Day 66: 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 66.

There isn’t much overlap between our two picks today — alt-country pioneer Gram Parsons and new wave/synth-pop legends Duran Duran. But the different ways in which they were critically received makes for an interesting comparison.

Parsons, for example, has always been the typical critical “darling” — revered by the music press while being virtually ignored by the record-buying public. Duran Duran, on the other hand, were mega-selling arena rock giants that were often dismissed by critics as creative lightweights — a studio creation whose success was built on their image and their appeal to teenaged girls rather than their music.

Fortunately for Duran Duran, their critical accolades these days are far more positive in retrospect, and artists like Justin Timberlake, Pink and Lady Gaga have name-checked them as influences.

But who influenced Duran Duran?

Certainly, they were influenced by the glam rock of acts like David Bowie, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a band called New York Dolls who were glam rock before glam rock even had a name. Their 1973 self-titled debut is your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Duran Duran

Greatest (1998)

Why I Love It

About the time I was starting seventh grade at Burnet Junior High School in Austin, a band from England caught the attention of pretty much every girl at my school. Duran Duran burst onto the rock scene with not only the looks but the quality music to go along with them. They were a match made in MTV heaven. The first song I ever heard by the band was “Hungry Like the Wolf.” I loved it immediately. And from then until I graduated from high school, I loved pretty much every single they released and became a big fan. I don’t know if there is another band in rock and roll history that matches Duran Duran in the combination of style and substance. All 19 tracks on this compilation are fantastic and serve as a strong representation of why they are so great. Listening to this album never fails to take me back to growing up in the 1980s and brings a smile to my face. It was a tremendous decade for music, to which I credit my eclectic taste in music.

Album Highlights

“The Reflex,” “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

This is one of those bands where I instantly recognize the name, but would struggle to list five hits for you. It just never was in my wheelhouse, yet, listening to this collection here, it’s also one of those bands where I recognize almost every one of those hits. It’s a nostalgic trip back through the pop music of the ’80s (and well into the ’90s, too) that’s worth your time.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Gram Parsons

Grievous Angel (1974)

Why I Love It

Yeah, okay, you get it, I’m a Gram Parsons fan.

I admit it. Gram Parsons’ influence has been all over my list from The Byrds’ “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” to the International Submarine Band’s “Safe At Home” to The Flying Burrito Brothers’ “The Gilded Palace of Sin” and now this — one of Gram’s two solo albums released before his tragic death at the age of 26.

His legacy and his influence far exceed the success he enjoyed as an artist in his lifetime as he heralded as one of the founders of both “country-rock” and “alternative country” or Americana. It’s certainly high praise, but this album stands as a landmark album in both of those genres. And you’ll find evidence of Parsons’ ongoing influence in other albums on my list like The Desert Rose Band, Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams, Blue Rodeo and others.

Album Highlights

“Return Of The Grievous Angel,” “I Can’t Dance” and “Love Hurts”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

We’ve talked a lot about Gram Parsons on this countdown for good reason. The guy was light years ahead of his time and basically created his own musical brand and style. This is a record that was underappreciated in its day. Thankfully, music historians and fans have gone back and realized the album’s true greatness. Lyrically, this record amazes me. It’s an extraordinarily likeable album that deserves the attention of any fan of great music.

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