Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Excerpts From "The Greatest Of All Time: A Shared Journal"

On Christmas Day, 2004 I tore through some wrapping paper to find this, a gift from my wife:

It is a journal she had made for me called "The Greatest of All Time:  A Shared Journal".  I had to smile.  You see, she was poking fun at me for declaring whatever stroked my passions to be "the greatest of all time". Example:  "'Quadrophenia' is the greatest rock album adapted for the screen of all time."  Sometimes, if I was feeling particularly strongly about something, I'd throw in a qualifier like:  "(thing) is the greatest (type of thing) of all time; any artist, any genre."  Example:  "'Beyond The Sea' is the greatest song of all time, any artist, any genre."  or something like that.  She summarized the intent of the journal thusly in the card that was glued inside the back cover:
"December, 2004.  Merry Christmas, Matty! I
hope this gift appeals to your love of writing and
your seeming delight in declaring things 'the greatest
_____ of all time!'  These are 2 of the many aspects
of you that I love & admire a lot!  May 2005 be
as wonderful as each day has been since our
reconnection in Albuquerque.  I love you, your MB"

The journal was full of prompts that we'd both take a page to answer and give our respective views. It's a damn clever idea and a damned fine and creative gift.  I love it.  Some of the entries we've both done are:

  • The greatest movie of all time that made you cry  (I wrote about "The Razor's Edge", she wrote about "Terms of Endearment".)
  • The greatest beer of all time (I said Sierra Nevada Pale Ale; she wrote about Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome and Rogue Dead Guy Ale.  We've both grown a lot since then. . . .)
There are plenty of other entries that one or the other of us (but not both of us) has written about; and still many more unanswered entries that are thought provoking enough that we've both decided we'll probably start this journal again.  Some of the entries we've completed we'd answer differently now, but sort of the fun of going back and looking at journals is to see how you were "back then".  As this blog is about the reflections of all things sonic in my life, I thought I'd share a couple of sound related entries that we actually have completed.

The Greatest Camp Song of All Time:
(Background:  Mary Beth and I were both camp counselors; that's where we met.  Throughout the summer, you hear many of the same campfire songs.  Naturally, some become favorites.)
MB's Pick:  "Oowee"  (Known to those outside of camp circles as Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere") She says:  "I have to go with "Oowee" for this one.  Maybe because it's the only song besides "Ode To Joy" that I learned on guitar.  It's a great song and one as sang at campfire when I was a kid!
Matt's Pick:  "If I Had A Hammer"  I wrote:  "Reasons why "If I Had A Hammer" is the greatest camp song of all time:
  1. It's really fun to play on guitar.
  2. Bm chords separates the players from the cheaters.
  3. CYO Camp's (camp where we worked) version sounds infinitely better that Peter, Paul and Mary's.
  4. Great old skool activist lyrics may have influenced other great songs like "Put The Message In The Box" by World Party.  [Note:  not sure how I came to that conclusion, but there you go.]
  5. I really like it when the kids shout the words "SONG. TO.  SING." before singing the phrase "all over this land".
The Greatest Rock N' Roll Song Of All Time:
MB's Pick:  "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen.  She wrote:  "Has to be something by Bruce.  I love songs with lots of words - lyrics that just stream on and on.  And I love songs that tell a story.  And I love Bruce!  I like the way he uses people's names in songs, like Mary, Wendy and Eddie.  I like that he gives away a lot of $$$ without a lot of fanfare.  I like that he's from New Jersey.  I like that he spoke out for Kerry and against Bush in the 2004 election."
Matt's Pick:  "My Generations" by the Who.  I wrote:  "Reasons why "My Generation" is the greatest rock n' roll song of all time:
  1. Greatest bass solo of all time.  (duh!)
  2. It's less of a song and more of a manifesto or "flipping of the bird"
  3. Unorthodox singing style
  4. The power chord freakout at the end.
  5. The fact that no one has adequately covered it is a testament to its "kick ass-ness".
There are plenty of other opportunities in this journal to sound off on music (and many other topics).  As we kick it back into gear, I'll report back with our respective takes.  What's your take?  Sound off in the comments section!


  1. I love the journal idea. Joan & I have to try it. I must comment on my current favorite song...Beautiful Day by U2. Makes me think of our family trips to the cottage playing CD's that Joan burned for me. The whole family starts singing along when Beautiful Day comes on. You probably have to be there to appreciate.

    1. You guys should totally do this journal. I bet it would be super interesting. I can send along some prompt ideas if you want to make one for Joan. And I love that song beautiful day. Hell I think they should sing it in church.