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*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.


The musical adventure of a lifetime. The most exciting book on music in years. A book of treasure, a book of discovery, a book to open your ears to new worlds of pleasure. Doing for music what Patricia Schultz author of the phenomenal 1,000 Places to See Before You Die does for travel, Tom Moon recommends 1,000 recordings guaranteed to give listeners the joy, the mystery, the revelation, the sheer fun of great music.
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.

About the Author
Award-winning music journalist Tom Moon is a regular contributor to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" as well as "Rolling Stone, Blender" and other publications. During his twenty-year tenure as a music critic at the "Philadelphia Inquirer", his writings appeared in hundreds of daily newspapers and magazines. A saxophonist, Moon began his career as a professional musician, working in assorted rock bands, cruise ship orchestras, and Maynard Ferguson's big band. He lives with his wife, daughter, two dogs and thousands of CDs in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com


  1. 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?

Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound

Update Profile