An infinite number of songs can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns.
As the proposal for my book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) makes its plodding way through the labyrinth of indifference and distraction, I continue to try to make it into something, as in something special and somethin' else. I completed another chapter yesterday, bringing me within 28 chapters of a complete first draft.
I mentioned recently that I had decided to expand the book's focus from 113 songs to 125 songs. I had intended to post the updated Table of Contents today, but I'm still re-thinking some of my choices. The tweak goes on. Barring an edict from a potential publisher (or another whim by this mercurial author), I think the number is finally set at 125. I'm comfortable with that number: a Hot 100, supplemented by twenty Bonus Tracks, an Entr'acte, two Encores, and a Last Call! (each on equal footing in its spurious claim as The Greatest Record Ever Made!), plus one song I would crown as my choice for GREM! if it really did have to be just one song. Shine. The weather's fine.
Somewhere earlier in the process, I made a decision to deliberately exclude a few of my very favorite tracks: "It's My Life" by The Animals, "A Million Miles Away" by The Plimsouls, "Five O'Clock World" by The Vogues, and "In The City" by The Jam, among others. I don't make any false claim of objectivity in this book--it's pop music, fercryinoutloud, so we're supposed to play favorites--but I do want to consciously step away from the notion that this book is just a collection of essays about my all-time fave raves. It's intended instead as a celebration of that immediate rush we feel when we hear a great song. This book exults in the infinite, and uses 125 songs as examples of that never-ending jangle 'n' buzz.
The most recently-completed chapter covers "I'll Be There" by The Jackson Five, a song that did not appear in any of my previously-posted Tables of Contents. I'm juggling a number of other possibilities, from Toots & the Maytals to The Shangri-Las to The Muffs. I may post an updated Table of Contents later this week.
I won't pretend I'm not discouraged by the book's lack of traction so far. Finding a publisher is a long and dreary process. But every time I look back at the work I've already done, whenever I read a sequence of completed chapters, my faith in the project is renewed. This is a book. It's a pretty good book. With a lot of luck and a lot of grit, I hope to get to a point where you'll be able to see that book, and judge for yourself. Once more into the infinite....
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