Tuesday, January 24, 2006
20th Century Masters
Even in the early days some of their choices caused me a raised eyebrow. The Gap Band? Ok, sure, "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" and "Early in the Morning" are funk masterpieces. Perhaps it's only my limited imagination preventing me from giving them "Master" status. I'll give them The Gap Band.
Over the years, I've found myself increasingly startled over some their choices. Don't get me wrong, they are still putting out collections of the unarguably great from Itzhak Perlman to Bob Marley. But the original trickle of releases has grown into a thundering river including Yngwie Malmsteen, Livingston Taylor and who could forget The Bar Kays? I never forgot the Bar Kays, mostly because I never knew them. Having survived the 70s, I do vaguely recollect Livingston Taylor, although I think I wish I didn't.
Now they are starting to release some Master collections which test the bounds of incredulity. Smash Mouth? The Gin Blossoms? 98 freaking Degrees? The Gin Blossoms are ok, but they've only put out 3 albums in their career, only 2 of which charted. Do they belong in the Pantheon of Great Bands of All Time? Don't even get me started about 98 Degrees.
I know that you can argue that everybody is great to somebody. There's something inherently flawed in trying to make any kind of "Greatest of All Time" list, as the British poll which asked who was the greatest actor "Of All Time" recently showed. The land of Olivier and of Shakespeare selected Tom Cruise as The Greatest Actor of All Time, which begs the question, who on earth were they asking?
As someone with pretty ecclectic taste in music, I must admire a music series that can celebrate both Arthur Fiedler and Whitesnake. I'm just wondering if they should change the series title to "everything we've got in our basement". It would be truthier, and it would save people straining themselves trying to imagine Captain and Tenille as one of the greatest acts of all time.