway ‎– Sometimes When We Touch
          1980
          RCA Red Seal ‎– RL 25296,

  • Amy

    Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Remember hearing this for the first time and getting shivers. What a song, silly and profound, unbelievable in all the right ways. Beautiful work, unlike anything else out there. A seminal work.

    • Ehkzu

      Not to mention the fact that Queen’s lead singer/songwriter, Farrokh Bulsara, a Parsi from Zanzibar who didn’t move to the UK until his mid/late teens, is probably the most famous Zoroastrian ever–albeit under his stage name Freddy Mercury.

  • Ehkzu

    I’d nominate the interpretation of “Come what may” from Baz Luhrnan’s movie “Moulin Rouge” by soprano Jackie Evancho singing with The Tenors, from her album “Songs From the Silver Screen” (which was also a PBS special). Miss Evancho has the most beautiful singing voice I’ve ever heard in any genre, and her interpretive skills are equally good within her chosen genre of classical crossover. She just performed two songs on the PBS Memorial Day special.

    Miss Evancho’s first PBS special, “Dream with me” (with accompanying album) was one of the most successful specials PBS has ever aired in terms of generating pledges.

    So given that this is KQED, even though classical crossover is disdained by both classical and pop purists, Jackie Evancho deserves mentioning, because she is so popular with KQED subscribers.

    But besides that demograhic fact, Miss Evancho’s ability to realize the expressive potential of the human voice in a uniquely beautiful form transcends the innate blandness of her genre.

    And I’m saying this as a lover of everything from Albinoni to shakuhachi to Zappa.

  • Michael

    Don’t forget Talk Talk’s ‘Laughing Stock’

  • Hannah O.

    Despite being an assistant recording engineer in pop and R&B driven studio my favorite tunes are big-band tracks from the 1940s. My great-grandfather worked as an arranger during that era, and some day I hope to record his arrangements of those same songs.

    • Ehkzu

      As well as the great big swing bands, there were also great jazz big bands, notably Stan Kenton’s–he did amazing stuff and doesn’t really have any descendants.

      There were also amazing smaller ensembles in that era–I’m thinking of the Benny Goodman Quartet, whose energy was Led Zepplin-level.

      • Hannah O.

        Very true! And I’ll have to listen to more of Kenton’s work. I know I’ve heard some, but I don’t know if I’d be able to recognize it.

        My housemates caught me dancing around the kitchen to “Take the A Train” just a few days ago. And I love anything with a good brass section – my great-grandad was a trombonist and played most of his own arrangements with a group called the Freddy Nagel Orchestra.

    • Robert Thomas

      The problem is that the recording technology limits my enjoyment.

      However, when I was a teenager in the early ’70s, an adult relative introduced me to recordings made by Bert Whyte at Everest and to the monuments created by Bob and Wilma Cozart Fine at Mercury. The Fines in particular and their work are national treasures.

      • Robert Thomas

        I will go so far as to say that Wilma Cozart Fine is a deity.

      • Hannah O.

        I actually grew up listening mostly to classical music. With the extreme compression put on pop these days (and anything on the radio) it makes me even more grateful for the dynamic range of a symphony.

  • Jay

    Sam Cooke is the best, and “Touch the Hem of His Garment” knocks me sideways every time. Of his secular music, you cannot beat Live at the Harlem Square Club.

    • Yes – the Soul Stirrers stuff definitely tops the pop stuff and even the brilliant forays into authentic R&B, which were too few once he abandoned gospel

  • Tyrone

    For an amalgamation of turn of the century blues, Punk, RnB, performance art and raw energy, Iggy Pops Lust for life is a reigning champion. That rhythm section beat out all others.

  • Brandon Jon Canchola

    D’angelo’s Voodoo. The pockets created by Pino Palladino on bass and ?uestlove on drums are unlike any rhythm section takes I’ve ever heard.

  • Katherine Valois

    I’d like to add more movie soundtracks to the sounds that have impacted our lives – I think movie and game soundtracks are where the best current classical music is being produced. How many other people are immediately taken to a place and time by the Star Wars or Indiana Jones soundtracks? One of my favorite albums of all time is the soundtrack from The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel.

  • Tamara

    Carole King and Tapestry come to mind. Her songs pop into my head frequently, and they are such beautiful examples of strong pop songs.

  • Scott

    Leonard Cohen, early (“Suzanne”) middle (“Hallelujah”) and late (“In My Secret Life”)…plus fabulous covers done by so many great singers.

  • Guest

    I’d add songs by the most under-appreciated bands of the 90’s/Early 2000’s: Soul Coughing and Morphine. Everything on Morphine’s Yes. And Idiot Kings by Soul Coughing perfectly captures the feeling of trying to reassure yourself everything is ok.

  • Connie

    James Brown – any of his songs. He turned me on to music when I heard one of his songs when I was eleven and waiting in line at an ice cream stand. It was my music epiphany moment. There is a movie coming out on him this summer

  • Globalization is a huge part of music in the last 50 years.. Beginning with the British invasion to true World music integrated into our heads by Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon and a host of other artists. Today it is Daft Punk

  • Tam Gray

    So many men … How about Lani Hall (Herb Alpert’s wife) doing the vocal of So Many Stars on Brasil 66 – 86 Classics album … You’ll never forget the music and the idea of ‘choices’ in your life and song.

    • Robert Thomas

      A&M records is a sort of popular music national treasure.

      • Tam Gray

        Think we may have the Whipped Cream Album we bought in the ’60s.

  • Pauline

    Did anyone catch the name of the song/artist Michael and Tom just talked about–Tom regretted not including it in his book, but then he didn’t reference the name. I caught something about Elephant 6?

  • Robert Thomas

    “Gloria”, 1964; Them

    “This Boy”, 1963; The Beatles

    “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, Thomas A. Dorsey; Mahalia Jackson’s 1956 recording and Nina Simone’s 1968 album ‘Nuff Said!

    “A Song for You”, 1970; Leo Russell, Leon Russell

    “Something Better Change” 1977; The Stranglers, No More Heros

    This is an impossible exercise.

    I realized belatedly, thirty years ago that the nature of pop music is to pass away.

    An interesting thing is that one’s memorable recorded popular music experiences are colored by the contemporary music delivery technology. For my grandmother, this was the concert hall and the radio and gramophone records; for my parents it was largely the same. For my siblings and I it was 45’s, LP records and the radio.

    It was also driven by personal economics. before I could afford to buy records, I listened to my siblings’ records, to some of my friends’ records and primarily, to a transistor pocket radio and car radio, trying to locate the AM station with the best play list.

    When I got my first paycheck, I bought Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True and The Clash’s self-titled first LP. These were probably $7 – $9 each, which was serious money – a judicious investment.

    p.s. Had to go back and add Carney due to its tumultuous intersection with entirely personal aspects of my life.
    p.p.s. Had to replace Carney with “A Song for You” because although the former infuses me, the latter was at the nexus of profound pain and regret.

    • Ehkzu

      Regarding Dorsey’s “Take my hand precious Lord” and Mahalia Jackson, I hope you’ve seen the 1982 Gospel music convention documentary “Say Amen Somebody” which includes a bit of Dorsey himself (in his 80s) singing.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086245/

      I never tire of listenng to the songs from this documentary, which are available on CD. My favorite is the O’Neal Twins’ “Jesus dropped the charges.”

      • Robert Thomas

        My grandmother introduced me, when i was a child, to Willie Mae Ford Smith and I’m a Huge Fan. I have the DVD of Say Amen, Somebody! and recommend it to everyone. It’s a documentary film in the class of those of the Maysles brothers.

        I included “Precious Lord” in my list because it revealed to me how profoundly some devotional music can inform the secular experience.

        • Marion Williams is a “must” if you love old school gospel – among the greatest American singers ever, Rocks more than Mahalia, who I also love when she wasn’t being over-produced and mainstreamed by Columbia records A&R.

    • Robert Thomas

      An’ when my life is over
      Remember when we were together
      We were alone an’ I was
      Singing this song for you

      A Song for You
      Leon Russell, 1970

  • Robert Thomas

    On second listening to this, I observe that just when yet again I’d come to the point of deciding that pop music no longer speaks to me, I saw Jack White with his two bands on a recent Austin City Limits edition.

    He is astonishing.

  • Maria Furman

    Jamaica Farewell by Harry Belafonte, I still remember how I froze every time I heard it

  • It’s Gram Parsons.

    Nobody should leave this planet not having heard Coleman Hawkins “Body & Soul”, Mingus’ “Ah Uhm” or that Monk album w Coltrane and Coleman Hawkins. I think it’s Brilliant Corners – he’s in a little red wagon. Also the core ouvre of Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. Makes a lot of the above sound like elevator music.

  • No love for Beethoven? The 9th is a must listen if anything ever was.

  • Menelvagor

    iron butterfly. Inagadavida. Forgive my spelling.

  • Menelvagor

    otis redding. thumbs up

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