On an Island

A friend of mine recently asked for some suggestions of good music to add to his library. I gave him some of my current favorites, which are far from classics. But I got to thinking about my own music… My iTunes library has over 8,500 songs containing music from about 1934 to March 2007. If I were to hit “play” right now, it would keep playing for 31 days without stopping or playing the same song twice. I’m impulsive, so that’s why I carry an 80GB iPod on me so that I can listen to any of it on demand. Before such technology was available to me, I was just as impulsive, so I would take a huge 250-CD wallet with me on roadtrips.

But there’s no way that I’m listening to that much on a regular basis. I will bet that I listen to less than 5% of my music library in any given week. So I started thinking about how I could simplify my collection. I have a lot of stuff that’s just “so-so”, and I wouldn’t buy today were I given the choice. So what is the good stuff? What do I listen to all the time?

What would I do if the tables were turned and I didn’t have an 80GB iPod, 500GB external hard drive, or a 250-CD wallet?

What would I do if I were stranded on an island with only 12 CDs in a tiny case, and that music had to be so good that it wouldn’t make me go crazy or get bored of it? What is the most significant music created in the last 85 years that we’ve had recording technology?


Kind of Blue
Kind of Blue– Miles Davis (1959)

A Love Supreme
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane (1964)

Highway 61 Revisited
Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan (1965)

Tommy – The Who (1969)

Abbey Road
Abbey Road – The Beatles (1969)

Dark Side of the Moon
Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd (1974)

One From the Vault
One From the Vault – Grateful Dead (Live show 8/13/1975)

Aja – Steely Dan (1977)

Metallica (aka the Black Album) – Metallica (1991)

Crash – Dave Matthews Band (1996)

Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)

Frances the Mute
Frances the Mute – The Mars Volta (2005)

Yes, I skipped the ’80s. Yes, I am biased towards classic and prog rock. And music between between 1964 and 1977. But it’s just my opinion, it’s not definitive, and had I stuck with it, I would have saved hundreds by not buying crappier music.