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.