Monday, February 22, 2010
How about that Manuel Pietropoli, though?
Yeah, he also competed in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. In the halfpipe. While White glided to glory, Pietropoli stunk up the joint with a 9.3 in his first qualifying run and a 5.2 in his second. He’s what you might call “the worst of the best.”
I saw a comedian years ago do a hilarious routine about a runner in the Olympics. The comedian jogged in place at the mike, pondering what the last place runner might be thinking. “Four years. Four years I trained for this. So that I could be in last place. Last place. I could have done nothing and come here and taken last place.”
Pietropoli may have come in last place (although technically a 40th contestant didn’t take either run – don’t know why) and may be a punch line, but here’s the reality: he’s still an OLYMPIAN. I often joke about how much more impressive the Olympics would be if average Joes like me competed side by side with the world’s best. Watch me flip head over heels a couple times right into the back of an ambulance or a hearse and Manuel will look like a superstar. Which, of course, he is.
By now, you’re checking the name of this blog, thinking “did this change to Dave’s Sports Database? Uh, no. This entry is dedicated to the Manuel Pietropoli’s of the music world. If Shaun White is the Sgt. Pepper of the halfpipe world, then Pietropoli is the…Nickelback. That’s right. An also ran. A mocked contender. But one that still gets to boast of being one of the elite.
Dave’s Music Database Top 1000 Albums of All Time are determined by the consolidation of hundreds of best-of-all-time album lists mixed in with sales figures, chart numbers, and album ratings from critics. The resulting list showcases a lot of the expected “winners” on top of the leader board. But what about the bottom?
If you sort all 1000 albums by critics’ ratings, the bottom ten of the list are the duds that sold by the bucket loads even as they made music snobs wince. Here’s the thing to remember, though – no matter how Pietropoli-like the scores, these albums still made the big time – the “musical Olympics.” They may be overshadowed by the Shaun White’s of the music world, but they still bested thousands of others who didn’t even make the cut.
These albums may be flash-in-the-pans, but each represents a spot on the musical landscape. You may wretch at the impact of Garth Brooks or the Spice Girls (neither of which makes this list), but they sold hoards not just because they were well marketed, but because they tapped into the public conscience. Throw your nose in the air in disgust, but the unwashed masses say you’re wrong. They scooped ‘em up – and, if you’re honest, chances are there’s something on this list that you bought as well. I’ll admit to owning three of them, but danged if I’ll admit which ones.
Enough talk. Here’s the * ahem * slightly less than the cream of the crop:
10. Elvis Presley – Blue Hawaii (1961)
9. Celine Dion – The Colour of My Love (1993)
8. New Kids on the Block – Hangin’ Tough (1988)
7. Celine Dion – Let’s Talk about Love (1997)
6. Genesis – We Can’t Dance (1991)
5. MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990)
4. Backstreet Boys – Black & Blue (2000)
3. Britney Spears – Baby One More Time (1999)
2. Nickelback – All the Right Reasons (2005)
1. Vanilla Ice – To the Extreme (1990)
Congrats to all the competitors. You didn’t win, but despite what anyone says, you didn’t lose either.
Also check out Dave’s Music Database on Facebook.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
image from sodahead.com
Originally posted on the DMDB Facebook page on 2/21/10.
For those not already in the know, Dave’s Music Database consolidates best-of-all-time album lists into one definitive list. By pulling lists from diverse sources, the result is a Top 1000 list that represents classical, jazz, show tunes, R&B, adult contemporary, country, and rock & roll. Here are the top ten show tune albums * of all time:
1. South Pacific (cast: 1949, soundtrack: 1958)
2. West Side Story (cast: 1957, soundtrack: 1961)
3. The Sound of Music (cast: 1959, soundtrack: 1965)
4. My Fair Lady (cast: 1956, soundtrack: 1964)
5. Jesus Christ Superstar (cast: 1971, soundtrack: 1973)
6. Phantom of the Opera (cast: 1986, soundtrack: 2004)
7. The King and I (cast: 1951, soundtrack: 1956)
8. Show Boat (cast: 1927, soundtrack: 1951)
9. Hair (cast: 1967, soundtrack: 1979)
10. Oklahoma! (cast: 1944, soundtrack: 1955)
* Note: In all cases, these are works which originated on the stage (cast albums), but were later made into movies (soundtracks). The points for both works are combined, even though there are obviously differences between the cast albums and soundtracks.
Because these works had to originate on the stage, this excludes huge soundtracks like Saturday Night Fever and Titanic from this list since they originated as movies first.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Ta-dah! Someone’s on the phone to the management of Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey and their who-the-heck-are-they fill-ins for drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle. At this point, Who critics launch into well-rehearsed arguments that the band shoulda hung it up three decades ago when a drug overdose sent Moon to the great rock and roll beyond. When illegal substances also took out Entwistle nearly a quarter century later, Townshend and Daltrey should have happily taken their senior discounts at the local multiplex and started hitting local diners for the early bird specials.
This is the kind of rallying argument that is roughly like supporting the fight against poverty or homelessness. There isn’t really anyone arguing FOR poverty or homelessness, is there? Similarly, rock music fans don’t argue in favor of, ahem, “heritage acts” milking their catalogs for every ounce of profit even if it means the star who leapt off speaker towers forty years ago is now breaking a hip when he slips off the stage.
The naysayers can whine about how good the Who were back in ’64 when they first started out, but I say, at age 64 if Townshend still wants to flail his arm around in that iconic windmill pose, then damned be the retirement home. Rock musicians are strangely held to a different standard than musicians from other genres. To my knowledge, the blues world hasn’t called for B.B. King to quietly put Lucille in her guitar case and back away. I’m not aware of anyone crying foul that Willie Nelson still trots out on stage night after night in his bandana and braided ponytails. Yet people cringe when an old fogie (are there young fogies?) who once wrote “hope I die before I get old,” uh, well, doesn’t.
The problem is how rock and roll was born out of the celebration of youth. The Beatles broke up before any of them hit their thirties. Jimi Hendrix is permanently frozen in time at age 27. Buddy Holly was tragically taken before his time because, well, the rock and roll legend-making machine said it was his time.
Let’s be real here, though. Rock and roll has also always been about making money and – believe it or not – making music. There's also the whole sex and drugs thing, but that's another blog entry. Why should anyone be faulted for doing what they know how to do and taking home a paycheck because of it? I say let the Pete Townshends of the world still perform, even when they need a walker to get on stage and a teleprompter to remember words they’ve belted out thousands of times before. I’d rather The King didn’t take his final breath on the toilet at 42. I’d prefer that the looney bin got a hold of Mark David Chapman pre-December 8, 1980. I wish the Lizard King hadn’t drowned in his bathtub, that “Me and Bobby McGee” hadn’t been a posthumous #1, and that Neil Young’s lyric “better to burn out than to fade away” wouldn’t evoke the image of a grunge god and a shotgun.
Rock and roll is littered with too many casualties whose untimely deaths were investigated by real CSI units. If the Who want to sing the CSI theme song for a possible audience of 100 million, then more power to them. Here’s hoping that all our living rock legends get a chance to milk the line “hope I die before I get old” for every last ounce of irony.
Also check out Dave's Music Database on Facebook, where a top 10 best songs of the Who list has been posted.