If you think making packing decisions for a long weekend or summer vacation can be tough, how about this scenario: You're on your way to an uncharted, unpopulated desert island for the rest of your life (hey, it could happen), and you must choose 10 CDs to satisfy your musical needs for the remainder of your days on this planet. (You will also have the use of a solar-powered CD player and nice headphones, so, not to worry.) Oh, and no boxed sets allowed.
How would you decide? Which ones would you bring? I'll be honest. This exercise was torture for me. I've got a huge CD collection, and I'm attached to every one of them. But I'm game, so I'll dip my toe in first.
My 10 Desert Island Discs, in no particular order:
1. Van Morrison - Moondance (Warner Bros.): If I only had one pick, this would be it. My all-time favorite track, "Into the Mystic," graces Side 1. Van is totally unique, the Celtic soul man.
2. Dire Straits - On Every Street (Warner Bros.): Mark Knopfler is my guitar hero, and this overlooked CD is their bluesiest and most satisfying work. "Calling Elvis" leads off this strong CD.
3. Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis (Rhino): "Son of a Preacher Man" sets the soulful tone for this classic CD, packed with great songs by people like Carole King and Randy Newman.
4. Hank Jones & Charlie Haden - Steal Away (Verve): An understated, bass and piano collection of hymns and spirituals by two masterly jazzmen.
5. Tears for Fears - The Seeds of Love (Polygram): From the stirring, Sergeant Pepperish title track to soulful duets with singer Oleta Adams on songs like "Woman in Chains," this is an uplifting, sonically stunning CD with impeccable musicianship and passionate playing.
6. Steely Dan - Gold (MCA): Complex, witty, and irresistible jazz/funk/pop. Every single track should have been a hit.
7. The Ultimate Soul Collection (WEA): A two-CD set featuring 36 tracks from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Temptations, the Drifters, and more. Can't lie around all day. Gotta groove some.
8. The Dionne Warwick Collection - Her All-Time Greatest Hits (Rhino): Pop songs don't get any better than these Burt Bachrach/ Hal David masterpieces like "Say a Little Prayer" and "Walk on By."
9. Frank Sinatra - The Capitol Years: This double CD features the cream of American standards sung by the man who defined them for all time.
10. Stan Getz - Getz/Gilberto (Verve): "The Girl From Ipanema" kicks off this delightful collection of gently percolating bossa nova and swaying samba. The perfect Desert Island Disc.
Wow. That was hard! If I really were marooned, I'd be floating a note in a bottle requesting crucial extra provisions, like the Beatles' "Revolver," the Band, Derek & the Dominos, Aretha's "Gold," the Best of Boz Scaggs, the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds," Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue," Crowded House, Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken," and Dylan's "Highway 61." I'm sure glad we're only pretending.
* What would be your 10 Desert Island Discs? Write us at: Arts & Leisure, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org