Before I started this blog, I posted about songs from old AT40s on Facebook, January-July 2017. I’ll be moving them here over time. This entry has been edited somewhat from the original.
My father was certainly a bit of a collector of film and music. He had a great number of vinyl classical LPs from the 60s and 70s. He bought or recorded 99% of the AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies of the 20th Century (any guesses on the missing one?). Somewhere along the line he must have come across a list of Essential Rock CDs That Everyone Should Own, because there was a box in my parents’ basement full of ‘classic’ disks that he wouldn’t have touched in real time, like Toys in the Attic and Nevermind. I raided it (with his blessing) at some point in the early 2000s, though I listened to what I took only sporadically. The first great discovery from this stash, around 2004, was Television’s Marquee Moon (see what I mean?).
Just before Thanksgiving 2013 it became clear that Dad was dying, and he was transferred to a hospice unit. I spent much of the next couple of weeks on the road between Georgetown and Edgewood. I had grabbed several CDs to play in the car on the way back and forth, and among them was another of those I’d scavenged from him years before but hadn’t yet made the occasion to hear: Court and Spark. I found it utterly amazing, and I guess in some ways I consider it my last gift from him.
OK, I’m cheating: while this ultimately reached #7, it’s at #41 here and wouldn’t be played by Casey until the following week. I like to think I’ve mellowed on harsh opinions I held about many tunes from my youth and adolescence, but no song from the 70s has undergone a greater rehabilitation in my mind than “Help Me.” I wanted to switch the station when it came on the car radio at age 10, but now I’m all about it. Thanks, Joni, and thanks, Dad.