None of the above

Over dinner at Rasoi a few nights ago, the conversation meandered all over the place, and at one point touched upon the kind of music people listened to. Someone was trying to describe Rick Wakeman’s Six Wives to someone else, and one thing led to another and I found myself extolling the virtues of Steve Howe playing Mood for A Day. Probably my favourite guitar instrumental.

And it got me thinking. How many people would be able to give a one-song answer when asked “What is your favourite song of all time”?

If I had to choose, Mood For a Day would be up there. As would Season of the Witch on Super Session. As would Take Five. And Peter, Paul and Mary doing Rocky Road.

Can’t Find My Way Home when done by Blind Faith would be there or thereabouts. But in the end, I would have only one answer, and it wouldn’t be any of the above.

If I was forced to live the rest of my life with just one song to keep me company, it would be Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. Magnificent.

So far I have met only one other person who may choose the same song as his all-time Number One, and that’s Hugh.

What’s yours?

26 thoughts on “None of the above”

  1. Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen), Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton), Baby’s on Fire (Eno),
    Autumn Leaves, Le jardin d’hiver and the Girl from Ipanema for their resilience to zillions of versions, Wild is the Wind (Bowie version), Guinevere (CSNY), Looking for Someone (Genesis), White Rabbit, Since I’ve been loving you but I must admit I always return to Why d’ya do it (Marianne Faithful) and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes in all its versions.

  2. Nights in White Satin — has to be the full version with the poem and then the final gong
    or —-
    or —-
    or —-

    How can you pick just one?

  3. JP, I am kind of curious as to what you (or, for that matter, any of your respondents) would have to say about the CRITERIA for your choice. This is not to say that there HAVE to be such criteria; but you know that I never turn down an opportunity to ask “Why?” Now, in all fairness, I think on a longer time-scale than you do. This means that I consider the whole scope of music history, rather than just a few decades of it; and, from that point of view, I submit for your consideration a post from my blog after I read a TELEGRAPH piece by Rupert Christiansen about his favorite opera:

    However, if you want to talk about songs, then I shall answer with a SONG, rather than a recording. The song is “Midnight Sun;” and I really do not care who is doing the singing as long as it is sung well. It has a text that verges on the corny without going there and a chromatic melody line that wraps around your auditory cortex so seductively that it transforms innocuous words into an erotic incantation. Do I have a favorite recording? Unless I am mistaken, I do not have ANY recording. This song is not for “everyday consumption;” and I can count on my jazz radio sources to administer it in proper doses!

  4. JP, I really don’t think I could pick one. And to avoid the human equivalent of a computer dividing by zero I shall leave Arthur Russell out of the equation.

    Mindful of Stephen’s comment some favourite recordings include: The Pixies – Monkey Gone To Heaven, Wim Mertens – Close Cover, The Alan Parsons Project – Voyager, A Certain Ratio – Waterline, Kate Bush – Cloud Busting, Smog – Ex-con, Material – Secret Life. Oh dear, I best stop here…

    Benoît, I thought I was suffering from auditory hallucinations when I first heard that Marianne Faithful record!

  5. Sorry – can’t do one … I have to cheat!

    “Layla” – the Derek and the D’s version, with the Duane Allman slide and Bobby Whitlock piano (and yes I do remember the girl I sang it for!)

    “Loan Me a Dime” from Boz Scaggs’ eponymous first album, also with Duane A’s guitar work

    “Cortez the Killer”, “Hurricane” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” – electric Neil Young in all its shambolic inexactitude and firebreathing glory

    “Ohio” and “Needle and the Damage Done” for the stories they tell

    “Bitch” – my favourite Stones riff ….

    nope – sorry: too many. Ask me again tomorrow and it’ll be a different list, but today if I have to limit it to one, it’s “Layla” …

  6. Oh no – I’ve remembered all the “bad” songs … Velvet Underground’s “Heroin”, Stones “Sister Morphine”, JJ Cale’s “Cocaine” (and all the versions of the old blues number of the same name, including Jackson Browne’s from his live tour album, the name of which escapes me) …

  7. JP you’re an evil man … you’ve ruined my weekend! [crawls into quiet corner, assumes foetal position, sobs uncontrollably …]

  8. “And did they get you trade your heroes for ghosts?
    Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze?
    Cold comfort for change? And did you exchange
    a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage? “

  9. Great question JP, and it really got me thinking in this time of abundance, and 30 gig ipods, what would I pick if there can only be one. This is a lot more fun than the day job.

    Of course anything by the early CSNY (must have the Y), for example Like a Hurricane. Also, so many fabulous ELP tracks. But, on reflection, if its only one, and I know its kind of cheating, coz its 18 mins +/- but its Echoes from Floyd in ’71. Here’s the Live at Pompeii version on Youtube.

  10. @Colin – nice idea – go for value! How about >30 minutes of Allman Brothers “Mountain Jam”, from “Eat a Peach”? (yes – more Duane Allman … could this be a pattern?)

  11. Hey JP – was your dinner companion able to successfully explain ‘Six Wives’? I’ve tried a few times and failed miserably … I don’t even know why I like it, let alone why someone else should.

    “Yessongs” is another slab of vinyl I’ll get around to buying the CD for one day …

  12. Ric,he failed at the first hurdle, the other person hadn’t even heard of wakeman or of yes. And talking about take five, I remember being immensely frustrated at an early version of trivial pursuit, where the question was “who wrote take Five” and I answered Paul Desmond with confidence, only to have the others laugh at my “not knowing it was Dave Brubeck”. It didn’t matter what I said, they had to go with the answer on the card. I did my nut, but I was young then.

  13. All Blues. Miles Davis. (The version from the Kind of Blue album)
    Also, I think it’s interesting how most of the songs listed so far probably come from something we heard when we were young.

  14. OK I gave it some more thought.
    Canticorum Jubilo, by Haendel, could come close if it were much longer.
    In fact it’s the complexity and development of Judy Blue Eyes that makes it so great (and that also makes Cortez the Killer a great song).

    So eventually I have made up my mind:

    Just give me all the clichés of Blues, a Hammond organ, Clapton and/or Page on guitar, the complete works of Willie Dixon and I will sing the blues on a desert island for the next 100 years (potential listeners will be happy the island is desert but I will improvise and live happily ever after)

    PS: I cannt play the Hammond, but given some electricity I will have plenty of time to learn.

  15. Hey JP, there’s no contest, it has to be The Who’s “Won’t get fooled again”, released 1971 on “Who’s Next”.

  16. Nice to see you here, Paul. Interesting choice, I “tip my hat” to it. Intriguingly I had considered two other songs from the same album, Baba O Riley and Behind Blue Eyes, as entries for my top ten. But for reasons I shall enumerate later, Judy stayed unchallenged.

  17. It’s fluid, I can’t commit to one. Right now it’s somewhere between Caetano Veloso’s version of Cucurrucucu Paloma and Chaka Demus and Pliers’ Murder She Wrote. I will change my mind shortly after hitting the post button.

    Similar to What’s your favourite book or Who’s your favourite kid. Depends on the moment.

  18. I’m writing while listening to “Memory Lain, Hugh / Headloss” – Caravan (73). Maybe it isn’t in my Top100… but now it’s the #1!

    Then i’ll remember LedZep, Jethro Tull, Hendrix (“Little Wing”!!!!!)… man, it’s impossible!

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