Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The 50 Song Club

On my recent vacation, I came up with a bit of a parlor game for music nerds --- The 50 song club. Simply put, does a band/artist/songwriter have 50 great songs? They need not be singles, just great tunes across their career. For some artists it ain't even a question: The Beatles, Stones, Elvis Costello, Dylan, Cash, Hank Williams (a short career but he was to battling close to 1.000).

It seems simple enough, but there are certainly wrinkles. For example, Prince wrote (and produced, arranged and performed) well over 50 great songs, but what about Madonna? She's sung dozens of classics, but does she have 50 writing credits? Maybe. And what about Kylie? Then there's Timbaland, whose batting average as a featured artist is poor, but what about writing/producing credits? He could probably get to 50 just on his collaborations with Missy Elliot.

And I figure I'd kick it off with a few introductees:

Herbie Hancock - Herbie has dominated the last half century with his writing and playing. There are few artists as fearless.

* Best Stretch - The entire Headhunters period was his funky high point.
* Perfect Albums? - Head Hunters has four of the best songs ever written, period.
* Also Worth Considering - His early acoustic albums are all worth merit and there are plenty of great standards throughout the 60s. And this was while he was playing with Miles, to boot.

Depeche Mode - Started as a dark naughty band with synthesizers, continue today as a dark naughty band with guitars and synthesizers.

* Best Stretch - The band was dominant for the entire '80s. There was not a bum record in the bunch.
* Perfect Albums? - Violator and Music for the Masses both get very close. But Black Celebration is nipping on their heels.
* Also Worth Considering - The '90s were a tough period for the band especially with Dave Gahan's drug use. But there are plenty of great songs littered in the much darker (and that's saying something) albums from this period - Songs of Faith and Devotion and Ultra.


chibent said...

U2. Of course.

Ozkirbas said...

I think he said 50 good songs.