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Beagle Man’s 100 Favorite Songs Of All Time (Part One)

The group

Woodstock, Shmoodstock: This crowd could say they were there for The Big Reveal

The excitement had been building since Thursday night, when the first wave of Memorial Day weekend revelers began showing up at our beach place in Montauk.  Arriving earliest were Robby and a bunch of friends, already socked in and watching Heat vs. Pacers, Game 6, when Carol and I got there.  As the trickle continued throughout Friday — Matt and girlfriend, Greg and girlfriend, buddies galore — word spread like wildfire:  Beagle Man’s Top 100 songs, a list two years in the making, was finally going to be revealed.  The countdown would begin lunchtime Saturday.

Still tweaking

Still tweaking . . .

Full disclosure:  I was actually supposed to unveil my Top 100 last Memorial Day, but I obsessively dilly-dallied far too long, and missed my mark.  Around Christmas, Matt asked me how The List was coming.  I recognized this for the veiled threat it was:  If I didn’t have The Top 100 ready for Memorial Day 2012, I would never, ever hear the end of it.  And even with that gun to my head, unbelievably, I still was up until 3 AM Friday night/Saturday morning, tinkering and tweaking:  “What About Love” (Heart), or “Every Breath You Take”

Judge Ricky

Judge Ricky, hard at work in Nashville

(Police)?  “Old Time Rock and Roll” (Bob Seger), or “Piece Of My Heart” (Janis Joplin)?

Now before I go any further with this tale, I can already hear the nit-pickers grumbling:  What could any of this possibly have to do with dogs in general — or Ricky the Beagle in particular?  That’s easy.  I’m sure you remember LA/XC, my September cross-country road trip — CT to Cali?
Chet Robby Luke

Chet, Robby, Luke: Where's Wiz?

My major pastime during those miles was listening to tunes.  That road music actually constituted the lion’s share of the “fieldwork” that would ultimately result in The List.  And which little dog was riding shotgun with me for every minute of that trip? Which little dog listened to every song I played for 22 days? (Amazingly, he was even able to do this while snoring.)  And whose opinion did I trust most with the really tough decisions — like “Maggie May” (Rod Stewart) vs. “Small Town” (John Mellencamp)?  Uh-huh.  Yup.  That dog.  Thank you very much.

So Saturday morning the Herman beach house Greg & Kelly

crowd awoke to find a three-page set of notes detailing the selection process.  This “pre-read,” which I later learned from Greg is the corporate term for such a handout, even included FAQs (Whatever possessed you to take on this project?  Could you describe exactly how you went about compiling The List?).  I’ll spare you the details, but at the heart of the document is this disclaimer:  I’m not declaring that the songs on The List are the 100 greatest rock and roll songs of all time.  I’m declaring them my 100 favorite rock and roll songs of all time.  Big difference.  And this was my litmus test:  How glad am I when this song comes on the radio?

At lunchtime, the entire gang was in close proximity — putting finishing touches on sandwiches around the kitchen counter, or diving in at the dining room table or out on the deck.  The time was right.  It was now or never.  I settled my iPod on the dock.  I preemptively turned up the volume.  I pressed “All On,” so the music would be blasting from every room in the house.
And then I hit “Play.”
TO BE CONTINUED:  Part Two of “Beagle Man’s 100 Favorite Songs” will be posted later this week
Hank Herman