4

130: Thelonious Monk, ‘Let’s Call This’ (Monk’s Advice to Lacy)

You talk about a different drummer? Thelonious Monk inhabited a not-so-parallel universe. He played very few notes, and those unpredictable. Metronomes were witnessed imploding in his presence. He pounded the keyboard with extended, flat fingers. He got up in the middle of a song to dance. He wore funny hats. Sometimes he just refused to talk. But he gave soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy some unforgettable advice about how to be a ‘cool’ musician. Or maybe about How To Be. “A genius is the one most like himself,” Monk says. Clearly, Monk was exactly like Monk.

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8

128: The Isley Brothers, ‘Twist and Shout’

Before the Jerk, the Pony, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, the Monkey and the Funky Chicken, there was the big mamma pelvic rotator of them all, The Twist. And before there was The Beatles, there were The Isley Brothers. They’re the guys who really Twisted and Shouted.

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3

122: George Harrison (The Beatles), ‘You Know What to Do’ b/w Buddy Holly, ‘You’re the One’

So you thought (as I did) that you know every George Harrison/Beatles recording and every post-puberty Buddy Holly recording? Here are two you don’t know. And you just may have a hard time telling them apart.

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6

129: Franz Schubert, ‘Death and the Maiden’

In Renaissance art, the Death and the Maiden allegory depicted irresistible Death seducing a hot virgin without any clothes—think of a slasher movie directed by Ingmar Bergman. In young Franz Schubert’s string quartet, this motif becomes a hyper-energized meditation on his impending demise.

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10

033: Radka Toneff, ‘The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress’ (Jimmy Webb)

You’ve never heard of the Norwegian singer Radka Toneff. Trust me, it’s your loss.
Listen to her sing Jim Webb’s ‘The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress’. Tell me you weren’t moved.

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18

125: Bee Gees, ‘Holiday’

I say ‘The Bee Gees’ and you snicker. But before these three white Australian brothers started sounding like three black American sis-tahs, they were compared favorably with, ahem, The Beatles. The Brothers Gibb – Incarnation #1.

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8

119: Tom Harrell, ‘Train Shuffle’

Loath as I am to resort to gimmickry, it’s hard to ignore the back-story of trumpeter Tom Harrell’s paranoid schizophrenia. He hears voices, maintains ‘a tenuous contact with reality’, is heavily medicated, and speaks like a zombie who’s just seen a ghost. Until he puts his horn to his lips, when he’s instantly and magically possessed by an utterly coherent aesthetic expressiveness.

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8

289: Simon & Garfunkel, ‘Old Friends/Bookends’

In 1967, Paul Simon said I resembled Art Garfunkel.
He was wrong.

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