Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 7 (February 13, 2022): Desert Island Discs

Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 7 (February 13, 2022): Desert Island Discs

This Week’s Theme: Desert Island Discs

All music geeks have participated in discussions of the question first presented on the BBC radio show Desert Island Discs in 1942. If you were stranded on a desert island, what albums would you select to have with you? The show’s specific requirement is eight albums, one book, and one luxury item. The participant then explains their selections in relation to their life and why they chose them. For this week’s show, I’ve presented my own desert island disc (DID) selections, but with a twenty-album limit.

Welcome to Radio Faux Show Volume Two, Number Seven.

First things first – click a link to start listening and then come back to read about this week’s songs.


Amazon Music

Selecting twenty albums, much less eight, is an extremely subjective task. The first few may be easy, but once you near the end of your list, making the cut between different albums is impossible. If you ask someone to do this today and then several years later, their selections will most likely be different. In this way, this is a mental exercise that is fun to undertake often as it provides a reason to think about how your musical tastes have changed over time, and to re-evaluate old selections in relation to your changing likes and life in general.

As a music geek I have had many conversations over the years about DIDs, and it often involves discussions of your favorite albums. However, I think it is more interesting to think about the music you select in relation to the concept of actually being stranded and only having this music to listen to for a long period of time. In this way, your thought process turns away from your favorite albums and instead toward contemplation of what music you listen to in different situations and why.

If you know the Radio Faux Show, you know that I have a very diverse love of music. This is not just for the show – this is how I listen to music all of the time. I use music as a background in everything I do. Some music is good for driving, some is good for cooking, some is good for cleaning, some is good for going to sleep, some is good for relaxing, some is good when you are happy, or sad, or any other reason you listen to music. In this context, my DID selections need to be a thoughtful selection and not just my Top 20 albums.

This week’s show attempts to present some rationale for my selections, and also includes some other songs to fill out the show. In all cases, the songs and albums selected are ones that I would be happy including on my desert island. Although I tend to focus my normal listening on studio albums, I think it is okay to include greatest hits and other compilations and collections in this conversation, so I have a few of those included as well.

Warning: Due to the fact that I have very strong feelings about these album selections, be prepared for a lot of hyperbole. This may be the greatest blog post ever written, by anyone, in the history of the world! You know, stuff like that.

My “Official” Desert Island Disc Selections

If I were on the BBC show, here are my eight albums, book, and luxury item.

Book: The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn

One of the first things you find if you google “Desert Island Discs” is that there is controversy around whether British celebrities on the show select The Bible as their book. At the Faux Household, we affectionately call Whitburn’s book “The Bible,” so in a sense I am on the pro-Bible side of the controversy.

In selecting only one book, my thought process was to focus on what kind of book I would want to read over and over. A purely fictional tale seems like a bad choice, no matter how much you like it. I read a lot of non-fiction but that seems like a bad choice as well. I know a lot of guests on the BBC show select The Collected Works of Shakespeare, but that isn’t really my thing. In the end, I narrowed my options to either a book of poetry, which could be calming if stranded, or a book about music. I ended up with the Whitburn book because it serves as not only an extremely detailed reference book, but also provides some nostalgia and the ability to focus on specific songs without having access to listen to them. Simply thinking of a song and singing it in your head would be a very soothing process for me if I was stranded for a long period of time.

Luxury Item: A flat top range with a convection oven and microwave

If there is electricity for playing music, then there is electricity for using a range for cooking. I figure I will want to eat something besides raw food.

Eight albums: These aren’t my eight favorite albums of all time, but they are the ones I would take for the reasons provided. These are listed in no particular order.

Bruce Springsteen Born to Run: You either love Springsteen or hate him, otherwise you must not have ever listened to him. For me, he is the last and best rock and roll artist, and this is the greatest rock and roll album ever recorded. This was the easiest of all the selections.

The Beatles Abbey Road: The second easiest choice was putting a Beatles album on the list. In the end I simply picked my favorite, and this is it.

Sonny Rollins The Complete Prestige Recordings: This is one of only two collections on my list, but it is a great one. I have to include some jazz in my eight selections, and the tunes on this collection cover many years and include the playing of not only my favorite saxophonist, Rollins, but also Miles Davis, Max Roach, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonius Monk, Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, Kenny Dorham, Art Blakey, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, Charlie Parker, and many others. There is no way to condense all of jazz into such a small group of songs, but this collection does contain some of the greatest jazz standards, such as ‘Round Midnight, St. Thomas, Blue 7, Pent-Up House, Doxy, Tenor Madness, Strode Rode, and dozens more. With 90 tracks and over eight hours of music, this is as good a jazz collection as has ever been released.

Isaac Stern Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major (1959). Although it is too long to include on this playlist, this is the piece of classical music I would select. In order to make this list, I have to include a piece of classical music for those moments when only this kind of music is appropriate. This composition is calming and beautiful, but with moments of power and energy. As a single piece of music, it is an emotional rollercoaster, and my favorite recording of my favorite piece of classical music. For the purposes of the show, I included a track from my runner-up Classical album, Solo Bach Cello Suites by Yo Yo Ma. If I was ranking classical albums in terms of their overall consistency and quality, this is my top choice. Every song is a beautiful and thoughtful rendition by one of the greatest performers to ever play an instrument.

Ray Charles The Birth of Soul – I have to have some old R&B on my list, and this is as good a collection as you will find. This compiles all of The Genius of Soul’s Atlantic Recordings, from his earliest traditional R&B period, through his groundbreaking songs such as “Hallelujah I Love Her So” and “I Got A Woman,” up to the defining moment at which he invented soul music and forever changed what R&B and pop music can present, “Tell Me What’d I Say.”

Stevie Wonder Songs In The Key of Life: This is the high water mark for all soul albums that came before and after. It is a double album, so you get more from just one selection, but that doesn’t matter. This is the pinnacle of what every musician spends their career attempting to create. Every song is a masterpiece and the range of styles is amazing for a single artist on a single album. I love funk music, and there is no single funk album I would select for this list, but there is enough funk on this one to fill that void.

AC/DC Let There Be Rock: There has to be at least one hard-hitting rock and roll record on this list, and selecting only one is very difficult. After deciding to go with AC/DC, it was even harder to decide which album to select. Although my favorite songs by the band are not on this album, I believe this is the most consistent record they ever recorded. For all out, ear-ringing rock and roll, this is as good as it gets.

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde: This was the last album I picked. Making the cut between this one and the rest that didn’t make it was almost random. In the end, I decided that the poetry of Dylan could stand in for the book of poetry I did not include. The fact that this is a double album and my favorite Dylan album was the clincher.

Theme Selections: Twelve Additional Albums

A true DID selection is usually eight, if you follow the rules of the BBC program, or ten, if you follow the American tradition of Top Ten lists. For a Faux Show, that isn’t enough to fill out the playlist, so I took the liberty of going for a list of twenty albums. Here are the remaining twelve, after the eight explained already.

Louis Jordan The Best of Louis Jordan: If I was only allowed to listen to one kind of music for the rest of my life, it would be old R&B from the ‘40s and ‘50s. Ray Charles is already on the list, but he falls just after the period when the best music being made was the jump/shout blues of artists like Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris, Big Joe Turner, Ella Mae Morse, Bullmoose Jackson, Louis Prima, and Louis Jordan. If there was a collection of the music of all of these artists, I would include it, but for now I’ll stick with this fine collection of Jordan’s best-known songs. This Best Of collection is one of the first CDs I ever owned of this style of music, so it holds a special place in my heart. Since hearing this record over thirty years ago, I have spent the last thirty years constantly increasing my knowledge of the artists from this time period. This is the music that makes me the happiest of all.

Aretha Franklin I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You: I will be the first to admit that there are not enough female artists on this list. If I stretched it out to thirty or forty albums, I would probably make the rest of them albums by women. However, there is no way to make a list like this without including the greatest soul singer, male or female, who ever lived.

A greatest hits collection by The Queen of Soul would provide all of her best songs, but there is something so special about this 1967 set of recordings that it is even better than a hits collection. This is the album that made Franklin a superstar, and every track is a masterpiece of soul and R&B. Even without the inclusion of “Respect,” this album is incredible. Throw in what is arguably the greatest song ever recorded and you have a classic that has to be on the list. This album was on my original list of eight but I removed it to include some Classical music. It could easily be at the top of the entire list if you ask me to do this again next week.

Van Morrison Veedon Fleece: This is my favorite album by one of my favorite artists. There was a period thirty years ago when Van Morrison may have had five albums on this list. I’ve moved on from that obsession, but I still can’t imagine not having Van in the mix. A lot of people know about Astral Weeks, the album often cited as one of the greatest albums ever recorded, and that would be a smart choice. For many, Moondance is their favorite, and I can’t argue there either.

Veedon Fleece, on the other hand, is the least-known album from his classic period from 1968-1974, but die-hard Van fans know that it is his best. After releasing a great new album each year every year for seven years, this one ended that streak and led to Morrison taking a 3-year break in recording. By the time he returned with Period of Transition in 1977, the early sound of his music was gone. Luckily, he didn’t stop before releasing Veedon Fleece, because this record combines all of the songwriting techniques he mastered before it with a side two of beautiful, contemplative songs unlike anything he has recorded since.

T. Rex The Slider: This is one of my favorite albums so I included it. It is a non-stop Bolan boogie groove fest. T. Rex is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I have never stopped listening to them since I fell in love with them in the early ‘90s. One of the saddest days in rock history is the day that Marc Bolan tragically died in a car accident in 1977. If he had been able to record into the ‘80s MTV era, he would most certainly have had a resurgence in popularity and would now be a beloved artist by multiple generations, much like David Bowie, Robert Plant, and Phil Collins.

Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy: I waffled back and forth on this one, but in the end I decided that sometimes you just have to get the Led out. My musical tastes have moved far beyond my teen-age self who may have put at least four Zeppelin albums on this list, but there is enough of a love for the band still in me that I couldn’t bring myself to leave them off. I chose Houses simply because it is so consistent. IV may be better, and III has “Immigrant Song,” but Houses has “The Ocean.” Any of those albums would probably make me happy.

Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here: I like to listen to Pink Floyd when I am going to sleep. This is my favorite, although Dark Side and Animals almost made the list instead.

Opeth Blackwater Park: I have to include a metal album on the list. I don’t listen to a lot of metal anymore, but sometimes nothing fits the mood better than loud, angry metal. What mood it fits is a personal choice, but anyone who likes metal knows what it means to them. I think rap is probably similar in that way. Although this album is not my favorite metal album, it is the best album by my favorite metal band.

Opeth are not near as well-known to the general public as bands like Metallica, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Slayer, or Guns ‘n’ Roses, but many who listen to metal beyond the mainstream believe that Opeth are the masters. I never expect anyone to enjoy music by bands like Opeth if it isn’t their thing, but I also wish people were not so wary of listening to metal with cookie monster vocals. The last twenty-five years have been a haven for amazing, quality metal by incredible musicians from all over the world, but most of them use vocals of this style. Most metal fans will tell you that if you don’t like singing like this then you don’t like metal. What sets Opeth apart from all of their contemporaries, however, is the incredible songwriting of vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt. Each song on this and the rest of their early albums are more like collections of related movements combined into one long piece of music. For this reason, Opeth songs and albums present an incredible mix of beauty, sorrow, and anger with wonderful musicianship. Combine all of that with amazing riffs and a predilection to groove incessantly and Blackwater Park may be the only metal album a metal fan needs to get their fix.

Public Enemy It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back: Although I don’t listen to a lot of rap music made after the early ‘90s, I have to include a rap album in the mix. I considered the fantastic collection of early rap called The Sugar Hill Records Story, but not for long. In the end, I had to select the greatest rap album ever made by the greatest rap band ever formed. I believe Chuck D is the greatest rap lyricist and rapper, and Terminator X is the greatest deejay. That is too many “greatest” mentions not to select this one. Much like metal, I know that many people do not listen to rap music. That is a shame because records like this can be life-changing if heard at the right moment in one’s life, and everyone deserves the chance to grow not only musically but intellectually and socially throughout their lives. Public Enemy are artists who give all generations that chance if they are only willing to listen.

The album that changed rap forever
My pick for best militant rap song

Talk Talk Laughing Stock: This is one of my Top Ten albums. Depending on when you ask me, it can rank anywhere from Number 5 to Number 10, but it belongs on the list. Every time I listen to it, I hear some new nuance that adds to my enjoyment. It is one of the first post-rock albums, and it still sounds fresh over thirty years after its original, totally ignored, release in 1991.

The Clash London Calling: This is one of the last albums to make the cut. There were already several loud records on the list, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include a punk record on top of AC/DC, Opeth, and Led Zeppelin. However, I made the decision to do so because there is something so special about this record that I don’t really classify it as punk. This is simply one of the greatest albums ever recorded by any band in any genre. Before making this choice, I had narrowed my punk picks down to three albums that are arguably not punk – London Calling, the amazing collection Snap by The Jam, and This Nation’s Saving Grace by The Fall. I have listened to all three of these bands for decades, but in the end, I had to select London Calling. It is just too good not to.

Can Ege Bamyasi: My first crack at this list did not have this album on it, but in the end I couldn’t leave off one of my favorite bands. In many ways, I included this album to represent all of the alternative, experimental, indie bands who didn’t make the list. I didn’t include The Velvet Underground, The Fall, any ‘70s New York bands, any ‘80s college bands, any ‘90s indie bands, or any of the dozens of experimental, progressive, and electronic bands that I love and include on Faux Shows weekly. So, let’s allow Can to stand in for all of them. After all, every band to come after them is influenced by them whether they know it or not.

Adele 25: This was the last album to make the cut. Other options included some of my favorite albums such as The Beach Boys Pet Sounds, Steely Dan Royal Scam, Joni Mitchel Court and Spark, Jackson Browne Late For The Sky, anything by Bob Marley, Brian Eno Another Green World, and the first record I ever bought, Kiss by Kiss. My final decision was made by the fact that sometimes you need to listen to a great singer, and I think that Adele has the greatest voice of any pop singer I have ever heard. This is my favorite Adele album, so the choice was easy once I made the decision to go with Adele.

Happy Birthday (February 13)

Irv Cottler was a drummer for many of the greatest vocalists of the mid-20th century. He performed with Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more. As if that isn’t enough, in 1955 he recorded his first sessions for Frank Sinatra, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, and then remained with Sinatra as his session drummer and live drummer for over three decades. I probably wouldn’t select Sinatra for my DID list, but a collection of standards by a great vocalist such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, or Frank Sinatra would not be a bad choice.

Peter Gabriel is a founding member of Genesis and one of the most successful solo artists of the ‘80s.

Peter Hook is a founding member of Joy Division and New Order. He was unique in his bass playing in that he focused on playing melodies on the high end of his bass, a technique he developed, according to Faux Jr., because his earliest amplifier was so poorly constructed that he could not play low end without creating a dissonant mess. This led to the signature sound of both bands.

Derek Riggs was the cover artist for Iron Maiden on every Maiden album you’ve ever seen or heard of. His original drawing of Eddie was discovered by Maiden early in their career and became the iconic figure most associated with the band. When selecting a metal album for my list, this was my runner-up. It is my favorite Maiden album and still sounds as good as all of the American thrash metal that came after its release in 1982.

Peter Tork was a founding member of The Monkees. Although he was not a featured vocalist very often, his voice had a unique character that lended a level of seriousness to some of their songs. He also wrote some of their more ridiculous songs and was therefore an integral part of the band’s ability to diversify away from the bubblegum pop of their first two albums. Along with Michael Nesmith, Tork is the reason that The Monkees were more than just a silly pop band, even though many still think of them as just that.


Peter Gabriel “I Have The Touch”: This is from Gabriel’s fourth self-titled album, also called Security. This is my favorite Peter Gabriel album, including all of his Genesis work, and at certain periods of my life has been one of my DIDs. It no longer makes that cut, but it is still on my short list.

The Monkees “For Pete’s Sake”: This song, written by Peter Tork, is one of their best and was used as the end credit theme on their tv show. It is from the band’s third album, Headquarters, which is the first Monkees album to give the members the freedom to write most of the material and play their instruments. I am a huge fan of the trilogy of great Monkees albums “Headquarters, The Birds The Bees The Monkees, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones. I think that these three records stand up against most of the great ‘60s bands’ output at that time, with Headquarters being my personal favorite. I would probably not select this record as a DID, but it is definitely an interesting choice since it is such a happy-sounding record, which may be a nice thing to have on your desert island.

New Order “Shellshock (7″ edit)”: This is a 1986 single that was best-known at the time for its inclusion on the Pretty in Pink Soundtrack, and it is one of my favorite New Order songs. New Order are not a band I would normally consider for my DID selections, but I would be perfectly happy with a collection of their singles as one of my DID picks because sometimes you just need to dance around like a maniac and New Order is a great choice for doing so.

3 Chunks of Punk

The Clash “Lost in the Supermarket”: This is just one of many great songs on London Calling. This song and “Train in Vain” are great examples of the band’s transition from first-generation punk to all-around songwriting masters.

The Fall “Spoiled Victorian Child”: The Fall started out much more punk than the music presented on their album This Nation’s Saving Grace, but I don’t think there was ever anyone more punk than bandleader and vocalist Mark E. Smith. Every song on this album is a classic Fall track.

The Jam “Away From The Numbers”: The Jam are not punk in the classic sense. They are probably better classified as Mod-Rock or some other sub-sub-genre description, but the music on their 1977 debut In The City is about as close to punk as music can get without being punk. This song is my favorite from that debut album, but I have chosen it as a selection from the collection called Snap. In the US, Snap is how people learned about and listened to The Jam for years. It is one of the greatest collections of songs by a band ever compiled, and still sounds as confrontational and masterful now as it did in the ‘80s.

Bang Your Head

Iron Maiden “Run To The Hills”: This is the “hit” from the metal masterpiece Number of the Beast. Iron Maiden are masters of metal.

Opeth “The Leper Affinity”: This is the opening track from the band’s masterpiece Blackwater Park. Opeth are masters of metal.

Artist of the Week: The Mosquitoes

If you are unable to have your DIDs available after you get stranded on a desert island, the next best thing is having an actual band show up to perform for you. This is what happened to the castaways of Gilligan’s Island in Season 2, Episode 12 on December 9, 1965. The Mosquitoes performed both of their classics, “Don’t Bug Me” and “He’s a Loser” for Gilligan, Skipper, and the rest. The Mosquitoes were actually The Wellingtons (who also performed the famous “Gilligan’s Island Theme”) and Les Brown, Jr. (son of band leader Les Brown).


Stevie Wonder “I Wish” (#1 12/4/76)

Thanks for listening (and reading)!

TrackArtistSong Title
1AC/DCDog Eat Dog
2Bruce SpringsteenThunder Road
3Aretha FranklinA Change Is Gonna Come
4Stevie WonderI Wish
5Public EnemyTerminator X To The Edge Of Panic
6New OrderShellshock (7″ Edit)
7Peter GabrielI Have The Touch
8The MonkeesFor Pete’s Sake (Closing Theme)
9Bob DylanVisions of Johanna
10The BeatlesHere Comes The Sun
11Van MorrisonFair Play
12Talk TalkAscension Day
13The JamAway From The Numbers
14The FallSpoilt Victorian Child
15The ClashLost In The Supermarket
16AdeleWhen We Were Young
17Yo Yo MaUnaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major
18Frank SinatraI’ve Got You Under My Skin
19Sonny RollinsStrode Rode
20Louis JordanBeans and Cornbread
21Ray CharlesHallelujah, I Love Her So
22T. RexThe Slider
23Led ZeppelinOver The Hills And Far Away
24Pink FloydWish You Were Here
25CanI’m So Green
26Iron MaidenRun To The Hills
27OpethThe Leper Affinity

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