Playlist (revisited): EDGE 102.1’s top 1002 of all time (1999 version)

Just over a year ago, I posted a playlist that I didn’t create. I wrote then about how I was doing a bunch of driving, was looking for a good long Spotify playlist to stream in the car, and finally settled on one my friend Tim had made. He created it using a countdown of the “Best 1002 songs of all time” as voted by CFNY (aka EDGE) 102’s alternative rock radio listeners way back in 1999. Then, not long after, well before I managed to get all way through the 900+ songs on the playlist, I switched my streaming service allegiances from Spotify to Apple Music*.

Then, a few months ago, I decided I wanted to finish listening to the playlist and to do so, started building my own version of the playlist on Apple Music. I really got an appreciation for the patience Tim must have had in building the original Spotify playlist because it took me quite a bit of time and searching to find the right versions of all these tunes. Interestingly, Apple Music was only missing 9 of the 1002 songs, whereas Tim’s Spotify version is a good 28 tracks shy, though I am sure Spotify’s catalogue has expanded some in the years since he originally put it together.

Another interesting point: I noticed while compiling this playlist something that didn’t really strike me while listening to the original. This list of the “best songs of all time” really is of its time and place.

The Tragically Hip is the artist with the most songs (22) on the list, outpacing iconic alt rock groups like U2 (19), R.E.M. (16), and Depeche Mode (14). And though The Hip are a pretty great band, pretty much universally loved here in Canada, they are largely unknown everywhere else in the world.

The list is also pretty heavy on the 90s grunge and post-grunge side of alt rock. Bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Smashing Pumpkins all have more songs on the list than The Clash, David Bowie, The Smiths, and New Order.

Nevertheless, it was fun to put this list together and has been fun revisiting it with my earphones over the last month or so. It’s a great selection of alternative/indie rock spanning from the 60s and 70s, through the 80s, and right up to heyday and wane of alternative in the 90s. Plenty of my favourites, as well as songs I don’t get to hear all that often but love, just the same.

If you’re curious, here’s the top 25 songs on the list and the rest can be found here:

1 Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit
2 The Smiths How Soon Is Now?
3 Pearl Jam Jeremy
4 U2 Pride (In The Name Of Love)
5 Nine Inch Nails Closer
6 The Tragically Hip New Orleans Is Sinking
7 The Cult She Sells Sanctuary
8 Soft Cell Tainted Love
9 R.E.M. Losing My Religion
10 Pearl Jam Alive
11 U2 With Or Without You
12 The Smashing Pumpkins Today
13 The Tragically Hip Blow At High Dough
14 Stone Temple Pilots Plush
15 Live Lightning Crashes
16 Talking Heads Once In A Lifetime
17 Soundgarden Black Hole Sun
18 U2 I Will Follow
19 Pearl Jam Even Flow
20 Peter Gabriel Games Without Frontiers
21 Tears For Fears Shout
22 New Order Bizarre Love Triangle
23 The Tragically Hip Little Bones
24 The Violent Femmes Add It Up
25 The Smashing Pumpkins Disarm

For you Apple Music users, you can link to my version of the playlist here. If you’re still on the Spotify, you can have a sampling at my original post here.


*I spoke a little bit about the reasons for making this change on one of my other playlist posts from last year.

If you’re interested in checking out any of the playlists I myself have created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.


Vinyl love: Spiritualized “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Spiritualized
Album Title: Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space
Year released: 1997
Year reissued: 2010
Details: 2 x 180 gram

The skinny: Big fans of Jason Pierce’s space rock outfit, Spiritualized, that might be following along as I’ve been travelling backwards through my collection of their records will likely have been watching out for this one. The third record, “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space” is largely and widely considered their best and I am definitely not one to disagree. It came in at number one when I counted down my favourite albums of 1997, a stacked year that also included seminal albums by Radiohead and The Verve. This double album of gospel, noise rock, and free jazz, tells the dual and intertwining tales of a breakup and a psychedelic trip and it is near perfection in its beautiful and pain. The 180 gram reissue I have from 2010 faithfully reproduces original album art that was modelled after medicinal packaging, right down to the wrapper-like album sleeves, instructional insert that includes Qs & As, and the expiry date and storage instructions on the back cover. This was a must have for my album collection and the first one from this particular ‘Vinyl love’ series that I purchased.

Standout track: “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”


100 best covers: #50 The Beautiful South “Everybody’s talkin'”

<< #51    |    #49 >>

The Beautiful South were one of my favourite groups in the first few years of the 1990s. I’ve already written on these pages a number of times about how I wrote all my first year university papers to their third record, 1992’s “0898”. So of course when their fourth album hit the shelves here in Canada in 1994, I was right there to purchase a copy of the CD. I noticed a big difference in the sound right away. Gone were the shrill, childlike backup vocals of Brianna Corrigan, who I later learned left the group before recording sessions began, and these were replaced by the richer hued voice of Jacqui Abbott.

This change was most evident on track four, “Miaow”’s second single, a cover of “Everybody’s talkin’”, on which she took on lead vocals and the inimitable Paul Heaton slid to backup duties. I recognized the track from the first listen because it was super faithful, in sound and in feeling, to one my father enjoyed and that would see the volume pumped up in the car whenever it made the appearance on oldies radio. I’m talking about Harry Nilsson’s version, of course, which I thought until recently was the original. It was his cover that made the song what it is, its appearance on the “Midnight cowboy” soundtrack giving Nilsson his biggest hit. It was a jangling and rambling yearning to be somewhere, anywhere but there, exhausted but hopeful, not letting all the talking heads get you down. It’s the kind of song that rings true with musicians and songwriters, which is likely why it’s been covered by hundreds* of artists.

I only learned that it was originally written and recorded by folk singer/songwriter Fred Neil a few years before Nilsson did it when I sat down to write this post a week or so ago. I had to change tack for obvious reasons but I loved learning about how this songwriter I’d never heard of wrote this classic tune and recorded it in only one take just so that he could finally go home. His original is austere, hints at plucking and strumming, a shadow and inference of the fuller sound we are used to with the many covers. It’s good, perhaps even great, it’s just not what I’m used to.

In closing, I’m realizing that I may not have made such a strong case for The Beautiful South version but I do very much love it. It’s always made me happy. So I can’t in conscience pick the original here but I’m definitely curious to check out Fred Neil’s other work.


The original:

*One of these was the lovely, mellow rendition by Luna, which I also considered including on this list.

For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.