Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Secret History Project

The Secret History Project is my attempt to make sense of the divide between music that was popular and music that, in my opinion, should have been popular.

The Reasons:

Why? Well, to answer the eternal question - where or where did I go wrong? (Or, since it's my blog, where did you go wrong?) In other words, where did we part ways? How did I get from there to here? Where is "there", anyway? Graduation from college? High school?? Grammar school??? (the birth canal?)

I also want to figure out if this divide had to happen. Was it predetermined by taste? Or would we all have loved the same music given the opportunity? In my heart, I'd like to think so, even though my brain says otherwise.

My official, altruistic reason, as always, is to expose you to music you might have missed along the way.

My less than noble reason is that I'm trying to be cool.

But seriously, I always loved music. You did too, but you had a life. So now I'm giving you the opportunity to have your cake and eat it too. You'll have a life and know about cool music too. And then we can go back to where we were when we were kids – you being cool and me being pathetic. You know, the way it was meant to be.

But it's worth doing, because my mission is to bring you joy through music. And since I can't do this by actually playing it, I'll do the next best thing – spreading the word about it. Kind of like John the Baptist (another JB, mmmm…) except with music. And so far, no one's asked for my head on a platter. Empty calories, no doubt.

The Rules:

First, pop music only. You may not be a fan of Classical music or jazz (or country or world, etc.). I 'm trying to find things that you don't have to appreciate before you love.

Second, it's got to be music that came out in my lifetime.

Third, it's got to be less than obvious, since the point is to find things you don't know about already. Feel free to return the favor. Tell me what you've found along the byways of pop music.

The Method:

I'll be looking at records by the year they were released. In other words, not by when I may have actually experienced them, which in some cases was decades later. This will give you an opportunity to say, hey what took you so long, anyway?

This may not be exactly how we experienced it, but it's just plain more orderly. It's also a way to think about what we were doing at the time.

So - flawed thrice-over – this approach puts us up against the limits of my record collection, my taste, and my revisionist history.

1957 - 1965:

So I started with 1957, and, after excluding Broadway and Movie soundtracks, I found some oldies. Not a huge fan. You should really start your own blog to convince to me it's great. I supposed I could point you to Elvis's "Sun Sessions", but I think I'll save that for another post.

And it stays that way, more or less, until 1964 when we hit the British Invasion. For that, I recommend watching PBS during pledge week. Just saying…

And 1965 at first seems like more of the same. (I'm saving middle-period Beatles for another post.)

One exception is "The Who Sing My Generation", but I dealt with that before.

I guess, the Byrds should count here, but despite some great songs, I find "Mr. Tambourine Man" a bit overrated, going a bit soft here and there. (Will someone please do a hard rock version of "Spanish Harlem Incident"?) Good, but not peak Byrds.

So it isn't until 1966 where I start to find the real hidden treasures, which I'll start to deal with next time.

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