Vacation Musings: “Desert Island Discs”


There is a podcast out the BBC in England called “Desert Island Discs” in which the host interviews famous English folks about what eight songs they would take with them on a desert island and “why.” So in my vacation musings, I thought “what eight would I bring and why?” I ended up with five rock songs and three classical pieces. The main criteria for the rock songs, besides what I wrote below, is that whenever I’m driving and I hear the song, I crank up the volume! So (drum roll please), my Desert Island Discs. [p.s. would like to hear yours as well ….]

“Born on the Bayou” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – First true rock album I ever listened to and Track 1, Side 1 just blew me away from the first sound of the feedback. I can remember thinking, “What is that?” and then the guitar lick flows in followed by that heavy bass line. Up until then I had been a “pop” music fan. No more. I remember how disappointed I was when my older brothers got to go see Creedence at the Boston Garden and I was told I was too young. Hey, I was nine! I was plenty old enough!

“All Along the Watchtower” by Jimmy Hendrix – next logical progression; Hendrix’ magic on the guitar driven by that great rhythm of Redding and Mitchell. Those two were the best. They made what was already great even better. (Sorry, Bruce and Baker.) Made me wish I owned a Nehru jacket.

“American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – 1976, the year I graduated from high school. “Free Bird” ruled the senior prom (I think they played it three times) but “American Girl” made girls do really mental, crazy dances like “stand up on a table in a bar and dance crazy.” Remember the drinking age back then was 18….. Anyway, every time I hear it now, I just crank it up and dream of being 18 again.

“Feelin’ Alright” by Joe Cocker – For some reason I became a huge Joe Cocker fan in college. Maybe it was his mix of jazz and rock, big bands and back up singers. Maybe it was John Belushi doing Joe Cocker better than Joe Cocker. As they say in Italy, “Chi sa?” Just love this song and the funky piano intro.

“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits – Yeah, I know the second verse is so non-PC but it is what it is, one of the all-time great rock songs with a killer riff (I never could master it on my guitar no matter how much I tried). I can remember being on the beach in Pine Point, ME that summer (1985). Beautiful sunny afternoon, everyone had boom boxes, pretty much all turned to same rock station. Then Sting’s voice drifts over this spacey intro, “I want my MTV….” and everyone turns up the radio and “Money for Nothing” just booms away.

Now for something completely different ….

Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” – What is there to say? You could sing this as a post-Communion meditation at any Mass and I would be happy indeed.

“Largo” from Symphony #9 by ‪Antonín Dvořák – Just one of my favorites. Can’t help but me transported to my Dad’s funeral.

“Fourth Movement” from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – Another no brainer. Soundtrack to the fall of the Berlin Wall.






4 Comments. Leave new

Thanks for sharing and being transparent of your personal experience. To grow more human is to grow more whole. An eternal journey finding God in all things. A Grateful heart, Carmela

Carrie Handy
August 1, 2016 9:27 am

Agree on Feelin’ Alright and Ave Verum Corpus. Nice, if unusual, mix!

Reo Speedwagon… Although I wouldn’t mind being stranded at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame.

Harold M. Frost, Ph.D.
August 14, 2016 3:04 pm

I do not have yet any list of all of the eight songs, hymns, or other musical works that is the topic of your blog, Bishop Coyne. But I have the first one of the eight, plus the rubrics for finding the other seven to take with me to that proverbial desert island that is not so fictional as one might think. The first song would be “Barka” meaning boat or barge in Polish. As for its significance: At the end of now Saint Pope “John Paul II’s 90th [Birthday] Anniversary Concert” on May 18, 2010 as organized by the John Paul II Foundation (fjp2DOTorg) and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland at the Holy See, “Pope John Paul II[‘s] favorite song Barka [in Polish] was the musical coda of the evening” — info downloadable via the “News” tab at the fjp2 website, the song playable on YouTube, and the lyrics in English found online. The other seven songs would be the favorite songs, if I could find their titles, of my other favorite Saints. And, if one could include sung psalms in the list as well as Our Lord Himself as the King of Saints, then I would choose Psalm 22 [NABRE], the first words of which Christ uttered while on the Cross and music for which can also be heard via YouTube. Thank you, your Excellency, for your articulate foray into popular culture, which started my reflection on where the Lord wants me to go, and so his and thus my friends, too – Heaven itself.