383. northern sky

“I never much bought into all the death cult stuff, the young artists who were just too pure for the world, or whatever. I guess I feel it’s the living we should focus on, the ones still dealing with it (whatever it even is) rolling with it, not ending it, intentionally or otherwise. Or as a stoned friend once put it of Jimi Hendrix, I prefer the stuff he did before he died. Which gets us to the only Nick Drake selection on this list, the only one I heard before I had any idea of why he was so damned important. True he was already long dead when I first stumbled upon Northern Sky via the Great Antilles Sampler (the 1980s sometime), but I didn’t know that. I just liked the song and it how it served the album’s overall eclectic flow – from folk to pop to free jazz to full-on experimental avant-everything. Music worth living for, goddamit.” (Philip Random)

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994. name of the game

“Badfinger were supposed to be the next Beatles. Hell, some people thought they were the Beatles, signed as they were to Apple Records and showing a penchant for strong melodies and harmonies, and no fear of rocking out if required. In which case, Name of the Game would have been one of Paul McCartney’s songs, sad, beautiful, perhaps even meaningful. Maybe too meaningful in Badfinger’s case, as Pete Ham, the guy who wrote it, killed himself four years after its release (age twenty-seven) due, it seems, to deep despondence at the trajectory of the band’s career. Eight years later, fellow band member Tom Evans would do the same.” (Philip Random)

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