The idea came out of a class I am currently teaching at Lander University.
My Media 312/Honors 390 course is titled “Advanced Radio Production – The Art of the Podcast.” For one of our assignments, I had the class produce its own version of the classic BBC audio series, “Desert Island Discs” which is very similar to a series iTunes did several years ago known as the “iTunes Celebrity Playlist.” Both of these podcasts can be found on the iTunes store or by a simple web search.
I especially like the Desert Island Disc archives found online. The BBC has been recording notable celebrities along with their song choices in London since January 1942. That’s 75 years of interviews with some very interesting guests including Margaret Thatcher, Alfred Hitchcock, Sir Edmund Hillary, Count Basie, both Ted and Tennessee Williams, Debbie Harry, Stephen Hawking and Paul McCartney, just to name a few. Each episode guest picks a handful of songs they would take with them to their lonely island along with one choice of a book and a single luxury item.
The iTunes playlist follows a similar structure allowing celebrities to pick their favorite songs and share them with reasons for why they made their choices. This was my inspiration for the class assignment.
The results of the recorded projects were inspiring. In fact, so much so that I opened up the idea to our campus faculty and staff – resulting in ideas, songs, scripts and recording sessions that have been taking place steadily during the last two weeks. The Five Song Playlist is an interesting gateway into new music and the reasons behind the choices, why they are important to respective individuals, has been very profound thus far. In the process, I have discovered some great new music -- at least new to me.
Senior music major, Matthew Bratton, of Clover, chose a song called “Together We Stand” by UK jazz group Down to the Bone for one of his choices. I had never heard of this band but the track is an infectious driving rhythm and I have added it to our radio station playlist. In his introduction to the song, Matt mentions how this track inspired him to want to continue his pursuit of music at the college level and was the inspiration for him to form his jazz group, Invictus.
Another student, Taylor Shelton, a freshmen math and engineering major from Columbia, chose a song for his playlist called “Put Me Thru” by California singer-songwriter Anderson Paak. Again, it was a song I was unfamiliar with, but I have grown to really appreciate since hearing it on his playlist. Shelton said the song is “one of those things you can just sit back and bob your head to.” Paak has a very Southern soul sound – like this track could have been recorded in Memphis or Muscle Shoals in the late 1960s.
I love discovering new music and that’s what this project has done.
And now it’s your turn.
I would really like to have submissions from Index-Journal readers for your Five Song Playlist. If you don’t mind, jot down a few brief notes about why the songs are important to you – what connection they have – a personal story or experience.
You can send them to email@example.com. I will compile them and then hopefully send you an invitation to come to our campus and record in one of our media center voice-over booths for airplay on our college radio station, xlr1.org.
I look forward to seeing your lists.
Paul Crutcher is the broadcast specialist and XLR Radio general manager at Lander University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at@PaulCrutcher.