Top Of My Pops (Vanity Post)

One of my recent little indulgences was to try to ascertain, in some sort of method that was vaguely scientific, who my favorite musicians were. Of course, you always have a sense who they are…you buy their music, go to their concerts etc. But did I really like the Beach Boys more than the Beatles? And did I prefer Bacharach to the (very different) Bob Dylan?

So what I did was to take my ITunes playlist and then select the songs that I thought were especially good and would retain permanently on my list (this was to avoid bias towards music that I recently added and hadn’t yet separated the wheat from the chaff.) I was quite generous in allocating songs to the various artists so that my Beach Boys/Brian Wilson category included group and solo work from all the main members of the band as well as production songs like Guess I’m Dumb. Some songs would be counted twice -the Walker Brothers Make It Easy On Yourself would count under Bacharach as well as Scott Walker

And this how the final tally came out in a top 23- I did do a few tweaks towards the bottom of the list and gave the Wondermints extra credit for helping get SMiLE out

1. Beach Boys/Brian Wilson

2. Beatles

3. Burt Bacharach (obviously a lot of songs done by other artists)

4. Jimmy Webb (again, quite a bit by other artists)

5. Prefab Sprout (including Paddy McAloon solo)

6. Scott Walker (including Walker Brothers)

7.Bob Dylan

8. REM

9= Paul Weller (including Jam and Style Council)

     Simon and Garfunkel (including solo)

11 Saint Etienne

12 The Association

13 Belle And Sebastian

14 Swan Dive

15 Dexy’s Midnight Runners

16= October Project (including solo work)

       High Llamas

18=  Byrds (including Gram Parsons, Burritos etc.)

        Beautiful South/Housemartins

20   Waterboys

21=  Lloyd Cole (including work with the Commotions)

        Bee Gees



Probably unsurprisingly, it was pretty close to a list of 23 that I made from “gut feel” without the “science”- The Waterboys and The Association are on the new list at the expense of A Girl Called Eddy and Elvis (Costello), but otherwise it is the same acts. And for both The Association and The Waterboys, I had purchased quite a bit of their music in the last little while.

So what does this all mean. Well, firstly, I thought it was an interesting way to assess your music taste in a slightly more rigorous way (even although it still relies on a subjective view on choosing a “great” song)- I would certainly be interested in hearing from anyone else who has tried this approach. Secondly, it may help you understand where I come from musically. And thirdly, you can appreciate why I am so excited about a Brian Wilson/Bacharach collaboration, even if neither of them is a renowned lyricist.  




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