Yoko Ono

Yesterday was Yoko Ono’s birthday, and today is mine. So it seems fitting somehow to end round 2 with this list. Not that I’m a fan of hers or anything, but it does give me a chance to dedicate this to Pete and close with these immortal words:

“People of Earth. How are you?”

Yoko Ono AllMusic page


Is it OK to admit that the only Yes song I actually like is the vaguely danceable (and much less than 10 minutes long) “Owner of a Lonely Heart”? Probably not. But come on now … “Siberian Khatru”?

Yes AllMusic page

Tim Hardin

60s folk singer Pete Seeger had a song called “If I Had a Hammer.” 60s folk singer Tim Hardin had a song called “If I Were a Carpenter.” Somebody was cheating.

Tim Hardin AllMusic page

Sweet Honey in the Rock

So the thing that most interested me about this guy I met online is that, among the usual suspects (Sarah Vaughan, Chaka Khan), he listed Sweet Honey in the Rock as one of his musical favorites. And the thing that most interested him about me was that I’ve seen SWITR live—twice. Because I live in Oakland, and he is based in Berlin, we of course had our first (and so far, only) date … in Los Angeles, where we randomly ran into each other. Such is the power of Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Sweet Honey in the Rock AllMusic page

Steve Reich

Apparently for round 2 I decided I needed to torture myself. First John Cage, then Philip Glass, and now this. Someday my ears might forgive me.

Steve Reich AllMusic page


Squeeze wrote songs that are clever, catchy, and fun. So of course they never caught on in America. God forbid we should show the world we have taste or anything.

Squeeze AllMusic page

Solomon Burke

I often wonder when R&B legends like Solomon Burke hear decidedly non-funky white people like Phil Collins or Dan Ackroyd (?) covering their songs, do they think, “How cute. That decidedly non-funky white person is trying to sing my song,” or do they think, “If it weren’t for the royalty checks, I’d rip that [politically incorrect term for a white person]’s vocal cords out”? Just curious.

Solomon Burke AllMusic page

Sex Pistols/Public Image Ltd.

I’ve already given the Sex Pistols their due, so I’ll use this space instead to give a shout out to my all-time favorite album review. It’s for Public Image Ltd.’s album This Is What You Want … This Is What You Get, and it reads, in its entirety: “If this is what you want, this is what you deserve.”

Sex Pistols AllMusic page

Public Image Ltd. AllMusic page

Ry Cooder

Award-winning director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) went to the same high school as my kids, and he and Max actually graduated together. So I am only two degrees of separation from actor Michael B. Jordan, which means we are clearly destined to meet one day. Score!

Ry Cooder is a different person entirely.

Ry Cooder AllMusic page

Ruth Brown

You know what would have been fun? Growing up when mambo was a thing. Can we bring that back? And while we’re at it, can we bring back singers who sound like Ruth Brown? Thanks.

Ruth Brown AllMusic page