Tuesday, January 4, 2022

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1)

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. I like that idea so much, I've been writing a book about it: The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). The long-threatened book remains a work in progress, but what the hell. Work is progressing.

My first public announcement of my plan to do this book was waaaay back in September of 2018. The GREM! concept well predates that announcement, springing from a series of blog posts that commenced in 2016 with a celebration of Badfinger's "Baby Blue." The first proposed Table of Contents was posted in April of 2019, back when I was only planning for the book to discuss a mere 50 songs. 

50...?! How quaint. It's grown a bit since then. As of the last posted update in November of 2021, the book's Table of Contents was a collection of 165 songs. It now stands at 175--170 selections plus five bonus tracks--and that's probably where the number will stay.

The book's current Table of Contents appears below. But before you dive in to experience its splendor, it's worth repeating this caveat from one of the book's introductory chapters:

"This specific disclaimer is worth highlighting in bold and all-caps: THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF THE BEST RECORDS EVER MADE! Jesus, no! The chapters in this book cover a number of popular and personal favorites, but it's nowhere near comprehensive, and it's not meant to be. It's a discussion and a celebration of pop's infinite promise--nothing more, nothing less."

Ready? Let's GO!

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1) 

Table of Contents

FOREWORD
DISCLAIMERS AND DECLARATIONS (A User's Guide To The Greatest Record Ever Made!)
A Fistful Of 45s
OVERTURE THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?
1. BADFINGER: Baby Blue
2. CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land
3. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You
4. THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen
5. ELVIS PRESLEY: Heartbreak Hotel
6. WILLIE MAE "BIG MAMA" THORNTON: Hound Dog
7. PATTI SMITH: Gloria
8. LITTLE RICHARD: The Girl Can't Help It
9. NEIL DIAMOND: Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
10. CRAZY ELEPHANT: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' 
11. WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour
12. THE HOLLIES: I Can't Let Go
13. MELANIE WITH THE EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)
14. THE ROMANTICS: What I Like About You
15. SAM COOKE: Chain Gang
16. PETULA CLARK: Downtown
17. ARTHUR ALEXANDER: Soldier Of Love
18. TRANSLATOR: Everywhere That I'm Not
19. LESLEY GORE: You Don't Own Me
20. THE SHANGRI-LAS: Leader Of The Pack
21. THE SHIRELLES: Will You Love Me Tomorrow
22. THE RAMONES: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
23. AMY RIGBY: Dancing With Joey Ramone
24. PINK FLOYD: Wish You Were Here
25. GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia
26.THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: I Fought The Law
27. MERLE HAGGARD: Mama Tried
28. THE TEMPTATIONS: Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
29. BUDDY HOLLY: Peggy Sue/Everyday
30. ROBERTA FLACK: Killing Me Softly With His Song
31. JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now
32. ELTON JOHN: Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
33. SUZI QUATRO: I May Be Too Young
34. ALICE COOPER: School's Out
35. THE RARE BREED/THE OHIO EXPRESS: Beg, Borrow And Steal
36. ARTHUR CONLEY: Sweet Soul Music
37. OTIS REDDING: (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
38. ARETHA FRANKLIN: Respect
39. THE MONKEES: The Girl I Knew Somewhere
40. THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)
41. PRINCE: When You Were Mine
42. THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS: You're Gonna Miss Me
43. THE ROLLING STONES: Get Off Of My Cloud
44. PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS: Just Like Me
45. BOB DYLAN: Like A Rolling Stone
46. THE KINGSMEN: Louie, Louie
47. BARON DAEMON AND THE VAMPIRES: The Transylvania Twist
48. THE MARVELETTES: I'll Keep Holding On
49. THE WHO: I Can't Explain
50. TODD RUNDGREN: Couldn't I Just Tell You
51. SHOES: Tomorrow Night
52. THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise
53. TELEVISION: Elevation
54. DONNA SUMMER: I Feel Love
55. SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown
56. JUDAS PRIEST: Heading Out To The Highway
57. THE DIXIE CUPS: Iko Iko
58. THE NEW YORK DOLLS: Personality Crisis
59. MILLIE SMALL: My Boy Lollipop
60. THE EASYBEATS: Friday On My Mind
61. IKE AND TINA TURNER: River Deep Mountain High
62. THE RONETTES: Be My Baby
63. RONNIE SPECTOR AND THE E STREET BAND: Say Goodbye To Hollywood
64. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes
65. KISS: Shout It Out Loud
66. THE LEFT BANKE: Walk Away, Renee
67. THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter
68. THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies
69. THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!
70. THE GO-GO'S: We Got The Beat
INTERLUDE The Tottenham Sound Of...The Beatles?!
71. THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: Any Way You Want It
72. JAMES BROWN: Please, Please, Please
73. GRAND FUNK: We're An American Band
74. THE VELVELETTES: He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'
75. THE FIRST CLASS: Beach Baby
76. THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Summer Breeze
77. THE RUBINOOS: I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
78. THE PANDORAS: It's About Time
79. THE MUFFS: Saying Goodbye
80. BIG STAR: September Gurls
81. PAUL COLLINS/THE BREAKAWAYS: Walking Out On Love
82. LINDA RONSTADT: You're No Good
83. P. P. ARNOLD: The First Cut Is The Deepest
84. THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: All For Swinging You Around
85. THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET: Take Five
ENTR'ACTE THE BEATLES: Yesterday
86. THE BEATLES: Revolution
87. YOKO ONO: Kiss Kiss Kiss
88. THE MC5: Kick Out The Jams
89. THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS: Time Has Come Today
90. MARVIN GAYE: I Heard It Through The Grapevine
91. SAMMY AMBROSE: This Diamond Ring
92. THE MYNAH BIRDS: I Got You (In My Soul)
93. RICK JAMES: Super Freak
94. BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY: Piece Of My Heart
95. THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES: Shake Some Action
96. THE DANDY WARHOLS: We Used To Be Friends
97. THE CARPENTERS: Only Yesterday
98. MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress
99. THE 5TH DIMENSION: Medley: Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures)
100. THE JACKSON FIVE: I'll Be There
101. SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: Everybody Is A Star
102. LOVE: 7 And 7 Is
103. THE BANGLES: Live
104. THE SEARCHERS: Hearts In Her Eyes
105. THE FLIRTATIONS: Nothing But A Heartache
106. THE SPINNERS: I'll Be Around
107. TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS: American Girl
108. THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: I Woke Up In Love This Morning
109. EDDIE COCHRAN: Somethin' Else
110. DAVID RUFFIN: I Want You Back
111. LED ZEPPELIN: Communication Breakdown
112. FREDDIE AND THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie
113. THE BANDWAGON: Breakin' Down The Walls Of Heartache
114. HEADGIRL/MÖTOR HEADGIRL SCHOOL: Please Don't Touch
115. DON HENLEY: The Boys Of Summer
116. THE CLASH: Train In Vain (Stand By Me)
117. BEN E. KING: Stand By Me
118. GENE PITNEY: Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa
119. RUFUS: Tell Me Something Good  
120. THE SPONGETONES: (My Girl) Maryanne
121. THE TRAMMPS: Disco Inferno
122. HAROLD MELVIN AND THE BLUE NOTES: Don't Leave Me This Way
123. GRANDMASTER AND MELLE MEL: White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)
124. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: I'll Be Your Mirror
125. DEL SHANNON: Runaway
126. THE EVERLY BROTHERS: Gone, Gone, Gone
127. THE COCKTAIL SLIPPERS: St. Valentine's Day Massacre
128. SAM AND DAVE: Soul Man
129. T. REX: 20th Century Boy
130. HEART: Kick It Out
131. THE RUNAWAYS: Cherry Bomb
132. AMERICA: Sister Golden Hair
133. THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset
134. THE KINKS: You Really Got Me
135. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Time Will Tell
136. THE SMITHEREENS: Behind The Wall Of Sleep
137. THE COWSILLS: She Said To Me
138. ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE ATTRACTIONS: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
139. THE FOUR TOPS: Reach Out I'll Be There
INTERLUDE Old Time Rock 'n' Roll
140. THE BOB SEGER SYSTEM: 2 + 2 = ?
141. THE JIVE FIVE: What Time Is It?
142. LULU: To Sir, With Love [Museum Outings Montage]
143. FREDA PAYNE: Band Of Gold
144. THE CONTOURS: Do You Love Me
145. WHAM!: Freedom
146. THE COOKIES: Wounded
147. THE SUPREMES: You Keep Me Hangin' On 
148. THE BEACH BOYS: God Only Knows
149. JOAN ARMATRADING: Me Myself I
150. THE SELECTER: On My Radio
151. TRACEY ULLMAN: They Don't Know
152. MANNIX: Highway Lines
153. THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway
154. FIRST AID KIT: America
155. THE FIVE STAIRSTEPS: O-o-h Child
156. SOLOMON BURKE: Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
157. THE JAM: That's Entertainment
158. THE COASTERS: Yakety Yak
159. CHEAP TRICK: Surrender
160. TEGAN AND SARA: Walking With A Ghost
161. DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?
162. THE O'JAYS: Put Your Hands Together
163. THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John's Band
164. RITA MORENO, GEORGE CHAKIRIS, SHARKS & GIRLS: America
165. EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You Wanna Do
166. JOAN JETT: Bad Reputation
167. STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)
168. MARYKATE O'NEIL: I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around
169. EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year's Gonna Be Our Year
170. THE JAYHAWKS: I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
An Infinite Number
INTERLUDE Underrating The Beatles
ENCORE! THE BEATLES: Rain
ENCORE!! THE T-BONES: No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)
Cruisin' Music
CODA THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop
AFTERWORD

Repeating the disclaimerThese selections are not ranked in any way, and this is most definitely NOT intended as an inclusive list of the all-time best songs. There are an infinite number of worthy prospects; these are the one I choose to write about in The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Voume 1).


At this writing, the book is only two chapters shy of a complete first draft. The completed chapters total just under 153,000 words, though that tally may shrink once I start revising the text. It is certainly possible that I will make further changes to the Table of Contents, but this is getting closer and closer to the final line-up.

I hope to complete those two remaining chapters in short order. Then, I'll finally get to the revision process, tightening the prose and reducing redundancies. Somewhere in there, I've gotta start looking for an agent.

I have a different book due out by the end of 2022, but the principal work for that one is already done. Which means it's finally time for The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1)

Wish me luck.



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