Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What are pieces of music that everyone should know?

To the TDP Community,

I am faced with a rather long commute and want to put it to good use.  I have always enjoyed music of all sorts, but am now wondering if there is such as thing as a list of pieces if music that would help fill out one's cultural literacy, to help one become the equivalent of a well read person?  Are there pieces of music that everyone should know?

Thank you.

Photos from our archives


Anonymous said...

Bill Evans - Epilogue & Waltz for Debby
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

SanFranciscoTour said...

Here is a list of just a few (in my opinion)
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Joni Mitchell - Blue
The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Van Morrison - Moondance
Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
Aretha Franklin - Greatest Hits
Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Grateful Dead - Working man's Dead
Led Zeppelin - IV
Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

That's just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on.

cpd said...

As part of the Core Curriculum at Columbia, undegrads all take at some point, "Music Humanities" which covers the "Masterpieces of Western Music" going up through the American Jazz age.


Anonymous said...

Motivational music for a long commute that will recycle well: Aaron Copland, Greatest Hits, on RCA Records, available from Amazon.
Tom K

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, this is what's on "The Preppy Album: Greatest Hits" (CBS Records, 1981):

Side 1:
"Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy" The Tams
"With This Ring" The Platters
"The Love I Lost" Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes
"Love Is Like A Heat Wave" Martha Reeves
"Used To Be My Girl" The O'Jays
"I Just Can't Stop Dancing" Archie Bell and the Drella

Side 2:
"39-21-46" The Showmen
"Hey Baby" Bruce Channel
"Washed Ashore" The Platters
"I'll Always Love My Mama" The Intruders
"Bad Luck" Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes

A lot of R&B from the decade previous to the album's issue date.

Max said...

Great Link cpd, on the Core Curriculum at Columbia. ''Music Humanities'', what an appropriate term. Thank you.

I don't have the time to compile an entire list, and it will most likely be incomplete anyways, but I would like to add one piece of music, that I think is essential for every civilized and sophisticated person to know about and to listen to on a regular basis:

Vltava, also known by its German name Die Moldau (or The Moldau) by Czech composer Bedřich Smetana.

Music Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTKsHwqaIr4

In his own words:

''The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer's wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night's moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John's Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe (or Elbe, in German).''

Anonymous said...

1. Glenn Gould's recordings of 'The Goldberg Variations,' both the energetic and virtuosic 1955 version and the deliberate and reflective 1981 version.
2. Veronica Jochum's recording 'Theme and Variations by Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.' After Robert died, Clara and Johannes each wrote variations on one of his themes -- a theme romantic enough already, their variations all the more so knowing the romantic tensions between the three of them.
3. The Prelude to 'Tristan und Isolde' -- in case you need a picker-upper.
4. 'The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins' -- so much soul in these blues, with a story to match: the recorder hunted Lightnin' down in Houston, got him a bottle of gin and a guitar, then recorded it all that day in Lightnin's room with one microphone.
5. 'Missa Luba' -- setting of the Latin Mass in styles traditional to the Congo. Wonderfully joyful. In case you need a picker-upper (really this time).


Anonymous said...

I second the suggestion for Aaron Copeland - "Appalachian Spring" is a story in melody!

Anonymous said...

My exposure to music over the decades is far too extensive to make a complete list, but I will say that all the suggestions so far are excellent.

Apart from music courses in school, much of my education has been in the form of live concerts: Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Tom Rush, Joan Baez, Clapton, Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Ella, Duke Ellington, Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, Erroll Garner, Joan Sutherland, Pavarotti, Leonard Bernstein, E. Power Biggs, Van Cliburn to name a few. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve also made an effort to buy a ticket and get out the door.

I can thank several family members, whose eclectic tastes opened my eyes and ears to great music of all kinds. No need to focus on one particular genre, or even music from traditional sources such as Europe and America. I love the harmonics of the Indian sitar and tabla, the haunting sounds of the Andean flute, scratchy Reggae riffs from Montego Bay garage bands and the ethereal Gamelan orchestra, which accompanies the Wayang Kulit of Indonesia.

There’s no end to great music from every corner of the globe, even from African Pygmies; several groups have been flown to recording studios and returned safely to the jungle. And Afro rhythms; have you ever heard Ladysmith Black Mombazo in concert or on a recording? They’re tonality is extraordinary, as is much of African tribal music that has evolved into the Afro jazz/rock of today.

It’s all out there if you seek it. My suggestion, use PBS and NPR as valued sources. And get on youtube, wander around like a tourist, get that mouse clicking and let one discovery lead you to another. Youtube is the quickest way to a musical PhD.


John B said...


andrew said...

I can't say what music everyone should know - it's a personal preference, and it depends on your mood. Here is what I like:

-the Beatles - so many great disks
-Mozart's symphonies
-Debussy's nocturnes
-Chopin's waltzes
-Miles Davis and Gil Evans' Columbia studio recordings
-Clifford Brown's Blue Note recordings with JJ Johnson
-Bill Evans' Riverside recordings
-Atlantic's R&B box set

-for rock and roll, pop music, soul music, and the like, I prefer mixed playlists; I like the variety.

Anonymous said...

Anything and everything by Messes Sinatra, Martin, etc. :)

Bitsy said...

Jeff Buckley's 'Grace' - in particular, his version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'.

Lancer RIUSA said...

Au contraire,
John B. Freebird not prep. Sweet Home is.

Anonymous said...

Le Nozze di Figaro
The Magic Flute
La Traviata
Don Giovanni

Mike said...

Here's something different:

-Best of Tears For Fears
-Best of Roxy Music
-Suzanne Vega: Solitude Standing
-U2: Achtung Baby
-The Cure: Disintegration

Something totally different:

-Block Party: Silent Alarm

Dr. M. Borgen said...

In addition to all the fine suggestions mentioned above:

Anything by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Extremely popular during his lifetime,(1829-1869) he influenced composers such as Aaron Copeland and Gershwin.
"A Night in the Tropics" is an outstanding album.

BlueTrain said...

Well, you probably know the music in the hymnal well enough already and most of that is pretty good. Then there's Cole Porter. I also like cool jazz but for some reason I have listened to any in years.

As a special mention, I'd also include Rosemunde.

Paul said...

Anything and Everything by Steely Dan.
Also, you can't go wrong with Gloria Estafan's "Mi Tierra" or
Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks".

TDH said...

Color me shallow, but it's generally a good time when someone knows all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody...or American Pie...or Amhran na bhFiann in Gaelic...or Stairway to Heaven...

Anonymous said...

Start with Ella Fitzgerald's Cole Porter songbook. Then move on to Beethoven.


Brent said...

For something with a Latin flair, Buena Vista Social Club (1997 - Cuban band music) and Getz/Gilberto (1964 - Brazilian jazz/bossa nova) are great albums.

For something completely off the radar and quirky, Decca and the Dectones is hilarious. Decca Mitford (of the Mitford sisters) recorded two songs, Maxwell's Silver Hammer and Grace Darling in the '90s. Singer is far from what I'd describe her, but these two short songs make me laugh.

The Concierto de Aranjuez played by Paco de Lucia (who just died several weeks ago) is very moving. If you want something dramatic, The Essential Inspector Morse is a good album. It has a darkness to it that is very contemplative.

And then there's Always On My Mind (the Pet Shop Boys version), Ra Ra Rasputin (Boney M), and Murder She Wrote (Chaka Demus) which often get played at birthday parties of friends when we're in the mood to dance.

William L. Montag IV said...

Listen, you should listen to what makes you feel good. there isnt a set list in life on what you "should" listen to. I listen from everything from Bing Crosby to The Dave Matthews Band to the Beach Boys to Phish. It all depends on how YOU feel at that specific time.

Pigtown*Design said...

We did a cross-country trip and a friend kindly made a "mix-tape" for us, featuring the music of the states we'd be travelling through. Bluegrass for Virginia, country for Tennessee, country-western for Texas, Tejano for New Mexico, etc. It was great, but we really didn't know the music.

At some dusty gas station in Arkansas, we saw a rack of tapes and selected a few Motown and beach music ones. We found that time went a lot quicker when we could sing along to the music that we knew and loved.

Anonymous said...

Pop, Rock and R&B

Sorry for the repetition from previous posts, but this list just scratches the surface.

The Band – Music from Big Pink and The Band
The Beatles – Revolver and just about everything
Ray Charles – Just about anything but especially What’d I Say
Everly Brothers – Everything
Oscar Peterson – Just about anything; Plays Cole Porter is great
Jimmy Buffett – White Sport Coat and A Pink Crustacean
Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark
The 5th Dimension – All the Laura Nyro covers: Wedding Bell Blues; Stoned Soul Picnic; Sweet Blindness; Save the Country (Eli’s Coming by Three Dog Night is their best)
Neil Young – After the Goldrush
Otis Redding – Everything
Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed
Steely Dan – Everything
Sinatra – Just about anything but In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning is my favorite

I listen to these a lot but there is much less well known music by more obscure performers that I like just as much. I am not a broad fan of classical but I like Mozart and Haydn and find their music accessible.

Rebecca said...

If you can listen to CBC 2, perhaps on your computer, I highly recommend their morning show for good classical music. Fridays particularly, when Julie plays Music That Rocks Your World.....really fun classics that everyone should know. Also, get to know the well known songs from Gilbert & Sullivan, they're the ones with high popularity on iTunes. Great tempo and lyrics....always good fun!

Anonymous said...

If you subscribe to the theory of cultural literacy, people should know:
A) Beethoven's 9th Symphony
B) Beethoven's 5th Symphony
C) Handel's Messiah
D) Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture
E) William Tell Overture (just so you don't call it The Lone Ranger Theme)
F) Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'
G) Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Then at least something from
1) Beatles
2) Rolling Stones
3) Bach

Great pictures!

Sartre said...

I agree with Gary -- Ella Fitzgerald's Cole Porter Songbook. Fun to memorize the lyrics.

Anonymous said...

Yo Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone - The Mission, Gabriel's Oboe, etc. OMGoodness, the man does beautiful things with a cello!

Anonymous said...

My recommendations would be classical, jazz, and everything by Michael Franks! --Holly in PA

Noel said...

I would like to recommend Gilbert & Sullivan light operas. They are referenced and their tunes are frequently used in movies and TV.

Paul Connors said...

Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

His Second Symphony

His Second Piano Concerto

Concerto de Aranjuez (Rodrigo)

Moon River sung by Andy Williams

Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw

Katahdin said...

"Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years." - William F. Buckley, Jr

diary of a tomato said...

Bach's The Goldberg Variations, recorded by Glen Gould — a friend suggested this when I wanted to learn more about classical music; to his utter dismay, I so fell in love with both recordings that it was all I would listen to...

Anonymous said...

What is the bare bones that all should know? Too long a list. The answers from other commentators are covering enough ground. However, there is a total age demarcation here. Which is important because I would wager that you Ms. Aldrich know all the pieces of music that everyone should know already! Except...

Current preppy music? Try O.A.R, Barenaked Ladies (preferably only from albums released in the 90s; Maybe You Should Drive, Born on a Pirate Ship, and Rock Spectacle.), Dave Matthews, Dispatch (the song The General is their centerpiece), and of course Vampire Weekend (currently the preeminent preppy band and a product of Columbia University).

Young prep, a ridiculous title, also know a bit about classic dinosaur rock and roll as well as 80s music. Steve Miller Band and Duran Duran for example. What else "should" they know? A smattering of classical music, jazz and, if they are of a certain bread of prep, blues, R&B, and soul. I would think that this knowledge would be obtained through osmosis and a course or two at school.

Anonymous said...

I think SanFranciscoTour is heading in the right direction - I'd add to that list, the mainstream classical like Copeland, some Vivaldi, some Bach, some Gershwin, some Brubeck and some Keith Jarrett and you'd be pretty much set.

LG said...

Ah, The General. That is a great song. Thanks to the Anonymous poster who reminded me of that one.

Dave Matthews. Busted Stuff is my current favorite. But, you know, Virginia native so I am biased.

Anonymous said...

All four Brahms symphonies. Get crackin!

BlueTrain said...

You know, there's so much music that you'll never know enough about it. I don't mind a long commute (if you call 30 to 45 minutes long) when I spend all that time listing to music. But the best music is what you hear in person.

Easily the best concert I've ever attended was for a tribute to the lat Felix Grant, who hosted a local radio jazz program decades ago. Several well known groups performed, including the MJQ and Ramsey Lewis. That radio station doesn't even play music anymore.

The last live concert featured mostly music from the 20s and 30s. It was an incredible concert even though half of it was in German. The singer was Max Raabe with the Palast Orchester. One must have broad horizons to catch the really good stuff. And you are missing something if you haven't heard someone yodeling ABBA.

On a more serious note, and thinking college from just before I started, I remember a host of male groups that toured college campuses, like The Four Lads, The Lettermen and the like. I'm surprised no one remembers them. That was what you listened to outside of your music appreciation class.

Anonymous said...

LG, thanks. What music should you know is a funny question here. But I was happy to point out that what should know, in the daily day of a prep school student, depends on where, and when, one prepped!

Anonymous said...

The Four Lads! Istanbul Constantinople! Remade for the young prep by They Might Be Giants!

Anonymous said...

Cosign Roxy Music. Also: New Order. They have that emotionally-detached-yet-substantive vibe that I really go for.

Anonymous said...

For your long commute, I would recommend "Parsifal." The Knappertsbusch 1962 recording. Five hours and not a note too long. Wagner was the greatest genius who ever lived.

sara said...

Doesn't music choice depend on traffic and weather conditions?

James said...

Hello all. I love lists, so thanks for reading. Long drives with NPR are great for the stories and for the jazz!

Artists to consider are Bill Evans, Don Scaletta, Red Garland, Monty Alexander, Chet Baker, Bob Acri, Vince Guaraldi, Joe Pass, Gene Harris, Dave Brubeck, Colin Bailey, Oscar Peterson, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Burrell.

Recommended standards by these artists and more are Never let me go, The very thought of you, My Romance, You're my everything, Skylark, Taking a chance on Love, Cast your fate to the Wind, Here's that Rainy Day, On Green Dolphin Street, It never entered my mind,
Never never land, Moon River, Laura, I'll be seeing you, I left my heart in San Francisco, Sleep Away, You're my girl, Over there, Fly me to the moon, If you could see me now, Oh, you crazy moon, How deep is the ocean?, You're mine, How are things in Glocca Morra?, Imagination, It had to be you, That old feeling, Someone to watch over me...just to name a few!

Max said...

I wanted to make a comment about my own comment from earlier.

In my earlier comment I used the words ''civilized and sophisticated person'' and maybe they are not the ideal choice of words for what I attempted to express, and could be misunderstood, and I just wanted to clarify them. More appropriate words would have probably been ''cultured and refined''.

In my experience listening to certain pieces of classical music can have a ''civilizing'' effect on a person, in the sense of using the music as a tool of mediation and inward reflection. The music puts one in a different, a higher and more elevated state of mind and consciousness.
Some people refer to this phenomenon as the ''Mozart Effect'' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozart_effect

I think it is highly commendable to use one's commute time to broaden one's horizon culturally.

I think I intuitively used the term ''civilized'' above because I have run into people that are considered very well-read and very accomplished and literate academically and culturally, but I did not find them to be ''civilized'', in the sense of being spiritually evolved and being a nice, compassionate and considerate person.

My definition of the word ''civilized'' has not so much to do with how industrially or capitalistically, or even culturally advanced a culture or person is, but how well balanced a culture or an individual is and how spiritually advanced they are.

Like the saying goes (I am paraphrasing):
''A brilliant mind without a good heart is the most dangerous thing in the world, and a good heart without an intelligent and refined mind is a waste.''

I think I am rather sensitive to this topic and dynamic because of my German heritage. The German culture is probably considered to be one of the most cultured and intellectually refined. Historically Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the country of poets and thinkers), but it has also displayed some of the most ''uncivilized'' behavior in human history, especially in the 20th century. There was no balance of intellect and empathy at that time in Germany, and cultural accomplishments were used to fuel delusions of ethnic/genetic superiority, not as a standard of excellence and humanity.

I hope this explains where I am coming from and I apologize if I offended anybody with my earlier choice of words/vocabulary. That was not my intention.

We need to both train our hearts and minds to grow our souls and I think outstanding works of music, literature and art can help us greatly in this quest.

Melissa said...

A dear friend (who happens to be an incredible musician) recently introduced me to Jelly Roll Morton. My life certainly feels richer for having his songs in my rotation.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Richman! in case you don't know there's legislation in the works to make Roadrunner the official state song of MA. this is a great intro to him and everything: http://ashmont.posthaven.com/my-roadrunner-testimony
The Lune! celebratory and great! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HBOFTCM/ref=dm_ws_sp_ps_dp
i don't excel at explaining music or picking music but Faye on her WFMU radio show Hello, Children does. this downloadable show includes a range of styles, her speaking Japanese (she is fluent i think?) and in this particular show she plays a Todd Rundgren song on the scratchiest record, which i found so touching because that was how i listened to him on my brother's turntable. the whole show is great as is the station ~
the awl had a post back in 2010 about making the perfect stark and dormy that includes a 'songs for drunken boating' playlist that a commenter made a youtube list for that he has since made private! what a yahoo! why would he do that?! maybe you can talk to him muffy. at any rate it may not be the greatest for long distance traveling and i can't even endorse the playlist wholeheartedly because listening to the grateful dead even ironically puts me in a foul mood but its a fun post to read: http://www.theawl.com/2010/05/what-to-drink-when-the-weather-gets-warm

Anonymous said...

Wagner's Ring

John B said...

Lancer RIUSA said

Au contraire,
John B. Freebird not prep. Sweet Home is.
----------------------------------Love it. Just play some Skynnard Man!

Seriously, after listening to very little new music since 1990 I have found some great music in the "Americana" classification. It includes blue grass, r&b, roots rock and 'real' country. The Americana Music awards are available on youtube and a great introduction to the artist and music that make it up. Also, see "Another Day." Its a concert inspired by "Inside Llewyn Davis." It introduced me to the Milk Carton Kids and Lake Street Dive.

I am surprised no one has mentioned Michael Buble and/or Billy Joel....

Joyce North said...

Rachmaninov 2nd Piano Concerto in C Minor.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anonymous 9:48 pm. The Ring is 4 operas lasting about 14-16 hours depending on the conductor. It has been my companion on my daily commute for many years now and I never tire of it.

R.A. Sasayama said...

Kind of a random list of this and that:

Robert Johnson - Cross Road Blues
Big Jay McNeely - There is Something on Your Mind
Leadbelly - Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
James Carr - The Dark End of the Street
Solomon Burke - Got to Get You Off of My Mind
Brenda & The Tabulations - Dry Your Eyes
Barbara Mason - I Need Love
Abbey Lincoln - Tender as a Rose
Mickey and Sylvia - Dearest
Rosie & the Originals - Angel Baby
Santo & Johnny - Teardrop
Blurt - The Fish Needs A Bike
Roxy Music - More Than This
Cybotron - Alleys of Your Mind
Pylon - Stop It
Thurston Moore - Psychic Hearts
The Stone Roses - Waterfall
Desmond Dekker - 007 Shanty Town
Nolan Porter - If I Could Only Be Sure
The Velvet Underground - I Found a Reason
Cocteau Twins - Cherry-coloured Funk
Les McCann - Compared to What
Can - Oh Yeah
Merle Haggard - Mama Tried
Scriabin - Etude Op.8 No.12
Allegri - Miserere
Nina Simone - I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms
The Pharcyde - She Keeps on Passing Me By
Kraftwerk - Computer Love
Suicide - Dream Baby Dream
Lipps, Inc. - Addicted to the Night
The Beatles - Norwegian Wood
Roy Orbison - Only the Lonely
Lydia Lunch - Atomic Bongos
Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Rollins/Sonny Stitt- On the Sunny Side of the Street
Kenny Dorham - Scandia Skies
Elizabeth Cotten - Freight Train
Lefty Frizzell - The Long Black Veil
Joni Mitchell - Woodstock
Simon & Garfunkel - Bright Eyes
Marj Snyder - Look All Around You
Buffy-Sainte Marie - I Don't Need No City Life
Neil Young - Hey Hey, My My
Journey - Midnight Train

Mayes Hall said...

As noted above, there is a lot of music that fits this category.

I can tell you what doesn't; anything where the performer has his pants falling halfway down showing off his bloomers.

C said...

If he's not already in your musical rotation, you might enjoy Robert Johnson, the legendary '30s blues musician.
For something more modern, there's the arguably legendary Amy Winehouse.

Both extremely talented people who died young.

JDS said...

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it;” Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare
My musical tastes are very extensive it would take a lot of space to list them all. We have a great PBS station (WRTI) here in Philadelphia that plays classical during the day and "good" jazz in the evenings, just my cup of tea.

Sartre said...

I see someone finally mentioned Gilbert & Sullivan. I second that.

Anonymous said...

A side thought here....... If you've got satellite in your car as we do, our favorite channel presets are: Water Colors, Real Jazz, Symphony Hall, Spa, Hair Nation, Classic Rewind, Classic Vinyl, Deep Tracks, 1st Wave. You're guaranteed to hear something good playing. If you've got an iPod, load it up with the suggestions made here and you should be good to go. --Holly in PA

B B said...

Time and time again, I am impressed both with the topics introduced on this blog and with their responses.
John B, I will see your suggestion of "Free Bird" and raise you "Simple Kind of Man".
Max, I enjoyed reading all of your remarks and will look into your suggestions, as I am currently struggling to learn German.
As for myself, I would think most Americans are either already familiar with Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", or they should be. I have also noticed that almost all television and movie weddings make use of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons".
Thanks again, Muffy, for another lively discussion.

Anonymous said...

LCD Soundsystem is currently being listened to at every boarding school in the America. Right now.

Clermont1 said...

Well, I just can't get over how thorough your readers have been on this, and I've been in the music industry for 20 years. This group is good, and should I ever have a wedding I'm coming back to all of you.

Meanwhile, I noticed only one Nina Simone song, and I'd add more.
Also, no mention of Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz' "Girl From Ipanema" a true gem, and a hilarious romp through 60's bossa nova in Hollywood here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDGUZeZWKZo

Great job. And I know I'm over a younger generation, so I can add 25 more years to this list should it ever come up.

LG said...

I also wanted to mention Lake Street Dive. They are really amazing in person if anyone has a chance to see them. I also think they would appeal across generations on this board.

AKM said...

Beatles. Bruce. Buffett.

Throw in some Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Rondstadt, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Roxy Music, Emmylou Harris, Van Morrison...yes, I'm mostly a pop/rock baby with some twang sprinkled on top.

Anonymous said...

Good God. I'm, evidently, very middle aged. Not sure this is on the must know list, but I've started going back to the music of my parents and grandparents. Anything Big Band/Swing, Lester Lanin and his Orchestra, Guy Lombardo, Xavier Cugat, Mancini, Herb Alpert, Gilberto, anything Rat Pack.... I always end up more upbeat after listening. The music also has wonderful childhood memories attached. Listening to my mother play Cole Porter on the piano in the music room... watching cocktail parties from the top of the stairs, or sneaking down the stairs to watch uproarious dinner parties from the butler's pantry... Uncle Norm and Mrs L. shaking the floorboards dancing the Charleston... summer evenings at the lake... I always feel like everything is going to be alright after one of these songs. I used to laugh at the music, and now I feel it brings calm after life has run one around a little.

Anonymous said...

Carolina Girls - General Johnson
Rainy Day Bells - Globetrotters
Ms. Grace - Tymes
Summertimes Calling Me - Catalinas
Stay - Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs
My Girl - Temptations
Under the Boardwalk - Drifters
Shout - The Isley Brothers
Sixty Minute Mas - Dominoes
Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
Double Shot - Swinging Medallions


Anonymous said...

Be eclectic.
Anything and everything by Bach (Johann Sebastian).
Mozart (soundtrack from Amadeus is good for the basics)
Beethoven (Greatest Hits CD 1994)
Jazz (Miles Davis, John Coltrane esp.)
Glenn Miller
Fleetwood Mac

David P said...

Trying to stay original and not repeat many of the fine suggestions already mentioned:

Dusty Springfield
Peter Gabriel era Genesis
King Crimson's first album
Vermont's own Phish - "Squirming Coil" (a great driving song)and "Horn"
Almost anything from the Smiths
Squeeze - "Pulling Mussels" (a preppy anthem from my youth)
General Public - "Tenderness" (see prior comment)
The Go Gos - "Our Lips are Sealed"
Til Tuesday - "Voices Carry"
Radiohead - Amnesiac album
Counting Crows - "A long December"
Psychedelic Furs - "Love My Way"
A Flock of Seagulls - "Wishing"
Punch Brothers
The Doors - "The Crystal Ship" (Jim Morrison's singing influence was Sinatra)
Richard Hawley
Lake Street Drive

A great newish DMB song is "If Only"
I'm not a big fan of Vampire Weekend - sameness of sound wears thin after a while.


Felix Mendolssohn -"Sinfonia #10 in B Minor"
Edvard Grieg - "Holberg Suite"
Franz Schubert - "Symphony #8"
Beethoven - "Symphony #6"
Jean Sibelius
Guatav Mahler
Anton Bruckner - "Symphony #8 in C Minor"

Almost anything conducted by the great Herbert Von Karajan (one of his collections shows him sailing - one of his great avocations).

This just scratches the surface...

Lola said...

I just read that Albert Einstein loved Mozart. He was a Princeton Professor.

I personally love B.W. Stevenson's "My Maria" and "Shambala". Particularly nice with the windows rolled down.
Your doggies would enjoy!

Thank you for this post, because now I will use all these great comments to fill in my personal music list.

Anonymous said...

I HATE the word should.

Anonymous said...

Phish - A Live One

John G said...

Some wonderful lists here. There was a good purpose to all those "100 Great Classics" sets that were advertised back in the 60s and 70s.

While I can't say that this fits in the category of "what everyone should know," if one is interested in some beautiful (and sometimes haunting) songs, I strongly recommend the recordings from the Harvard Glee Club. They are available online.

Sarah Faragher said...

I love all kinds of music, but in keeping with the nautical flavor of this blog there is one singer I want to mention. For over four decades I've been listening to Gordon Bok - singer, songwriter, sailor, and sculptor from Camden, Maine. His collection "North Wind's Clearing: Songs of the Maine Coast" is a great place to start, if you don't know his work. Or try one of my favorites of his old songs, "Hills of Isle au Haut" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oUDvqPifFY). And if you find yourself in Castine harbor this summer, walk up the hill to Maine Maritime Academy and see the exhibit of his bas-relief woodcarvings at the Alfond student center. In a word, amazing.

BlueTrain said...

I suppose if we were staying with the nautical flavor, you'd have to include Handel's Water Music.

Overall, however, I am struck by the variety of music mentioned here, though I am not familiar with much of it. I do, however, still listen to Astrud Gilberto, who is still performing, as is Mireille Mathieu. I must confess, however, to having grown up surrounded by country & western musicians and neighbors playing Hawaiian slack guitars on their back porch. One couple, still living, I believe, even had a local television show. Their son was my age and in my grade school classes.

Although I still like Bob Wills and Patsy Cline, my taste these days is much more Eurocentric and geared to folk/pop from Southern Germany and Switzerland. Not at all preppy or remotely collegiate and perhaps a little too close to Lawrence Welk to admit. I think it's my age.

David P said...

@annoymous 9:28,
"The Squirming Coil" from that collection is particularly good. Jazz fans here jazz would appreciate the interlude...

Babette said...

Carmina Baruna! by Carl Orff
Concerto for Two Pianos by Poulenc

Anonymous said...

+1 for Gilbert & Sullivan, essential listening for any native English speaker, and a perennial prep school favorite. I've heard it said that every child should be exposed to scripture, Shakespeare, and G&S. I agree, my grandfather attended a Quaker school where this was adhered to, and at 91 years old he can still sing the Major General's song.

BayLanding said...

We truly appreciated all comments and recommendations. Many great memories!

Babette and others... May I suggest listeners explore other music by Carl Orff beyond Carmina Burana? His other works are less well known, but still very interesting. I hope they are available in modern formats.

I remain distressed excerpts of Carmina Burana have become so "commercialized" over the years. I've recently seen a TV ad introducing the Hershey Chocolate's new line of flavored "spreadables" using Carmina Burana as background music. It just bothers me.

BlueTrain....Since you are focusing on Central European folk music, may I suggest you explore the Austrian group Ursprung Buam? Lots of nostalgic music of the region. Their videos, of varying quality, are availalbe on youtube

Anonymous said...

I'm as late as I am surprised to find that no one has yet suggested Pete Seeger as music one should know, first because Pete Seeger's music is wonderful and second, because he was a living repository of the early history of American song, especially folk songs. His "American Favorite Ballads" series is lovely.

You could also spend a lifetime working through the Smithsonian Folkways collection, going around the world really, and having a very good time doing so.

In addition to seconding just about everyone else's choices, I'll also suggest Benny Goodman, Sarah Vaughan, the Boswell Sisters, Diane Schuur, Alison Krauss, Ron Sexsmith, Tom Lehrer, and Nat King Cole and George Shearing (together and separately).


BlueTrain said...

To Bay Landing (?), I have listened to Ursprung Buam but I find myself drawn instead to the likes of Swiss performers, especially the Oesch family, who have turned jodeln into pop and novelty. Who else would do a recording, in German, of something that both Gene Autry and Dean Martin had previously recorded? I was surprised to realize that most of my other recordings are of "sister acts," geschwister this or geschwister that. I imagine you've all seen performances of Andre Rieu and his orchestra on NPR membership weeks.

Listening to music you like can be heavenly. Hearing what someone else thinks you ought to listen to can be tiresome.

I wonder if Stan Hamilton still records?

binker said...

Have no idea what is preppy...just what I like. Broadway musicals, Frank Sinatra, Beatles, Ella (particularly Cole Porter), James Taylor, Simon &Garfunkel, Hymns(particularly by boy choirs or British Choirs), acapella groups, classical (many favourites),

When driving I often listen to NPR or books on tape (A Child's Christmas in Wales on a Christmas trip...Girl With A Pearl Earring on the way to see the Vermeer/Rembrandt exhibit at the Frick)

When travelling ....Tosca is Rome...Vivaldi in his church in Venice, Puccini and Andrea Bocelli in Italy, Les Miserable in French in Paris, etc. etc.

Combined iPhone and iPod favourites ..I guess I play them a lot, as most were the same...though, one had more Kinky Boots (Broadway)...of which I would recommend Hold Me In Your Heart (Billy Porter) and Soul of A Man (Stark Sands) :)


1.Simple Gifts -YoYo Ma and Alison Krauss
2. Meditation From Thais - Joshua Bell
3. Only Remembered - from War Horse (London/Broadway)
4. Suo Gan - Empire of The Sum
5. 75 Septembers - Cheryl Wheeler
6. When Fall Comes To New England- Cheryl Wheeler
7. Laudate Dominum- Greta De Reyghere
8. Sounds of Silence and Homeward Bound - Simon and Garfunkel (Monterey Pop Festival versions)
9. The Water is Wide - James Taylor
10. Sanctus- Libera
11. Jerusalem - Chariots of Fire
12. Give Me One Reason - Eric Clapton and Tracy Chapman
13. In The Arms of The Angel- Josh Groban and Sarah McLachlan
14. Falling Slowly- Once (Broadway)
15. Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright
16. The Call of Wisdom- Will Todd (Queen's Jubilee service)
17. Highland Cathedral- Scottish Serenade
18. First Class Roster - Titanic (Broadway)
19. Godspeed -Titanic (Broadway)
20. Wick - Secret Garden (Broadway)
21. A Bit of Earth - Secret Garden (Broadway)
22. For Good - Wicked (Broadway)
23. For He Is An Englishman- Chariots of Fire/Gilbert&Sullivan
24. Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra
25. Let It Be- Beatles

ps. If one is travelling with small children, I highly recommend anything by Elizabeth Mitchell!!!!

Mathias Knutsson said...

Good and solid recommendations, but I would like add the following great artists to the list:

Classical composers:
Handel (Water Music, Messiah)
Mahler (his ninth (last) symphony is something really special)
(And Haydn, Dvorak, Berlioz, Barber, Faure...)

And more modern...
Leonard Cohen
Burt Bacharach
Billie Holliday
Elvis Costello
Keith Jarrett
David Bowie

Finally, some electronic acts
Depeche Mode
Daft Punk

Best regards,
Mathias Knutsson

Kay Wisniewski said...

Everyone shows their age on this one, so I will show mine. Since this is "The Daily Prep," I would list/relist the sort of music kids who go to preppy schools that still had real music and performing programs would grow up with. First of all, this is showtunes. Showtunes especially those sung by Sinatra in the Riddle years, Ella whenever, Bobby Short early and middle, Chet Baker early and middle, assorted jazz greats, etc. Throw in big band stuff, especially Ellington and Basie because you actually went to dancing class and like old-fashioned touch dancing and can even show off and swing a bit. Last of all, some Gilbert and Sullivan is a must. You were dragged there every time D'Oily Carte hit town by some eccentric aunt or grandparent and now it is in your blood. This has led to a lifetime preference for witty and melodic--hence all the other recs.

Abnd to the other Philly person--RTI is wonderful.

DMA said...

Whether it's "prep" or not, who's to say? But I can't imagine any music library being complete without John Coltrane. All of it. Every last amazing note. But if you have to choose just one, for me it would be "My Favorite Things." Nothing reminds me of the sophistication of NYC and the "preppiness" of 60s Newport Jazz festival quite like this sumptuous work. Sublime.

Anonymous said...

Bach, Bach, and more Bach - to fully understand the origins of modern tonality (melody, voice leading, and harmony), look no further. The Goldberg variations are a good start, but Bach's Brandenburgs, Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, cello suites (Yo-Yo Ma), and organ works are essential study.

George Gershwin - one of the ultimate American composers who was not only grounded in classical tradition, but also had a finger on the pulse of American popular music, and created a blend unmatched by any other. Rhapsody in Blue is essential.

Bill Evans - perhaps most responsible for transitioning piano jazz from bebop to modern "straight ahead" piano jazz as we now know it. Refined and tasteful at every turn. Absolute genius.

+1 on Wagner's Parsifal (Jonas Kaufmann with the Met was life changing), Mahler (especially Symphonies 2 and 9... Michael Tilson Thomas' 4th mov't of #9 is sublime), Gilbert and Sullivan, Coltrane, Beethoven, and Brahms.

Anonymous said...

I think I need to add two singers that ought to be considered required listening: Mel Torme' and Ella Fitzgerald. I have renewed faith in humanity and its potential every single time I hear either of these two sing.

David P said...

This may be the best version of the National Anthem that I have ever heard...understated but still very moving.