Winter 2011
By Steven M. Housman

I Will Survive (But Only With Pop Music)

I was having a discussion with someone recently about my ten DID's (Desert Island Discs) and I knew I would start convulsing (being dramatic) if I had to narrow it down to ten albums. I mean, I’m a pop music junkie. Yes! I’m addicted, an addict. Only ten? And then for some reason, Bonnie Raitt’s "Nick Of Time" came to my mind first, even though I’d never survive without a Streisand album. I also thought in order to survive on that island, I would have to include the Beatles' "Abbey Road,” although how would I ever survive without "Rubber Soul," "Revolver" the "White Album" or "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band,” not to mention much of their early work. Then Joni Mitchell's "Court And Spark" (it was a toss-up between that, "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns," "For The Roses" and "Blue") popped into my mind, as did Linda Ronstadt's "Hasten Down The Wind," (the agonizing betrayal of deserting “Heart Like A Wheel,” “Prisoner In Disguise,” “Simple Dreams,” “Mad Love” and her homage to the generation that came before her, the exquisite 1983 Nelson Riddle conducted “What’s New”). Then I started to think of Frank Sinatra & Count Basie's "It Might As Well Be Swing," (but Sinatra without “Only The Lonely” and “Come Fly With Me”? Ugh.) Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon," Steely Dan's "Aja," (but withdrawal pains from abandoning “Pretzel Logic,” Katy Lied” and “The Royal Scam”), Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends" (but what will I do without "Bridge Over Troubled Water"?) the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" and, of course, Barbra Streisand's "The Broadway Album," even though my survival would be put to a test without her 60s gems which include “The Second Barbra Streisand Album, “My Name Is Barbra,” “Color Me Barbra,” "Je m'appelle Barbra," "Simply Streisand" and the film soundtrack to "Funny Girl, " not to mention her 70s pop achievements such as “Stoney End,” “Barbra Joan Streisand,” the underappreciated “ButterFly,” “Lazy Afternoon,” the soundtrack to ‘A Star Is Born’,” “Superman,” Songbird” and “Wet” and the genius studio album, 1974’s "The Way We Were.” Of course, I would be remiss without denying the fact that her greatest pop success, 1980’s “Guilty,” would be sorely missed if it was left behind on the mainland.

You realize I am now without anything from the Mamas & Papas, the Jefferson Airplane, Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run;" Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall," "Thriller” "Bad,” Dangerous” and disc 2 of HIStory.” What about Crosby, Stills & Nash's self-titled 1969 debut, Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush," Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" and basically his entire 70's catalogue, all of Motown; the Bee Gees' "Saturday Night Fever" and "Main Course;" Donna Summer's "Bad Girls," “Live & More” and “Once Upon A Time.” Most all of Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Judy Garland's "Live At Carnegie Hall;" Chicago, Madonna's "Like A Prayer," "True Blue," "Like A Virgin" "Ray Of Light" and her self-titled debut; Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours," and their 1975 debut album that began anew with Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham; The Who's "Who's Next;" ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery;" The Police's "Synchronicity;" Genesis' "Invisible Touch;" Blondie's "Parallel Lines," “Eat To The Beat” and “AUTOAMERICAN;” Janet Jackson's "Control," "Rhythm Nation 1814" and "Janet;" Harry Nilsson's "A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night;" Prince's "1999" and "Purple Rain;" Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees;" Boston's self-titled debut; Whitney Houston's self-titled debut as well as her best R&B offering "My Love Is Your Love;" Carole King's "Tapestry;" Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill;” Billy Joel’s “Turnstiles,” “The Stranger,” “52nd Street” and “Glass Houses;” Elton John’s “Honky Chateau,” “Madman Across The Water,” “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player” and the double-opus “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road;” Carly Simon’s “No Secrets,” Another Passenger” and “Coming Around Again,” with ex-hubby’s James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” and “Mud Slime Slim;” Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual;” Hall & Oates’ “Abandoned Luncheonette;” Janis Joplin’s “Pearl;” David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” and “Ziggy Stardust;” Don Henley’s “Building The Perfect Beast” and “End Of The Innocence;” The Eagles’ “Hotel California;” the Original Broadway Cast Album of “A Chorus Line;” ELO’s “A New World Record;” The Rolling Stones’ “Let It Bleed,” “Exile On Main St.,” “Sticky Fingers” and “Beggars Banquet;” George Michael’s “Faith;” Paul McCartney’s “Ram” and “Band On The Run;” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and “Double Fantasy;” George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass;” The Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It To The Streets” and “Minute By Minute,” Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna;” Diana Ross’s 1970 self-titled solo debut album; R.E.M’s “Automatic For The People;” Green Day’s “American Idiot;” Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer;” Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs And Englishmen;” Sting’s “The Dream Of The Blue Turtles” and “…Nothing Like The Sun…;” Pat Benatar’s “In The Heat Of The Night,” “Crimes Of Passion” and “Get Nervous;”  Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story;” Led Zeppelin’s “II,” “IV” and “Houses Of The Holy;” Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle;” George Benson’s “Breezin’;” And then, there’s the jazz greats, everything from John Coltrane’s Lush Life,” “Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue,” to Billie Holiday’s “Lady In Satin;” Back to pop/rock, Santana’s “Supernatural;” “Traffic’s “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys;”  Yes “Fragile;” Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack,” “ “A Night At The Opera,” A Day At The Races;” Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie” and “Little Queen;” Jeff Beck’s “Blow By Blow;” Michael Franks’ “Sleeping Gypsy;” Paul Simon’s “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” “Still Crazy After All These Years, “Hearts And Bones” and “Graceland” and the never-to-be forgotten Art Garfunkel’s “Breakaway;” Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” Blonde On Blonde,” “Nashville Skyline” and “Desire.” It’s all too much. You realize even with this vast list, I am still without many, many of my favorites. What am I to do?

Oh, screw it! This is only a twisted fantasy and if I’m ever “sent away” or dumped on some desert island, is music really the first thing I’ll think of? Well, knowing me, probably.

© 2011 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.