Another week, another brain dump of the random things that I think about on an average day. This is a long one so you may want to go get yourself a snack and a beverage before you start.
– My daydream is that someday an editor for a publication/website like Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, etc… will stumble across this blog and say to themself:
“Self… this is the type of half witted, trying too hard to be clever, long winded commentary that the internet just doesn’t have enough of. This Billy D’Ettorre guy is nowhere near as talented or as funny as Rob Sheffield or Chuck Klosterman, but I bet he’s way cheaper.”
Yup. This is where I’d jump in and take work away from my favorite writers for a fraction of the pay they receive. Far fetched I know, but stranger things have happened.
Well, it looks like my far fetched plan to become a famous pop culture writer became even more unlikely a few days ago. It was announced that you could now pay Rolling Stone $2,000 to publish your writing. I want to get paid…. I don’t want to pay them.
Don’t believe me? Read about it HERE.
My friend Brian’s idea… “We should see what albums are being promoted with full-page ads in Rolling Stone, then we should do a GoFundMe, raise $2K, then pay them to give all those albums no-star reviews”.
With all the angst and negativity of the past year I don’t think I’d have the heart to give someone zero stars, no matter how much I disliked their work. In my book everyone gets credit for trying to entertain people nowadays… everyone except Ted Nugent. He’s a terrible person.
– A couple weeks ago I wrote a paragraph or two about taking some time to listen to a favorite album all the way through with no interruptions or distractions. I got a bunch of positive feedback for that piece. Imagine my surprise when I came across a Facebook link to an L.A. Times article promoting the same idea.
I clicked on the link to see what their version said, and noticed that it was from March of last year. As I skimmed the Randall Roberts penned article it occurred to me that I had read it last spring, at the beginning of the virus imposed need for home entertainment.
I honestly didn’t mean to steal an idea from a smarter, better, and (most importantly) employed writer. It’s sort of like the time Danny Partridge thought he wrote a new song for his family, but was inadvertently cribbing the tune his big brother Keith was working on.
Read my version HERE.
Read the L.A. Times article on “deep listening” HERE .
See the Partridge brothers squabble over songwriting credit HERE.
Right now I feel as badly as Danny did when he realized he was wrong.
– There is a podcast I’m currently obsessed with. I discovered it a couple weeks ago, and have been catching up on the 115 episodes currently available of a show called “The 500 with Josh Adam Meyers“.
Josh Adam Meyers is a standup comedian, not to be confused with Seth Meyers brother Josh, who also a standup comic. That must be a pain in the ass for both of them.
Every week J.A.M does a track by track breakdown of an album from Rolling Stone magazine’s 2012 list of The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.* He started doing this in October of 2018 with #500 (“Aquemini” by Outkast) and as of this week is currently up to #385 (“Love And Theft” by Bob Dylan). If my math is correct he’ll hit #1 (“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ” by The Beatles) in the year 2028 if the world hasn’t blown up by then.
Joining Josh every week is a guest of some sort… someone who is usually a big fan of the album under discussion. Comedians, actors, musicians, authors, professional athletes, and more have talked about their love of music, and thanks to excellent questions by Mr. Meyers the guests also open up about their own personal lives in relation to the songs being examined. For instance, guest Bob (Full House) Saget tells stories of loss and sacrifice that he has experienced as they chat about Jackson Browne’s classic tune “Here Come Those Tears Again” (from album #391 “The Pretender”, if you’re keeping score at home). Excellent stuff.
After listening to a bunch of episodes, and really digging what I was hearing, I did what most normal people would (or at least could) do in the current age of social media. I sent the following tweet….
::: @JoshAdamMeyers I discovered @the500podcast a week or two ago when @Spotify recommended it to me. Love it. Been listening to episodes with fave albums or guests, but will eventually get to them all. I hope I get famous sometime in the next 7 years so I can be on. You do a great job. :::
I was thrilled that Josh actually responded. It was just five words, but those five words sent me not down a rabbit hole… it’s more like a rabbit canyon. The five words were “What album would you do?”.
I’ve been tweeting replies to that poor man since last Friday trying to answer that question. Why? I don’t know. It’s not like he’s going to send me a message saying “Arsenio Hall cancelled at the last second. Do you want to chat about The Doors first album with me?”
First of all, I’m not sure why I think Arsenio Hall would schedule himself to talk about The Doors**.
Second, all of the guests on The 500 Podcast are talented people who have at least a little fame. I was lucky enough to be a Z level celebrity in my home town for a few years thanks to being on a popular radio show. That ended about a year ago.***
Despite all of that I maintain that I’d be really good talking about classic albums with Josh Adam Meyers. I know music, I have stories, and when I get rolling I don’t shut up. I definitely know more about Sam Cooke and “Live At The Harlem Square Club”**** than Neil deGrasse Tyson did. To be fair, he knows a little bit more about astrophysics than I do.
So what album would I pick? I’m still trying to narrow it down to my top five. This list may change 30 seconds after I hit send, but here is what I’m thinking right now (with my own self imposed rule of only one album per artist). These aren’t necessarily my very favorite records of all time, but I do love them and think they’d lead to a terrific conversation.
5. Bat Out Of Hell- Meat Loaf (#343)
4. From Elvis In Memphis- Elvis Presley (#190)
3. Mr. Excitement -Jackie Wilson (#236)
2. Born In The USA- Bruce Springsteen (#86)
1. Sail Away- Randy Newman (#322)
Just a couple more things before I let you go…
– HERE is an easy to look at version of the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list (2012 version).
– I’m pretty sure that just about every album on this list (and a whole lot more) can be purchased at Record Archive, either at the actual store or online at the RA Web Store HERE.
What album, or two, or five would you want to have a deep discussion about? Find me on Facebook (Billy D’Ettorre), email (RadioBillyD@gmail.com) or Twitter (@RadioFreeBillyD).
I’m finally done.
Stay safe, wear your masks, and let’s get this virus stuff under control.
* Rolling Stone published a newer version of the list late in 2020 with many additions, subtractions, and position changes. We’re going by the 2012 list since that’s what the podcast follows, having started in 2018.
** The Doors debut album came in at #42
*** I’m not even the most famous person in my house.
**** Sam Cooke Live At The Harlem Square Club was #396