I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
This might actually be the single-most important song of my life. It was the first song I ever played on the drums. I just played to it by ear, probably not note for note, and had a lot of fun figuring it out. I sat behind my drums with it on repeat and when a part came up that I messed up the time before, I tried to fix it. I was able to separate the things I was playing that matched the song and the things I was playing that the drummer on the recording wasn’t. I think this song was my first experience intentionally breaking a boundary on the drums and being innovative.
Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
I knew Led Zeppelin songs as a kid but didn’t know they were Led Zeppelin songs. As I got more into music, I had that feeling “Wait, this is Led Zeppelin?” a few too many times not to investigate further. So I bought the Live “BBC Sessions” double disc set to see what the rage was all about. The first track on disc 1 is “Immigrant Song”. I then went on to become psychotically obsessed with Led Zeppelin. Being that this was the first song I listened to consciously knowing it was Led Zeppelin, I gotta give credit where it’s due.
Goodnight Saigon – Billy Joel
Well if I’ve ever let my guard down, this would be that time… This is one of few songs that successfully makes me cry every time I hear it… And I lift weights 🙂 War is just about the worst thing that can exist but I’ve never experienced the camaraderie of it, having never actually fought in one. Billy Joel paints a picture of that experience that makes me feel like I’m surrounded by my closest friends fighting with everything we have in the strongest bond of unity. It just pulls all the right strings, emotionally, lyrically, and patriotically.
Money – Pink Floyd
My parents got me a Dark Side of The Moon CD for me on my 13th birthday, which introduced me to Pink Floyd. Money was the track I new best but like most people, I was mesmerized exploring the rest of the album. I started noticing the Floydisms in other bands I was listening to and really grew to appreciate their role in history. And one day, I’d like to by me a football team too 🙂
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
This song couldn’t be more appropriately titled. It actually has the ability to reduce stress. When I listen to this song I feel like I’m floating on a cloud through a sunset with rainbows and unicorns all around me… Or something like that. It’s just as advertised, and perfect in every way.
Breathless – Spyro Gyra
This might be a little less obvious to most people but my stank face is in full effect throughout this entire song. I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! Time passes by and I’ll realize I haven’t listened to it in a while, throw it on, and it’s like the first time I heard it (except now I’ve memorized the drum part). My Dad introduced me to this song somewhere in the early 90s, and the album in which it’s featured: “Three Wishes”. It was probably the first “Jazzy” song I really paid attention to, which most likely stirred my curiosity to know more about Jazz. Now it’s a huge part of my playing. So I feel pretty strongly that this song changed me as a drummer. Thank you, Dad!
One More Red Nightmare – King Crimson
I’m not sure what it is about this one. It just hits my ears well. The first time I heard it, Prog Rock was a newer sound to me. I liked the weirdness of it and that it didn’t just follow a formula. One More Red Nightmare kind of makes you panic lyrically, being that it’s about an air travel scare, but it does it in a way that sucks you into the song. A simple lead guitar line, a great groove, mixed in with a very appealing rhythms. It pisses me off the Spotify doesn’t stream the original version. Grrr!
My Friend, My Friend – Phish
It would seem pretty ironic how the history played out with this one. My sister had this song on a mix tape sometime in the mid 90s. I heard it and was really drawn into the instruments. It didn’t sound like anything I had heard but there was also something sort of familiar to it. So I bought the CD it was on and actually ended up HATING IT! I would listen to My Friend My Friend every now and then but for the most part, just sort of put the album aside for a few year. I came back to it a few years later when I started to meet more people that liked Phish. From there, the cultural grip that band has on millions sucked me in the same exact way. Some of the best experiences I’ve had in my life were because of this band, and I guess because of this song.
25 or 6 to 4 – Chicago
I played this one in my middle school jazz band. It was one of the first performances I ever got a positive reaction to. After playing this song at a school concert, people began to know me as a drummer. Since that moment, it’s only become a more permanent part of my identity.
What Would You Say – Dave Matthews Band
Carter Beauford is probably my favorite drummer ever. I don’t like the word “favorite” but with my life on the line, Carter wins. When this song got me into the Dave Matthews Band, I started paying very close attention to Carter’s style. He was doing things other drummer didn’t do and made the band sound completely different from anything else at that time. So I started playing along to the recordings, learning the parts by ear. It was only months later that I actually began listening to the other instruments. The drums were so great, nothing else really mattered to me. It was later in life I learned the importance of listening to music more holistically, but it was pretty cool this guy made the other instruments invisible to me.