Day 38: The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music

The staff of the College Football America Yearbook is on the road every weekend of the college football season, shooting games and gathering information for the following year’s book. That means a lot of driving and listening to a lot of music.

Earlier this year our College Football America Yearbook publisher Kendall Webb and our director of editorial content Chuck Cox put together ‘The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music.’ Each of them sat down and compiled a list of 100 great albums. Their goal was not to select the ‘100 greatest albums of all time.’ It was simply to select 100 great albums to write about as they passed the time during quarantine and shelter-at-home orders.

This 2020 college football season will be unprecedented in so many ways. It’s very likely none of us will be on the road for games because, like most people, we’re trying to stay healthy. And we hope you are too.

So, for the next 100 days, we’re going to publish their countdown here at (the list was originally published on Webb’s personal site, Consider it the ultimate playlist for the ultimate college road trip — music for every taste, from every genre and from every decade of the modern era of music. When the staff of the College Football America Yearbook is back on the road, you can bet these will be some of the tunes we’re listening to.

And, if you missed the previous installments of our series, just click here to head to the Coronavirus Countdown — 100 Days of Great Music home page.

Here’s Day 38

This one’s for the girls today as we honor the music of Emmylou Harris (Kendall’s pick) and Madonna (Chuck’s pick).

But before we get there, we also have a bonus pick from a female artist who straddled the world of pop and country having hits on both charts simultaneously. Linda Ronstadt was a powerhouse vocalist who first recorded professionally with The Stone Poneys in 1967. Her solo debut didn’t come until 1969 with “Hand Sewn … Home Grown,” but she really began to hit her stride with her eponymous third album released in 1971. She made a string of great albums throughout the early to mid-’70s, and in 1977, she released “Simple Dreams” featuring a cover of “It’s So Easy” along with the hits “Blue Bayou” and “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me.” By then, Ronstadt was selling out stadiums, and she has been described by many critics and publications as the most successful female rock artist of the decade. “Simple Dreams” is your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb



The Immaculate Collection (1990)

Why I Love It

It was pretty amazing to see Madonna’s rise to fame in the 1980s. She had the quality songs, the look and the power of personality. With such a prolific career, I wanted to include a greatest hits package to show the sheer quantity of great songs she put out. She is also a strong songwriter, having penned or help pen 12 of the 17 tracks. Plus, there has never been a greater or more apropos title for a greatest hits collection. Madonna was, is and always will be a superstar.

Album Highlights

“Like a Virgin,” “Crazy For You” and “Material Girl”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

While she’s one of pop music’s all-time icons, it’s easy to forget now just how big Madonna was in the ’80s. MTV was just getting started in the early part of the decade, and Madonna became one of the first big superstars of the video era. She changed the game musically and visually, and artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift owe a huge debt to the Material Girl. This was one of the first CD’s I ever bought.


Emmylou Harris

Pieces Of The Sky (1975)

Why I Love It

Everything about this album — from the title to the cover to the music contained within — is lovely.

To be sure, Emmylou has never made a bad album to this day, but her streak in the ’70s starting with her major-label solo debut here was hard to beat. She had recorded a fair amount of material through the years dating back to her first solo album “Gliding Bird” on the small Jubilee label in 1970. A stint with Gram Parsons followed where she acquired more studio experience so she was up to the challenge by the time she got her shot with this record in 1975. What resulted was one of the all-time classic country albums of any era, and some of the best work of her career is contained herein. Her self-penned tribute to Parsons — the majestic “Boulder To Birmingham” — still has the power to stop you in your tracks.

Album Highlights

“Too Far Gone,” “If I Could Only Win Your Love” and “Boulder To Birmingham”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

This is a powerhouse album from one of the greatest country artists of all time. Emmylou Harris’ voice is sheer magic on this magnificent record, which I never get tired of hearing. I love that she included some cover songs and that one of them was by The Beatles. She still sounds great, but there’s something warm and inviting about hearing her in her prime.

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