iTunes Top 200 Wrap-Up

itunes_imageLast week, we wrapped up our latest look at the top 200 songs I’ve listened to, according to iTunes, since late 2007.  Now it’s time to take a final look at those 200 songs and the 122 (or so) artists that made them.  The average number of listens was just under 44, with the median number being 34.  There were 52 new entries, and of the returning entries, there was an average increase of just a tad over 15 listens per song.

Most Represented Band

Foo Fighters – 15
The Cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer – 10
The Beatles – 8
The Lonely Island – 6
Garbage – 6
Tegan and Sara – 6

Largest Increase

78 – AC/DC – Thunderstruck
71 – Harry Caray – Take Me Out To The Ballgame
71 – Steam – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye
70 – Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers – Let’s Go-Go-Go White Sox
32 – Van Halen – Jump

Smallest Increase

2 – Nancy Faust – Take Me Out To The Ballgame
4 – The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Coda
4 – Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
5 – The Lonely Island – Lazy Sunday (ft. Chris Parnell)
5 – 2008 White Sox Central Division Champs Montage

Most Recently Played

12/30/2019 2:42 PM – Aerosmith – Janie’s Got A Gun
12/30/2019 2:34 PM – The Beatles – Eight Days A Week
12/30/2019 2:31 PM – Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out
12/29/2019 11:59 AM – The Beatles – Helter Skelter
12/20/2019 2:57 PM – Hole – Doll Parts

Least Recently Played

10/16/2018 5:05 PM – The Lonely Island – Lazy Sunday (ft. Chris Parnell)
10/22/2018 6:02 PM – 10,000 Maniacs – Because The Night
12/17/2018 6:50 AM – Mark Snow – X-Files Theme
12/19/2018 9:08 PM – Foo Fighters – Everlong
1/17/2019 6:53 AM – Letters To Cleo – Here & Now

iTunes Top 200: #5

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we enter the top 5, where we will go more in depth into each song.  The fifth most listened to song in my library, with 168 plays since my stats began in late 2007, is a traditional favorite and a live performance from the late 1970s.

#5: Harry Caray – Take Me Out To The Ballgame
iTunes stats: 168 plays, most recently on 11/20/2019
Previous ranking: #10

Harry Caray joined the White Sox broadcast booth in 1971, becoming popular with the South Side faithful and enjoying a reputation for joviality and public carousing.  Returning owner Bill Veeck, knowing that Caray would sing along to Take Me Out To The Ballgame in the broadcast booth during the Seventh Inning Stretch, wanted Caray to lead the crowd in stadium-wide event.  Early in the 1976 season, Veeck secretly installed a public address microphone into the broadcast booth and turned it on once organist Nancy Faust started playing the song.  Caray initially did not want to do it, but, as Veeck explained, “Anybody in the ballpark hearing you sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game knows that he can sing as well as you can. Probably better than you can. So he or she sings along. Hell, if you had a good singing voice, you’d intimidate them, and nobody would join in.”  Caray finally agreed to sing it live, accompanied by Faust on the organ, and went on to become famous for singing the tune.

This version features Caray and Faust and comes from a YouTube video compilation of Caray’s performances from the late 1970s.  While Caray left the White Sox following the 1981 season and passed away in 1998, I still include the song on my White Sox victory playlists, attributing to its high play total.

iTunes Top 200: #144

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

We continue on today with the next batch of songs tied for 144th place with 31 listens since my stats began in late 2007.

#144: Hole – Celebrity Skin
iTunes stats: 31 plays, most recently on 12/20/2019
Previous ranking: #79

A big drop for Hole’s most commercially successful single, being the only one to reach #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

#144: Harry Caray – Take Me Out To The Ballgame
iTunes stats: 31 plays, most recently on 10/2/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An impressive debut for this version of the baseball classic, which features on my Cubs victory playlist.

#144: Green Day – Basket Case
iTunes stats: 31 plays, most recently on 8/30/2019
Previous ranking: #79

The third single from the band’s major label debut, it spent 5 weeks atop the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

#144: Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy
iTunes stats: 31 plays, most recently on 12/11/2019
Previous ranking: #56

A big drop for the biggest hit from the band best known for a fire, which also appears on Volume 4 of my mix tapes.

#144: George Carlin – Telephone Mimes
iTunes stats: 31 plays, most recently on 11/25/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

Yet another entry from Carlin’s 17th album and twelfth HBO stand-up special.

#144: Foo Fighters – All My Life
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Book 1 (of 52) – Hawk

Hawk: I Did It My Way – Ken Harrelson with Jeff Snook

As his broadcast career was winding down, Ken Harrelson decided to move his stories to a different medium, looking back at his life and career in Hawk: I Did It My Way.  He chronicles his life, from being born in South Carolina and raised in Savannah, Georgia, to the minor leagues, the big leagues, the PGA tour, and, eventually, the broadcast booth.  Harrelson has crossed paths with everybody who was anybody, from his former A’s boss Charlie O. Finley to Arnold Palmer to Frank Sinatra to, as you may not have known, Carl Yastrzemski.

While Harrelson’s exploits during his playing days and his attempt to make it as a professional golfer offer interesting stories, its his time as a broadcaster that was most appealing to this White Sox fan.  Originally hired in 1982, along with Don Drysdale, to replace fan favorite Harry Caray, Harrelson spent 32 years broadcasting for the White Sox, with a break after his ill-fated tenure as the team’s general manager in 1986.

If anything, I would have liked to hear more about that season.  Harrelson did go over some of the moves that he made, including firing Tony LaRussa and trading Rule 5 draft pick (and future star) Bobby Bonilla back to the Pirates, but there were other controversies that went untouched, like moving Carlton Fisk to left field.  In fact, given how often the two must have crossed paths between Boston and Chicago, there is only one mention of Fisk at all, a throwaway tale from spring training in the late 60s where Hawk and Yaz quipped that he’d never make the big leagues.

This is a must read for any White Sox fan, regardless of your thoughts on Harrelson.  He was the voice of the team for a generation and his stories offer a unique insight in to one of the most successful eras in White Sox history.

You Can Put Him In The Hall, Yes!

Former White Sox broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, who retired following the 2018 season, was awarded the 2020 Ford C. Frick Award yesterday, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  Harrelson spent 33 of his 42 seasons as a broadcaster for the White Sox, starting in 1982, with a brief interruption caused by his inadvised turn as the teams General Manager in 1986.  He returned to the broadcast booth in 1989, where he stayed until retiring last fall.

Harrelson’s broadcasting career began in 1975, following the end of his playing career and a short foray into professional golf.  He, along with Don Drysdale, joined the White Sox booth in 1982, replacing Harry Caray, who had clashed with the team’s new ownership group.  He returned to the south side in 1989, alongside former Sox player Tom Paciorek. In 2000, he was joined in the booth by another former White Sox outfielder, Darrin Jackson.  2009 saw his final broadcast partner, Steve Stone, join the team.  A five-time Emmy Award winner, Harrelson’s trademark calls of “You can put it on the board…Yes!” and “Mercy!” became the nightly soundtrack for multiple generations of White Sox fans, including a young Jason Benetti, who would grow up to replace him with the White Sox.

Harrelson, 78, is the fifth announcer with ties to Chicago to earn the honor, following Milo Hamilton, Harry Caray, Jack Brickhouse, and Bob Elson.  Two other finalists for next year’s award also have strong ties to the city: current Cub radio announcer Pat Hughes and former Cub announcer Dewayne Staats.

iTunes Top 200 Artists Wrap-Up

Last week, we wrapped up our latest look at the top 200 artists I’ve listened to, according to iTunes, since 2008. Now it’s time to take a final look at those 200 (or 203) artists and the songs that put them on the list. The average number of listens per group was just over 94, with the median number being 45.

Largest Increase

Garbage – 505
Patton Oswalt – 416
George Carlin – 403
The Beatles – 377
Garfunkel and Oates – 367

Smallest Increase

Amy Adams – 0
Jason Segel – 2
The Crystal Method – 4
The Breeders – 6
Ozzy Osbourne – 9
Letters To Cleo – 9

Most Songs

Garbage – 146
George Carlin – 116
The Beatles – 99
Patton Oswalt – 96
Tegan and Sara – 61

Average Listens Per Song

Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers – 173
Steam – 164
Klaus Badelt – 161
The Outfield – 89
Harry Caray – 64.5

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #31-40

3 years ago, we first counted down the then Top 100 artists in my iTunes library.  Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact.  So, I figured it was time to take another look, expanding out the field to the top 200 artists, based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2017.

Today we look at the next batch of artists, numbers 31-40, which includes a nice mix of musical genres.

#40: Tori Amos
iTunes stats: 128 plays
Previous ranking: #40

56 new listens for the same 11 songs over the past 3 years enable the singer/songwriter, who I was supposed to see live back in 1998 but missed due to a friend’s wedding, retain her position at #40.

#39: Harry Caray
iTunes stats: 129 plays
Previous ranking: #44

The legendary broadcaster moves up 5 spots in the rankings due to his 2 versions of Take Me Out To The Ballgame, one for the White Sox and one for the Cubs.

#38: Purdue All-American Marching Band
iTunes stats: 135 plays
Previous ranking: #34

The marching band for my alma mater drops 4 spots in the rankings due to only 49 new listens.

#37: No Doubt
iTunes stats: 136 plays
Previous ranking: #42

Thanks to 3 new songs and 65 new listens, the ska band I saw back in college before they hit it big jumps 5 spots in the rankings.

#35: Queen
iTunes stats: 148 plays
Previous ranking: #22

A big 13 spot drop for the band from England due mostly to their dropping off the White Sox victory playlist now more than 10 years removed from their 2005 World Series title.

#35: Metallica
iTunes stats: 148 plays
Previous ranking: #38

The one-time masters of metal manage to go up 3 spots in the rankings thanks to 69 new listens, despite Paul Konerko dropping them as his at bat music shortly before retiring.

#33: The Monkees
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iTunes Top 200: #1 – 10

itunes_image3 years ago, we first counted down the then Top 100 songs in my iTunes library.  Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact.  So, I figured it was time to take another look, expanding out the field to the top 200 songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2016.

We wrap things up today with the top 10, which includes only 1 new song since we first looked at the top 100 3 years ago.  The remaining 9, all of which are, or were, part of my White Sox victory playlists, have simply moved around in order, including a surprising tie for the top spot.

#10: Harry Caray – Take Me Out To The Ballgame
iTunes stats: 17 plays, most recently on 9/30/2015
Previous ranking: #11

Moving up one spot into the top 10 is this mid-1970s recording of the Hall of Fame broadcaster, along with organist Nancy Faust, leading the Comiskey Park crowd during the 7th inning stretch.

#9: 2008 White Sox Central Division Champs Montage
iTunes stats: 106 plays, most recently on 5/12/2015
Previous ranking: #9

Radio highlights, courtesy of The Score, of the 2008 White Sox season, culminating in the team’s Division Series loss to the Rays.

#8: Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
iTunes stats: 115 plays, most recently on 7/19/2015
Previous ranking: #8

The rallying cry for the 2005 White Sox after A. J. Pierzynski and teammates heard it being sung in a bar in Baltimore, it finally dropped off my playlist for the 2015 season.

Sox Win#7: Queen – We Are The Champions
iTunes stats: 120 plays, most recently on 7/19/2015
Previous ranking: #7

Reaching #4 on the Billboard charts in the late 70s, the song made it on to my White Sox playlist following their 2005 World Series championship.

#6: sox05_montage
iTunes stats: 126 plays, most recently on 10/24/2015
Previous ranking: #6

Radio highlights, courtesy of ESPN 1000, of the 2005 White Sox season, culminating in the team’s first World Series title since 1917.

#5: Gordon Beckham Intro
iTunes stats: 139 plays, most recently on 5/18/2015
Previous ranking: #2

The Outfield’s hit Your Love featuring Gene Honda introducing the former White Sox third baseman.

#4: Steam – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye
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#BringBackHarry

Harry CarayNow that the Cubs have installed their brand new jumbotron, there’s been a renewed rumbling from certain corners of their fanbase to dump the tired “tradition” of guest conductors for the 7th inning stretch and to replace it with a video of former broadcaster Harry Caray.  Of course, the Cubs brass quickly shot down the suggestion, saying that fan surveys tell them that the guest conductors were “the highest-rated activity during the game” over the past 3 seasons.  Which means one of 2 things: Cub management is lying or Cub fans who fill out surveys are stupid.

Honestly, my money if on option #1.  If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year is that Crane Kenney and the rest of the business side of the Cubs brass are either stupid or liars, and they didn’t get to the positions they are in by being stupid.  After 18 seasons of the guest conductor, nobody really cares anymore.  Absolutely nobody looks forward to Jim Belushi or the state lacrosse champs to stick their head out the window and lead the crowd in singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame.  The time has come.  Bring back Harry.

100 Years Of Innovation

1976 Chicago White Sox100 years ago today, Bill Veeck, the former club treasurer for the Cubs and two-time owner of the White Sox, was born here in Chicago.  Veeck followed his father, the then president of the Cubs, into baseball.  As a 13 year old, Veeck came up with the idea of planting ivy to cover the outfield walls at Wrigley Field.  In 1937, as general manager, he oversaw the construction of the iconic hand operated scoreboard that is still in use today.

Veeck left the Cubs in 1941, striking out on his own and buying the minor league Milwaukee Brewers.  While he owned the team, he also served in the Marines during World War II, where he injured his leg, which required amputation.  After the war, Veeck sold his interests in the Brewers and bought the Cleveland Indians, returning to the major leagues.  In July of 1947, Veeck broke the color barrier in the American League by signing Larry Doby.  In 1948, the Indians won their first World Series title since 1920.  Veeck was forced to sell the Indians in 1949 due to his divorce.

2 years later, Veeck was back in business, purchasing the St. Louis Browns.  While trying to force the Cardinals out of town, Veeck came up with one of his most famous, or perhaps infamous, stunts, signing Eddie Gaedel, standing 3 feet and 7 inches tall, and sending him to the plate in the second game of a double header against the Detroit Tigers on August 19, 1951.  Gaedel walked on four pitches and was lifted for a pinch runner.  American League president Will Harridge voided Gaedel’s contract the next day, claiming that Veeck was making a mockery of the game. In response, Veeck threatened to request an official ruling on whether Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto, the reigning MVP, was a short ballplayer or a tall midget.

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