It started as a simple question: What albums would you leave your unborn children, if you knew you were on borrowed time and may not be around to show them the way. At first I asked for albums for sons, but then it grew broader, not out of needing to pacify the PC-thug in me, but to make sure everyone, regardless of gender, had a sort of Rosetta Stone of musical history in their hands.
You could leave them pristine vinyl versions of these, a collection of cassettes, or maybe just a diamond-covered flash drive, if are so inclined. As for me, I will also leave my unborn child my Rdio account. That's not a paid endorsement, that's just me being expedient.
To get some obvious picks out of the way, the entire Beatles catalog will come standard with being my child, like seat-belts in cars. As will George Strait's Strait Out Of The Box, and ZZ Top's catalog.
My kid doesn't need me to pass on Michael Jackson's Thriller to them. It will be up to the rest of the family to fill in the blanks, like 2Pac, along with Blacks Flag and Sabbath, everything that Josh Homme touched, and every band that dad thought it would be a good idea to get tattooed on his body. Do they make denim diapers for baby denim demons?
I crowd-sourced on Facebook, and fielded instructions from my esteemed music-crazed friends too. The consensus was to draw from old standards, to the things that form your current listening pleasures, to show the kid who you were as a music fan, with less emphasis on the musical history lesson. For me though, I know that the albums I picked still come from my daily diet. Mostly.
There are just some albums that I have to invoke the "Do as I say, not as I do" rule. As parents we want our kids to have better. Plus, dear old dad's John Mayer and Lady Gaga afternoon chasers would only confuse the child.
"It wouldn't be anything made before I was born. He could find that stuff on his own, I would want him to have stuff that represented where I came from as a young rocker." JOSH WEBSTER
"Sticky Fingers really is where the Stones became the Stones. Exile is a great album but is easily passed up on first listen. Sticky Fingers makes you rock the fuck out once the needle hits. Oh boy that fucking record rules. You can fuck to it. Do drugs to it. Fight to it. Drink to it. Have your first dance at your wedding to it. Watch someone die to it. Crash your car and walk away looking cool as fuck to it!" BILL FOOL
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"My litle one just turned one on Wednesday. So this list is really making me think about what I really want to leave my son. Makes me really want to search our vinyl for my list and experience them again on a good turntable." SHAWN COLLINS
The best thing about this list will be the links that we hope that the youth will make along the way, the things hidden in between. If along their path, the kid says "I like the Beatles, and I like Bowie, but I like taking downers while listening to the Beatles, but with the weird sex-vibe of Bowie," and happens to find your Velvet Underground records, you will have made your mark. See, it's the places in between.
Some of us were trying to spoon-feed these kids with our lists. Let's make them connect the dots. If they aren't cool enough to discover some of this stuff, then crawl from your grave and strangle them. Or we could go at it, a la Patton Oswalt and only leave them the entire NOW collection and Phil Collins' No Jacket Required, forcing them to look for cool stuff themselves, and defeat the albatross you injected into their ears.