Strong opinions, weakly held

Found on emusic.com: 1000 Years of Popular Music

I’ve decided to start a little series of post about interesting music I’ve found at emusic.com. Not because I want to promote that site, but rather because it’s where I’m finding most of the new (to me) music that I’m listening to these days.

Today’s interesting album is 1000 Years of Popular Music, a live album by Richard Thompson. I’ve been familiar with Richard Thompson for quite some time, but I had never heard of this release. Thompson was asked to come up with a list of the greatest songs of the millenium, and being serious about his task, actually came up with a list that comprised songs from the entire millenium. He wound up doing a series of concerts where he performed songs from his list, and that in turn resulted in this live album.

The material is wide ranging and Thompson’s performances are top notch. It’s a nice mix reinterpretations of songs you’ll probably be quite familiar with, and others that you’ll be hearing for the first time. One of my favorite things about the disc is that when I knew the origins of a song, the style of the original performer was discernible. For example, there’s a Jerry Lee Lewis song on the disc. When Thompson performs it, you can tell it’s a Jerry Lee Lewis song, even though he doesn’t have a piano accompanying him. (The one exception is “Oops! … I Did It Again”, which sounds like an REM tune here.) Great stuff.

My two favorite tracks on the disc are “1985” and “A-11”. Thompson’s version of the Squeeze classic “Tempted” is also outstanding.


  1. Have you checked out Herbert’s Scale? Not even in the same zip code as Thompson (whose music I love,) but compelling.

  2. I hope that you’re not knocking Thompson’s version of “Ooops…I did it again”! I picked this album up a couple of years ago, and I love the breadth that hen put into his selections. Not that I’m going to pick up a copy of of 12th century ballads, but it is nice to stick in the playlist every once in a while.

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