In response to a friend’s posting on Facebook a few days ago, I glibly stated that Talking Heads were one of my top 3 bands of all time. When I stopped to think about this, I realised that in fact I did not actually have a top 3 or a top 10 that I had rationally thought about. I therefore sat down and thought about it, and surprisingly Talking Heads actually were in my top 3. However, the top 10 consisted of about 15 different artists and bands, and I began to think that it was a pretty futile exercise. What does it matter who I think rate high enough in my opinion, and would the list be the same if I repeated the exercise in 6 months time?
This got me thinking again about a posting I made on the 19th June, in which I talked about what I called the “teenage hotspot”, that is the period in your teens and early twenties that are your most defining years in the music that you like. A good proportion of my top 10 (/15) were from the late sixties and seventies, my intense musical years, although I am happy to say there were some entries from subsequent decades. One thing I did realise was that all my favourites had produced a substantial body of work, and because of this they had maintained my interest over the subsequent years. I wonder if people from later generations of music lovers will maintain a stable top 10, or if it will be much more subject to change. I say this because careers in popular music tend to be much shorter nowadays, and so there can often be a much narrower band of work, making the appeal more transitory.
You will notice that I have not actually included a list of my favourites because I feel it is unimportant. Mentally compiling a list helps you understand what you like and why, but the contents of it are actually irrelevant to other people.