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At number 885, with a bullet...
October 4, 2004 4:03 PM   Subscribe

The 885 All Time Greatest Songs as chosen by listeners to WXPN, the listener-supported station at 88.5 on the Philadelphia-area FM dial. WXPN ran an on-line vote, asking listeners for their top 10 all time favorites in celebration of a move to a new studio. They are playing all 885 back, in order, all this week (on air and on-line). We're up to Bobby Darin and Beyond the Sea (number 750, sandwiched between Husker Du and Jimi Hendrix) as I post this. My all time favorite, the Dead's Wharf Rat, was at 782. The site also presents the top ten lists of some of their staff and some favorite artists.
posted by mmahaffie (32 comments total)

 
The mere fact that Dar Williams is on the list validates it for me. Not a rising indie rock pre-sellout pretention star, no mainstream fame, and some of the best writing out there. Go figure.
posted by weston at 4:23 PM on October 4, 2004


Billy Joel's Captain Jack only got 812? New York State of Mind's only 793? I guess I should be happy Joel got mentioned at all.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:37 PM on October 4, 2004


END OF THE INNOCENCE by DON HENLEY is only 833?
DANCING QUEEN by ABBA only 848?!?
WICHITA LINEMAN by GLEN CAMPBELL 789?!?!?!

What kind of sick fucking joke is this?!?!

(I kid!)

(they all deserve #1 position in my mind.)
posted by Quartermass at 5:54 PM on October 4, 2004


Didn't you have a hit in the mid 80s Quartermass?
posted by eyeballkid at 6:01 PM on October 4, 2004


...and where the hell is "In-A-Godda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly? They've all forgotten; it's really sad...
posted by alumshubby at 6:08 PM on October 4, 2004


Woohoo for my favorite, sweet sweet local station!
posted by thebabelfish at 6:26 PM on October 4, 2004


It would rock if they only counted down from 885 to 770 and then said "we're done!"

Well, maybe not rock, but I would like it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:37 PM on October 4, 2004


BILL WITHERS - Ain't No Sunshine

Phil Roy, you have taste.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:46 PM on October 4, 2004


Where is my mind by the Pixies is 807?!!! WTF?!!! It's at least 750! C'mon!
posted by photoslob at 6:56 PM on October 4, 2004


and where the hell is "In-A-Godda-Da-Vida"
#706 playing at 10:13 eastern. Next question
posted by mss at 7:15 PM on October 4, 2004


Though I love Bobby Darin, his rendition of "Beyond the Sea" is deeply inferior to the original "La Mer" by Charles Trenet.

I swear to God, "La Mer" is one of my chief reasons for living.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:56 PM on October 4, 2004


Didn't you have a hit in the mid 80s Quartermass?
posted by eyeballkid at 8:01 PM CST on October 4


You would be thinking of Quarterflash.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2004


I was driving to the grocery and got sick of hearing two Bush/Kerry people snipe at each other on Tavis Smiley, punched the button and suddenly thought What the Hell preset station is this? Because they were playing "A Boy Named Sue." That's when I remembered about this.
posted by soyjoy at 8:16 PM on October 4, 2004


where is blinded by the light, by manfred mann's earth band?

THAT song is my reason for living.
posted by sugarfish at 8:20 PM on October 4, 2004


You would be thinking of Quarterflash.

Of course I was, Captian Obvious ;).
posted by eyeballkid at 8:29 PM on October 4, 2004


Captain.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:36 PM on October 4, 2004


Why the number eight hundred and eighty-five? Is that all the songs in that radio station's playlist? So if it turns out the fifty-ninth most voted song is actually "Adagio in Strings" and the radio station doesn't have that in their collection, they just skip that number? How about "Fiddler On The Roof" or something from Die Fledermaus?

NPR did just a nice even one hundred most influential American works of the 20th century, a few years ago. Now that was classy. Just as stupid, but an even hundred is much more classy than an odd number like eight hundred and eighty-five. I could list my five hundred and forty-seven favorite songs of all time, but I'd still have to drive around the parking garage looking for an unreserved spot.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:54 PM on October 4, 2004



Why the number eight hundred and eighty-five? Is that all the songs in that radio station's playlist?


88.5FM.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:05 PM on October 4, 2004


Oh. Well color me duh.

I should add that I typed "Adagio in Strings" above, when I meant to say "Adagio FOR Strings." Also for all I know I'm misspelling Adagio.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:14 PM on October 4, 2004


Maybe it's a generational/personal thing, but there is little music I can get into that was produced before the 90s. I think it has to do with technology and my preferences, because computers and improved recording mechanisms have allowed for greater depth of sound quality and experimentation (I am talking strictly recorded music here, but similar rules can apply on stage).

I think the Beatles are overrated.

Just before y'all decide to jump down my throat, do understand my tastes are measured simply by what hits my ears, aesthetically, and lyrics mean nothing to me. That's poetry, not music.
posted by Mach3avelli at 9:32 PM on October 4, 2004


I think a lot of modern rappers would have to disagree with you, Mach.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:03 AM on October 5, 2004


Maybe it's a generational/personal thing, but there is little music I can get into that was produced before the 90s.

You poor, unfortunate person. It's sad to someones mind so warped.
posted by jonmc at 6:21 AM on October 5, 2004


Can't say I agree with you, Mach3avelli - to me, there's more magic in the old recordings (Let It Bleed is the best-sounding album ever!!!) - but to each their own. An endless series of debates with a particularly argumentative friend of mine has taught me that there's nothing stupider and more futile than arguing about subjective opinions.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:33 AM on October 5, 2004


That said, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"'s placement at #858 is the greatest injustice in the history of the world.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:35 AM on October 5, 2004


Dave Marsh's list of the top 1001 singles (meaning album tracks are not eligible, which explains some omissions) is a well-thought out list that he made into a book. The choices are not neccessarily blindingly original or obscure, but they are mostly inarguably accurate, and the blurbs he writes for them in the book are pointed and accurate. F'rinstance, his 782 "Across The Street," by Lenny O'Henry is better than "Wharf Rat."
posted by jonmc at 6:50 AM on October 5, 2004


Let It Bleed is the best-sounding album ever!!!

I was just making this exact point to someone the other day. I wish I knew enough about recording techniques to understand why this is true.

I would love to see a list of albums like this one -- that sound so completely different from others recorded around the same time. And I'm speaking of production/engineering only.
posted by luser at 6:53 AM on October 5, 2004


My old college station, KCOU 88.1 FM in Columbia, Mo., is making a list of the Top 88 of 2004. It used to be the Top 88 of ALL TIME!!!! (but I guess they got tired of the fact that really, people just voted for whatever they currently liked a lot).
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:57 AM on October 5, 2004


luser - I don't know anything about recording/production either...and to some extent, I don't really want to know, as knowing how they did it would take away some of the mystique. I feel the same way about my favourite movies; don't wanna know anything about the making of Local Hero, for example.

Anyway, every time I listen to "Monkey Man," I sit back in amazement during the instrumental bridge and wonder just how the hell they got it to sound that amazing...most everything these days sounds so compressed and, to my ears, sterile. Apart from The White Stripes, which is one of the reasons I love 'em.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:47 AM on October 5, 2004


Was/Not Was' Walk The Dinosaur. Where's that one on their list?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2004


I've listened to 88.5 for the better part of my adult life -- we are truly spoiled in Phila.

It's probably been my best source to find cool new music.
posted by szg8 at 10:51 AM on October 5, 2004


I miss 88.5.

Oh how I wish they streamed something other than 20K windows media.
posted by mosch at 12:08 AM on October 6, 2004


BUNCH A' FOLK NAZIS RUINED MY FAVORITE STATION

(I actually have fond memories of XPN, but that song is what always jumps into my head when I hear them mentioned.)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:05 AM on October 6, 2004


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