Sunday, January 8, 2012

1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Spotify Playlist after Tom Moon's Book

"This is a book both broad and deep, drawing from the diverse worlds of classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, world, opera, soundtracks, and more. It's arranged alphabetically by artist to create the kind of unexpected juxtapositions that break down genre bias and broaden listeners' horizons— it makes every listener a seeker, actively pursuing new artists and new sounds, and reconfirming the greatness of the classics. Flanking J. S. Bach and his six entries, for example, are the little-known R&B singer Baby Huey and the '80s Rastafarian hard-core punk band Bad Brains. Farther down the list: The Band, Samuel Barber, Cecelia Bartoli, Count Basie, and Afropop star Waldemer Bastos."

"The goal, Moon writes in the introduction, is to spark curiosity about music —all forms of music. 'There's great treasure waiting on the other side of wherever you draw your territorial lines.'" - official site

I bought Tom Moon's 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die yesterday when it's featured on Kindle Store's daily deal. After skimming though the list, I was happy that there's tons of stuff I didn't know, and I liked most of the recordings I did know. My only complain, aside from Tommy made into the list instead of Quadrophenia, was that it didn't come with a Spotify playlist. Well, you can guess the rest.

Here's the Spotify Playlist: 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die (Tom Moon): An Index (805 tracks from 805 recordings). Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view, and use the filter bar (Ctrl+F) to look for recordings. See complete list with essays here or download it as a pdf. Most of Moon's selections are albums, I kept only one track per recording for practical reasons: to get rid of the 10,000 tracks limitation, and keep the playlist easy to browse. I didn't mean to make it into a singles playlist, so I chose the tracks from albums rather randomly. Most recordings here deserve to be listened in their entirety.

Why only 805 recordings? Well, some artists like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin are not on Spotify yet. Also, I only included albums exactly matched the list. For example, Serkin's Complete Beethoven Piano Concerto with Ozawa is available, but the book recommends his earlier recordings with Kubelik; Spotify has many recordings of Oum Kalthoum, including a gigantic 26-CD set, but the very compilation listed in the book, Legend of Arab Music,  is not available, in both cases I didn't include them into this playlist. My goal is to create a playlist for the readers of the book, and people who are curious to explore, so I don't think any addition or alteration to the original list is necessary.


  1. I know this kind of impulse... I've created an index for a novel about poetry (it needed one!) and compiled best of book lists before. I benefit from your lists very much, so thank you!!

  2. Wonderful! I have bought other reference books covering essential recordings and have always been frustrated at the practical impossibility of actually listening to the materials. This makes it actually practical to educate my ears, and, to make some sensible economic decisions about which recordings to buy for my own lifetime of listening pleasure. Thank you!!!

  3. Terrific! Thanks for this and your other amazing playlists. Of course, now we will expect one based on "1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die."

  4. Hey, great idea-- I have not used Spotify at all, and now I guess I need to start looking into it. I have been working my way through the book using Grooveshark and Myspace, and I have a bunch of playlists of whole recordings at my blog where I am tracking my progress. I'm still filling in the streaming page, but now I can start building them on spotify, too. Thanks!

  5. Thank you so much for putting this together. It must have taken hours and hours. But I bet it was fun to find everything and compile it. Very nicely done. :)

    I've had the book for a while....

    I listened to Brian Eno through Dave Matthews Band today. And enjoyed it immensely. There's some incredible music in that stretch....

  6. Thank you very much! Very nice playlist. I am now finishing F.

  7. Thank you ever so much for putting this playlist together!! Just a few minutes into it and I've already discovered from fantastic music. You make Spotify's premium subscription worth every penny with your contributions.

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