Today, the debut of a little monthly featurette I’m going to call the “Office Playlist.” I corner a cool senior staffer and ask him (or her) to put together a list of the ten or so songs that would make him respect his young colleagues. Think of it as instant adult street (or cube) cred for us when the PTBs happen by our desks.
The first comes courtesy of one of my favorites at Fortune—and no, guys, that’s not code for “I want a promotion”—Deputy Managing Editor Hank Gilman. A former managing editor of Fortune Small Business and a veteran of such minor publications as Newsweek, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal, he’s most awesome for trying to host a brown-bag rock ‘n’ roll lunch to help educate the office babies (i.e., us) about quality music. (Even if he is a bit lacking in the mathematics department; his Top 10 ran to 15, but who needs arithmetic when you’ve got The Who?)
HANK “GUITAR IS MY LIFE” GILMAN’S OFFICE PLAYLIST, in no particular order, and featuring his expert insights:
- “LDN” by Lily Allen. (Or “Smile,” or “Alfie.”) Big hit in England. Trash-talker. Great pop songwriter. Shows you’re paying attention.
- “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse. Another export from Great Britain. R&B, tattoo-style. You’re the blues, Amy!
- “Roscoe” by Midlake. You’d be the only person other than me interested in the Americana movement. Great song, though.
- “Waterloo Sunset” by The Kinks (or anything by the Kinks). This means you’re smart and worth talking to. (And Ray Davies is one of the top songwriters—ever.)
- “Raw Power” by Iggy Pop. Shows your deep respect for punk elders.
- “Out of the Blue” (Live) by Roxy Music. Just like them—and people who like them. Scared the you-know-what out of my Steve Miller-loving girlfriend and her Cambridge hippie roommates when I bought their first album in ’71. (Jeez, am I old!) Check out Eddie Jobson’s killer electric violin solo. Before Radiohead, there was Roxy. Spawned a legion of whiney Brit bands. That’s my only knock.
- “The Day the World Turned Day-Glo” by X-Ray Spex. One of rock’s best and most unusual vocals. Early combo of punk and sax.
- “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle. See Kinks item.
- “All Right Now” by Free. Classic rock classic. Just included because the song has—all in one place—one of the best vocals, best guitar solos, and best bass riffs of any rock tune ever. Simon Kirke on drums ain’t bad either.
- “Heaven and Hell” by The Who (Live at Leeds). Pure energy from a band at the top of its game. That says a lot about you. Buy the two-disc version. (You get “Tommy” live!)
- “Limelight” by Rush. Quality guilty pleasure. “Hotel California” live by the Eagles would qualify as well.
- “Drive South” by John Hiatt. Fans are part of an exclusive club. I like music cults.
- “Heat Treatment” by Graham Parker. Came out of that big wave of singer-songwriters from England. I thought he was the best. Great sense of humor. You have to be funny to work for me.
- “Pablo Picasso” by The Modern Lovers. Classic from influential Boston punk band. Drummer David Robinson went onto the Cars; Jerry Harrison, the keyboard player, to the Talking Heads; Jonathan Richman to a great solo career and cameos in There’s Something About Mary (he does the silly guitar sequences). Bass player Ernie Brooks? Last time I saw him he was playing in a band in Montreal with my old roommate, Kent Condon.
- “Highway Star” (Live) by Deep Purple. Raw Power! If anyone asks you who one of the top 10 rocks drummers is over the past 35 years or so, you have to name Ian Paice. (Don’t worry, no one will ask you.) Download this.
- Bonus pick: North Mississippi All-Stars