Music/Popular Culture

TunesDay: what's in your collection?

There are all kinds of fun arguments to be had over which band is best or whether one’s taste is critically defensible (*cough*Brian used to listen to Madonna and Gloria Estefan*cough*) and, of course, my favorite – can we separate what we like from our critical faculties (that is, is your “favorite” list different from your “best” list)?

But there’s one sure measure of what music we really care about the most, for whatever reason, and that’s how much of our money we spend on it. So today’s TunesDay question is this: what artists do you own the most music from?

Feel free to answer however makes sense, and yes, we take into account the fact that you may own everything from a band that quit too soon. I have one of those myself. Here’s my list:

U2: I own everything. All the studio CDs, the live CD, the live EP, several CD single packages, the B-Sides, assorted single releases, plus the greatest video hits DVD and a VHS tape of their ZooTV Sydney show (which I’d kill to have on DVD).

Van Morrison: 14 CDs, including his brilliant disc with The Chieftains and a best of collection.

Graham Parker: 12 CDs, and I’m embarrassed not to own more.

Queen: Almost everything. I mean, I worshiped this band, but no amount of idolization is going to get me to buy the Highlander and Flash soundtracks.

Rick Springfield: Nine, I think, including his Christmas CD.

REM: Everything except the live album.

Don Dixon: All nine of his proper releases, some stuff that he didn’t release, his latest duo disc with Marti Jones, and some Arrogance to boot. In other words, everything I’ve been able to lay my hands on.

Peter Gabriel: Eight.

Now, the special cases.

The Police: Next to U2, my favorite band ever. But they packed it in after five studio CDs. So I only have the box set and the live CD.

Others I own a lot of (or all of): Johnny Clegg/Juluka/Savuka, Fiction 8 (I think I have everything they’ve done), Sarah McLachlan, Lush, Springsteen, Curve, Verve, Elton John, Garbage and Green Day.

How about you?

33 replies »

  1. I would have to say Radiohead. Not sure exactly how many discs I have though. Ever since OK Computer, I’ve been trying to get my hands on everything I could. The Japanese imports are the biggest waste of money, but they have some b-sides not available stateside or in the UK. I usually got most excited about the special editions, like Amnesiac, which was produced like a hard-cover library book, complete with check-out card.

  2. I think a better question would be “how much space on your hard drive are your music files using?”

    My wife and me share about 15 gigs of wav. and mp3 files.

    I was actually going through my CD’s the other day and I found about 20 Metallica singles/rarity/live cd’s from the 90’s. I was kinda shocked. I always thought it was fascinating that they would put crappy demo versions on B side of single. Other than them I’d have to say the Beatles and Hip, but they are a distant seconds. Speaking of the Hip, they have an album coming out today. Lets hope Bob Rock doesn’t ruin another band for me. The last album the Hip did with him was a masterpiece.

  3. I agree with Darrell that the age of digital music has changed the format and the way in which I procure music -hell, I don’t think I have bought a CD in about 2 years… But with that said, my largest collections are:

    Johnny Cash – it would be damn near impossible to collect everything this man recorded, but dammit I am trying – 17 CDs, 3 – 3-disc box sets, 1 5-disc box set, the CD-DVD San Quentin release, (for a total of 32 CDs) 2 other DVDs, around 20 bootleg and outake recordings, and about 10 pieces of vinyl.

    Tom Waits – Every studio album including his recent 3-disc release, which amounts to 26 CDs and one iTunes album. I have three duplicates on vinyl and about 15 concert recordings.

    The Clash – Every studio album on CD, every studio album on vinyl – both US and British releases, a Japanese import of London Calling, the three-disc box set, the posthumous live album, 3 DVDs, and a radio promo vinyl called Sandinista Now! – it’s the tight, single record that Sandinista could have been, had the band not loaded it with filler to stick it to Epic.

    Other bands I have all studio recordings from: NOFX, The Tragically Hip, Barenaked Ladies, Rancid, The Police, Nirvana, Pixies,Talking Heads, Ramones, Pearl Jam, Pogues, Bright Eyes, everything Ron Hawkins has released with bands or solo, Ben Folds (with and without Five), Wilco, Ryan Adams, Replacements, and Beck.

  4. Sam,

    Interesting that we have very similar tastes. I will add that since I’m a bit older than you, I have the entire Zappa catalog, bootlegs and all. I also have the Stones catalog.

    My music is neatly compartmentalized as I have an extensive collection of opera, classical, and country music…even the Dixie Chicks(don’t get politics get in the way of good, uplifting music).


  5. If you can find someone who grew up in the 80s and didn’t listen to Madonna, that person was either living a life of musical seclusion or is lying.

    Here’s my list, in no particular order:

    Rush: I own at least 11 of the studio albums, none of the live albums, but so much of it is on audio cassette (remember those?) that I’m not positive of some of what I own. I’ve only recently started replacing the cassettes with MP3s, and am very much looking forward to filling in the holes.

    Jethro Tull: 7, although now I see that’s only 1/3rd of the Tull albums out there, I must have more!!!

    Midnight Oil: 6, plus one “extended play” single (Bird Noises) Some of their best stuff is before “Diesel and Dust”. Again, though, too much is on cassette and in desperate need of replacement.

    Talking Heads: 5 plus one of the other live albums. A band whose time was cut far too short.

    Tori Amos: 5, plus one of my very few live albums.

    Voltaire: 4 (there’s only five that aren’t compilations or live albums)

    I’ve got legions of other artists where I’ve got a bunch of albums out of a larger collection of work, though: Suzanne Vega, Aerosmith, David Wilcox, Lorenna McKennitt, Pink Floyd, and Depeche Mode to name a few. There’s a lot more

    However, I’ve recently turned into someone who’s more of a music sampler than a deep diver. I’m always looking for something that reaches my soul the way that Rush and Tull have. VNV Nation and Assemblage 23, what little I own of them, seem to be coming close, but we’ll see.

  6. Darrell, yer an amateur. 🙂 I have over 60 GB and I’m sure Slammy tops that easy. According to iTunes, I can listen to 43+ days of music w/o hearing the same song twice. Hahahaha.

    Hmmm. This is a tough one for me since I used to have a ton of music on LP and tape that I never managed to switch over to CD because I keep finding new stuff I like. For instance, the Beatles. I had access to most of their albums on LP, but I only have 3 of their albums on CD. Ditto with The Who and a few others. Also, some of the bands I like the most NOW, haven’t been around long enough to generate much.

    Having said all that, I’ll risk the ridicule. Here’s my list for what I have on CD: Acoustic Alchemy, Al DiMeola, Alfred Brendel (mostly Mozart and Beethoven), The Cars, Dead Can Dance (and alts), Delierium (and alts), Dream Theater, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Fourplay, George Winston, Indigo Girls, John Coltrane, John Digweed, John Mellencamp, Led Zeppelin, Madonna (yes, I have most her albums), Massive Attack (& Tricky), Miles Davis, NIN, Peter Gabriel, Police/Sting, Queen, Sarah McLachlan, Shadowfax, Steve Roach, Strunz & Farah, Thievery Corporation, Tom Petty (and the HBs), Tool (and aPC), U2, White Zombie (and RZ). Guess that’s it.

  7. Jeff – not much into opera (one exception – Don Giovanni, which is one of the few things Mozart that I like). But I enjoy Bach, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovitch, Holst, Strauss, and Wagner. I like my classical music with a hard edge, martial and/or flat out depressing. The generally happy/uplifting stuff isn’t my cup of tea, which seems to be one of the reasons that I’m not really a big fan of most Italian composers.

    Oh, and PDQ Bach. 🙂

  8. You saw Vega live? I’m jealous. I’ve seen a total of 4-5 shows live in my life (2 were Tori, touring in support of different albums – nothing quite like watching her perform “Me and Gun” on stage. Wow.)

    Suzanne Vega has one of my favorite songs of all time, and I credit local radio station KBCO (pre-Clear Channel) with introducing her to my high school ears. I crank up “Marlene on the Wall” every time I hear it. Great stuff.

  9. Yeah. It was later in her career. Nine Objects of Desire timeframe, I think.

    I saw Loreena McKinnett live, too. 🙂 On campus, right after Mask and Mirror came out. Now, THAT was a fun show. And the pagans were definitely out of the closet that night. I don’t think I’d like the stuff she’s doing now, though. That whole Celtic Diva thing is…well…annoying.

    • McKennett had a lot of great stuff on her albums, but some of it was just dross too. I generally enjoy long-form songs that tell an extended story with music, so you’d think I’d like some of her longer stuff, but generally speaking, I don’t.

      I recommend Tull’s “Songs from the Wood” for your inner pagan. I bought it after agonizing for a good 20 minutes about which Tull album I was going to buy that visit to the music store. Once I read the names of the songs and it clicked that there was one for every festival, it was an instant “must have.”

  10. Uber, your right most of that is my wife’s actually. I bet I have half that 15 gigs For someone who performs,produces and loves music, I’m pretty much lazy and not cool enough to search out any new artists, although I would like to thank Sam for getting me into Andrew Bird this last week.

    For Beatles fans, and people who still buy CD’s this collection sounds pretty tempting.

  11. First those pesky Brits try and poison our minds with subliminal lyrics about smoking pot, now they try and mask their obvious Satanic cause with the upside down number of the beast.

  12. I definitely have more Ween than anything else… All 11 studio releases, plus the six live albums that they put out through Chocodog Records totalling 20 discs (not to mention several live DVDs). Following that is 14 Clutch discs (16 if you count their alter-ego The Bakerton Group). I have a lot of Mike Patton’s handiwork, as well… four Mr. Bungle albums, three from Faith No More, and two Fantomas discs.

    After that its kind of a free for all… over three hundred more albums of everything from Pink Floyd to Lamb of God, Frank Zappa to Alice in Chains, Aphex Twin to Iron Maiden…

    I will say, though, that I’ve been listening to more metal than any other genre as of late, and that the majority of my music would definitely fall into that category.

  13. Damn, Jeff, the entire Zappa catalog!? Shit, i’m dark green with envy.

    I can’t really play. Most of my serious collecting occurred before the digital revolution, and it got pretty ransacked in the course of eight international moves in six years.

  14. Tough, because I’ve had a merged music collection for more than a decade… trying to figure what would be there without Brian’s input. Hmm.

    Lyle Lovett
    k. d. lang
    Eurythmics and Annie Lennox
    Ella Fitzgerald
    Joe Henry
    Willie Nelson
    Sarah Mclachlan
    Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks
    Roy Orbison
    Duncan Sheik
    Police (not Sting solo)
    Elvis Costello
    Sondheim soundtracks

    • Why no Sting solo? Ignoring Slammy’s protestations that Sting solo sucks, that is. I have two compilations and they’re both nice to relax to.

  15. Lex,

    It could be arranged for you to enjoy the fruits of the entire Zappa catalog.


    • I only really like the Synchronicity album from the Police, so maybe it’s not as big a deal for me. Sting solo is definitely different from the Police, however, and I can see how the differences could be jarring.

  16. I like both, but I usually don’t group them together. It’s two completely different sounds. I only did so in my list above because I was doing it for most of the other band vs. solo stuff.

    And Brian, I bet most people who say they like The Police won’t list synchronicity as their top pick.

    • No, probably not, but because that’s the first Police I ever heard, it’s my favorite. It’s just simple timing – I’m young enough that Synchronicity was playing, while Sam’s an old fart who was listening to The Police before they were a band.

  17. What… what… what Sam said.

    Oooh, that hurt.

    I don’t hate Sting’s solo work; it just isn’t on the short list.

  18. U2, Radiohead, Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Brenda Fassie, (check out her classic Vulindlela), Paul Oakenfold, Underworld, Cafe Del Mar

  19. I see Michael cited Delerium. They’re the alter ego of my favorite band of all time, of whom I have umpteen discs, most copied onto my computer. Let’s hear it for FRONTLINE Aaa-SSEMBLY!

  20. Jeff, whoa…i will be in touch.

    Neither, Brian, just spent a few years bouncing around the planet (not every move was to a new country, sometimes it was a back and forth to deal with visa/finance shit).

  21. @Russ, I’ve played the hell out of Artificial Soldier. But FLA has about 10 different alts. Haha. I didn’t even wanna try to list em all cause I’m sure I’d miss a few. I think I found Delerium on my own, but Slammy clued me into FLA…mostly to prove that they were the same two guys. I think we were playing D&D at the time and needed some fight music. Hah.