A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs Podcast

I don’t know anyone who listens to Andrew Hickey’s A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs who doesn’t bring it up in conversation with other people who are known to listen to the show. My bandmate Brooks Harlan turned me onto it. His bandmate Sue turned him onto it. Another of my mates, J. Robbins, is onto it. It’s a great show, not least because Mr. Hickey is impossibly thorough and committed to his work1 but because his starting point is that each of these songs contributes to the greater whole of what rock music is, as opposed to simply making a greatest hits or top 500 list. As for myself, I started late but am catching up. This week’s episode is number 162, in my own progress starting with episode 1 early last year, I’m up to number 136, The Who’s “My Generation.”

  1. e.g. even at the outset, he knew that if he produced a show a week with a couple weeks off for holidays or unforeseen events, it would still take 10 years to complete his list.

Looking at a Window and Thinking It’s a Mirror

Benjamen Walker believes that the origin of the current version of New York City can be traced to two specific events: the closing of RENT after tweleve years on Broadway, and the near-simultaneous arrival of Air BnB. The most recent edit of this podcast corresponds further to Air BnB’s victory over Prop F in San Francisco.

No doubt people who currently arrive from D.C. or Ohio or Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, or any other American locale are happy to see IKEA and Whole Foods, the Apple store and Old Navy, Barnes and Noble, and whatever else might be just-like-the-one-back-home-but-better-because-it’s-here. But for many of us whose time of arrival is other and past, it seems things are getting too much like everywhere outside the City.

We all have some idea of when New York was better. For myself, it’s not just when rent was lower and life was compelled by frequently drunken and seemingly telepathic psychic alliances with friends rather than any sense of responsibility or commitment. It’s when I moved here to find myself among people who moved here for similar reasons in search of dissimilar things, making and seeking dissimilar sounds and images together.

In any case, 43:58-57:25 is my favorite portion but I think the entire show has merit.