I’ve always realized the importance of music in my life. Sometimes it’s as simple as always having it on in the background. Sometimes it’s the obsession of having access to as much of it as possible.
I have an extensive CD collection, over one thousand albums last I knew, though it has been a while since I’ve counted. Finding a good way to display them has always been a challenge. I never want to lock them up and away from people. I long for the moment of some guest to my house perusing my collection and saying, “Oh, you have this album? I didn’t think anybody knew about this. That’s so cool!” or “I didn’t know such-and-such artist had a third album. Can I borrow this?” That can’t happen if their hidden away in a cabinet.
I have a pretty solid vinyl collection. A lot of it came from my parents, so it’s a lot of Maynard Ferguson, Chuck Mangione and Frank Sinatra. But there’s an ever growing portion of the collection my wife and I have amassed over the years, including classics found in record stores, re-issues we just had to have (the Ghostbusters soundtrack that looks and smells like a marshmallow is pretty damn cool), and new releases as we move towards vinyl as our preferred format.
I have a pretty huge chunk of hard drive space devoted to mp3s. In addition to digital versions of everything we own on CD and vinyl, there’s about double that amount in digital only format, acquired from various sources (both legit and…not quite legit). The collection takes up more than 300GB. Part of that is downloaded onto the 128GB microSD cards my wife and I each have in our phones, because there’s really no reason to be without it.
So yeah, music is pretty damned important to me. I’m listening to it as I write this (The Banishment by Prong, the Wolfzilla and the Angry Moon Mix off of Power of the Damn MiXXXer). I find I have almost no ability to write without it. I’m not sure if that’s a Pavlovian response to years of combining the two activities or an actual base need that I have instinctively acquiesced to, but at this point does that matter. Music is life, and life isn’t life without music.
And speaking of life, this whole thing started because in less than a year, I turn 40. I will officially have spent two score of years on this Earth. I was trying to come up ways to celebrate/commemorate the occasion, and the idea to make music the centerpiece of it was…well…obviously easy.
The concept is this. I spent a few days listing out my favorite artists over the past 39+ years. I painstakingly narrowed the list down, and came up with the top 40 artists of my lifetime. These are artists that, in one way or another, have had an impact on my life. Sometimes it’s as simple as an artist that has a catalogue of songs I’m always happy to listen to. Sometimes it’s more complicated, with songs and albums tied to events in my life and the emotions they represent. Sometimes it’s an artist that continually challenges my preconceived notions of music. Sometimes it’s a combination of two or more of those factors. But for whatever reason, I’ve decided on these forty.
And since we live in the world we live in, why silently do something when you can put it online and make a big deal about it to the masses that, well…let’s be honest, aren’t actually listening to the 39 year old rant about his feelings. (Appropriately, now listening to Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode)
But I’m doing it anyway! Over the next forty weeks, culminating in my birthday, I will be listening to the forty most important musicians of my life. I’m counting it down from 40 to 1, and sharing my thoughts with you, the void, as I do it.
I’ll be writing a weekly blog here to talk about the band/artist, how they influenced me, why I enjoy them, and whatever other inane minutia I can cram in here. I’ll also be posting more immediate thoughts on my twitter account, @MrTooduloo, as they happen (except while driving, part of me is still supposedly a responsible adult).
Feel free to come along! Retweet, post comments, vehemently disagree with me, commiserate, listen along or just read this drivel and laugh at (or with) me.