Second Hand News

Since 2006, I’ve been using LastFM to keep track of the music I listen to on the laptop, and it’s catalogued nearly 112,000 songs in that time. It provides a variety of analytics that permit a listener to probe beneath the surface of his general taste, and to narcissistically inflict his taste on others.

No, wait, that’s music blogging.

Of my ten most-listened-to artists, six are rock acts and four are jazz players. Here are the five songs I hear the most by those six rockers. These statistics will be skewed by the number of times a song appears in the library, and my library doesn’t always differentiate between live and studio versions of the same song. But it’s close enough. (We’ll omit the jazz players: Jimmy Smith, Grant Green, Jimmy McGriff, and Kenny Burrell.)

Van Morrison:
1. “Into the Mystic”
2. (tie) “Madame George” and “When the Leaves Come Falling Down”
4. “The Way Young Lovers Do”
5. “Wild Night”

Comment: Some albums you can’t fully appreciate until you’ve learned a few things about life, and so I have reached the age where I am now capable of having my mind blown by Astral Weeks. That said, “When the Leaves Come Falling Down,” from Back on Top, remains my favorite Morrison song by a nose over “Into the Mystic.”

Elton John:
1. “Your Song”
2. “Skyline Pigeon”
3. (tie) “Tell Me When the Whistle Blows” and “Curtains”
5. “Take Me to the Pilot”

Comment: This list is weird, and definitely a function of the number of versions available in the library. But two cuts from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is not weird at all.

Fleetwood Mac:
1. “Say You Love Me”
2. “Monday Morning”
3. (tie) “Silver Springs” and “Sentimental Lady”
5. (tie) “Second Hand News” and “Over My Head”

Comment: Playin’ the hits. You got a problem with that?

Rolling Stones:
1. “Tumbling Dice”
2. (tie) “Memory Motel” and “Brown Sugar”
4. (tie) “Happy,” “Fool to Cry,” “Angie,” “Street Fighting Man,” and “Gimme Shelter”

Comment: While I bought “Brown Sugar” on a 45 back in the day and have loved it since, it wasn’t until relatively recent years that I fully grasped the greatness of “Tumbling Dice.” It’s what every adult who worried about the corrupting influence of rock ‘n’ roll was concerned about: the Stones pack every attractive vice you can imagine into three-and-a-half minutes. Sin never sounded like so much fun.

Steely Dan:
1. “Deacon Blues”
2. “Do It Again”
3. “Bodhissatva”
4. “Dirty Work”
5. “Josie”

Comment: Steely Dan is the only band on this list for which I own every recorded note, plus a ton of bootlegs and live shows. The latter are tagged so haphazardly that this list is an estimate at best, and it strikes me weird besides. “Bodhissatva” is a song I liked more when I was younger, and “Josie” has always been the track on Aja I like the least. Songs I like better than my shuffle function does include “Black Cow,” “My Old School,” and “Black Friday,” all farther down the list.

Beatles:
1. “Across the Universe”
2. “Get Back”
3. (tie) “Dig a Pony” and “Two of Us”
5. (tie) “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and “If I Fell”

Comment: With both Let It Be and Let It Be Naked in the library (and three different versions of “Across the Universe”), there’s lots of duplication, although if this were a list of favorites instead of a list of shuffle’s favorites, “Two of Us” would make the list anyhow. If forced to pick a favorite Beatles song, “If I Fell” would be in the semifinals, although I’m afraid “Got to Get You Into My Life” would probably win strictly because it was such a big part of my favorite summer.

We now return you to whatever you like to listen to, already in progress.

One response

  1. I’m gonna guess that “Memory Motel” and “Fool To Cry” owe their presence on the list to your favorite year, as well.

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