1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die
A Listener's Life List
By Tom Moon
(Workman Publishing, Paperback, 9780761139638, 1007pp.)
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $19.95*
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This is a book both broad and deep, drawing from the diverse worlds of classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, world, opera, soundtracks, and more. It's arranged alphabetically by artist to create the kind of unexpected juxtapositions that break down genre bias and broaden listeners horizons it makes every listener a seeker, actively pursuing new artists and new sounds, and reconfirming the greatness of the classics. Flanking J. S. Bach and his six entries, for example, are the little-known R&B singer Baby Huey and the '80s Rastafarian hard-core punk band Bad Brains. Farther down the list: The Band, Samuel Barber, Cecelia Bartoli, Count Basie, and Afropop star Waldemer Bastos.
Each entry is passionately written, with expert listening notes, fascinating anecdotes, and the occasional perfect quote "Your collection could be filled with nothing but music from Ray Charles," said Tom Waits, "and you'd have a completely balanced diet." Every entry identifies key tracks, additional works by the artist, and where to go next. And in the back, indexes and playlists for different moods and occasions.
- One thing I learned in researching 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die was that there's a big difference between listening with full attention and having music on in the background. In this way, the act of listening is much different from the act of reading. When was the last time you listened to a piece of music without doing several other things? What did you take away from that experience? What happens when you apply a "reader's focus" – attention to the details of narrative, writerly nuance, recurring devices, etc. – to an exploration of music?