"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
November 19, 2010

Birthday Time

Another year, another birthday. Of course, I can’t really complain. This past year has been an extraordinarily full and rewarding one. Moreover, today, as far as birthdays go, has been one of the happier ones. That said, I’ve been in something of an ornery and frustrated mood of late, which accounts for the lack of […]

Another year, another birthday. Of course, I can’t really complain. This past year has been an extraordinarily full and rewarding one. Moreover, today, as far as birthdays go, has been one of the happier ones. That said, I’ve been in something of an ornery and frustrated mood of late, which accounts for the lack of recent blogposts and the unusual Twitter experiment I tried today (well, actually yesterday, as I’m writing this just after midnight).

I decided that on my birthday I would use Twitter to revisit all the paths and byways of my musical journey. So, I searched for and found live performance clips from musicians I’ve liked, admired and even tried to emulate over the years. Then I loaded up one tweet every twenty minutes on Hootsuite and sent them out to the Twitter world, from 9am till Midnight.

I tried to find artists beyond the typical list as “influences” that I currently identify with. To look for ones that I may not listen to anymore, or might even feel a little squeamish admitting to having once liked.

That’s why there is a fair bit of heavy rock and hair metal on the list. Although I’m apt these days to scorn “shredders” I had make space for Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Perhaps harder to admit was that for over a year I worked hard at emulating the style of Yngwie Malmsteen and other neo-classical rockers.

There are some strong female voices on the list because I’ve always felt that as a guitarist, trying to emulate the phrasing of female singers is a compelling and rewarding challenge. There’s a fair bit of bebop jazz and some stuff from the funkier end of the fusion movement.

An oddity that stood out for me was the number of, well how can I put this, black dudes on keyboards. Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder both get two appearances and there are also clips from Jimmy Smith and Donny Hathaway (Keith Jarrett and Ahmed Jamal were on earlier versions of the list). That’s something I’ve never properly thought about before.

Of course, there are some of my enduring heroes on the list, like Tommy Emmanuel, John Coltrane, Tom Waits and Pop Staples. They all had set up residence in my musical imagination well before I left High School and remain for me artists that I want to listen to again and again, even as the years pass and my tastes change.

Anyway, here is the complete list. Let me know what you think and what artists you put on your birthday playlist.

Tommy Emmanuel – Since We Met
Larry Carlton – Don’t Give It Up
Pop Staples Ain’t No Body’s Fault But Mine
John Coltrane – Naima
Stevie Wonder – Superstition (live on Sesame Street)
Billy Cobham Band (with Carl Orr on Guitar) – Mirage
Ray Charles – In The Evening
Deodato – Superstrut
Jimi Hendrix – The Wind Cries Mary
Prince – Take Me With U
Joe Satriani – Summer Song
Robben Ford – Talk To Your Daughter
Lee Ritenour with Kenya Hathaway & Chris Botti – Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Kid Creole and the Coconuts – Stool Pigeon
Michael Brecker Band (with Mike Stern) – Upside Downside
The Blue Nile – Tinseltown in the Rain
Jimmy Smith Trio – Satin Doll
Björk – Big Time Sensuality
Primus – My Name Is Mud
Tommy Emmanuel – Determination
Phil Keaggy – The Reunion
Van Halen – Unchained
The Staple Singers – Respect Yourself
Bill Frisell – Shenandoah
Steve Vai – The Attitude Song
Santana – Soul Sacrifice
The Style Council – Come To Milton Keynes
Yngwie Malmsteen – Evil Eye
Frank Zappa – Montana
Jonatha Brooke – Keep The River On Your Right
Tom Waits – Warm Beer Cold Women
Scofield Medeski Martin & Wood – Chicken Dog
Manu Dibango with Courtney Pine – Lion of Africa
Stevie Wonder & Ray Charles – Living For The City
Eric Dolphy – 245
Donny Hathaway – Put Your Hands In The Hand
Living Colour – Cult Of Personality
John Coltrane – Every Time We Say Goodbye
Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls
Marc Ribot – Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
Robert Fripp – Frippertronics Demonstration (1979)
Al Di Meola – Egyptian Danza/Race With Devil on Spanish Highway
Faith No More – Epic
Lyle Lovett – Closing Time

Responses
Toni 12 years ago

There’s some great stuff in there, nothing to be ashamed of.

Oh, wait….

WHAT????????

Style Council?

Now that IS embarrassing.

Guess you were young and easily led astray, but even so.

😉

I’ve never thought of a birthday list – maybe I should?

    Fernando Gros 12 years ago

    Toni – what can I say? The leftie pseudo-intellectual sipping a coffee image really appealed to me. Heck, maybe it still does.

    I decided to fully embrace the embarrasment by not posting one of their Jam-like songs and instead putting one up that was very, how can I put this, style-councily. 😉

anita 12 years ago

thanks so much for posting the complete list with links, so I can catch up on some I missed. What an incredible musical journey. Thanks for sharing, ..it was such an amazing way to wrap up the week. Thanks for your many contributions to my perspective and thinking. Happy Birthday and Best Wishes for the coming year! 🙂

    Fernando Gros 12 years ago

    Anita – thanks. I’m glad the links and story are of interest.

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