New York Playlist

New York Playlist


The most important part of any travel for business or pleasure is planning out the proper soundtrack for your trip. With the 2018 International Franchise Expo starting this week, I wanted to share my playlist of my favorite songs by New York artists, recorded in New York, or about New York.

  1. Love Supreme – John Coltrane
  2. Take The A-Train – Duke Ellington
  3. Blue Monk – Thelonius Monk Trio

I can’t decide on which classic jazz song should lead off. I settled on all three of these.


  1. Pennies from Heaven – Louis Prima

Face it, when you set foot in New York, you feel as excited and sugared-up as Buddy in Elf.


  1. New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

I don’t really like this particular song, but I feel like I must include it.


  1. Piano Man – Billy Joel

This song always painted such a perfect a picture of an old piano bar in the city. I can smell the beer on the microphone.


  1. Personality Crisis – The New York Dolls
  2. Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
  3. I Wanna Be Seated – The Ramones
  4. One Way or Another – Blondie

If I could go back in time, I would go straight to 1977 at CBGB.


  1. Shattered – Rolling Stones

Bite the Big Apple…


  1. New York Groove – Ace Frehley

Great tune! That is all.


  1. Angela – Bob James

Soft jazz song that you will recognize as the theme to the gritty NY sitcom Taxi.


  1. In The City – Joe Walsh

More theme music – this time from the cult classic film The Warriors!


  1. Double Fantasy – John Lennon

I can’t choose just one song from this album that defines New York City for me.


  1. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues with Kristy MacColl

Yes, it’s a Christmas song. But it also paints an amazing picture of New York City. It’s beautiful & ugly as well as sad & happy all at the same time.


  1. Unplugged in New York – Nirvana

Recorded in New York but not really a NY record. It’s the best live album ever, so I just look for any reason to put it on any list.


  1. New York Minute – Don Henley

Layers and layers of good stuff here.


  1. The Great American Nightmare – Rob Zombie

It’s been the theme to The Howard Stern Show for 20 years. That’s pretty New York.


  1. New York State of Mind (Live) – Billy Joel

Two Billy Joel songs on this list? Yep.

And, go for the live broadcast version from the post-911 televised Tribute to Heroes concert.



And for those wondering where Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are … I’m sorry, I just can’t.



“New” Tunes from Zepp, Stones, The Who, AC/DC, Costello


It’s a great week and kickoff to the Christmas shopping season for Retro tunes from some of the greats. Any of these would make a great gift or a holiday insanity-defying muscial treat for yourself on Cyber Monday.

Do we really still call it Cyber Monday? Cyber….hmmm. I guess it’s like still saying “dial” a phone though we haven’t had a phone with a dial since around the time Led Zeppelin broke up.

 Led Zeppelin Celebration Day

Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

Which brings us to this new release from last Tuesday – Led Zeppelin Celebration Day. It’s not really new music; it’s a live album of their greatest hits. It’s not really even a new release as it was recorded at their one-shot reunion 5 years ago! Lastly, the reunion term is used loosely as John Bonham is still quite dead.

These may be valid points for not going all-out crazy about this release. But, c’mon! It’s more Led Zeppelin! We really do not have enough material from these guys who were  officially together for a only decade and released only 10 albums if you include the live Song Remains The Same (which I do) and not include the 1990s Page / Plant reunion album (which I don’t). Celebration Day is actually better than Remains, in my early listening opinion. These guys are now true old bluesmen with about a billion more miles on them. And although we don’t have John Bonham onboard, we have the closest match both musically and genetically with Jason Bonham.

Led Zeppelin 2012
Zepp Now: Plant, Page, Jones, (Jason) Bonham. Photo from Spin.



AC/DC on iTunes

I was shocked last Tuesday seeing the big banner on iTunes announcing AC/DC’s catalog finally being released for digital download. They are the only major band that held out even longer than The Beatles, and I’m glad to finally see some of the greatest albums of all time like Dirty Deeds and Back in Black available for future generations who won’t own a CD player!

AC/DC on iTunes

You can buy the entire collection, or of course choose only individual songs to purchase. But there’s still no official AC/DC Greatest Hits album. I think the band’s stance on this is so cool, especially in a world where every lame pop singer, hip hop noise maker, and American Idol contestant who has been around for more then 18 months is putting out a Greatest Hits collection.


Rolling Stones – GRRR!

The Stones put out a huge Best Of collection last week. The sheer scope is impressive, with you choice of the 40, 50, or 80 track versions. I recommend downloading the 2 new songs, “Gloom and Doom” and “One More Shot”. Both are rockin’ numbers that are a couple of the best they have created in several years. 

But, seriously, I think The Stones have run out of ideas on album titles and cover photos.


Elvis Costello In Motion Pictures
Elvis Costello – In Motion Pictures

This is an interesting collection of old Elvis Costello tunes used in various movies over the past 30 or so years. It’s a cool idea and an even cooler album cover!


The Who Music for the Closing Ceremony




The Who – Music For The Closing Ceremony

Pete and Roger’s performance closing the 2012 London Olympics was awesome and the 4 tracks are now for sale for download or on a limited blue vinyl LP!








The Greatest Year in Music: 1982


MTV Rollings Stones I Want My MTV

My Grandmother once told me the best year for music is, or was, whatever year you turned fourteen years old. She was not an expert on modern popular music or entertainment media or targeted market research. But she did know a lot about people (especially kids!).

I thought about this theory often while I was working in music promotion and radio programming. It seemed to be true across generations and decades for all demographics. 

Recently I shared this notion with my colleague Dave Whalen, who is on my short list of smart dudes. Dave concurred with Grandma’s “Age 14” theory, so I’m pretty much now calling it law: The greatest year for music was whatever year you turned fourteen.

So, for me, the greatest year for music was 1982.

That’s right, 1982: The Crossroads between classic rock, pop, new wave, punk, and heavy metal.  But remember, that’s just for me…your experience will vary…

Madness "jack monson"
82 Was Madness!


Not About Michael Jackson

A quick note here – 1982 brought us the best-selling album of all time, Thriller. However, I am not, nor was I ever, a fan. The only part of it in which I find any value is the Eddie Van Halen guitar solo in Beat It (oh, and the Vincent Price voice-over bit in Thriller). But if you really want to catch some great Eddie work from ’82, see the Diver Down album on the list below.



The video music channel launched in August 1 1981, but it was 1982 where the number of homes in the US (including mine) with access to MTV exploded. And then, everything changed!

MTV Bumper Sticker "jack monson"      

The List

The best way to adequately explain how BIG 1982 was to Generation X is to list some of the albums of the year that were huge sellers, influential, or important milestones.  See if you agree with me about 1982 and/or the “Age 14” rule…  

Peter Gabriel – Security

The Clash – Combat Rock

XTC – English Settlement

The Jam – The Gift

Talking Heads – The Name of the Band Is…

Asia – Asia

Genesis – Three Sides Live

Men At Work – Business As Usual

Frank Zappa – Ship Arriving Too Late To Save the Drowning Witch

Sonic Youth – Sonic Youth

Split Enz – Time and Tide

Squeeze – Sweets From a Stranger

Madness – Complete Madness

INXS – Shabooh Soobah

The Fixx – Shuttered Room

Devo – Oh, No!

Men Without Hats – Rhythm of Youth

Thomas Dolby – Golden Age of Wireless

The Motels – All Four One

Dexys Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Ay

Flock of Seagulls – Flock of Seagulls

Duran Duran – Rio

Go-Go’s – Vacation

Pat Benatar – Get Nervous

Adam Ant – Friend or Foe

Robert Plant – Pictures at Eleven

Pete Townsend – All The Best Cowboys

The Who – It’s Hard

The Beatles – Reel Music

Toto – IV

John Cougar – American Fool

Tom Petty – Long After Dark

Queen – Hot Space

Kansas – Vinyl Confessions

Rolling Stones – Still Life

Crosby Still & Nash – Daylight Again

Steve Miller – Abracadabra

Golden Earing – Cut

Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska

Phil Collins – Hello, I Must Be Going

Led Zeppelin – Coda

Scorpions – Blackout

Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast

Rainbow – Straight Between the Eyes

Ozzy Osbourne – Speak of the Devil

Sammy Hagar – 3 Lock Box

Van Halen – Diver Down

 Van Halen Diver Down "jack monson"

What great albums are missing on this list? Let me know via comments!