Day 62: 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 CollegeFootballAmericaPR.com (the list was originally published on Webb’s personal site, kendallwebb.net). 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 62.

Our two artists of the day have overlapped through the years, and as recently as 2018, Willie Nelson (Kendall’s pick of the day) contributed to an Elton John (Chuck’s pick of the day) tribute album.

In fact, that two-disc collection — Restoration (Nashville edition) and Revamp (pop edition): Reimagining The Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin includes several other artists already featured in our countdown like Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash, and Emmylou Harris — not to mention a few more to come. That makes it a pretty nice pick for your bonus album of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Elton John

The Greatest Hits: 1970-2002 (2002)

Why I Love It

Few solo artists in the history of rock and roll can rival the prolific career of Elton John. I remember seeing photos of him playing a jam-packed Dodger Stadium while wearing a blinged-out baseball uniform and thinking that was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. But it wasn’t until the 1980s when MTV played John’s videos in heavy rotation that I became a huge fan. He is another example of established artists adapting to the music of the decade, which I love. In addition to churning out a slew of timeless songs, he has always been such an incredible showman. As I said earlier in the countdown, I tried to mostly stay away from greatest hits collections for my list, which didn’t really happen. But I especially love this one because it shows the scope of John’s hit-making days with a whopping 34 tracks. There is also a great bonus disc version that includes some duets and covers. Leave it to Sir Elton to go above and beyond.

Album Highlights

“Your Song,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and “I’m Still Standing”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

Our bonus pick today is a nice place to hear Elton John’s songs, but honestly, the best place is to go back to the original hits themselves; Chuck’s Album of the Day is about as good a collection as you’ll find covering the entire span of his career.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Willie Nelson

And Then I Wrote (1962)

Why I Love It

With 143 albums to his credit, I had a lot of choices here.

But I’ve always loved Willie’s early recordings. Sure, the album shares more in common with the Nashville Sound rather than Willie’s better-known outlaw-era recordings that sometimes featured just Willie with his guitar. That’s one reason I went with this album, however; it presents a side of Willie you may not be familiar with.

This was a young, hungry version of Willie — a guy using his pen to great acclaim to put bread on the table. Even if you haven’t heard these recordings, you’ll recognize the songs — big hits like “Hello Walls” (Faron Young), “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Jimmy Elledge, Billy Walker, Johnny Tillotson, Joe Hinton, and others) and “Crazy” (Patsy Cline). As the title of the album suggests, Willie wrote ’em all.

Album Highlights

“Touch Me,” “The Part Where I Cry” and “Three Days”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

As soon as I wrote that not many solo artists can rival the prolific career of Elton John, here’s one that does. Even Sir Elton is likely astonished by the 143 albums Willie Nelson has released over the course of his amazing career. Talk about longevity. There are dozens of great records to choose from when picking a favorite, but I love that Kendall went with his debut album. It’s a testament to the fact that Shotgun Willie has been making great music from the get-go and to the power of that remarkable voice. He’s a Texas treasure. And a treasure for anyone who loves great music.

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