OA: Rock Cesario Column September 05, 2008
Revisiting the top picks for desert island-living music
Someone who brought in a box of LPs recently asked me to name my top five rock ’n’ roll “desert island” albums.
I’ve been asked this question in the past and decided to pull out of my archives a column that ran Aug. 31, 2007.
After you read it, I would love for you to share with me your list of top five or 10 or 50 albums or artists. Send your list to the e-mail address at the end of this column.
Who knows, we may even print some of them in a future column.
And now, here is the bulk of that “desert island” column with a few list adjustments, as I’ve had more time to think about it:
If double albums count as one I would choose The Beatles’ “White Album,” Bob Dylan’s “Blonde On Blonde.” Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland,” The Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main St.,” and The Allman Brothers Band’s “Live at Fillmore East.”
But what about Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffitti,” The Grateful Dead’s first live record or Chicago’s first or second album?
Should I do it alphabetically?
If so, I am going to need at least 26 choices, and I’m afraid I would get stuck on the letter B.
Let’s give it a try.
A would be Allman Brothers.
B would have to be The Beatles, and I could pick five of its titles alone. How about The Band or Jimmy Buffett? How could you not have Jimmy Buffett on a desert island?
For the letter C, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, CCR, Chicago and CSN&Y come to mind first.
Bob Dylan, Donovan, The Doors and Dire Straits would be for the letter D.
For the next letter, I choose The Eagles and maybe Steve Earle.
Let’s see, now I have 15 and we are only on E. This is harder than I thought.
Fleetwood Mac, The Grateful Dead, The Guess Who, Jimi Hendrix, John Hiatt, Hot Tuna, It’s A Beautiful Day,
Jefferson Airplane, The Kinks, Mark Knopfler, Little Feat, Gordon Lightfoot, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Lovin’ Spoonful take us to the middle of the alphabet.
We are halfway through, and I am sure I have left several out. I am not sure I can do this. It like too much music, but let’s keep trying.
Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison are for M and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for N.
For O, I’ll go with Roy Orbison.
Poco, Pink Floyd and one of my all-time favorites Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for the letter P.
R would be the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, The Rascals and Chris Rea.
For S would be Santana, of course, with Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen and Simon & Garfunkel.
Traffic and James Taylor would be my choices for T, and U2 by default for the letter U.
I can’t think of one for V, but for W it would be War, Lucinda Williams and The Wallflowers led by Jacob Dylan.
Nothing for the letter X.
Y would be Neil Young, with Z being Warren Zevon and of course ZZ Top, as long as it was an early recording.
That makes 54 choices by doing it alphabetically, and that is only rock ’n’ roll. What about Soul, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk and Country? I could choose five from each of those categories.
How about these five pioneers from early rock: Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins?
These are the obvious choices from a mid-forties aged baby boomer. If you are so inclined and have the time, try it.