I’ve been thinking about my “best of” list lately. You know what I’m talking about – The 100 Greatest
Novels of all time, 100 Greatest Rock n Roll songs, 50 Greatest Movies, The 30 Best Restaurants in the
City. List making got real popular around the turn of the century as people tried to figure out the “best
of the 1900’s.” Lettermen’s “Top Ten List” certainly contributed to their appeal. As we collect more data
in the universe, I assume these “lists” will continue to entertain people.
Sometimes my brain likes to figure out my personal “best of” list. It helps me relax, to exercise my
memory and to cope with the chaos I experience in the world. Lately I’ve been working on my Top Ten
Rock n’ Roll Bands. Part of the fun of making lists is that they are subjective answers generated by my
mind and you are entirely welcome to disagree and even argue with the list. I am reminded of one list I
read that claimed that Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment was the greatest novel of all time and
another that claimed it was the most boring. Either way you see it, people are bound to have an opinion.
Here are my Top Ten Rock n’ Roll Bands:
10. The Birds
9. Talking Heads
8. The Clash
6. The Beatles
5. The Who
4. The Doors
2. Pink Floyd
1. Genesis (Peter Gabriel Genesis, of course)
I must admit, I struggled with the order of 3, 4, and 5. But again, that’s one of the good things about
making lists—it forces us to make a decision.
I love a lot of other bands: Led Zepplin, Arcade Fire, Roxy Music, Mumford and Sons, The Moody Blues,
U2, but they didn’t make my top ten. Nothing personal. And don’t forget Peter Gabriel, Dylan, Bob
Marley, Neil Young, Van Morrison. Well, they’re artists, not bands, so they can’t make the list. You ask:
“What about the Rolling Stones?” It’s my list. They didn’t cut it. And that’s the other thing we like about lists; we assign rules, reasons, and qualifications behind our list.
So here are my qualifications for making my Top Ten Rock n' Roll Bands List:
1. Listening to these bands must provide a strong emotional response. I must feel something deep
2. Listening to these bands must invoke memories of the past and must create new memories as
they renew their sound in my brain and body and heart in the present.
3. To my ears and heart, these bands sound fresh as if their songs were written yesterday. Time
takes nothing away.
4. The Ultimate Test: When I hear a song on the radio, I will listen to their song, no matter what
I’m doing or where I need to be, even at the threat of being late to work. In other words, it takes
me over. (That can be dangerous when your favorite band has a 24 minute song!)
So when you or your kids get stressed – try making a list. My 5 favorite teachers, 5 best sports moments, 50 things I am grateful for, 5 most embarrassing moments, 10 Favorite Vacation Spots...be creative. Don’t be afraid to have fun with them. These are personal lists that you can change any time you want and will evolve as your life goes on. When you're making your list, see if you can figure what were the reasons or qualifications behind your list. This type of inner awareness goes along way. List aren’t just for the Supermarket, they’re great for coping with stress and for sharpening the brain.