• Our Album of the Week features will return in June.

Describe your best playlists!

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I got into putting together a lot of playlists of my favorite artists via Amazon Music "Unlimited" -- I use them mainly at work, or if I'm going on a long trip by myself, or on a plane ride.

Here are some of my favorites. I won't include the song titles, since I tend to title my lists descriptively.

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass - Ultimate Collection
For this one, I just stacked the whole TJB catalog (through Summertime) and deleted the dozen or so songs I don't care for. So that means about 3/4 of The Lonely Bull and Volume 2 got the ax. Beyond that there are only about zero to two songs per album that hit the cutting room floor. So it makes for a nice 4.5 hour playlist.

Herb Alpert - Newer Stuff
A collection of favorites from Anything Goes on forward. I add to this one whenever he comes out with something new. There are probably 3 to 5 songs per album on this one.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66/'77 - The Best of
Same as my TJB list - the whole catalog, with a few songs taken out. I probably dropped fewer Sergio songs than Herb ones.

Ambrosia - Some Sounds We Made Along The Way
This is a best-of that does not include all the hits. I'm too sick of some of their hit tunes to ever care about hearing them again, but a lot of their album tracks are dynamite.

Alan Parsons Project - Best of
Yet another "stack of wax" with just a handful of songs removed. For fun, I ran this one backwards starting with their last album Gaudi and ending with the first one, Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

Fleetwood Mac - Class of '70s
This is a collection of Mac tunes from before Lindsey and Stevie joined the band. There is a lot of really, really good music in those older albums, especially from Bob Welch and Christine McVie. I'm not really into the blues era Mac -- I got on board with them at Future Games, so other than "Oh Well Pt. 1," everything in this collection is from FG forward through Heroes are Hard to Find. Who needs Lindsey and Stevie anyway?

Alan Parsons - Post Project
This is a bunch of tunes from, as you might guess, the albums he released after he split up with Eric Woolfson. There is a lot of good music in those records, and a fair amount of ... well, not such good music. Woolfson really brought out the best in Parsons when it came to arrangements and singer choices.

Santana - Sácame de Este Ascensor
That's Spanish for "get me out of this elevator." I titled this collection after a line in a Rolling Stone review of their live/studio album Moonflower. The review said the album was good, but by the middle of Side Four it was 'get me out of this elevator' time. This is a collection of favorites from their albums up through Festival. Of course no songs from Caravanserai are included due to that album being inexplicably unavailable on Amazon Music "Unlimited."

Steven Wilson - All Over the Map
This is a singer/guitarist who has a band called Porcupine Tree, and a few other projects including a prolific solo career. He's got a lot of music out, some of which is downright brilliant, some is jawdroppingly beautiful, some is pure pop like Todd Rundgren did at his pop peak, and some is absolute crap. So I combed through his catalog and put together about two hours of the really good stuff. Anyone who likes prog rock like Pink Floyd would probably enjoy his music. I think his best, most "even" album is To the Bone from 2017.

Cheap Trick - Best
Cheap Trick is my favorite rock band, but their albums can be wildly uneven. Their first four studio albums are pop perfection, and after that they got pretty spotty. They kind of went off the rails in the early 2000s, but then they booted original drummer Bun E. Carlos and replaced him with guitarist Rick Nielsen's son Daxx, who fills the throne nicely, and have been on a tear ever since, releasing four albums since 2016. So my collection contains most of those first four albums and then I cherry picked the rest of the catalog. The album Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello from 2016 is my recent favorite, although there are real gems on all their records. You just gotta dig em out.

I've also made collections of Gary Wright, Seals & Crofts, Rick Springfield, Stevie Wonder, and one called "Mike's Random Singles" into which I toss random songs that I haven't (or don't feel the need to) check out more of the artist's work yet.

Any other playlist-makers out there?
 
On another forum, I started a thread for us to list our Qobuz playlists. I do have a few playlists on Qobuz. Some are tied to articles I've written elsewhere. Others are for my own use. I also have playlists on Roon Player at home, which don't populate their way out to Qobuz. A few off the top of my head for now...

Tribute to WJZZ--a nod to my favorite radio station, long gone. It was mostly contemporary and fusion jazz from the mid 70s through the late 80s, but they'd include some jazz classics as well (Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," occasionally Miles Davis, occasionally Brubeck, a few scattered Blue Note tracks, and others). Many of my lifelong favorites came from listening, like Jean-Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Maynard Ferguson, and jeez...dozens of others. It is a work in progress, as I'll hear some song or remember something from those years and add it to the list.

Funny that one of my other audio pals compiled a list for the same station and his had only a few tracks from my playlist.

I started a CKLW playlist but...gave up? Basically I just plugged in one of their weekly countdowns and let it fly. If I were to do it right, I'd use clips of their DJs, their "sounders," etc.

Audio Demo List -- all high quality songs I keep in a list, if I need it.

Dionne Warwick--the complete (hopefully) Bacharach/David. I front-loaded most of the hits and my favorites in the first half, and the filler is in the second half.

Bacharach Instrumental -- all those tracks he recorded for albums, which weren't covered by others. Although I made an exception for his reworked "Wives and Lovers." It's not that long (maybe a dozen songs).

I have the TJB Sol Lake playlist, which I've posted here before. I've wanted to do a companion list with all the TJB members' songs, but it's rare I play the TJB anymore these days. I also had an idea to do a Baja Marimba "Homegrown" compilation with the same idea--all band member songs.

Mavericks--just a selection of my favorites.

I also have playlists for 80s music, dance floor classics (26 hours--they're all the 12-inch versions), and a couple other genre-based lists.

URGH! A Studio War -- studio versions of the live URGH! A Music War film.

I started a CTI playlist but there's just so much...it's another that could probably run over 24 hours.

I also have The Best of Bon Jovi and The Best of Journey. I should note that those are both empty, and always will be. 🤣
 
On my computer I created several Playlists one called Assorted songs which is a mix of a little bit of everything ( my own version of a multi genre radio mix just one of several modes under different names) three Playlists I title Easy plus( in 3 parts) which I created as a tribute to the many Easy Listening stations that also played Old school soft AC some mellow oldies. Smooth Jazz.etc And those kind of Beautiful EZ stations were ones that I loved because of the variety gave the format some breathing room those are just a couple of examples and one Playlist has my Entire British radio comedy collection along with my comedy and novelty CDs and downloads best of all I have several SD card copies of my digital library for my tablets along with a couple of extra SDs stored for good measure Gotta preserve my audio investments as well as have a portable version of my collection before I forget there are also regular Jazz and Rock Playlists among others too
 
I started a CKLW playlist but...gave up? Basically I just plugged in one of their weekly countdowns and let it fly. If I were to do it right, I'd use clips of their DJs, their "sounders," etc.
I've done just that with my old favorite radio station from the late 60s. The station was semi-automated and heavily formatted to the point where I knew where each jingle would occur, where a current record would play, where an oldie would play, where an instrumental would play, etc. So I set about making a set of CDs, each one would be exactly one hour long, so I could theoretically put them into my car's CD player and essentially listen to an old radio station from 1968 through about 1972. And I have a fairly complete set of jingles from the era.

To make it even more authentic, I used Audacity to merge all of the songs/elements into one long file so I could accomplish proper segues that sounded just like they did over fifty years ago. It was hard to figure out what song would be a "current" when all of them were over a half-century old, and on a couple of occasions, I'd sneak in a favored song from a little later in the 70s just because it fit that format so well.

It's quite interesting to hear the old news sounders and weather beds pop up just where they were in the hour all those years ago. So these aren't quite playlists in the strictest sense, more like mix-CDs

Other than that, I've made only a few more mix-CDs. one set replicates what I did years ago in making mix-tapes. I just took the same songs and put them onto CD where they sound much cleaner than the old cassette versions. And I have my yearly Christmas mix-CD, with all of the Christmas songs I like so I don't have to listen to Christmas radio trampling grandmas with hippopotumi.
 
Due to a low tolerance for pre-programming on the streaming platforms, I have a lot of playlists from a few different platforms. I create/modify and delete quite a bit. Here are just a few of the playlists I currently have, there are so many so trying to keep it light I apologize ahead of time because I could just go on and on:

70’s Playlist – You call this my Star-Lord/Guardians of the Galaxy playlist. It includes BJThomas** Hamilton, Joe, Frank & Reynolds**Blue Swede**Ace**Little River Band**Redbone***Mac Davis***et al. Takes me right back there.

Early Fleetwood Mac – on point with @Mike Blakesley is a collection of pre-1975 FM with songs from Kiln House, Bare Trees and Mystery to Me. I absolutely adore Lindsey Buckingham and some of the post-1975 efforts, however I am very much into the earlier albums.

Dionne Warwick, Bacharach and not Bacharach – This is a collection of the Dionne’s recording that are not limited to Bacharach, it also includes non-Bacharach hits, all of which I view as essential to her fabulous career and are some of the most relaxing recordings to ever touch a needle

Do You Want to Dance BMB -This started out a DYWTD playlist because I create a lot of various playlists which are actually just albums uploads, but this playlist was infectious and just grew and grew a grew and now has assorted BMB uploads

Bossa Nova and Slow Jazz – this is sort of a Jazz Lounge Ballad collection however I titled it Bossa Nova because I have a few Elaine Elias and Deodato selections as well as some Sade and uncredited jazz streams. It is nice for dinner music or maybe just a late afternoon/early evening listen.

Jazz Samba – This started out as a collection of Stan Getz***Luiz Bonfa***Charlie Byrd***and then I added Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim recordings. It ended up being a Brazilian wonderland.

Smooth Jazz – This is a collection of jazz playing in the background of my generation including Patti Austin (a couple with R&B James Ingram)***Bob James***David Sanborn***Al Jarreau***Till Bronner***Quincy Jones***Earl Klugh, et al.

Todd Rundgren – Basically this is a collection Todd’s hits. I never get tired of his music and it is always as refreshing to me as the first time I heard it.

Tom Petty – I made a collection of what I call Petty’s soft rock ballads. The stories Petty painted are not only melodic but are so organic. I have a pretty large collection of Petty albums and some CDs. I’m a serious fan.

Lana Del Rey – I have one foot in and one foot out however I find myself committed to a playlist. My playlist includes a bit from each album including the one that was released this year, Do They Know There’s a Bridge Under Ocean Boulevard. I became a fan in 2014 when I heard the Maleficent soundtrack.

Four on the Floor – A not too long ago A&M thread prompted me to make a playlist of four on the floor tunes including Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes***Rolling Stones***The Kinks***Blondie***ZZ Top***et al. It's a fun playlist.

Bill Cantos – There is just something I find irresistible about a Jazz take on Disney tunes and the Circle Sessions (Piano Performances from Carthay Circle). Cantos hooking up with Herb Alpert made me a fan.
 
Last edited:
As I was going through a handful of tracks for some other project I was working on, I realized that some of Herbie's cameos on other artists' records were kind of overlooked. I posed this playlist of 18 tracks a while ago--it's about a CD's length look at a selection of those appearance from across a handful of decades. It's not a "complete" playlist and there are a couple of duds in there (not for Herb's part, just the songs themselves), but...that's how these things go.




I also completely forgot about the following playlist. Hit Instrumentals. Many years ago I had assembled a single-CD compilation of instrumental "hits" (some charting hits, yes, but others that were familiar even if they never charted), and having shared it with others, got a lot of positive comments about how it was a great trip down memory lane. I've since brought it into the 2020s by extending it to about twice the length. ("Now available as a 2-CD Deluxe Version!") A couple may be unfamiliar but are still part of a rollicking good time, like Dizzy Gillespie's "Fiesta Mojo" that keeps you whistling its playful melody long after hearing it. Instrumental, soundtracks, soul, jazz, samba, exotica, Latin, even some early rock--all part of the mix.

I just updated this playlist a few minutes ago to add a track I had missed from the original section (Quincy Jones, "Soul Bossa Nova") and replaced two that were unavailable with updated copies. I also, at long last, decided to replace Mancini's "Peter Gunn" theme with the "Pink Panther" theme. Such a touch decision when I only want an artist to appear once in the list. (But, rules were made to be broken!)

This is the sort of good playlist I'll create when I put my mind to it. 😁 I'll eventually top it out at 50 tracks--there are probably ten more I'm forgetting about that are deep in the collection.

P.S. "Yakety Sax" was around long before Benny Hill, so ignore the "Benny Hill Theme" note 🙄 on the first track.

 
t's quite interesting to hear the old news sounders and weather beds pop up just where they were in the hour all those years ago. So these aren't quite playlists in the strictest sense, more like mix-CDs
I would probably have to dig through all sorts of online airchecks to find all the clips I would need to pull off a convincing CKLW program. Plus, there aren't enough news airchecks to get through a few hours. Some of the isolated stories have made it to YouTube though, including Grant Hudson's infamous Louisville Slugger story...

 
I got into putting together a lot of playlists of my favorite artists via Amazon Music "Unlimited" -- I use them mainly at work, or if I'm going on a long trip by myself, or on a plane ride.

Here are some of my favorites. I won't include the song titles, since I tend to title my lists descriptively.

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass - Ultimate Collection
For this one, I just stacked the whole TJB catalog (through Summertime) and deleted the dozen or so songs I don't care for. So that means about 3/4 of The Lonely Bull and Volume 2 got the ax. Beyond that there are only about zero to two songs per album that hit the cutting room floor. So it makes for a nice 4.5 hour playlist.

Herb Alpert - Newer Stuff
A collection of favorites from Anything Goes on forward. I add to this one whenever he comes out with something new. There are probably 3 to 5 songs per album on this one.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66/'77 - The Best of
Same as my TJB list - the whole catalog, with a few songs taken out. I probably dropped fewer Sergio songs than Herb ones.

Ambrosia - Some Sounds We Made Along The Way
This is a best-of that does not include all the hits. I'm too sick of some of their hit tunes to ever care about hearing them again, but a lot of their album tracks are dynamite.

Alan Parsons Project - Best of
Yet another "stack of wax" with just a handful of songs removed. For fun, I ran this one backwards starting with their last album Gaudi and ending with the first one, Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

Fleetwood Mac - Class of '70s
This is a collection of Mac tunes from before Lindsey and Stevie joined the band. There is a lot of really, really good music in those older albums, especially from Bob Welch and Christine McVie. I'm not really into the blues era Mac -- I got on board with them at Future Games, so other than "Oh Well Pt. 1," everything in this collection is from FG forward through Heroes are Hard to Find. Who needs Lindsey and Stevie anyway?

Alan Parsons - Post Project
This is a bunch of tunes from, as you might guess, the albums he released after he split up with Eric Woolfson. There is a lot of good music in those records, and a fair amount of ... well, not such good music. Woolfson really brought out the best in Parsons when it came to arrangements and singer choices.

Santana - Sácame de Este Ascensor
That's Spanish for "get me out of this elevator." I titled this collection after a line in a Rolling Stone review of their live/studio album Moonflower. The review said the album was good, but by the middle of Side Four it was 'get me out of this elevator' time. This is a collection of favorites from their albums up through Festival. Of course no songs from Caravanserai are included due to that album being inexplicably unavailable on Amazon Music "Unlimited."

Steven Wilson - All Over the Map
This is a singer/guitarist who has a band called Porcupine Tree, and a few other projects including a prolific solo career. He's got a lot of music out, some of which is downright brilliant, some is jawdroppingly beautiful, some is pure pop like Todd Rundgren did at his pop peak, and some is absolute crap. So I combed through his catalog and put together about two hours of the really good stuff. Anyone who likes prog rock like Pink Floyd would probably enjoy his music. I think his best, most "even" album is To the Bone from 2017.

Cheap Trick - Best
Cheap Trick is my favorite rock band, but their albums can be wildly uneven. Their first four studio albums are pop perfection, and after that they got pretty spotty. They kind of went off the rails in the early 2000s, but then they booted original drummer Bun E. Carlos and replaced him with guitarist Rick Nielsen's son Daxx, who fills the throne nicely, and have been on a tear ever since, releasing four albums since 2016. So my collection contains most of those first four albums and then I cherry picked the rest of the catalog. The album Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello from 2016 is my recent favorite, although there are real gems on all their records. You just gotta dig em out.

I've also made collections of Gary Wright, Seals & Crofts, Rick Springfield, Stevie Wonder, and one called "Mike's Random Singles" into which I toss random songs that I haven't (or don't feel the need to) check out more of the artist's work yet.

Any other playlist-makers out there?
I’d have to say “look around” and “going places” are on my top 10 list.
 
A few years ago, I managed to collect all of the Tijuana Brass original US 45s for the purpose of assembling this "playlist" which I placed onto three CDs. The "playlist" was strictly determined by the chronological releases going by catalog number. By the third "album" here, things got a little strange. I included three singles of "This Guy's In Love With You" by adding the Spanish version and the Italian version, and that makes for a rather repetitive listening experience. A future update would eliminate the two foreign language versions. I also included a single that never existed but had a catalog number, "Monday, Monday", by using the mono album version. And it seems to me that there was at least one more later-variety mono single that I added to my collection after this was compiled.

This is a fun listen as you get all of the a- and b- sides, giving a mix of singles and album tracks, and the mono 45 mixes are sometimes surprising.

TjB45s1Playlist.jpgTjB45s2Playlist.jpgTjB45s3Playlist.jpg

Oh, and in an earlier attempt, I used a different picture for each of the three volumes, but found that it didn't seem like a unified set unless I used the old GH picture for all three.
 
Back
Top Bottom