Day 90: 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 90.

Each of us set out to pick 100 of our favorite albums. The intention was simply to focus on personal favorites rather than trying to pick a list of the 100 greatest albums of all-time.

When we got done with those lists, we compared our choices, and 12 of our picks were the same. So we decided to rank those 12 picks in order and present them in descending order from No. 12 to No. 1. Today we present No. 11.

– Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

ALBUM OF THE DAY

No. 11

ABBA

Gold: Greatest Hits (1992)

“Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Mamma Mia,” “Lay All Your Love On Me” and “Waterloo”

Chuck’s Take

With the possible exception of Led Zeppelin, no retro act on the planet would rake in more cash on a reunion tour than ABBA. Although that doesn’t appear likely to ever happen, we can at least have a dream right? Pretty much ever since I can remember, I have known and loved the Swedish quartet’s catchy pop songs that made them one of the biggest-selling acts of all time. How big? Since this collection of greatest hits was released almost 30 years ago, it has been re-released five times in the form of anniversary and remastered editions, and it has sold more than 30 million copies. Five times! It’s easy to see why with 19 massive cuts that go from one huge hit to the next. ABBA is one of those bands that pretty much everybody seems to know and love — especially with the band’s music remaining relevant in movies and Broadway shows. There is not a lyric on this album I don’t know by heart, and I have listened to it as much as pretty much any record in my life. It will never get old — just better and better.

Kendall’s Take

While roughly a fifth of Chuck’s picks were greatest hits collections or anthologies, all but five of mine were regular studio albums. That gave us a good mix on most days where you got a collection of hits you would recognize paired with a studio recording that you may or may not be familiar with.

But only one of our 12 consensus picks is a greatest hits collection, and if there was a band defined by their radio singles rather than their albums, it would be ABBA. All of the songs here are instantly familiar, and this particular hits collection has been important in terms of keeping ABBA’s musical legacy alive. ABBA was often dismissed in its heyday by critics who saw their music as lightweight and inconsequential, but one spin of ABBA Gold will leave you shaking your head. These were massive worldwide hits that have been given a second life thanks to a couple of feature films in recent years, but also thanks in no small part to this hits collection. With global sales of more than 30 million, it is the 23rd best-selling album of all-time. The enduring popularity of the band’s catalog – or at least these hits – has also sparked a bit of critical re-evaluation of their work. You can thank ABBA Gold for that, too.

BONUS ALBUM OF THE DAY

Bee Gees

Spirits Having Flown (1979)

Why I Love It

If you were listening to the kind of radio stations that played ABBA in the ’70s, then you almost certainly were getting a heavy dose of the Bee Gees, too.

But by the time the trio of Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb released this album in 1979, you could hear the Bee Gees on just about any radio station in the United States. The album included the worldwide smash “Too Much Heaven,” but the flip side of the single was a song called “Rest Your Love On Me.” That song later became a No. 1 country hit for Conway Twitty, but only after the Bee Gees cracked the country Top 40 with their own version which went to No. 39. “Rest Your Love On Me” was included on the Bee Gees Greatest Hits package also released in 1979, but this studio album is a good place to get to know the Bee Gees away from their hits. It represents the trio at the height of their powers.

Album Highlights

“Tragedy,” “Too Much Heaven” and “Love You Inside Out”

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