My 100-song 'Welcome to the Planet' playlist

When my son was born two-and-a-half years ago, I created a playlist of songs/artists that I thought he should be familiar with. And since the birth of our daughter two weeks ago, I've recently been re-exploring that list, just to see whether it's still valid. 

My main criterion: If an alien were to land on Earth tomorrow, would my list give E.T. an overall favorable impression of our species?

I divided the list up into four sections, 25 songs apiece. The only rule? No repeat artists. Otherwise, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Prince, Johnny Cash and others could easily end up dominating the entire project.

I'm pleased to remember that Bowie made the list, as well as Prince and Phife Dawg. But no Merle Haggard! Ack! I may have to remedy that.

What do you think? Who else did I leave out? Which artists would you include?

LIST NO. 1

-"God Only Knows," The Beach Boys 
-"In My Life," The Beatles 
-"Johnny B. Goode," Chuck Berry 
-"Space Oddity," David Bowie 
-"I Got You (I Feel Good)," James Brown  
-"Man in Black," Johnny Cash 
-"Georgia on My Mind," Ray Charles 
-"Like a Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan 
-"Respect," Aretha Franklin 
-"Billie Jean," Michael Jackson 
-"The Thrill is Gone," B.B. King 
-"Like a Prayer," Madonna 
-"Is this Love," Bob Marley 
-"All Apologies," Nirvana 
-"Hey Ya!," OutKast 
-"Suspicious Minds," Elvis Presley  
-"I Would Die 4 U," Prince 
-"(Don't Go Back To) Rockville," R.E.M. 
-"It's Tricky," Run-D.M.C. 
-"I've Got You Under My Skin," Frank Sinatra 
-"Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen 
-"Gimme Shelter," The Rolling Stones 
-"Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," The Temptations 
-"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2 
-"Little Trip to Heaven (On the Wings of Your Love)," Tom Waits 

LIST NO. 2 

-"What a Wonderful World," Louis Armstrong 
-"When My Baby's Beside Me," Big Star 
-"Nobody's Baby Now," Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 
-"Lost in the Supermarket," The Clash 
-"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?" Elvis Costello 
-"You Know How We Do It," Ice Cube 
-"What's Going On," Marvin Gaye 
-"Let's Stay Together," Al Green 
-"At Last," Etta James 
-"Give It to Me Baby," Rick James 
-"Crimson and Clover," Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 
-"Love Will Tear Us Apart," Joy Division 
-"Pressure Drop," The Maytals (Toots Hibbert) 
-"Debaser," the Pixies 
-"A Rainy Night in Soho," The Pogues 
-"Message in a Bottle," The Police 
-"All I Need," Radiohead 
-"Can't Hardly Wait," The Replacements 
-"Easy," Lionel Richie  
-"Girlfriend is Better," Talking Heads 
-"Mambo Sun," T. Rex 
-"Proud Mary," Tina Turner 
-"Sweet Jane," The Velvet Underground 
-"California Stars," Wilco 
-"You Are the Sunshine of My Life," Stevie Wonder 

LIST NO. 3 

-"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," Beyonce 
-"The Christian Life," The Byrds 
-"By the Time I Get to Phoenix," Glenn Campbell 
-"The Devil Went Down to Georgia," The Charlie Daniels Band 
-"Crazy," Patsy Cline 
-"Hallelujah," Leonard Cohen 
-"Lookin' Out My Back Door," Creedence Clearwater Revival 
-"Freddie Freeloader," Miles Davis 
-"You Make My Dreams Come True," Hall & Oates 
-"He Stopped Loving Her Today," George Jones 
-"Midnight Train to Georgia," Gladys Knight & the Pips  
-"If I Had a Boat," Lyle Lovett 
-"Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," Willie Nelson 
-"Jolene," Dolly Parton 
-"In the Midnight Hour," Wilson Pickett 
-"Kiss an Angel Good Mornin," Charley Pride 
-"These Arms of Mine," Otis Redding 
-"Cruisin'," Smokey Robinson 
-"Dear Mama," Tupac Shakur  
-"You Can't Hurry Love," The Supremes  
-"I Want to be Loved," Muddy Waters 
-"My Guy," Mary Wells
-"I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby," Barry White 
-"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," Hank Williams 
-"Lonely Teardrops," Jackie Wilson 

LIST NO. 4 

-"La Cienega Just Smiled," Ryan Adams 
-“January Wedding,” The Avett Brothers 
-"First Day of My Life," Bright Eyes 
-"Drive," The Cars 
-"Hold On, Hold On," Neko Case 
-“The Scientist,” Coldplay 
-"Enjoy the Silence," Depeche Mode 
-“Waitin' for Superman,” The Flaming Lips 
-“Reach Out, I’ll be There,” The Four Tops 
-"In Your Eyes," Peter Gabriel 
-“Glad Girls,” Guided By Voices 
-“Don’t I Fit in My Daddy’s Shoes,” Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion 
-“Such Great Heights,” Iron & Wine / The Postal Service (impossible to determine the better version) 
-"Don't Stop Believin'," Journey 
-"Let Love Rule," Lenny Kravitz 
-“Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Loretta Lynn 
-"Two-Headed Boy," Neutral Milk Hotel 
-"Never Said,” Liz Phair 
-"Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen 
-“You Got Me,” The Roots 
-"Independence Day," Elliott Smith 
-“How Soon is Now?” The Smiths 
-“Come On! Feel the Illinoise!,” Sufjan Stevens 
-“Rapper’s Delight,” The Sugarhill Gang 
-“Check the Rhime,” A Tribe Called Quest  

2 comments

  • Kristen Long

    Kristen Long Georgetown SC

    What a great list! "(Don't Go Back) Rockville" REM, has always been my all time favorite song! I saw REM in 1995 at the N. Charleston Coliseum, the best concert I have ever been too! And I literally grew up believing that I was the only person in Georgetown, SC who listed to The Pixies! "Debaser" is definitely in my top 3 favorites by The Pixies! Again, great list!

    What a great list! "(Don't Go Back) Rockville" REM, has always been my all time favorite song! I saw REM in 1995 at the N. Charleston Coliseum, the best concert I have ever been too! And I literally grew up believing that I was the only person in Georgetown, SC who listed to The Pixies! "Debaser" is definitely in my top 3 favorites by The Pixies! Again, great list!

  • Jud

    Jud Columbus

    No Coltrane?

    No Coltrane?

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