Mar 132014


If you could only listen to 10 albums for the rest of your life/were stranded on a desert island with 10 albums of your choosing, what would they be? To me, this is a different question from “favorite albums,” because I’d try for more variation on this list. Compilations generally don’t count, but they could in some cases.


  72 Responses to “10 Desert Island Albums?”

  1. saturnismine

    Okay…so I’m back…for a limited time, so enjoy me, fuckers.

    Desert Island Discs? Has it really come to this, RTH? Okay…here we go (in no particular order):

    1. Axis Bold as Love
    2. Rubber Soul
    3. England’s Newest Hitmakers
    4. Gilded Palace of Sin
    5. Elvis’s Sun Sessions
    6. Blonde on Blonde
    7. James Brown, Sex Machine, Live
    8. Robert Johnson, vol. 2
    9. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
    10. The completed tracks for whatever PHoton Band Album I’m working on, so I can keep on mixing it.

  2. I’m aware that this kind of a dumb thread to start (sorry), but I have fun with stuff like this. Here are my ten.

    The Zombies: Odessey and Oracle
    King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King
    The Who: Quadrophenia
    Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town
    The Smiths: The Queen is Dead
    Nick Cave: Tender Prey
    Blur: 13
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to the Heavens
    Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
    The Antlers: Hospice

  3. saturnismine

    I’m just givin’ you a hard time, Human. Don’t pay me any mind. I’m Statler AND Waldorf when I bother to show up.

    You can’t live without Sufjan Stevens?

    To each his own.

  4. Hank Fan

    1. The Band – The Band
    2. Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde
    3. Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
    4. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
    5. Francoise Hardy – La Question
    6. Charles Mingus – Ah Um
    7. The Clash – London Calling
    8. The Kinks – Arthur …
    9. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos & Orchestral Suites
    10. Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes

  5. To MrHuman’s credit, this is his first thread on The Main Stage after joining us a few months ago. A Townsperson’s got to start somewhere, and beside, he’s making an effort to get to know us. He doesn’t know everyone’s ins and outs. I know you’re just giving him some tough love. We’ve missed you, saturnismine!

    I will supply my list later. I’m in the middle of an unexpected bail job at work.

  6. Hank Fan is in the house! Take THAT, saturnismine. MrHuman’s post is pulling all kinds of oldtimers out of the bushes. Next thing we know tonyola will resurface.

  7. saturnismine

    This makes me smile.

  8. misterioso

    Rubber Soul UK or Rubber Soul US?

  9. misterioso

    A ruling please: does Ono Box count as 1 or as 6?

  10. This is a tough call – I wouldn’t count a double album as two, but if I’m not mistaken, it was all (mostly?) previously released on other albums, except for one disc. So I’d lean towards six (actually if I were being really strict I might not allow its inclusion at all except for the one disc). But if you want to treat it as one, that’s fine by me as OP.

  11. I hear you. I’d find a way to take 10 giant box sets like the Stones’ London Years and Rhino’s No Thanks . I guess that is not the purpose of the question, though.

  12. In no particular order:

    1. The Clash — London Calling
    2. The Replacements — Let It Be
    3. The Beatles — Revolver
    4. Steve Earle — Guitar Town
    5. The Who – The Who Sell Out
    6. Wilco — Being There
    7. Kate Bush — Hounds of Love
    8. Carlene Carter — Musical Shapes
    9. David Bowie — Young Americans
    10. Dennis Wilson — Pacific Ocean Blue

    If I did this tomorrow, it may be a different list.

  13. misterioso

    Thanks! I doubt I’d need anything else, in that case.

  14. 2000 Man

    Man, at this moment, this is what it will be. Outside of Exile, I reserve the right to hem and haw and make people wait on me.

    I was gonna say wait on the boat, but then again, it’s a desert island. I guess you can walk to one of those. So how the hell do people keep getting stuck on those?

    1. Exile on Main St. Because it’s the best thing that ever happened.

    2. Beggars Banquet. Because it’s the second best thing that ever happened.

    3. Let It Bleed. Because 30% sounds like a good percentag of Stones to everything else.

    4. Bowie – Live Santa Monica 72. Damn, I love this record!

    5. Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine. Because Lydia is so cool and awesome.

    6. Steely Dan – Katy Lied. Gotta have something that sounds real nice.

    7. The Dexateens – Red Dust Rising. Because it’s one of my favorite albums, ever.

    8. Rocket From the Tombs – Rocket Redux. I gotta be able to fend off Desert Island monsters, and this glorious racket could easily do it. Besides I need some Cleveland on my island.

    9. The Yardbirds – Vol. 1 Smokestack Lightning. I can listen to this over and over.

    10. Yes – Yessongs. Cuz I like Yes, and I was thinking Close to the Edge, but Yessongs gives me that album and more!

    Ten minutes from now something will fall of my list for some Replacements, Flamin’ Goovies or Lucero. Man, I’m already missing so many things!

  15. cliff sovinsanity

    In no particular order, my very un-cool list.

    1. Life’s Rich Pageant – REM
    2. Surf’s Up – Beach Boys
    3. The Beat – The Beat (Paul Collins)
    4. Mag Earwig! – Guided By Voices
    5. Paul’s Boutique – Beastie Boys
    6. Tim – The Replacements
    7. Shake Some Action – The Flaming Groovies (just to aggravate 2000 Man)
    8. Bandwagonesque – Teenage Fanclub
    9. Picaresque – The Decemberists
    10. Abbey Road – The Beatles

  16. Mmm, in no particular order, these records should deliver enough of my essential needs. The one thing I’ll most miss are my soul records, but beside greatest hits collections, I don’t know that there are many original soul albums I truly love. It’s a singles genre, for me.

    1. The Stooges, Fun House
    2. The Beatles, Let It Be
    3. The Undertones, s/t
    4. Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Get Happy!!
    5. The Clash, s/t
    6. The Band, s/t
    7. Television, Marquee Moon (wish I could just bring side 1 and then pack another half of an album)
    8. The Kinks, Village Green Preservation Society
    9. Fripp & Eno, No Pussyfooting
    10. The Rolling Stones, Big Hits (High Tide and the Green Grass) – or whatever that Brian Jones-era hit collection is called.

  17. BigSteve

    Everyone is picking albums they have already listened to dozens (hundreds?) of times and know in and out. Is that really what you’d do in this hypothetical circumstance? It seems to me that you’d burn out on those albums pretty quickly.

  18. Good point! Folks could pack the new Donuts-Nixon’s Head twofer, offering 31 new songs for desert island dwellers to discover and cherish.

  19. 2000 Man

    You bastard!

  20. 2000 Man

    I’m not gonna pack ten albums I haven’t heard yet. That could make me walk home well before I’m rescued. They might not, but I tried picking things I listen to pretty regularly now, while I intersperse things with new stuff. I almost picked Jacobites – Robespierre’s Velvet Basement, which I just grabbed a reissue of a few weeks ago. I’ve liked it a lot so far, but I could only carry ten records.

  21. mockcarr

    Yes. How do you know you won’t get annoyed by a bit in something newer and break the thing in disgust when the coconuts run out? Although, I suppose sacrificing one for use as a tool could make sense.

    Right now, it’d be:
    1)Beatles – Revolver
    2)Minutemen – Double Nickels On The Dime
    3)Kinks – Face To Face
    4)Who – Quadrophenia
    5)Pee Wee Russell – Over The Rainbow
    6)Robert Marcellus w/Cleveland Orchestra – Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto
    7)Arthur Rubenstein – Chopin’s Nocturnes
    8)Philadelphia Orchestra cond. by Ormandy – Beethoven’s 5th and 6th Symphonies
    9)Louie Armstrong & his All-Stars- Mosaic comp (Too many cds, but c’mon)
    10)Woody Herman – Best of comp

  22. diskojoe

    Nice to hear from you again, HankFan & I like your list, especially that Francoise Hardy album, La Question, which I recommend highly to everyone here as a great “late night” to chill out on.

  23. You can swim over to cliff’s island to revisit that album.

  24. diskojoe

    Here’s 10 that I can think of:

    1. Kinks/Village Green Preservation Society
    2. Miles Davis/Sketches of Spain
    3. Francoise Hardy/The Vogue Years
    4. Barrence Whitefield & The Savages/s/t
    5. Beatles/A Hard Day’s Night (UK version)
    6. Beach Boys/Pet Sounds
    7. The Four Tops/Greatest Hits
    8. Martin Newell/The Off-White Album
    9. The Ramones/It’s Alive!
    10. Stax Singles Box Set Vol. 1 (1959-1968)
    10a.Rolling Stones/GRRR! (3-CD version)

  25. In which I too come out of the woodwork:

    1) The Kinks- Village Green Preservation Society
    2) Randy Newman- Good Old Boys
    3) Wussy- s/t
    4) Judee Sill- Heart Food
    5) Pulp- Different Class
    6) Neil Young – Zuma
    7) Neko Case- Blacklisted
    8) Miles Davis- On the Corner
    9) David Bowie- Low
    10) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Abbatoir Blues

  26. I bet saturnismine feels like a total jerk now! Next thing you know we’ll be hearing from Happiness Stan, and if he submits his list, perhaps we’ll hear from E. Pluribus Gergely.

    What are the odds that 8 out of andyr’s 10 desert island albums are greatest hits packages?

  27. This is a great list.

  28. Slightly surprised that you’re the first to say Pet Sounds. I think I would take out Sufjan Stevens and put in Sketches of Spain myself, actually.

  29. H. Munster

    1) The first Nuggets box set, featuring American bands only
    2) Songs From A Room. The first and third Leonard Cohen albums both have some better songs, but this is his most consistentlydepressing, and what else do you listen to him for?
    3) Flamingo by the Flamin’ Groovies
    4) Take It from the Man by the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Just for the record, I stopped listening to the Stones about ten years ago. I had enough, at least for now. I may go back to the well later on. In the mean time, this group has a lot of their feel.
    5) Truth by the Jeff Beck Group
    6) Ragged Glory by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
    7) Da Doo Ron Ron — The Crystals’ Greatest Hits
    8) The Romantics
    9) Up to Here by the Tragically Hip
    10) Five Days in July by B

  30. H. Munster

    the last line should read:
    10) Five Days in July by Blue Rodeo

  31. I am not certain I can limit myself to only 10 albums for the rest of my life and would need to know the exact reasons I am being punished to choose the proper LP’s to cope.

    I think if I were sent to rot or end up stranded on some deserted island, I might want to bring albums that would be more utilitarian. Perhaps one with a shiny sleeve to use to signal help or a really old record I can melt down and inhale the fumes to blissfully become unaware of my now desolate existence.

    I’ll get back to you on this..

  32. This is in a particular order and it is immutable:

    1. Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
    2. Beatles – Rubber Soul
    3. Kinks – Village Green Preservation Society
    4. Robert Johnson – King Of The Delta Blues (Vol. 1)
    5. XTC – Drums & Wires
    6. VU – Live 1969
    7. Archie Bell – There’s Gonna Be A Showdown (because I can’t have no soul and this does make it as an album; wish there was a girl group corollary)
    8. Frank SInatra – Come Dance With Me
    9. Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica
    10. Bruce Springsteen – WIld, Innocent, & E Street Shuffle

  33. Here’s the list a friend of mine made… I don’t approve:

    Alt-J: An Awesome Wave
    Arctic Monkeys: Favourite Worst Nightmare
    Death Cab for Cutie: Narrow Stairs
    Disclosure: Settle
    Local Natives: Hummingbird
    Metric: Synthetica
    Ella Fitzgerald: Hello Dolly
    Nirvana: Nevermind
    The Smiths: Meat is Murder
    Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City

  34. A real list, not just as many box sets as I can grab:
    1. The Sun Story – Various
    2. Bringing It All Back Home – Dylan
    3. Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy – Who
    4. Live! – Bob Marley and Wailers (extended version)
    5. Darkness on the Edge of Town – Springsteen
    6. Los Angeles/Under the Big Black Sun – X (single CD version)
    7. Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (full concert version)
    8. Achtung Baby – U2
    9. Loveless – MBV
    10. A Night in San Francisco – Van Morrison

  35. 2000 Man

    If your friend’s island is close to mine, he will need to keep it down, or I’m gonna have to come over there!

  36. saturnismine

    Hey maaaaan….I started this whole coming out of the woodwork thing!

    You’re welcome.

    These lists are awful (mine too).

  37. saturnismine


  38. saturnismine

    Double Nickels is a brilliant choice!

  39. saturnismine

    ahh…I hear you Steve/. There’s the rub. But would you burn out on them, or would you miss them terribly?

    The ones I picked are the ones that always make me return, somehow, even though I know them by heart.

  40. Hank Fan

    I had Pet Sounds in post #3. Lots of overlap with diskojoe.

  41. 2000 Man

    Yeah, that’s it exactly, except Lydia Loveless is just one I know I’ll play the rest of my life.

    Nice to “see” ya, by the way!

  42. I would bring 10 copies of The White Stripes magnum opus Icky Thump because it is the greatest album of all time and I feel like I would need at least 9 safety copies

  43. cliff sovinsanity

    I didn’t include any of X’s first 4 albums because it would have been a Sophie’s Choice type decision.

  44. Here are the 10 I am taking as companions
    1. Paris 1919
    2. Revolver
    3. Another Green World
    4. Kimono My House
    5. Space Ritual
    6. New Day Rising
    7. Hunky Dory
    8. Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
    9. Squeezing Out Sparks
    10. Straight Up

  45. 2000 Man

    I would bring 10 copies of The Rolling Stones magnum opus Exile on Main St. because it is the greatest album of all time and I feel like I would need at least 9 safety copies

    Fixed that for ya!

  46. mockcarr

    Come Dance With Me should have made my list somehow.

  47. Will anyone fess up and bring Mighty Like a Rose?

  48. 1. Exile on Main Street – Stones
    2. Velvet Underground and Nico
    3. Let it Be – The Replacements
    4. Raindogs – Tom Waits
    5. Revolver – the Beatles
    6. London Calling – Clash
    7. That yellow Hank Williams greatest hits (40 Greatest?)
    8. Paradise and Lunch – Ry Cooder
    9. Radio City – Big Star
    10. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

    I know I’m forgetting something vital and when I remember it either Ry Cooder or Miles Davis is going to get the hook.

  49. diskojoe

    This gives me an idea for another thread. I’m very happy w/the lists that I’ve seen so far (except for Mr. Human’s friend & that Icky Thump one of yours(1 copy of it will suffice, thank you) that included a few albums that I would pack myself. Anyway, as a twist to this “desert island” concept, I wonder if we can do a thread of the 10 albums you would least like to take on or were forced to hear on a desert island, either your least favorite albums by your fave raves or whatever dosen’t float your boat.

  50. machinery

    no particular order:

    1. Costello — Imperial Bedroom
    2. Digable Planets — Blowout Comb
    3. Minutemen — Double Nickels on the Dime
    4. Dylan — Nashville Skyline
    5. Breeders — Title TK
    6. Big Star — Radio City
    7. Miles Davis — Kind of Blue
    8. Young — After the Goldrush
    9. Velvet Underground — Loaded
    10. Sex Pistols — Never Mind the Bollocks

  51. machinery

    And I’d smuggle Under the Big Black Sun up my ass.

  52. cherguevara

    Like others, five minutes from now my list would be at least 50% different:

    • Beatles – Rubber Soul
    • Kinks – Something New
    • Bach sonatas & partitas for violin (Lara St John recording, a weird choice but not discussing here…)
    • Prefab Sprout – Swoon
    • Donny Hathaway – Everything is Everything
    • Talk Talk – Live ’86
    • Neil Finn – One Nil
    • Bowie – Live at Tower
    • Uncle Tupelo – Anodyne
    • XTC – Big Express

  53. Personally I like Los Angeles the best (favorite punk album of all time), followed by More Fun in the New World, but yeah, they’re all excellent.

  54. saturnismine

    I heard parts of Ragged Glory in the coffee shop last week and remembered how much I liked it when it came out (because at least it wasn’t terrible sounding dreck Neil had been putting out in the 80s, right).

    I like the song that cops the melody line of “My Back Pages,” though (“The Way Things Used to Be,” right?).

    But given the really monumental stuff Neil has put out, I’m curious about your choice of Ragged Glory.

  55. saturnismine

    I’m glad you’re still here, 2k. This place needs you!

  56. Dude, that’s the most brazen E. Pluribus Gergely riff anyone’s ever pulled around here. Next thing you know dbuskirk will reappear!

  57. saturnismine

    And would it kill Great48 to drop in every now and then? I mean, really!

  58. Yeah, for desert island toilet paper.

  59. I, uh, smell an offshoot thread.

  60. ladymisskirroyale

    Curses! But Mr. Royale will most likely be cackling and rubbing his hands together while murmuring “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” over and over.

  61. ladymisskirroyale

    Touche! I’m sure later today I’ll think of albums I should have considered…

  62. ladymisskirroyale

    It’s a good one!

  63. ladymisskirroyale

    My list as of this moment on a Friday afternoon after a long and excruciating week, and again, in no particular order.

    1. MBV – Loveless
    2. Cibo Mato – Viva La Woman!
    3. Camper Van Beethoven – s/t
    4. The Go-Betweens – Before Hollywood or Spring Hill Fair
    5. ABC – Lexicon of Love
    6. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
    7. Portishead – Dummy
    8. Tricky – Maxinquaye
    9. Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
    10. Love and Rockets – Earth, Sun, Moon

  64. Exile on Main Street
    London Calling
    Psycho Candy
    Metal Box
    Spirit of Eden
    Blue Lines
    Kind of Blue
    To Bring You My Love

  65. Snapshot of this moment (my list changes daily)

    You have 30 seconds to collect 10 Cds to bring with you as part of witness relocation….go!

    1. FZ – Apostrophe/Overnite Sensation (1 cd)
    2. Pink Floyd – Animals
    3. ELO – Greatest Hits
    4. The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)
    5. The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out
    6. Badfinger – Straight Up
    7. Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town
    8. The Jayhawks – Tomorrow The Green Grass
    9. Van Halen – Different Kind Of Truth
    10. The Who – Tommy

  66. general slocum

    OK, I’ve come in from the cold, mostly because I recently shut down my Facebook account, and I guess I’m looking to recreate the problems I was having there, somewhere else on the internet. (Problems of self-identity and projections of same, and the repetitive thinking that of the various ways to say something, choose the clever one, or the one that will generate “likes”.) So this blog seems to fill the role of my social media methadone. But that isn’t to knock it, by any means!

    Also, I love lists like these. I always go and listen or re-listen to things other people post. I’ve found some great things this way that were previously unknown to me. Or even by bands I used to actively dislike.

    Steve, I think you have a very large appetite for newness, from what I see in your general tastes and postings. I admire that quality, and only have a moderate amount of it myself.

    Also, the island, for those unsure, is not *in* a desert, which you could indeed walk to eventually. It is an island deserted of people, so that your selections will be your only company, culture-wise. So that, Steve, I always thought the point was, what has been so integral to who you are, that you would be supported by it in this instance. In other words, wouldn’t you rather choose a family member, spouse, or dear friend, if you could choose, than take the chance on whoever was next to you in the lifeboat, if you knew you had to spend possibly decades with them, and no one else?

    For me it is more what would engage, intrigue, and comfort me for the longest time, and reward the most listens in various situations. Here’s this minute’s version of a list.

    1. Another Green World
    2. LKJ In Dub
    3. 1969 Velvet Underground
    4. Complete “In a Silent Way” Sessions I’d take a random choice of the 3 discs is comps don’t seem kosher here.
    5. Monica Hugget’s Bach Solo Violin
    6. The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite on Verve (from 1948 or so)
    7. Bartok String Quartets (Takacs Quartet)
    8. Flying Lizards s/t
    9. Monk’s Music
    10. Doc At the Radar Station

  67. cherguevara

    I have that Hugget recording, it’s a good one – you like the more “traditional” approach, I guess.

  68. general slocum

    Depends what you mean. The one I grew up with was Perlman, very metronomically consistent, except for the big schmaltzy rallentandos, drenched in reverb, and delivered as though it were Mendelssohn in disguise. I loved it, until I started hearing period recordings in the 80s and such. The period folks tend to let the rhythms of baroque music have the relaxedness they should have. Also, the gut strings and looser bow render the sound intimate and rough, and when they have triple stops, they can actually be rolled all at once, unlike a modern instrument. All told, I think her performance lets the music tell you what it wants, it seems to me, without being as emotionally manipulative as so e of the better-known performances of that music tend to get… A few years on a desert island with all the gesturing and “face” of a Son of Heifetz could grate on the nerves!

  69. H. Munster

    “Ragged Glory” is hardly Mr. Young’s most creative effort, but I have grown a bit tired of some of his admittedly more interesting stuff. I’m a sucker for a straight hard rock album. Maybe if I put together the list today I’d mention “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” instead.

  70. Welcome home, general slocum. And why isn’t it called a deserted island? That annoys me.

  71. I have found myself thinking about this at times for the last few days and noticed I have reinforced to myself my love for the “live” album. In no particular order…

    REM-live at Olympia
    Neil Young-Live Rust
    Grateful Dead-Without a Net (love the Brent era)
    Aerosmith- Live Bootleg
    Bob Dylan- Bootleg-Rolling Thunder Revue (75?)
    Talking Heads-The Name of this Band is the Talking Heads
    Joe Walsh- But Seriously Folks
    The Clash- From here to Eternity
    The Saw Doctors-Live in Galway
    Fleetwood Mac- Bare Trees

  72. cherguevara

    That Perlman recording is awful (IMHO). He overpowers the instrument constantly and plays everything in a showy, insensitive way. The Lara St John recording actually repelled me at first, because she takes so much liberty with her rhythmic phrasing. But then I came to really like it a lot.

    I think your “face of a son of Heifetz” speaks to the larger nature of choosing a “desert island disc” list – you’re going to think about the moods in which you listen to music and find something to suit that. At least that’s what I did – the mellow music, the thoughtful music, the intellectually stimulating music, etc.

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