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My “Peak Music Year” Project – Conclusion

My “Peak Music Year” Project – Conclusion

Regular readers of this blog know that some months ago I undertook a project to determine my “peak music year”.  I arbitrarily and capriciously devised a method that I would use to make this determination.  I decided to examine the BillBoard Hot 100 chart for the years 1965 through 1975, determine a “winner” for each year and then pick a favorite from the winners and declare the year that my favorite won to be my “Peak Music Year”.  Now I have finished that process and it’s time to reveal my conclusion and declare my Peak Music Year.

Here are the “winners” of the BillBoard Hot 100 for the relevant years (you can click on the year to read my post summarizing the chart for that year and how I declared the winner):

1965:  The Beatles (five #1 songs)

1966:  The Beatles (two #1 songs)

1967:  The Beatles (three #1 songs)

1968:  The Beatles (two songs, a total of eleven weeks at #1)

1969:  The Beatles (two songs, a total of six weeks at #1)

1970:  The Jackson 5 (Four #1 songs)

1971:  Three Dog Night (Six weeks at #1)

1972:  Disqualified – I declared No Winner

1973:  Disqualified – I declared No Winner

1974:  Disqualified – I declared No Winner

1975:  Elton John (three #1 songs)

So…my favorite among the winners?  Duh.  The Beatles.  That makes my peak music year…what….the 1960’s?  Crap.  OK, while the Beatles are my favorite group among these “winners”, they are not my favorite group of all time.  So there was obviously a flaw in my format.  In reviewing my summaries I would have to say that the year I was most enthusiastic about was 1969, even though the two Beatles tunes that earned them their “win” that year are not even my favorite Beatles songs.  On the other hand, of the seventeen songs that reached #1 that year, I liked (and still like) fifteen of them.  So is 1969 my peak music year?  It is true that there was a lot of great music that year, and I liked and still like a lot of it.

But I also listened to a lot of music  in 1972, ’73 and ’74, years that I disqualified as my peak music year because the BillBoard Hot 100 chart yielded no winner for me.  A lot of the progressive music I listened to during those years was anti commercial and the artists probably would have been insulted if their songs charted on the Hot 100.  Groups like Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and The Alan Parsons Project.  And even though the band that is most likely my favorite of all time, Steely Dan, was (is?) not an alternative group, and they did have significant commercial success, their successes came later than 1975.  I can only conclude that the BillBoard Hot 100 was not the appropriate database to use for purposes of determining my peak music year.  Also the only conclusion I can draw from my little exercise is that 1969 was my Peak BillBoard Hot 100 music year, and a good music year overall for me.

After having reached this wishy washy conclusion to the project, I present two songs related to the year 1969:

First, The Beatles (featuring honorary 5th Beatle, Billy Preston) with one of their #1’s from that year, Get Back:

Next, Steely Dan with a song that was written in 1969, The Caves Of Altamira:

Thanks for reading and sticking with it.  This, however, will not be my final word on my Peak Music Year.

Day By Day…

Day By Day…

Each day  there are threads of unpredictability woven in and around our daily schedules and routines.  While it is true that our days are filled with certain events that we are aware of or have planned and that we accomplish or participate in per our calendars, it is my belief that within these routines are countless unscripted moments where most of life is lived – in the background so to speak.  These unscripted seconds, these many spontaneous and often unconscious interactions and decisions are the grains of sand that make up a life of purpose.  Living a life of purpose sounds like a monumental undertaking, possibly too large for even a great man, much less a simple man like me.  But no large task is accomplished at once, if broken into small enough increments anything can be achieved.  And time passes through an hourglass one grain of sand at a time.

A.M.D.G : Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam – “For the greater glory of God”

The origin of the phrase is attributed to the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who intended it to serve as a cornerstone sentiment of the society’s religious philosophy. The full phrase attributed to St. Ignatius is Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem or “for the greater glory of God and salvation of man.” It is a summary of the idea that any work that is not inherently evil, even one that would normally be considered inconsequential to the spiritual life, can be spiritually meritorious if it is performed in order to give glory to God.

Dedicate one second of your life for the greater glory of God.  And then another.  And another.  This is how I will build my life of purpose – one tiny brick at a time.

Music Friday – 1975 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition – The End Of The Line (Part2 of 2)

Music Friday – 1975 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition – The End Of The Line (Part2 of 2)

OK, let’s pick up from where we left off yesterday.  If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, scroll down below this post and read Part 1 or click here.

At first glance 1975 looks like a soup of Bublegum Pop, Folk, Rock Ballads maybe a little heavy on the schlock.  I usually like my schlock on the side, but 1975 is fairly drenched in it.  Oh well…it’s too late to send it back now.  There are bright spots, though – there’s something for everyone here.  And there’s nothing too strange unlike 1974’s chart.  Wait.  With one exception – Lovin’ You by Minnie Riperton, a song hated by dogs worldwide.  Ripperton is definitely NOT all about dat bass bout dat bass no treble.

There were no long running #1’s, with only 9 songs at #1 for more than one week, and of those 9 only 5 stayed at #1 longer than two weeks.  The longest stint at #1 belonged to The Captain and Tennille for Love Will Keep Us Together.

Cough *schlock* Cough.

The award for artist or group with most #1’s goes to Elton John who had three #1’s:  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (2 weeks), Philadelphia Freedom (2 weeks), and Island Girl (3 weeks).  Three other artists or groups had a song each that stayed at #1 for three weeks apiece:  Tony Orlando & Dawn with He Don’t Love You, Neil Sedaka with Bad Blood and Silver Convention with Fly, Robin, Fly.  Who?  With what?  Yeah, I know.    All of these are wonderful songs…to someone, I’m sure.  Just not to me.  Even being a big Elton John fan, those songs don’t really excite me.  I can take ’em or leave ’em.  So the most popular music of 1975 was not popular with me.  It’s not because I wasn’t exposed to it at the time – I was.  AM radio was still a significant source of music because of the relative scarcity of FM radios and personal and/or portable sound systems.  I remember these songs, I just don’t particularly like them.

Did I like anything about 1975?  Yes, I did.  I liked this:

And this:

And this:

So, I declare the “winner ” of 1975 to be Elton John on the basis of his three #1’s.  And since I am an Elton John fan, I will have to say that 1975 is in the running for selection as my Peak Music Year, though it’s a dark horse.  Stay tuned for my next post which will be the overall analysis of all 11 years and the selection of the prestigious “Mike’s Peak Music Year Award”

Thanks for reading.  Don’t be shy – please leave a comment!

Music Friday – 1975 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition – The End Of The Line (Part1 of 2)

Music Friday – 1975 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition – The End Of The Line (Part1 of 2)

Here we are at the end of my project to determine my “Peak Music Year”.  If you are just joining us, let me provide some background: this all started back in October when, inspired by a post I read at the estimable Althouse blog, I wrote What Does My Taste In Music Say About Me?  I then wondered exactly how one might determine their “Peak Music Year”.  So I arbitrarily devised a plan to select a time frame which I believed was most likley to include my Peak Music Year, examine the popular music of those years, and somehow declare on of those years a “winner” and therefore my Peak Music Year.  With me so far?  Good.  I chose the years 1965 through 1975 – eleven years during which I aged from 11 years old to nineteen years old because I thought it was unlikely my musical tastes formed before age 11 or after 19, and I believed there was a high likelihood that my Peak Music Year would be somewhere in that range.  I then decided the measure of popular music would be the BillBoard Magazine Hot 100 Music Charts for those years.  I would examine the charts, determine an annual “winner” based on something like how many #1 songs an artist or group had that year, or the artist or group with the song that spent the longest stretch at #1.  Completely subjective but I am attempting to determine how I formed my taste in music, a completely subjective subject.

If you like to waste time on the internet like I do, waste a few minutes reviewing the first ten years’ analysis:

Music Friday – 1965 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1966 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1967 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1968 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1969 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1970 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1971 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1972 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1973 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1974 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Now you know what’s happening here and I’m sure you can’t wait to see how this all turns out.  I know I can’t.  So here we go with the 1975 BillBoard Hot 100.  Crap….gotta go to work so I’ll finish this tonight.  See you in approximately 12 hours.



Music Friday – 1974 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1974 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

A cursory glance at the calendar reminds me that it has been about a month since my last Music Friday post, so I missed a couple Fridays in there.  Sorry.  In the pursuit of determining my “Peak Music Year” I have so far examined the BillBoard Hot 100 charts from 1965 thru 1973, now all we have left to look at are 1974 and 1975.  What a long strange trip it’s been.  Today we shall inspect the 1974 Chart.  Lemme just get a quick look at it…holy crap.  This is another one of those schizoid years that bounced all over the place.  There’s no shortage of weirdness either, and the mood changed frequently.  A strange trip indeed.  There are only nine songs that stayed at #1 longer than one week and out of those nine, six stayed at #1 for only two weeks, and three stayed at #1 for three weeks.  So…those three songs must have been killer, right?  Right?  WRONG!  These three songs are examples of everything that was wrong with popular music in the 70’s and quite possibly what was wrong with the actual 70’s.  In hindsight I don’t understand why these songs did not cause protests, riots and mass hysteria in general.  If these songs were “killer” in any sense it would be in the sense that after listening to them one becomes markedly suicidal.  I hesitate to even post them here for fear of alienating the very few readers I have.  OK, here goes.  Just remember I didn’t write them or perform them.  I didn’t like them in 1974 nor do I like them now.

Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks

The Streak by Ray Stevens

(You’re) Having My Baby by Paul Anka with Odia Coates

The list of oddball stuff goes on…Kung Fu FightingThe Night Chicago DiedBilly Don’t be A Hero.  AAARRRRGH.

Hmmm…this may have been a covert plot by Canada to overthrow the U.S. because I see in the Wiki bios of Terry Jacks and Paul Anka that they are Canadians.  That’s it.  There’s no other explanation.  This fact alone may disqualify 1974 as my peak music year.

But wait!  There’s more!  There is a smattering of goodenss if not greatness, especially if you are a folk rock fan.  The 70’s were the hayday of artists like John Denver, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot, all of whom had #1 songs that year.  And also in the mix are a few #1’s by ex- Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and (honorary Beatle) Billy Preston.  But 1974 apparently being the year of the short National Attention Span, these songs stayed at #1 for only one week apiece.

How did I describe 1974 earlier?  Schizophrenic?  Maybe Manic-depressive is a better description.  Or bi-polar as they call it now.  High highs and low lows.  I believe I can safely rule it out as my Peak Music Year, but I won’t rank it last because of a few gems in the pile of rubble.  There is no clear winner this year, so I will simply present a couple of my favorite songs from that year.  Enjoy!  Gotta go!



In Which I Make Excuses

In Which I Make Excuses

I may have mentioned that I am longer a Man Out Of Work.  I am now a Man Who Seems To Work Every Waking Minute Of His Freaking Life.  But that’s a poor name for a blog.  I’m not complaining, mind you, but I am playing the excuse card for light *non-existent* blogging.

I like blogging.  I want to blog.  I know that all the great bloggers whose blogs I read and who have inspired me to begin blogging work jobs that are undoubtedly more demanding than mine, yet they still crank out the content.  I just haven’t figured out how to make the adjustment from having lots of time to having almost no time.

Right now three things take up virtually 95% of my time.  Work 40%; Sleep 30%;  Wife 25%.   The wife’s time budget has already taken the biggest hit, so there’s no cutting back there.  In fact she is in need of an increase of at least 10%.  Can’t cut back on work, so it looks like sleep is gonna have to take the hit.

We’ll see how it goes.  It should be fairly easy for you to tell:  as the posts get more frequent and less coherent you’ll know I am making an adjustment to my sleep schedule.  Stay tuned!

Cross posted at Men Out Of Work Blog

Music Friday – 1973 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1973 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Welcome to this week’s Music Friday installment in the project to determine my peak music year.  We are in the home stretch, since starting at 1965 we are now up to the year 1973 with only two more years to go after this.  An initial observation – as we plow forward from the 60’s into the 1970’s, I’m feeling less personal attachent to the music in the BillBoard Hot 100 chart.  One reason for this may be that at this time in my life I was in high school and though I was still exposed to the popular music through the magic of AM Radio (what we had in cars in those days), most of my serious music fare was consumed through my (and my friends’) growing personal music collections and the burgeoning free form FM radio format.  There was little common ground between the AM and FM playlists of the day, and the culture I was part of at that time was more in touch with the FM genre.  So, like I said – an observation.

Here we go: the 1973 BillBoard Hot 100.  This year is similar to 1972 in that it’s a bit of a smorgasbord, though lighter on the bubblegum and with only a little weirdness.  And still, three solo Beatles managed to crack #1 – Paul McCartney with My Love, George Harrison with Give Me Love and Ringo Starr with Photograph.  Another interesting tidbit is that with the exception of only five songs, none of the #1’s spent more than two consecutive weeks at the top spot.  And of those five songs, three spent 4 weeks apiece at the top, and two spent three weeks apiece there.  And finally, no artist or group had multiple #1 songs that year.  So there was no easy obvious runaway “winner” this year, and I could easily call it a three way tie much like I called 1972 a four way tie.  Perhaps we’ll take a poll of the comments?  Of course that would require you, dear reader, to leave a comment.

Here I will present the three songs that spent four weeks apiece at #1, and you can choose your favorite from among them.  First is by Roberta Flack, Killing Me Softly:

Next is the bubblegum entry, Tony Orlando & Dawn with Tie A Yellow Ribbon:

And finally, we have Paul McCartney & Wings with My Love:

Nice mullet, McCartney.  The last offering is the only song of the three that I could say I really like, being a Beatle and McCartney fan.  But it’s nowhere near my favorite McCartney tune.  Even the other songs aren’t horrible, they just aren’t for me.  Safe Bet:  1973 is NOT my peak music year.  That’s all for now – thanks for watching…err…reading.  Listening!  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  See  you soon!

May I Make A Suggestion?

May I Make A Suggestion?

You may wish to patronize another blog I contribute to:

The Men Out Of Work Blog

There are a couple new things up over there today.  Plus, it’s an Amazon portal, so you can shop.


Music Friday – 1972 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1972 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Sorry I’m late with this – it’ll never happen again.  In fact, forget I said that…this never happened in the first  place.  Welcome to this perfectly on time Music Friday wherein I will examine the BillBoard Hot 100 chart for the year 1972 in furtherance of my attempt to determine my “peak music year”.  A quest, incidentally that was inspired by this post at the Althouse blog.  Althouse is a “who”, not a “where” .  Though she is aware.  Anyway, you should click over and take a look at her blog.  It is well worth your time.  OK, hat-tipping now having been dispensed with, let us move on to the chart.  My first impression is that this years offerings are a fairly diverse group of songs with (without?) one notable absence – there are no counterculture overtones in any of the rock songs.  This seems a little odd to me, given the year.  As I remember that time much of the unrest that began in the late 1960’s was coming to a boil.  Anyway, any social unrest of the time isn’t reflected in the music that charted that year – most of it is pretty typical pop music.  There’s also some serious nonsense, which I will adress in a followup post.

It’s a little difficult to pick a “winner” since no group or artist had multiple songs reach #1, though one artist did reach #1 twice with the same song.  But if I declare him the winner, I will just have to end this right now by hanging myself.  Or treating myself to jumping off a nearby tower.  Because that artist is Gilbert O’Sullivan and the song is Alone Again, Naturally.  Another song worth noting, and possibly worth a “win” based soley on it’s iconic status in popular culture is American Pie (parts I & II) by Don McLean.  It feels a little like the folk-rock protest songs of the day (Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag, anyone?), but McLean’s ballad is a lament – not a protest.  So here you go:

The song with the longest stretch at #1 was The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack with six weeks at the top.  On that basis I would have to say that it is also a contender for “winner” of 1972.  Give a listen:

There were two other songs that spent four weeks apiece at #1.  One was Without You by Harry Nilsson.  I am a Nilsson fan, though this is not one of my favorites:

The next one was I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash:

Meh.  In my opinion.  Though it did have some longevity – I still hear it today.  But this is about my taste in music.  Me me me.  So, I guess I need to pick a winner.  I know who the loser is – me.  I don’t really care enough about any of these songs to pick a winner.  I’ll call it a four way tie and leave it at that.  Or you can vote for your favorite in the comments and I’ll declare the winner based on that vote count.  No matter what, I know one thing I can declare:  1972 is NOT my “peak music year”.  That is all.  See ya!



Music Friday – 1971 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1971 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

It’s time for the latest installment in my quest to determine my “peak music year”.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about you may want to take a few minutes  in the wayback machine and read these previous posts for context:

What Does My Taste In Music Say About Me?

Music Friday 1965 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday 1966 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday 1967 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday 1968 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday 1969 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday 1970 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

All caught up?  Good.  Let’s now embark on our analysis of the 1971 BillBoard Hot 100.  As you may remember from the earlier posts, the charts from 1965 through 1969 tended to be dominated by The Beatles.  They did also appear on, but did not dominate, the 1970 chart.  1971 is the first chart in the post-Beatles era, the band having broken up in 1970.  We do see, however, the appearance of two former Beatles – Paul McCartney and George Harrison on the chart;  Harrison for three weeks at #1 (My Sweet Lord/Isn’t It A Pity) and McCartney for one week at #1 (Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey).  That observation aside, 1971 seems to be a year of confusion, with an odd mixture of rock and roll with counterculture overtones, moderate to extreme bubblegum pop and a few I’m not sure what the hell to call this weirdness one hit wonders.  You can click here to see the chart for yourself.  I suppose in hindsight that the times were somewhat turbulent and the chart may be a refection of the fact that America was searching for it’s soul in more ways than one.

Since I do not see a clear runaway winner this year, I’m going for the group that had the song with the longest stretch at #1, six weeks, which is Three Dog Night with Joy To The World:

This is a tune that is more commercial than counterculture and maybe even flirts modestly with bubblegum.  It seems to be ultimately a kind of effervescent, uplifting and non-controversial song that may have been just what the coutry was looking for.  Or I have a good imagination.  No matter.  So 1971 was a stange music year, and most likely not my peak music year.  In fact there really isn’t a song in the bunch that excites me enough to go to YouTube and find a video to embed.  I mean, there are a few notables in there, but this is after all a project to determine My peak music year not everybody else’s.  So your mileage may vary.  If you’re a big fan of Tony Orlando & Dawn or The Osmonds then 1971 may be your peak music year.  But I doubt it.

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