Friday, September 19, 2008

Pretentious Top 5 Lists (a la "High Fidelity")

This week I will present some well-thought out musical top 5 lists, which were pondered over laboriously with ma nephew Matt in the Arizona desert this past July. There was lots of time to kill in between the time spent tracking California Condors, so we retorted to impressing each other with our vast musical knowledge. About 8 miles deep in the Grand Canyon, there wasn't much to do during a long day of sweating and hiding under a rock from the blistering sun (though no hot chili peppers). At well over 100 degrees, we threw out top 5 lists of our own device, just like John Cusack and Jack Black. These are some of the results, none of which can be considered definitive:

Top 5 Grateful Dead Shows:

- May 2, 1970 - Harper College - Dick's Picks 8 - This show is epic. It's all over the boards, with a nice country-gospel tinged acoustic set, followed by an absolutely primal, furious electric performance.
- June 26, 1974 - Boston Garden - Dick's Picks 12 - This is pure liquid drippy trippy Jerry at his cleanest and most blissful. China Cat ->Rider is my all time favorite.
- August 27, 1972 - Field Trip, Veneta, OR - One of the legendary all-around amazing shows. From clean, tight, succinct songs to summer melty deep space jams, this one has it all.
- October 29, 1980 - Gainsville, FL - A seemingly random choice, this show is meaty, with thick, muscular playing, added to greatly by Brent Mydland's organ and keys. Really intense and rocking.
Tie for 5th:
- July 12, 1990 - RFK Stadium, Washington, DC - Played during a massive rainstorm, this is another rocking, meaty show that Brent is all over. A great version of "Foolish Heart," then a way-out-there, very powerful "Dark Star."
- May 9, 1977 - Buffalo, NY - I choose this over the more popular show the night before, mostly because of its absolutely perfect Help->Slip->Frank opener. Everything else is also performed to perfection. Just flawless music.

Matt's Top 5 Grateful Dead Shows:

- May 2, 1970 - Harper College
- Dick's Picks 8
- May 8, 1977 - Cornell University

- May 22, 1977 - Pembroke Pines, FL - Dick's Picks 3
- January 17, 1968 - Eureka Municipal Auditorium
- June 17, 1991 - Giants Stadium

My Top 5 One Hit Wonders:

- House of Pain - Jump Around
- Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein
- Dexy's Midnight Riders - Come On Eileen
- Don McLean - American Pie
- Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Honorable Mention: Faith No More - Epic

Matt's Top 5 One Hit Wonders:

- Dexy's Midnight Riders - Come On Eileen
- Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
- Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me with Science
- Rick Derringer - Rock and Roll Coochie Coo
-The Knack - My Sherona

Top 5 Songs about Pot (in order):

1. Cypress Hill - Hits from the Bong
2. Peter Tosh - Legalize It
3. Bob Marley - Kaya
4. Black Sabbath - Sweet Leaf
5. Peter Rowan - Panama Red

List of Musicians who should have died years ago to save their reputation and legacy:

- Rod Stewart - Should have died right after Faces broke up in the mid 70's. Entire solo career was a poor decision.
- Eric Clapton - Should have overdosed and been dead in 1972. His entire solo career is regretable.
- Sting - Should have died in the late 80's early 90's
- Tina Turner - Should have never existed in the 80's at all. Poor decision on her part.
- Robbie Robertson - Should have died of a cocaine OD during the after party for The Last Waltz in 1976
- ELVIS (the definiton) - Probably should have died right after his '68 comeback special
- Pete Townsend - Should have died in 1978, with Keith Moon
- Michael Jackson - Should have died right after "Bad" was released in 1987
- Elton John - The 80s did not treat this guy well either. Should have died in the late 70s.
- Metallica (whole band) - Should have all gone down in a plane crash during their world tour for The Black Album in 1991.
- B-52's (whole band) - Their first album was incredible. Everything else sucked. They should have gone away back in 1979.
- Ozzy Osbourne - Should have gone down in the plane crash that killed Randy Rhoades. That was the last good music he ever made.
- Bono - Actually, Bono should have never existed on this earth as we know him. I would respect the man more if he was never the lead singer of a band called U2, and ended up a local mechanic in Dublin.

All-time Top Hired Session Musicians who MADE the albums they played on:

- Richard Davis - Upright Bass on Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks"
Mike Garson - Piano on David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane"
- Bernie Worrell - Keyboards on Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense"
- Duane Allman - Guitar on Derek and the Dominoes' "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs"
- Billy Preston - Keyboards on the Beatles ' "Let It Be"
- Al Kooper - Organ on Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" (great story about this session here)
- David Grisman - Mandolin on Grateful Dead's "American Beauty"
- Jerry Garcia - Guitar on David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name"
- The Meters - Backing band for Robert Palmer's "Sneakin' Sally Thru the Alley"

That is all. I like the last list the best.


  1. you should listen to the album Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass did together. It's called "Passages." Fucking sick. This has nothing to do with your blog.

  2. I'll give it a whirl! (for the kids)

  3. a) Lowell George (little feat) was there as well with the Meters
    b) While technically a part of the band, Eric Burden with War was possibly the coolest combo ever to walk the eart.
    c) How goes it dude?


  4. - June 26, 1974 - Boston Garden - Dick's Picks 12 - This is pure liquid drippy trippy Jerry at his cleanest and most blissful. China Cat ->Rider is my all time favorite.

    This show was actually at the Providence Civic Center. Dicks Pick's vol 12 is the second sets of Providence (6/26) and Boston (6/28). Great pick though...