Monday, October 15, 2007

My top 10s

A friend sent me a request on another blog to come up with a crazy top 10 list. So I came up with three...

Listed below are 10 favorite obscure songs, 10 favorite books that have impacted my life one way or another and 10 favorite films that have done the same. If you read this and feel so inclined, share with me a somewhat rare song, a film or a book that means something to you.

Thanks for the idea, Jen.

Note: None of these top 10 lists are in any kind of order.

Top 10 obscure songs

10. "Thirsty Boots" by John Denver -- Eric Andersen crafted a fine little tune out of the Civil Rights movement. Judy Collins had the hit, but John Denver's mid-70s take is my favorite. Of special note is a rare live recording from Australia.

9. "What Have You Got Planned Tonight Diana?" -- A lost single from country singer Merle Haggard. I first heard this driving to work one morning on the old WGAP out of Maryville. My favorite part is the last line of the verse just before the final chorus.

8. "The Last Time I Felt Like This" -- Johnny Mathis and Jane Oliver. A sappy love song at its finest, this tune plays over the soundtrack to a charming little film called "Same Time Next Year" with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. Oliver has one of the prettiest voices I've ever heard.

7. "The Last Time I Saw Her" -- Glen Campbell. Gordon Lightfoot penned this musical poem in the early 60s. Glen recorded it a decade later and it remains one of my all-time favorite songs.

6. "I Wonder Who'll Turn Out the Lights" -- Bobby Flores. Conway Twitty and Ronnie Milsap both had hits with this honky-tonk classic, but Tex-Mex fiddle wizard Flores outdoes them both.

5. "Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues" -- Danny O'Keefe. One of my favorite songs, this 1972 crossover hit was a No. 1 smash for O'Keefe, who also penned the Jackson Browne hit "The Road." I don't know why this song is so hard to come by today. It is indeed a classic.

4. "Loving Arms" -- Elvis Presley. My favorite of all of The King's 1970s material, one line of this song will make the hair stand up on the back of your head. The Dixie Chicks covered this lost gem on their debut album.

3. "Teardrops" -- RobinElla. Did you really think I'd leave this one out? Regularly gets my vote as the prettiest sad song I've ever heard.

2. "She's In Love with the Rodeo Man" -- Don Williams. Nobody can sing a waltz like the smoothest of all the country crooners. The late-90s live version from England gets the nod over the mid-70s studio version.

1. "Yellow Roses on Her Gown" -- Johnny Mathis. Hands down the prettiest song I've ever heard. Now if I could only figure out what happens to the woman at the end...

Top 10 books that have impacted my life

10. "Education of a Wandering Man" -- Louis L'Amour. After I read this book on senior trip in '96, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

9. "Nixon" (three volumes) -- Stephen Ambrose. And after reading this trilogy that same summer, I knew I wanted to major in and teach (I thought) American history.

8. "A Drinking Life" -- Pete Hamill. There isn't one wasted word in this book, which is simply the best memoir I have ever read.

7. "The Hardy Boys" (multiple volumes) -- Franklin W. Dixon. These children's mysteries started it all. I was hooked by the third page and never looked back.

6. "The Great Gatsby" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald. Those blinking green lights. Need I say more?

5. "The Last Picture Show" -- Larry McMurtry. Loved it so much I drove to the town on which the novel is based during a 2004 swing through Texas.

4. "To Kill A Mockingbird" -- Harper Lee. Beautiful, witty, honest -- Lee said more than she knew in this brilliant coming of age story.

3. "Lonesome Dove" -- No doubt my personal favorite of all the novels I've read. You'll not find a better portrayal of friendship anywhere in American letters.

2. "In Cold Blood" -- Truman Capote. Stunning, horrifying and a few other words too. A true masterpiece; I wish I'd thought of the idea to write a "nonfiction novel."

1. "The Sun Also Rises" -- Ernest Hemingway. Best American writer of the 20th century and one of the top 5 best in our history. This is his first (and best) novel.

Top 10 films I really admire

10. "Dr. Zhivago" (1965) -- David Lean's epic brings the Russian Revolution -- and the tangled webs we weave -- to life in vivid Technicolor. You'll hum the theme song for days.

9. "Key Largo" (1948) -- Bogie; Bacall; Florida; gangsters; big hurricane. Need I say more?

8. "Texasville" (1990) -- I watched this the night I returned from our 10 year high school class reunion. Big mistake.

7. "Lost in Translation" (2003) -- What if two people find themselves attracted to each other, but it can't possibly work? A unique little tale.

6. "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) -- The most honest portrayal of returning GIs and their struggle to adjust to the home front to date.

5. "To Kill A Mockingbird" (1962) -- The best translation of a novel to screen in film history. Gregory Peck's performance is one for the ages, but Mary Badham steals the picture as the feisty Scout.

4. "The Last Picture Show" (1971) -- After watching this film, I realized I made a big mistake by not going to film school.

3. "American Graffiti" (1973) -- Captures a moment in time better than any film I've ever seen. A true classic.

2. "The Godfather" (1972) -- No need to say why.

1. "True Grit" (1969) -- Far and away John Wayne's best film; it makes the list "just because." I watch it every year on or near my birthday.

The ball is in your court now, y'all. Tell me some of your favorite rare songs, good books and fine films...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think GFII beats GFI. I've watched it so many times that I can just about recite all the dialog.

But that's just me.

9:47 PM  
Blogger ginarenee said...

Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox and The Men We Became by Robert T. Littell are both amazing books if you have not read them yet.

10:53 AM  

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