Gray Flannel Mixtape – Desert Island #1s

GFS Mixtape - Desert Island #1s

I’m not sure what the origin of the whole “desert island” thing is when referring to music, movies, and other stuff you really like. Why not a tropical island? That one Tom Hanks got stuck on in Cast Away seemed pretty nice, didn’t it?

Oh right, the point. So apropos of nothing, I recently participated in a fantasy draft on a favorite message board of mine. But instead of drafting a sports team, we picked from a list of every song that has ever reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, now in its 50th year. The only catch was that each team had to select at least two songs from each decade (’58 – ’69 was lumped together). That made things interesting, because the pickings for truly good #1 songs started to get real slim starting in the 1990s.

Overall I’m pleased with my team, which is as follows (in order of selection):

  1. “The Way You Move” – OutKast, 2004. Went with this one first because, as I mentioned, the post-1999 pool was shallow and I didn’t want to get saddled with “Laffy Taffy”. Also, “Hey Ya!” was already taken.
  2. “Paperback Writer” – The Beatles, 1966. I’d be remiss if I didn’t take my favorite Beatles tune of all-time.
  3. “Penny Lane” – The Beatles, 1967. My 2nd favorite.
  4. “Rock with You” – Michael Jackson, 1980
  5. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” – Stevie Wonder, 1973
  6. “More Than Words” – Extreme, 1991. I’m aware that for many people this song is musical shorthand for “shitty 90s ballad,” but I happen to like it. This is basically an update on the Everly Brothers sound, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
  7. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” – Yes, 1984
  8. “Theme from Shaft” – Isaac Hayes, 1971
  9. “This Used to Be My Playground” – Madonna, 1992. Because I have a soft side too!
  10. “Music” – Madonna, 2000. Not a huge fan of this one, but it fulfilled my ’01-’08 requirement and is an OK song.
  11. “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” – Daryl Hall and John Oates, 1982. H&O is another group that is unfairly maligned as being totally uncool.
  12. “Heartache Tonight” – Eagles, 1979
  13. “Sleepwalk” – Santo & Johnny, 1959. “Riiiiiiichiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee!”
  14. “A View to a Kill” – Duran Duran, 1985. About the only good thing to come from that abomination of a movie.
  15. “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys, 1986
  16. “Tighten Up” – Archie Bell & the Drells, 1968
  17. “You’re No Good” – Linda Ronstadt, 1975. I do love the later Van Halen version, but this one is really quite good.
  18. “My Love” – Paul McCartney and Wings, 1973
  19. “New Kid in Town” – Eagles, 1977
  20. “Batdance” – Prince, 1989. A lot of Prince fans like to pretend this song never happened, but I celebrate it. “This town needs an enema!”
  21. “Abracadabra” – Steve Miller Band, 1982
  22. “If You Leave Me Now” – Chicago, 1976. I definitely prefer the edgier Chicago found on their first 5 or 6 albums, but this is a soft rock gem that cannot be denied.
  23. “Lady Marmalade” – LaBelle, 1975
  24. “The Power of Love” – Huey Lewis & the News, 1985

I think if I had to be stuck on a desert island with only these songs, I might be able to stave off insanity for at least a few years.

6 Comments

  • mizerychik

    ‘I’m not sure what the origin of the whole “desert island” thing is when referring to music, movies, and other stuff you really like. Why not a tropical island? That one Tom Hanks got stuck on in Cast Away seemed pretty nice, didn’t it?’

    That’s because nobody ever means “desert” island. They all mean deserted, but are too damn stupid to comprehend the difference.

  • mizerychik

    ‘I’m not sure what the origin of the whole “desert island” thing is when referring to music, movies, and other stuff you really like. Why not a tropical island? That one Tom Hanks got stuck on in Cast Away seemed pretty nice, didn’t it?’

    That’s because nobody ever means “desert” island. They all mean deserted, but are too damn stupid to comprehend the difference.

  • Yeah, I would consider the Madonna songs to be the easy outs of my lineup, but I really just wanted to get those decades out of the way and the selection wasn’t all that hot by the 9th round.

  • Yeah, I would consider the Madonna songs to be the easy outs of my lineup, but I really just wanted to get those decades out of the way and the selection wasn’t all that hot by the 9th round.

  • “More Than Words” is one of those “Let’s pretend it’s by another band” kind of songs. I can’t be offended because I still sing along from start to finish when it comes on.

    However I am somewhat distressed by the two picks from the low-end of the Madonna swimming pool. Geez, those are pretty painful. But I’d have a hard time picking anything from ’01-’08.

    Hall and Oates are totally overrated – even if I still have issues with their dis of Philly…

  • “More Than Words” is one of those “Let’s pretend it’s by another band” kind of songs. I can’t be offended because I still sing along from start to finish when it comes on.

    However I am somewhat distressed by the two picks from the low-end of the Madonna swimming pool. Geez, those are pretty painful. But I’d have a hard time picking anything from ’01-’08.

    Hall and Oates are totally overrated – even if I still have issues with their dis of Philly…

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