Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Top 50 Live Albums of All Time

On March 9, 2010, I posted a list of the top 20 live albums of all time on the DMDB Facebook page. I expanded the list to a top 50 a and have since updated it several times on the DMDB blog. The list was compiled by aggregating 38 lists (see resources at bottom of page) focused specifically on the best live albums of all time. Here are the results:
1. James Brown Live at the Apollo, Vol. 1 (1962)
2. The Allman Brothers At Fillmore East (1971)
3. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (1968)
4. Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York (1993)
5. Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive! (1975)
6. Eric Clapton Unplugged (1992)
7. The Who Live at Leeds (1970)
8. The MC5 Kick Out the Jams (1968)
9. B.B. King Live at the Regal (1964)
10. Grateful Dead Live/Dead (1969)
11. Johnny Cash At San Quentin (1969)
12. U2 Rattle and Hum (studio/live, 1988)
13. Bob Marley Live! (At the Lyceum) (1975)
14. Kiss Alive! (1975)
15. The Rolling Stones Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out (1969)
16. Judy Garland Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961)
17. Deep Purple Made in Japan (1972)
18. Talking Heads Stop Making Sense (1983)
19. Cheap Trick At Budokan (1978)
20. Bob Dylan The Royal Albert Hall Concert – The Bootleg Series Volume 4 (1966)
21. U2 Under a Blood Red Sky (1983)
22. Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys/Live at Fillmore East (1970)
23. Jackson Browne Running on Empty (1977)
24. Muddy Waters At Newport (1960)
25. Bruce Springsteen Live 1975/1985 (1985)
26. Benny Goodman Complete Legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert (1938)
27. Cream Wheels of Fire (live/studio, 1968)
28. Motorhead No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith (1981)
29. Eagles Hell Freezes Over (1994)
30. Garth Brooks Double Live (1998)
31. various artists Woodstock (1969)
32. The Band The Last Waltz (1976)
33. Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous (1977)
34. Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club (1963)
35. Erroll Garner Concert by the Sea (1955)
36. Duke Ellington At Newport (1956)
37. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 4 Way Street (1970)
38. Quicksilver Messenger Service Happy Trails (1969)
39. Little Feat Waiting for Columbus (1978)
40. Jerry Lee Lewis Live at the Star Club, Hamburg (1964)
41. Led Zeppelin How the West Was Won (1972)
42. James Brown Sex Machine (1970)
43. Bill Evans Trio Waltz for Debby (1961)
44. Neil Young Live Rust (1979)
45. Bill Evans Trio Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961)
46. Luciano Pavarotti/Placido Domingo/Jose Carreras: The Three Tenors in Concert/Mehta (1990)
47. Simon & Garfunkel The Concert in Central Park (1981)
48. Van Morrison It’s Too Late to Stop Now (1974)
49. The Quintet (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, & Max Roach) Jazz at Massey Hall (1953)
50. George Harrison et al The Concert for Bangladesh (1971)

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Taylor Swift debuts at #1 with “Shake It Off”

Originally posted 12/25/2014.

image from

Taylor Swift “Shake It Off”

Writer(s): Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback (see lyrics here)

Released: 8/18/2014, First charted: 9/6/2014

Peak: 14 US, #14 AC, #18 AA, #58 CW, 3 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.00 US, 0.57 UK, 4.85 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): 400.18

Review: In 2014, Taylor Swift made a conscious decision to embrace pop music completely and abandoned attempts to pigeon-hole her work into a country mold. The result was met with immediate approval in the pop world. Lead single “Shake It Off,” from 1989 – Swift’s fifth studio album – debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100. It was her second time atop the chart – the first being “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” the lead single from her previous album, 2012’s Red. The song also set up Swift for the biggest album debut in a decade with 1.29 million sales in its first week.

She wrote the song with Max Martin and Shellback, who also collaborated with Swift on “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” SF It marked Martin’s 18th #1 as a songwriter, putting him only behind Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon (26). SF The song is uptempo with a melody which Billboard magazine’s Jason Lipshutz compared to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” He called it a “surefire hit” which “proves why she belongs among pop’s queen bees.” WK A Music Times critic compared the song to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” while Shirley Halperin, from The Hollywood Reporter, described it as an uptempo version of Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” and called it “pop-tastic.” WK

Lyrically, the song is Swift’s message to her haters. She said, “People can say whatever they want…at any time, and we cannot control that…You can either let it get to you… [or] you just shake it off.” SF She told the BBC “it honestly doesn’t matter if someone else doesn’t want to understand you.” SF. The song found some detractors; Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast said it was “a great pop song,” but “the least musically interesting song” of her career, noting that “this new direction…is woefully depressing.” WK

Mark Romanek, who was previous behind Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” and Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream,” directed the video. In it, Swift surrounded herself with what Music Times called “some of the world’s best dancers in the styles of hip hop, lyrical, ballet, jazz and even cheerleader” while Swift embraced “her inner dorky dancer.” WK The video received mixed reviews. Direct Lyrics called it a “fun one” but The Guardian’s Molly Fitzpatrick said the mix of different dance styles was “fun, but the conceit falls flat.” WK Jezebel called it a “cringe-worthy mess” WK while rapper Earl Sweatshirt criticized the video for playing on racial stereotypes. SF

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.