My iPod is my best friend that doesn’t breathe. It accompanies me everywhere, on the trains to and from London every day, when I walk my dog in the Surrey Hills and when I go to the supermarket. I plug it into my car stereo when I’m driving. Now that I have a business-like docking speaker in the dining room it provides accompaniment for meals and, when I’m relaxing in the sitting room and the TV is off, I plug it into the stereo to save having to find CDs. I’ve even taken it to parties in case the host’s music is lacking.
The number of songs on my iPod fluctuates but at the time of writing there are 7,477, almost full but enough for any one time I think. I have experimented with creating my own temporary ‘on the go’ playlists, but the two permanent ones (Top Rated and Most Played) tend to be used when I’m lazy. There are 554 ‘Top Rated’ songs right now, and the regulation 25 ‘Most Played’. Of course the Most Played tend to be songs which have been on the iPod the longest – anything new won’t have reached this level yet – so although the list might appear to condemn me as someone who wallows in nostalgia, this isn’t strictly true. There is plenty of newer stuff on the iPod but it hasn’t been played so much because it hasn’t been on as long, and when I delete old stuff to make way for new I won’t delete all time favourites.
Here Is my current 25 Most Played, with a comment or two. There’s an element of randomness to this list but mostly I’ve pressed play because I simply want to hear them again and again. The actual number of plays vary from somewhere in the high 40s down to the 20s, and some might be tied.
1) There She Goes – The La’s
Just perfect pop I guess. A song I never tire of.
2) Walking The Long Miles Home (Live, from Austin 2/7/01) – Richard Thompson
The first of five Thompson songs in the list including one with Linda, making him the most played artist on my iPod. This live album is terrific.
3) How Can I Tell You – Cat Stevens
Mrs C is a big fan and I’m partial to this song too. One of the most romantic songs ever written.
4) Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
More perfect pop.
5) Don’t Worry Baby – Beach Boys
My favourite BB song. It’s quite possible that this ought to be higher on the list as another, newer, re-mixed version is on the iPod too, and this has been played a lot as well. It could even to be number one on aggregate plays.
6) Going’ Back – The Byrds
Just a great version of a beautiful song.
7) Teach Your Children – CSN&Y
Another Mrs C favourite. We never miss Goldrush, a CSN&Y tribute band, when they play at our village pub.
8) Something – The Beatles
This is the version from the Love album, remastered. Up there in my top five Beatle songs, along with Don’t Let Me Down and their spin through Long tall Sally.
9) Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks
Everybody’s favourite Kinks song.
10) Going To California (Live from Earls Court, 1975) – Led Zeppelin
Mrs C’s favourite Zep song, beautifully played.
11) Dimming Of The Day – Richard & Linda Thompson
A live duet from the Life & Times of RT box set. I adored this version when I first heard it and for a long time it was number one most played. Somehow it’s slipped down the chart.
12) If Paradise Is (Half As Nice) – Amen Corner
An odd favourite of mine that I never tire of. Another in the same category – random 60s pop – that’s probably hovering underneath the 25 is I Can’t Let Maggie Go by Honeybus.
13) I Want You – Dylan
Tambourine Man is my favourite Dylan song but that doesn’t make the list somehow. This is a pretty good substitute.
14) Highway Patrolman (live, Dublin) – Springsteen & Sessions Band
I loved this ‘story’ song when I first heard it on Nebraska but this version is the best.
15) Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor – Gillian Welch
A guy at work turned me on to GW about six years ago and I now play her a lot. Her take on this old blues song by Mississippi John Hurt is as good as she gets.
16) Rockin’ Chair (Live, RAH, 6/2/21) – The Band
Probably my favourite Band song, and much played because of the counterpoint vocals during the last verse. From that 5-CD box set/book with a knockout version of Slippin’ & Slidin’ which is almost certainly hovering just under this list.
17) Positively Fourth Street – Dylan
Probably the best put down song ever written. Glad it wasn’t about me.
18) In My Command – Crowded House
I love Crowded House but I’m not too sure why this song of theirs has been played more than any other. Distant Sun and Into Temptation are up there too.
19) Mother Knows Best – Richard Thompson
Thompson on fire.
20) Nothing Compares To You – Sinead O’Connor
Another favourite of Mrs C.
21) In My Hour Of Darkness – Gram Parsons
My favourite GP song.
22) Cooksferry Queen (Live, from Austin) – Richard Thompson
Opening song on this live CD, a real belter.
23) Twist And Shout – Beatles
I gave a talk on John Lennon earlier this year but before I said a word I played this loud. It said everything there was to say really.
24) Roy Orbison Knows – John Wesley Harding
Wes was a pal of mine years ago and this song has stuck in my consciousness ever since. This version is from his first ever (live) album which has a picture of my old Gibson guitar on the back.
25) 1953 Vincent Black Lightning (Live, Austin) – Richard Thompson
Probably my favourite RT song, and what I said about Don’t Worry Baby applies to this too, though in this case there’s two other versions on the IPod, both of which have been played a fair bit too, so the aggregate total of all three will put this much higher.
Those who know me might wonder why there’s nothing by The Who or R.E.M. (or more Springsteen) on this list and I have no explanation other than that if I listed numbers 26-50 they’d probably be there. (There’s more Who tracks on the iPod than anyone else actually – 347!) Maybe another time…